Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Getting Older Can Make You Slow(er) AF, But Does It Have To?

For the past two to three years (well, since I turned 50), I've become a slower runner. Shocker. Any one else? Raise your hand if you can relate.

I can't blame myself. It's a proven fact that as you age you get slower. Why else are age group requirements for Boston "easier" as you get older? The BAA has to know what they are talking about.

In actuality, shit happens to the body as we age. Gravity takes hold and things like boobs and nut sacs droop. Hair (including pubes apparently - my mom of all people told me this) get gray. Wrinkles show up making road maps across our foreheads and around our mouths and eyes. Sometimes we pee ourselves, or worse. Hence the enormous number of Depends commercials you see during the evening news.  Don't even get me started on my neck. It is becoming a shit show.

Depend FIT-FLEX Incontinence Underwear for Men, Maximum Absorbency, S/M, Gray (Packaging may vary)
I think this guy as "bigger" issues than wetting his pants
But, there is also physiology to why we might become slower as we age. As the years pile on, the body, unfortunately, tends to break down. Our ability to take in oxygen decreases. We lose flexibility. Muscle strength lessens. 

Just shoot me now.

Woah...wait. Let's knock off the pity party.

The thing is, once you buy into the fact that you are going to be slower and it is simply your fate, something psychologically takes hold. We begin to not only accept this as truth, but it becomes our excuse for slowing down. We basically give in as our minds continually tell us a story about our limitations.

Again, there is validity to what happens to the body as we age. But we can fight it like hell. Sure, maybe we'll never see those times we did 20 or 30 yeas ago, but there is still hope.

There's a reason I was inspired to write this post.

I'm always floored by older runners who are kicking ass, but last weekend I saw it up front and personal. I did a ten mile trail race. Granted it was not super technical and didn't have a ton of elevation gain,  ten miles is ten miles and there were still a couple of decent climbs. This was my longest race back since getting injured in May, so I was happy to finish in 1:40, good enough for 2nd in my age group.

Later, Ken and I were looking at the results. Guess who WON the race? Take into account that there were a ton of youngsters running this race.

Dan - 57 years old - with a pace of 7:18

The first woman came in 5th overall with a pace of 7:36

And then there's Mark who at age 67 came in 10th with a 7:52 average pace

I would love to hook up with these bad asses and find out their secret. My guess is they train hard including strength and cross training. They probably are also unwilling to make the excuse that age HAS to make them slower. They train their mental muscles too.

So, what can we do? First, train our brains to believe. Strength train. Take our calcium. Keep moving. And, most importantly, just because we slow down does not mean we can't still have big goals and strive for them!

What have you noticed in your body as you've gotten older?

Are you slower than we were 10, 20, 30 years ago?


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Running, You've Ruined Me

You know how when you've been in first class on an airplane (this has only happened to me once on our honey moon to Greece when we begged the TWA person to upgrade us ((not because we had status but just because)). We we had just gotten married and she actually did put us in seats 4A and 4B - TWA doesn't exist anymore and neither do those kinds of "gifts") and then you go back to coach and you're like, "Uh, no. Coach is SO slumming it. Cannot deal with the masses of people farting and picking their toe jam. Please allow me up beyond that blue curtain again."

This is on Mykonos after the First Class flight. I am happy and topless.
I know my kids will like this picture. You're welcome
Or, when you drink Milwaukee's Best for your entire college career and then you move to Colorado and try a Fat Tire craft beer (no, not making a reference here to how better the Rockies are than the Brewers, don't read too much into it) and you're like, "I will never drink piss again, only amber liquid gold for me."???

That's how running is for me. Running has ruined me for all other things that raise my heart rate.

Anytime I've been injured, I've done what most runners do and they dreadfully go back to cross training. There was even a time I actually spent an entire training season pool running to train for the Boston Marathon (2011) because I had a femoral stress fracture. I would go to the pool on crutches, put that floater belt thing on and "run" in the deep end for an hour at a time. I told myself I would do this even when I was healthy because it was great exercise and prevented injury. Did I once do it when I was healed? Hell.No. I dropped that shit like Shalane did during the porta potty stop at the Boston Marathon.

Image result for shalane porta potty
It took her 16 seconds. To poop. Champ

***On a side note, the pool running worked as I did run Boston in pretty good shape for not training. So, go do it but don't ask me to join you.

My point being - throughout this injury (complete hamstring tear on May 11 after a terrible fall, read and weep HERE), I have resorted back to cycling, walking, swimming, even the elliptical to stay fit while I couldn't run. Just a couple weeks ago (and after I'd been back to running for a couple of months) my leg started hurting and I was so scared I had re-injured myself. So, I got back on my bike riding for 25 miles at a time up and down hills. Then I started walking as fast as I could without running (I can actually walk a 12 min/mile pace. You try it. I might look like a ridiculous, middle aged, middle class white woman trying to break a sweat, but that is what I am).

But, let me tell you - the minute I thought it was safe to break into a run (i.e., no pain) that is what I did. And, if I CAN run I am ignoring all other things like cycling, swimming and white woman fast walking because they are all dead to me.

This is a weird picture from today's run. I appear to be walking but NO I am running.
I really hate walking. I find it boring

Running has ruined me that way.

Not to say I don't love my bike. I do. I had a love affair with cycling long before running (and I actually think I'm a better cyclist than a runner). But somehow it just doesn't give me that same high and sense of accomplishment like first class on TWA or a cold Fat Tire beer.

Boulder 703. When can I run?
Clearly, I enjoy the sport of triathlon or I wouldn't have done two Ironmen ("did" two Ironmen sounds dirty). But, there is just something about running. I know you get it.

Do you cross train? 

What's your go-to thing when you're injured? (besides Cheetos and The Office)

Ever flown first class? (btw, you are rich)

Favorite beer? I don't drink much beer, but when I do I really like Fat Tire and Samuel Adams Oktoberfest