I didn't have a lot of time and wasn't feeling good. I ran to the gym and began lifting weights. I went to the first "fat thigh" machine (that's what I call it; it's great for strengthening hip and IT and muscles) and then moved on to the next. A much older lady sat down on the seat I had just vacated.
"Oh my. Oh my. Did you really do all of this?"
I had the weights set to over 200 pounds. I nodded.
"That's amazing. That really is. But you need to be careful, not to do too much. I don't do too much. But I'm glad I can."
She began telling me - she had worked in the schools as an aide, never had any time until ten or fifteen years ago when, in her early seventies, she retired. Her children were all raising their own kids, and now, without a job, without children, she had time to pursue her own interests. In her eighties now, she went to the gym several times a week, to lift, use the various cardio machines, go to the aqua-aerobics classes.
"I am so impressed. That's incredible," I told her. Eighties and going to the gym.
She asked me what kind of working out I did. I admitted I liked to run a lot.
"Now, don't do too much. Those marathons..."
"Well, I don't exactly do marathons. I've done them before."
"They're too much. People get hurt."
I told her I run 50 milers, 100 milers, 24 hours. She seemed stunned.
"I don't get hurt. I pull back. The second something doesn't feel good - I stop. I'm not using that machine," I said, pointing to a hamstring strengthening machine, "because I hurt my hamstring months ago and it's still not strong enough to lift that. I don't have a problem stopping, and that's why. If you stop the first sign - you often don't get a second sign."
We went back to my racing and she asked me questions. Then she said, "You're an inspiration. You really are."
I blushed. "No, you are an inspiration. I hope when I'm your age, I'm still doing it."
She smiled and I had to leave, go to work, to the grind. But it's hard to leave the active world, where we all inspire each other.