“Excuse me, your obliques are showing,” was exactly the thought that was going through my mind. I was sitting next to the pool at the Hilton El Conquistador resort on the outskirts of Tucson, Arizona and I was feeling wholly out of shape. The pool was crowded with multi-sport aficionados who had come to Tucson for the USA Triathlon Duathlon Nationals and their bodies were on display.
Don’t get me wrong, this was not some MTV Beach House kind of thing. People weren’t hitting on one another or walking around with their drawers drooping down to their ankles. Far from it. These people were mellow, cool, collected and very, very in shape.
I looked across at a 51-year old doctor from the East Coast who was reading a copy of the journal “Nature”. He was wearing a black Speedo. Not the swim-racing kind of Speedo, but the “I can wear a boy-short even though I’m 51” kind of Speedo. I asked him what he was hoping to do in the race and he looked at me as though I was asking him to explain Tolstoy. “I hope to do my best, have a great time and kick some ass,” he said and then he went back to reading an article on structures in the brain that help keep memories sharp.
I’m not what one would normally call out of shape. I exercise daily and would in fact place in the top-25 at Nationals here the next day, but this was a crowd of fitness over-achievers. These people were not only in shape, they lived it. Scanning the pool deck, I understood for the first time the meaning of the phrase “a chiseled physique.”
I walked over to the “Springs” – a portion of the pool that included both a hot and cold plunge and struck up a conversation with yet another 51-year old whose body I felt I had seen sculpted in limestone, perhaps in a museum in Rome or Paris. ‘What were these people on?’ I thought to myself. They were so unassuming and confident, yet humble. I asked the limestone-bodied guy how long he’d been involved in multi-sport, “oh for decades” he said. He went on to tell me that he had done the Ironman in Hawaii six times when he was “younger.”
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