As I have gotten older one thing has become increasingly clear, I am not getting any younger. That fact seems glaringly obvious, but I guess I always believed that as I aged I would somehow stumble across a fountain of youth, even if accidentally. But, as I look in the mirror with each day that passes I realize that I am not immune to aging. It turns out I’m just like everyone else and it looks like the fountain of youth is indeed mythical – or is it? Maybe the fountain of youth isn’t a fountain after all, but rather, something as simple as going for a run.
For me, nowadays, the biggest compliment someone can give me is to tell me that I look young. There’s something about those words that gives me hope and helps believe that maybe, just maybe, I am doing a good job holding off aging, even if it’s just a minute longer. I do everything in my power to stay young and healthy, most of all, I run. It’s the one thing that makes me feel alive.
Just last week Rachel and I were at the gym sitting in the sauna. A guy sitting across from us noticed my San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon t-shirt and asked me if I had run the race. I told him I had run both the half and full marathons in the last two years. We began talking about running and he explained how hard he believed running was and that he could never run a half marathon because he was too old. I proceeded to tell him that age didn’t matter and that anyone could do it. He replied, “I don’t know about that. Maybe I could have done it when I was in my early twenties, but I couldn’t do it now. I’m already 29. You’re lucky, see, you’re still young. What are you, 24 or 25?” I started laughing and I turned to Rachel who could see the delight in my eyes. I turned back to the guy and said, “No, no, I’m 33. I didn’t start running until I was 29.” He immediately responded, “There’s no way you’re 33. Wow, you look young.” I was flabbergasted. I don’t think I wiped the smile off of my face the rest of the day. After he left the sauna I asked Rachel, “Did he really think I was 25? There’s no way.” Rachel just laughed and said, “You look younger than you think.” I then replied, “Actually, he thought we both looked young because he knew we were married. It’s the running…the running I tell you!”
Honestly, I would have thought that the guy in the gym was just bad at guessing someone’s age, but I had another confidence booster yesterday. I was getting my haircut and the woman asked how old I was. I told her I was 33 and she didn’t believe me. She kept saying, “You just look so young. I would never have believed you were in your 30’s. I bet you get that all the time. Do people always tell you that you look young?” I just smiled and said, “Every now and then.” When she jokingly asked me what my secret was I just laughed and replied, “Running.”
I started running at 29 years old because I wanted to get healthy. I didn’t know all of the benefits that I would receive from it, but what I did know is that I was committed to making a change. Now, I feel as though running has allowed me to maintain my youthful nature, which hopefully makes me appear younger. I don’t know if running really is a fountain of youth. But, for me, I would like to think it is. Even if it doesn’t make me look younger, at least it makes me feel younger. Who would have thought that something as simple as a run could do that?