The Aging Athlete

Hey everyone!  I know it’s been a long time since the last Blog post on here.  I had several issues creep up over the winter months that brought me to a grinding halt.  While trying to work on my strength at the gym, doing body weight lunges, I herniated the upper area of my right quad/groin.  Needless to say, it was something that required almost immediate surgery.  I have a fantastic surgeon that repaired almost the exact same area on the left side numerous years ago. (Props to Dr. Thusay) He took excellent care of me, repaired the area, and got me back on my feet quickly.

I’d love to tell you that I shot right through the recovery and bounced back to running…but NO!  During the second week of recovery, I got pneumonia!  I’ve never had it in my life and this kind of scared me.  I was unable to breathe properly, congested, fever and had zero energy.  I slept in the upright position in my recliner just to maintain an airway.  My family doctor (Dr. Odeh…also a hero of mine) attacked the illness immediately and with heavy doses of medicines.  It was a slow recovery and I’m ever so grateful for the caregivers in my life.  Huge props to my work people for keeping tabs on me and sending positive MoJo my direction!  It was much appreciated.

Once I was given the green light to get back to walking, I went after it with a fury.  I knew that it was in my best interest to get back to moving as much, and as often as possible in order to restore the bodies flexibility.  In my mind I was thinking, it’s not running, but I’ll take it.  As things turned out, I began to really enjoy my walks.  I found myself catching glimpses of things that I may have missed while out on my runs.  Strangest thing to me was that I felt just as good, if not better than when I was running!

I had to do a follow-up with my family doctor and had a lengthy discussion about my different aches and pains prior to surgery and the new-found happiness with walking.  The doc kind of chuckled and said, “well, you’re not getting any younger”.  For the first time in a long time, those words really hit me.  I’ve always pushed my body to the breaking edge and did so with a recklessness of a teenager!  Yes, I’m an athlete, and yes, I’m growing older.  It was time to set up a plan on how to best approach getting back into shape and not breaking anything further…lol!

Going back to the basics.  That’s what I’ve decided to do.  When I first started running some 34 years ago (this June), I started out walking.  I went from walking to running from tree to tree, and expanded the distance every two weeks.  I’ve decided to continue the walking and do it at a rapid pace to give my body a workout, but give the joints time to heal from the many years of abuse.  I’m getting the cardio that I crave, the “runner’s high” is still there, and I’m enjoying every step!  The strength training has also been reduced to the basics.  I’ve started out with basic push-ups and crunches.  I’ll continue to up the number each day and begin to add in side crunches, planks and a few other exercises to get things in order.  The most important change I’ve made was switching my diet to 12 hours on (eating) and 12 hours off…along with writing down everything that finds its way into my stomach!  If you have to write it down and look at it, you’re more likely to really think about what you’re doing.  It’s just holding yourself accountable.  I’m about 6 weeks into this and at  4 weeks, I’d lost 6 lbs.  I have a set goal in mind that I’d like to achieve by fall, but that’ll be kept in my  own head…lol!

I signed up last year for both the 21 miler (Big Sur California) and a 50 miler Ultra Marathon in Illinois (Hennepin 50 miler).  I totally plan on achieving both of these…walking!  I’m excited for California because it’s such a beautiful coastline and again, if I’m walking, I’ll probably see things that I wasn’t paying attention to when running.  The pressure is far less as the cut off pace is an 18:30 minute mile.  I’m currently training at a 14:30 or lower on most walks.  The 50 miler will be a challenge no matter how you slice it.  Anyone that’s ever walked higher distances knows, it can be brutal.  I have a training schedule set up and will work the entire summer to get it done.

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So, for those of you out there that may be in the same boat as me, or you just want to change things up in your life.  Go back to the basics.  Allow yourself the time to make things right again.  Allow yourself to find beauty in every step you take.  There’s a great big beautiful world out there just waiting for you to see it!  I highly recommend you do so on you own two feet!  That’s my plan as an aging athlete.  I will still tell you to #neverquit and #neverstop !

So it’s off to the West Coast and taking in the Ragged Coast!  I’ll share my adventure, as I always do.  Just know that I’ll have my mind on Record the entire time.  I don’t want to miss a single moment!

I’ll see you on the road!

~Zombie~

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