I'm going to be 50 in May. And yes, it's messing with me (as my wife will most willingly attest). The challenge for me started when I realized that some of the things I'm wrestling with I was wrestling with as I approached 40. Good Lord, if I'm wrestling with these at 60 I'll start to feel like it was something less than a life well lived, and instead a life well planned...
Anyway, one of the goals I set for myself last fall was to be in the best physical shape of my life on my 50th birthday. I was tired of being tired! Done with feeling dumpy...
Memories of my fittest days harken back to running road races in the 80's and early 90's. And yes, I get faster (in my mind) with each passing year :)
But in the fall of 2011 I accomplished (what for me was) the unimaginable and crossed the finish line of a 100 mile trail ultra marathon.
I carried that fitness through 2012 and generally felt pretty good...
Then the wheels kind of fell off...I had three surgeries (two knee and a gallbladder) in 18 months, and then developed a pretty nasty case of bursitis in both shoulders. The resulting loss in activity netted a solid 20lb weight gain.
It was in that place I decided that 50 and super fit was the goal!
So I ran. I did long training runs and 3 races in 8 weeks. I wanted to take advantage of the fall races and jumpstart my fitness plan.
And then I started having knee pain...
Perhaps (I'm hopeful) it's just an overuse issue that will resolve itself shortly.
But in any case, I need to realize that this is one of those moments that I get to choose my response. I have the power to decide how to react to the circumstances.
Yes, I'm a runner. Have been since my nickname was (hear the kids chanting) "Chuck fat Chuck" in the sixth grade. My running began as laps around my block at 10pm (so as not to be seen).
Since then, I've had seasons of competitive racing, but as often as not I've just desired (and sometimes put the effort in) to be the best runner I could be (and ran lots of great races in my head).
But if I was stressed - I ran.
If I was celebrating - I ran.
If I needed to think things through - I ran.
If it was absolutely beautiful outside - I ran.
If it was so ridiculously bad outside that only a nutcase would be out there - I ran.
And if I needed to lose weight - I ran.
And in all that, I never met a cookie I didn't like.
And in all that, I never truly adopted a wellness plan that took into account the entirety of the body and its needs.
And all that has led me to a place where I easily find identity in running.
Except that I can't run.
Choice and consequence.
And this time I choose to see the blessing in that.
For in this "time out", I have an opportunity to decide if I'm really serious about "wellness". Just because I don't run doesn't mean I can't be fit.
So yes, this is a hurdle to overcome - to accept that maybe I need to eat better (instead of just running more), to do the stretching and strengthening necessary to battle the bulge (and the lack of flexibility, and the bursitis, and...).
So I choose to do what I can, relish those opportunities, and celebrate in the victories that will indeed come.
And perhaps for you there is hope in this message - that you too have a choice. Our current circumstances are surely (at least somewhat) a result of previous choices. We can choose to make better choices. And in that, we'll have better consequences.
I'm ready. How about you?
Press on friends.