I'm not the youngest person practicing at my dojo, but I'm also not the oldest. One of our black belts is in her seventies, and I find that so inspiring!
In black belt cycle training today, we hit the jump rope. When I was a kid, I used to compete in American Heart Association jump rope tournaments. I was really good at double dutch, double-unders and all of the crazy things you see children do with jump ropes.
At 37, my double-under days may be past me! It's funny how something so simple as jumping rope really reminds you how important your cardio and stamina are to your overall training. I've never been a big fan of slow, steady cardio like running. Jumping rope is something that seems easy, but I find that it will raise your heart rate like few other activities. I try to keep myself going strong by jumping just enough to clear the rope. I'm not trying to do anything fancy these days -- to just finish the time drill is my goal, and to finish it each time feeling a little less spent.
The 9-year-old me would watch me jumping rope and be appalled! I make peace with this by reminding myself that even if I've gotten less fancy about it, I'm still jumping.