Vidakovich column: The Golden Years take some adjusting to

Mike Vidakovich

I was fortunate to be asked by event directors Mike Kishimoto and Abbey Ehlers to be the announcer for the Strawberry Shortcut races, which were held on Sunday, June 19. Though I wouldn’t profess to be a natural with a microphone in my hand, I was happy to help out the two people who do such a great job of organizing the races each year.

I did take a break from my duties for a little over a half an hour so I could toe the line and run the Willey Coyote 5K, which is named in honor of my longtime running buddy Bob Willey.

Kishimoto asked me to tell some Willey stories to the gathered crowd at the starting line leading up to the race, but there are so many, I didn’t really know where to begin. I had many running and racing adventures with Willey, with each one taking on a life of its own. They were all great memories.

I’m not quite sure I’ll be asked back as announcer for next year’s Shortcut, though. With so many people that I knew walking by my little announcing nook under the bridge, I sometimes would get so deep into conversation with friends I hadn’t seen in ages, I missed runners and walkers coming to the finish line. Every time I tried to refocus my attention back to the street where a constant flow of finishers could be seen for as far as two city blocks, someone would happen by that I had to greet and see what the heck they had been up to.

Two of the more interesting characters who happened by my station were retired doctors Greg Feinsinger and Paul Salmen. Both of these fine men were my doctor at one point in time, and I always like to run some of my current ailments and medical concerns by them every chance I get.

Following some general doctor and former patient talk, I asked them what they thought of the phrase “The Golden Years” being used to describe us folks who are getting along in years. They both smiled and chuckled a bit, but neither really ventured an opinion on that particular subject, so I jumped right in and told them that I thought the person who coined the phrase must have been a bit misguided. Having experienced quite a bit of medical turbulence this spring, I didn’t feel there was much “golden” about the entire affair.

With the subject still weighing heavy on my mind and needing an answer to my philosophical question, I spotted the managing editor of this paper, John Stroud, heading in my direction. Stroud had run the 10K, which was the first race of the morning, and he was strolling around taking photos and putting together a story on all the day’s undertakings.

When I asked him the question of the day, he kind of rubbed his chin a little and said he thought the “adjustment years” would be a better term for the aging mind and body than anything that even resembled gold. I told him I thought “constant adjustment” might work well, also. Stroud seemed to agree.

This wouldn’t work, though, if the name of the old sitcom “The Golden Girls” had to be changed to “The Adjustment Girls.” People may think it was all about a group of crusty old lady chiropractors who lived in the same house together. Who would want to watch that?

Now that I have the answer to my old age question, the only solution is to keep going. Keep doing what you love, even if it hurts a bit more during and especially with that first step out of bed the next morning. I got very sore a few weeks back after playing a bit too much golf on a Saturday afternoon, and I am always creaky the next day after my Tuesday night softball game.

Keep racing the sunset, everyone. It’s not really golden anyway. The trick is to keep adjusting to whatever obstacle gets in your way. As this brave girl I know named Kara Brouhard likes to say, “What is within you is much stronger than what is in your way.”

I believe it.

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at

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