die old

I signed up for the 6.15am class with Coach Charlotte, thinking, I don’t know why, that I could reverse a lifetime of Not Being A Morning Person by sheer Force Of Will. After I’d missed seven of the first eight sessions, I gave up and asked to switch to 9am. Had my first late-morning workout today.

I’ve been very fit in the past, but only anaerobically, when I was riding competitively and teaching. I’ve never had much upper-body strength, and I have no cardio fitness at all. I loathed my high school PE teacher, your standard-issue sadomasochistic pervert. I’ve never set foot in a gym. So Charlotte’s basically starting from scratch.

Halfway through the first session I was wheezing like an asthmatic, and I wondered why it felt so completely different from high school PE, why I was in pain but not actually suffering, and then I realized: I’m not scared any more. From the age of about seven until I started taking Zoloft, just after my 32nd birthday, I was terrified most of the time. I didn’t even know it, not really, I just thought other people were braver than me. Post-vitamin-Z, I’ve lost my driving phobia, flying phobia and social phobia, so it stands to reason that I’m no longer afraid of getting out of breath.

The best thing about Workout on the Hill, though, is not the workout – which feels fabulous as soon as you stop – it’s the hill. I did my bicep curls looking down over Candlestick to the bay. My step-ups, I watched mayflies hovering under the eucalyptus trees.

Die old is a geek meme right now, reflecting the fact that so many of us are thirtysomething with kids. In my miserable teens and twenties, it never occurred to me that my doctor would actually find out what was wrong with me and fix it, or that I would get married to the most amazing person in the world and that he would like me and laugh at my jokes, or that I would have kids at all, let alone revel in them. I get happier and happier over time, even as the glaciers melt. I’m going to buy a Prius and live to be a hundred and twenty.

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