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  • About VJ
  • June 17, 2024 3 min read

    Taking the long road to get good at something brings tangible health & happiness benefits at any age

    Six years ago, I ran my first obstacle course race - a Spartan Race at Citi Field. All I wanted that day was to not die.

    I was 47-years-old, having recently awoken from my sitting-and-screens slumber as

    a journalist and media executive and decided to tackle something new and hard. Athlete was nowhere on the descriptors friends and family used for me.

    Flash forward to today. I’ve run 50 races, competed in two Spartan Race world championships and now podium in my age group on days when everything is clicking. (And I don't miss my spear throw!)  

    And tomorrow, on June 18, I have a new book publishing called NOT TOO LATE: The Power of Pushing Limits at Any Age

    The book is a call-to-action for trying something new and hard to get healthier and happier. 

    Here’s why:

    • We live in a culture promoting hacks and shortcuts
    • Yet data shows happiness in the United States is dropping. We also are more unhealthy by many important measures than other high-income countries.
    • Engaging deeply in a pastime that requires persistence and deep commitment can ignite the “will to live.” This potentially can help add 7.5 years of lifespan.
    • How to ignite that “will to live” is central to my new book.
    • I share more about this journey in two of my favorite publications:

    There’s a pre-order bonus today for NOT TOO LATE (details below).

    7.5 Years

    Yale epidemiologist Becca Levy found that people with more positive perceptions on aging live 7.5 years longer than those without them.

    Central to feeling good about aging is having this “will to live” I mentioned.

    Like most of you, I’ll take an extra 7.5 years of lifespan.

    What is something that makes you want to put down your cellphone? Turn off the TV? Go to sleep an hour earlier? Wake up an hour earlier?

    What is something you always wanted to be when you grew up, but haven’t yet pursued?

    Finding time

    We’re busy. I get it. We have full lives and are racing around every day to try and get it all done – and yet we’re not getting it all done.

    How can we possibly fit in mastering something new?

    I felt this way. And yet, I managed to carve out a path thanks to a lot of trial and error and learning from other smart people.

    In NOT TOO LATE, I share the tactics and tools that made a difference.

    • Eliminating “time-suck slices.”
    • Prioritizing only what was essential to keeping my “crop” alive
    • The deft art of saying “no.”
    • Reorganization of my meeting schedules and how email gets handled.

    This is how I found extra hours in my life - probably 4,000 hours at this point for training and learning in pursuit of mastery.

    You can too.

    Pre-Order Bonus

    Today is the last day to order NOT TOO LATE and receive the pre-order bonus.

    This includes some very cool stuff including:

    1. A discount code for VJ Shoes.
      1. I can’t recommend these shoes enough. The shoes are lightweight and great for running, hiking or walking on uneven terrain.
      2. The grip on their tread is excellent and has kept me safe for dozens of races. I own eight pairs (all of which I’ve bought myself; no freebies.)
    2. A “No Excuses” Workout From Anywhere exercise routine developed by my terrific coaches at Grit Coaching – one of whom is elite OCR racer Faye Stenning. No fancy equipment needed. Do it at home, in a hotel, at your mother-in-law’s house!
    3. A discount on personal online training with Grit Coaching.
      • If you are trying to get back into fitness, or want to take your routine to the next level, Grit is a great way to go.
      • They work with athletes of all ages and abilities. I wouldn’t be where I am without them.

    One final note. Never get caught up in the trap of thinking “I’m too old” to pursue mastery.  

    I didn’t learn to climb a 17-foot rope until I was nearly 50-years-old.

    In my book, I introduce readers to Muddy Mildred, who in her 80s became one of the oldest women to pursue obstacle course racing. Her advice to me: Stay low on barbed-wire crawls so your hair doesn’t get caught. (Check that Mildred.)

    Thanks for reading. Find something you love. Make it a priority. Learn to get better. Stick with it, especially when it gets hard.

    Gwendolyn (Wendy) Bounds @gbounds