It’s only the last one that counts!


John and Michelle countryside biking

The other morning was beautiful so instead of going for a run, Michelle and I went for a bike ride on a trail near our home. The trail crosses a country road every few kilometers, passing through farmland and lots of woods. We’d planned to be out for just about an hour, similar to our ride a day earlier.

When we approached the 30 minute mark, we could see a crossroad up ahead and Michelle said, “Let’s go to that road and check our progress.” We did, and found that there was another crossroad not far ahead, so we set off further.

At the next road, we took a selfie and Michelle asked how far we’d gone on our first leg, to which I reported, “9.8 kilometers.” Michelle said, “Oh, well then let’s keep going until we hit 10!”

When we reached the 10k point, Michelle spotted an approaching crossroad and declared that we should proceed and turn around at that point. We did just that, making 10.6 kms our halfway point and 21.3 kms our full distance. A decent enough distance and our longest to that point in time with our new bikes.

Apart from the obvious health and mental benefits of our fun little outing and spending time together, one of the things I loved about this “adventure” was how it embraced an exercise principle of mine: when you think you’re done, try to do more. In strength training and lifting, it’s often said at that point when the lifter is groaning more with each progressive rep, “One more! It’s only the last one that counts!

Challenging yourself is no less important at this stage of life than it may been in the corporate world or when juggling kids, career, and life in general. The benefits can be many, in addition to that satisfying sense of achievement.

Do you have any similar experiences in your retirement where you’ve stretched beyond your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments below.