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Old Gold: Bringing the Decathlon to ‘Tween Waters

IMG_8682I blame Ashton Eaton. My television. And my parents.

After all, if not for the now two-time Olympic decathlon champion and his late-summer omnipresence on NBC, I’d have never come up with the silly idea. And had it not been for Bernard and Alice Fitzsimmons welcoming me to the world in March 1969, I’d not have been so old by the time it arrived.

Nevertheless, thanks in part to all of them, the testosterone die was cast.

Fueled by Eaton and the other nightly images of competition from Brazil’s coastline on the south Atlantic Ocean, I decided to pursue my own brand of Summer Games glory during a recent jaunt to the Tween Waters Inn – roughly 4,300 miles north of Maracana Stadium.

My personalized five-ringed gauntlet included 10 events that’d take me across and around the resort over just more than 24 hours, and incorporate as many different endeavors as my middle-aged body would allow without outright collapse.

The sweltering Sunday portion included a trip to the fitness center for a 30-minute workout, followed by a hardcourt set on the nearby tennis courts, a quick sidestep for a game of shuffleboard, a trip across Captiva Drive for a Gulf water surfboard relay and a trek back to the marina to depart on a kayaking dash around the mangroves.

It was challenging. It was invigorating. It was exhausting.

And to suggest I had a restful sleep – from roughly 8 p.m. straight though until 7 the next morning, in fact – would be an understatement of gold-medalist proportions.

But, alas, there was still a day’s worth of “work” to be done.

Russ TWIAnd while the Monday follow-up was certainly less strenuous, it was by no means less busy.

It began with a 15-mile rental round trip bike ride from the resort to the Sanibel School and a one-hour dockside fishing pole respite upon return.

As for those results, suffice it to say I remind exactly no one of Greg LeMond or Jimmy Houston.

Regardless, a 50-minute deep tissue massage at The Spa as event No. 8 provided ideal therapy for tired muscles nearing their collective half-century mark, and a penultimate sunset walk with the wife, son and pup blended nicely into a Crab Races at the Crow’s Nest finale – where, ironically, the extent of my exertion was exhorting a crustacean who looked as if it’d been through a weekend similar to mine.

Though the untimely slow-shelled tardiness cost me a few bucks, I was in no shape to criticize.

And when the Tokyo Games come on the tube in four years, I’ll make sure and switch to PBS.

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