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My Best Investment

Mike Drak

CHRIS CROWLEY IS co-author of Younger Next Year, a book that opened my eyes to what’s possible in retirement. When I grow up, I want to be just like Chris.

Since turning age 75, he’s managed to find the energy to publish five books. At 86, he’s still having fun skiing downhill, going on 30-mile bike rides, leg pressing 360 pounds at the gym and giving the occasional paid speech.

His example reminds me that, at age 68, I still have a lot of runway ahead of me.

I remember the day I told Chris I planned to attempt an Ironman triathlon, consisting of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile marathon run. The silence on the phone that followed spoke volumes.

It told me that Chris thought that, for me, it might be a bridge too far. That made my goal only more exciting. I like to shock people and prove them wrong. It’s just how I’m wired.

Writing three books—plus the pandemic—had left me borderline obese. My blood pressure was in the 160s, requiring me to go on meds. I knew I had to make some significant changes if I wanted to enjoy a long life with my wife and kids.

I made the smart decision to invest my time and money in getting my health back before it was too late. I hired a triathlon coach and joined the local community gym. I bought a road bike, along with some fancy running shoes. I had to buy new workout clothing because all my old stuff didn’t fit.

On Nov. 20, I’ll be attempting Ironman Cozumel. It’s going to be close. I badly want that finisher’s medal. But even if I don’t finish before the midnight cut-off time, I’ll still be a winner.

I have my health back. My blood pressure is now in the low 120s. My wife says I look great, and that I’d better not stop working out after the Ironman or I’ll be in trouble again.

Getting my health back is one of the best investments I’ve ever made. If I can do it, there’s no reason you can’t.

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