Discover more from Athletic Aging
Real stories from real women kicking ass beyond age 50!
My Friends! We don't celebrate each other enough! So, with the help of my friends at Feisty Menopause, we reached out to YOU to share your stories. This is the fourth post of an ongoing series where we will be celebrating all you bad-ass women who, at age 50+, decided you were just getting started! Cheers! Carla
Originally from the US, Karen comes to us from Melbourne Australia! Because who doesn’t love a new adventure after age 45?
New adventures are a theme for Karen. In the late 1980’s while in Japan as an exchange student, she took up Kendo (Japanese Fighting). In college, she played ice hockey and water polo. During this time, she tragically lost her brother. This loss solidified her resolve of seizing any life adventure that comes her way.
In her early 30s - broker than broke - she signed up for her first Iron Man, and despite her perception of being “slow” she developed a plan and crossed that finish line! She continued to compete in triathlons for most of her 30s.
At age 47, after a complete shoulder reconstruction, fear of heights and carrying a bit more body weight than she wanted, Karen took up Bouldering. What is Bouldering? It is indoor and outdoor rock climbing! Despite being absolutely “terrified”, Karen persevered. But it wasn’t an easy road:
Why do we have to be good at everything? Why can’t we just be bad at something and have fun doing it? I started to think really really hard about why I needed to get on that wall. It makes me stronger, and keeps my proprioception at its best. It will keep me from falling as I get older. It makes me humble, because I am actually not the ‘best at everything’. It challenges my limitations and fears. As I get older, I don’t want my world to shrink too fast. I want to explore and learn and grow and laugh.
At age 51, despite multiple shoulder injuries and dislocations (and not being the best at climbing), Karen has found “joy” on the wall and has been Bouldering for 4 years. Her keys to success are building a community and surrounding herself with supportive people.
I’ve climbed next to elite climbers (world cup participants and Olympians) who cheer as loudly for me and my beginner moves as they do for each other, as well as bringing newbies into the gym who find a love of the social and physical aspects of climbing…… and just remember that the point is fun. Treat it like an adult jungle gym. Failure is the whole point!
Today, Karen is an attorney who says that she “works too much and thinks too hard….. but participating in sport keeps me grounded”. She is married and her youngest child is a competitive rock climber, following her mother’s love of Bouldering!
We thank you, Karen for your inspiration and for sharing your incredible story!