Chris 'Repman, Jr.’ Cody and I just took a stroll along the “Sidewalk in the Sky.” That's the nickname mountain guide par excellence Art Mooney (www.mooneymountainguides.com) gives to the Knife's Edge, a 1.1 mile long section of Maine's rugged, 11-mile long, 5,200 ft. tall Mt. Katahdin.
The “sidewalk” is treacherous. At points, it's only 18 inches wide with vertical drops of 2,000 feet on either side. One false step and any concerns about clients, new business or the national debt will come to an immediate and eternal end. But, that's precisely what makes the climb so refreshing. One MUST focus on every single step; ergo, one CANNOT think of anything else.
When I return to the office from one of these forays, I feel totally refreshed in a way that more sedentary vacations simply can't match.
Most people think I'm crazy. But, I'm just living my life. In fact, what I do pales in comparison to what such uber, middle-age athletes as Diana Nyad attempt. In case you missed Tuesday's NY Times Science section, the 61-year-old dynamo is about to swim 60 hours in shark infested waters to cover the 103 miles from Cuba to Key West. If she succeeds, Nyad will shatter every existing long distance swimming record.
Here's the coolest part about what Nyad's doing: she's not alone in her pursuit of athletic excellence at an age when most humans curl up on a couch and zone out to the latest episode of 'Glee’. Fifty-two-year old Jeannie Longo is still an elite cyclist. Gordie Howe played ice hockey in his 50s. George Blanda started as an NFL quarterback in his late 40s. And, Jack LaLane was 60 when he swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf (handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000 pound boat. And, they call me crazy).
Nyad says she swims to inspire others.”I hope a couple will say I want to live life like that (at the age of 61)." She added that her parent's generation considered 60 to be old. Not Nyad. "I'm in the middle of middle age.”
I like that line: the middle of middle age. I think I'll use it the next time I take a stroll along the Sidewalk in the Sky.