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Beth Ahabah Voices: David Gardner: Teaching an Old Dog a New Trick

February 16, 2017

by David Gardner

As I approached my 70th birthday and retirement about three years ago, I began to think about new adventures and challenges. In the past I had run marathons, cycled, skied, played tennis, etc.—all of which provided balance in my life to offset the stresses of my academic and clinical pursuits.

A good friend and fellow cyclist put the bug in my ear about doing a triathlon—not a crazy ironman triathlon, but a much more doable sprint triathlon. Triathlons consist of a swim, a bike ride, and a run. The cycling and running weren’t an issue for me.

The problem—I couldn’t swim more than 50 yards without feeling breathless and exhausted. What to do? The only solution was to learn how to swim at the age of 67—a significant challenge for me since I have never particularly enjoyed the water. I found a very motivating coach at the local YMCA, and started taking regular lessons. Suffice it to say, I will never be Michael Phelps, but with some practice and determination I was able to slowly increase my swimming distance.

In May, 2014, I started (and finished) my first sprint triathlon! Over the subsequent 3 years I have finished six more triathlons, and I am now hooked. I continue to train with my tri-buddy, Ike Koziol, and we did our most recent triathlon together in July in Charlottesville. My goal is to finish a triathlon when I’m 80—just 10 short years from now. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks!

 

Editor’s Note:

“Voices” is a series written by and about the members of Beth Ahabah. If you would like to submit an article about a friend or family member at Beth Ahabah, or your own adventures, avocations or interesting career, please contact Lori Allen in the Temple office at l.allen@bethahabah.org.

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