Age is Just a Number: Achieving Your Dreams at Any Stage in Your Life from Dara Torres—twelve time Olympic medalist in swimming (four of which was gold) and the first American swimmer to compete in five olympics—is all about swimming. But, runners, and even non-runners, stand to gain from reading this book. It’s about an individual who realizes that she can achieve anything no matter the obstacles—whether it was age, naysayers, injuries, or real life. It just so happens that Dara found her passion in swimming. Even if your passion is in running, biking, or multisport, this book will inspire you. Well, that’s what it did for me.
Dara Torres was an Olympic swimmer in her teens, pursued a comeback at 32, and yet another comeback at 41 as a young mother. She broke her own world records set in her younger days and competed with younger swimmers…and won. At 41, she didn’t only get to the Olympics, she bagged silver missing gold by only one one-hundredth of a second.
Wow. I loved her strength of character, her discipline, how meticulous she was with her nutrition and training, how competitive she was, and last but not the least, how she balanced this all with motherhood. She calls herself a Type A++ person, one who wants everything done fast, correctly, and with 100% effort. That’s pretty much me (I don’t know if that’s a good thing!) in my, uhm, far more ordinary and mundane world.
Here’s just one of my favorite excerpts from Page 219: “I am who I am—a competitor at heart. That hundredth of a second doesn’t gnaw at me a little; it gnaws at me a lot. I’ve heard people say it put the focus on my comeback in the right place, on blowing open the possibilities as we age. But that’s not how I think. I’ve wanted to win, at everything, every day, since I was a kid. And time doesn’t change a person. It just helps you get a handle on who you are. Even at age 41, I still hate losing; I’m just more gracious about it. I’m also aware that setbacks have an upside: They fuel new dreams.”
Thanks to Jun and Mariel for giving this book to me at the perfect time: when I turned a year older last month and a full month before I got this stupid injury. It’s helped a lot in keeping me strong (and bull headed) despite the setback.