Fit at Fifty

Who is Rob and what is it fit at fifty?

fit at fifty, gravel ride, gravel bike
Rolling the plains north of the South Dakota Black Hills

Half Life was supposed to be about me, living on the backside of fifty, trying to be fit and understanding the world around me. What my body is doing to me and how I’m dealing with it. What good training is and how, as a regular guy, I’m implementing it. How the world is changing around me and how I’m adapting to it. But the site has been more about being the father of an oppositional, ADHD, anxious adopted son. That will still be a part of Half Life but we’ll also get back to the intended purpose of the page.

I would describe myself as ‘best of the rest’. That guy who finishes events and shows a level of athletic ability and physique that no one really pays attention to. That’s the story of being better than mediocre but not in that top echelon. On the other end, not that guy struggling at the end of the day, who came off the couch 15 months ago and is now making the best of his life. Not a good looking physical specimen and not a guy who looks like he clearly has worked hard of late, making up for poor life focus in the past.

Just a guy who enjoys running and riding, being fit enough to find fun and excitement in competition… in the past, more on that later. Now a guy who wants to be able to get out and enjoy life on trail… keeping up with a 21yr old athletic son or an 8yr old on the rec paths and skills park. That is fit at fifty… to me

I want this page to be about a regular guy’s look at exercise and diet. Not a former elite athlete trying to stay on top or advising you on how you too can “be the best you”. Boy, I hate that fucking saying.

A guy, like you. Not aspirational or necessarily inspiring, a guy who is relatable.

Life before worrying about fitness over fifty

Riding and running were always part of my life. I was fit and reasonably fast. Not too any great extent but I could hold my own. Greatness in my youth never materialized, more due to a lack of effort and discipline. Into my 20s, 30s and later on my 40s, it was due mostly to there being too many other things in my life. Not all was responsibility that kept me from attaining any notoriety. Much of it was interest in other outdoor pursuits, a relationship with a woman who would become my wife and eventually a young family.

That family led me to take on home projects, start a business and grow many other aspects of my life. And as my kids grew in age I found the desire to be with them was the strongest force that kept me from training.

As all this was happening, I wanted to provide a home that I felt I should build myself and a business to start and grow… in the desire to provide for my family… once again. I’ll keep coming back to family. Not as an excuse but as an explanation, that the thing larger than a regional race success was the life I was making with my wife and the lives I was influencing in my children. And I really do like being around them more than doing anything else.

I’ll stay light on the details because this isn’t an autobiography but an attempt at setting the stage for where we are now. So to riding, running, skiing, etc… it was all about keeping with my kids. Endurance sports were part of our family makeup. With mountain bike races a family affair. Something we shared with many other families.

I’d ride primarily with my son, and other dads & kids, run with my wife or friends, or hike with my daughter. The party boy living in NYC was gone, this was all I needed for a social life. I was happy, no doubt about it. Did that mean that at times, maybe often, I didn’t think that with effort I could podium some events? Sure. Did I attempt to train at times? Of course. In the end, did I roll back into life? Yup. Does this have a negative impact on fitness at fifty? No, because it’s the life I am choosing and it is still full of exercise and activity.

Realizations, expectations and life… now.

I was always about family. Not in that cliche way, but in the truest sense of the word. Growing up I only had my mother, so being an engaged dad was important to me. Not only for them but selfishly, for me. Being a father was, in my mind, a way of making up for what I missed. So, it makes sense that I would want to spend more time with them. To the point where my now grown son tells me that it’s time I find some friends to get out, ride, run & ski with.

Living in the city was getting tedious as weekend warrior who hated gyms, working out indoors in general to be honest. Let’s touch on the word working out for a minute. Fitness was my way of being outside. I never felt I worked out, except to lift weights to be better at the things I like doing outside.

I was getting tired of crowded urban paths or the long drive to the suburbs to mountain bike.

The stress of working late Thursday followed with getting gear ready well after midnight. All so I could leave work at 1:00 and race out of the city, along with the thousands of other families. Was way too much

We now live in a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I found something special in this town when I first came for an endurance mountain bike race. Introduced my family to the town and started talking about retiring here. Preteen children, ready for an adventure, and we were off to start a life, closer to the things we love. Any given Wednesday evening could bring me to places previously reserved for long weekends.

During this time of relocation, we adopted a toddler who first came into our lives as an infant. He’s now how I choose to spend the majority of my time. Introducing him to the wonders of the outdoors. Helping him get over his anxiety and oppositional behaviors. Check out the My Boy… page for more about Nate.

Right now?? As of this post I’m wrapping up a small house we built on our property for my mother. And getting ready to head out one last time to pack her up. She’s aging and I’m her only son. We got to see her often and even though NYC is far away from everywhere we’ve lived she was always game to travel and visit. Covid put an all too long hold on that, and we realized the need to have her close.

I didn’t even mention a small business based in AZ that I am a 50% partner. That brings immense stress and eats way more time than the income it provides. That’s all we’ll hear about that.

So, how does all this relate to the story of being fifty and trying to be fit? It doesn’t really mean anything. Except that we all have lives, and being healthy will be part of that. To what extent and how we get there are going to be driven by outside influences. Both those we choose and those that choose us.

You should have started reading here.

Fit at fifty, or fifty five, as the case may be. And why you might want to follow my page. Because, I think, I’m like you. Most of us were not high school state 800m champs, didn’t play D1 football, haven’t dominated our state mountain bike series. We’re guys who are busy, we love to get outside. Whether that is with family, or friends, or alone.

Maybe we still hope for a strong finish in events, or even a podium. You might be like me, someone who has decided that competitions are done, there’s no Strava, or ride stat share. There’s just that guy out on a single speed, running with that big dog, or riding the rec path & skills park with that little kid. This doesn’t mean I still don’t want to be fast, just that the stress I felt on race day was no longer worth it. I’m still fighting the effects of aging, both mentally & physically.

You might be an empty nester or retired, who recognizes that this is actually your time. The freedom to train is yours and you’re going for it. That is so cool, and honestly for you to have that passion, still, I envy that. Go for that top 10 overall, in catagory podium finish!

Could you be that guy who is fifty and trying to be fit? For your sake, I hope so. It’s never too late to make a change. In the last few years I’ve been approached by men in their 40s. High school or college team sport atheletes, they may not have had much interest in life-style sports. They may have let themselves go or never were. But as they see me around town, actively engaged with my 8 year old son. They tell me they see the real reason behind my drive for fitness and feel they need that in their own lives.

Whether you follow me or not, good luck with your own path towards your fitness. Be that guy who was previosuly too busy in life to train hard and now has the ability to put in the time and hard work. Take that step on the podium. Be that guy who is tired of, well, being tired. Get outside and enjoy the world around you. The more you do, the better your’ll feel, and the more you’ll do. Or like me, be that guy who is most concerned about continuing with his love.

I’m not working towards a top catagory finish. But I still like being that ‘fast old guy on the single speed’. No matter what your motivation, and if you don’t have motivation, find it. Get outside and find yourself.