Wednesday, July 4, 2012

I Need Better Friends

Getting ready to bike to Cowiche and back
Getting ready to run Peck's Canyon

Getting ready to Run Cowiche Canyon

Start of our Mountain Bike leg of the 4th of July Pentathlon

Start of our big swim

I have erstwhile friends who now spend most of their leisure time golfing, riding Harleys and watching TV.  I used to spend time with these friends mountaineering, rock climbing and riding bikes.  Apparently, my old friends quit calling because I occasionally had crazy ideas that made their wives nervous. When they refused to return my phone calls, I started calling younger people I knew who were willing to go with me.  While my ideas are just as stupid as they used to be, I am struggling to keep up with my vision of what constitutes an awesome day of recreating. 

Case in point, just yesterday one of my sons-in-law, Nick Jordan and his sister Chelsea suggested that we go on a big run or perhaps a big bike ride.  I replied, "Why don't we do both?!"  As this thought matured, I suggested that we do a Pre-Olympics Pentathlon.  This would consist of 1) a 5 mile road run, including the hellish hill that is Peck's Canyon, 2) riding our road bikes to Cowiche (25 miles there and back, which would include the hellish hill that is the Naches Grade), 3) a 4 mile trail run in Cowiche Canyon, which would include running down into the Canyon and back out, 4) a 9 mile very technical mountain bike ride also in the Cowiche Conservancy, and 5) a long refreshing swim in our pool.  In theory, this sounded like a big, fun challenge. In reality, lots of pain and some serious time to reflect about my current selection of friends.  My old friends?....Well, they were old, but with that age came wisdom.  When I used to suggest ridiculous things like today's Pre-Olympics Pentathlon to them, they would say things like, "You're an idiot!", or "Why don't you go by yourself moron?!" or most frequently, "You need new friends Bucko!"  This last oft repeated comment eventually came to fruition.  I have found younger friends, who are, unfortunately, very difficult to keep pace with.  They are fast and enthusiastic and willing to take on a stupid, spur-of-the-moment suggestion to do some physical challenge that is certain to produce immense physical pain. 

At precisely 11:43 a.m., as I was attempting to run the grade of Peck's Canyon, I had a revelation; to-wit: I need better friends.  I need friends who will tell me that I am totally wigged; friends who are willing to conduct an intervention, if necessary; and yes, friends who are unafraid to speak the truth to an aging, middle-aged man.  Alas, none of my younger friends are willing to engage in the type of candor that will protect me.  I suspect they quite enjoy seeing me suffer, knowing that I will make superhuman efforts to keep pace, but revelling in the fact that I will literally kill myself in an attempt to not show my age. As I reflected on my current biking, climbing and wrestling buddies, I realized that perhaps what I really need are not better friends, but rather older friends.