I love accomplishing new things, and until this month, I had never done a cross country ski marathon. 26.2 miles of skiing from Mazama to the top of Sun Mountain in the Methow Valley sounded like a fun challenge! So I signed up, trained (or under trained as the case may be), and after overcoming a massive cramp in my left quad half way up Sun Mountain I managed to cross the finish line feeling much like a wounded slug. 

I love the Methow. I married my wife here, I’ve spent countless hours running, swimming, floating, biking, hiking, in this valley and I’ll be coming back for more for the rest of my life. 

But my favorite thing about the valley has got to be the humans. Take bib numbers 119 and 202 in the 2020 Ski to Sun Marathon for example. 

I was struggling hard up one of the first major climbs when I heard a skier fast approaching behind me. I pulled over, thankful for the break, making room for what I thought must be an olympian skier to pass. I’d heard earlier that four olympians were signed up for the race. Instead, I saw a nice looking lady wearing bib # 119 who appeared to be a couple decades my senior. She cruised on by and effortlessly skied off into the distance.

Not long after I found myself admiring the flawless technique of bib # 202. His perfect form was something to behold, another olympic worthy performance apart from the fact that he looked to be much smaller than my 9 year old son. I was able to catch him only when he stopped at an aid station to remove his ski boot and tend to a blister. He quickly shot by me a few minutes later. 

I checked the results page after the race for the age of the lady wearing bib #119. I guessed she was in her late 60’s and in fact, she was in the 60 – 69 age group category. She beat my time by over half an hour. 

The youngest category in the race was 16 and under, so I’m left guessing that the young fella with perfect form and a shiny new blister was no more than 10 years old. Great race #202! I’ll be watching your career! 

So where does that leave me? 


After I shook off a prideful competitive hot flash I quickly came to my senses and cheered and congratulated my newfound heroes. What a perfect reminder that age is not a number. 

Health can be built. It can grow with time if you are intentional and disciplined. Next year can be healthier than last year. 

Am I going to grow old? You bet. Thanks to bib 119, I know what that looks like. If I keep working at it, I’ll be a faster skier in my 60s than I was in my 40s! 

Instead of waiting around to react to sickness and pain, focus on growing your health today. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!

If you live in the Magnolia area of Seattle and back or neck pain slowing you down, come get an adjustment! Better yet, get chiropractic and massage, they go together like brushing and flossing. Our mission is to provide natural, pain relief to as many people as possible and we would love to start with you!

Take good care.

Josh Penner, D.C.