Monday, February 1, 2016

Early Retirement

by Sue Aquila

I can’t help but laugh when I hear age group athletes announce their retirement from triathlon. I won’t be announcing my retirement from my hobby anytime soon. Or work for that matter. My journey requires me to work my body and my mind. Without either, I am lost.

Make no mistake, we are all training for a race. Some of us are choosing an event with an entry fee and deadline. Others of us are choosing to have a medical event with a huge entry fee and involving death.

If I choose not to work out or eat right, my benchmarks in my life may include:

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Divorce
  • Diabetes
  • Joint Replacements
  • Acute health emergencies
  • Chronic health emergencies
  • Declining mobility

I choose to train and race knowing that my challenges can include injuries, niggles, burnout and life. The benchmarks I choose to frame my life are not in my decline, but in my joyous determination and celebration to compete. To win. To lose. And sometimes to survive.

When I read about people retiring from triathlon and an active lifestyle, I wonder where they go. Do they embrace the decline? Do they dampen the spirit of the soul? Do they prefer the comfortable rather than learning the thrill of discomfort? Do they take a step towards the precipice at the end of the decline?

I have a nephew who recently began military service, including the required Hell Week. I may be the only aunt excited for him. Most people avoid their crucibles. He has an opportunity to see his inner self and choose his path. I am only sad in that he gets to do this once.

We all need boot camps. They remind us that our physical, emotional and intellectual manifestations are choices. I choose my boot camps in the form of training camps and long course races. They are hard, they are truth and they give me immeasurable strength to live. To want to live. Always.

Early retirement is not an option. Ongoing engagement is my choice. My fuel is my passion. I am always racing...

Sue started her triathlon journey with a 50 pound weight loss and continues as a multiple Kona qualifier. In 2013, she was named the Overall Ironman All World Athlete Champion in her age group. As a successful entrepreneur, she believes that, “You can run your business like your training and your training like your business!” As a coach (USAT Certified), she helps athletes to develop success in all areas of their lives: family, health and work. She blogs regularly at You can find her on Twitter @fewoman.
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