Age is just a number, right? I always used to think that.
I remember when I was younger and I would go to the pool to swim. I’d see older adults there swimming in out-dated swim suits and caps, doing elementary backstroke or sidestroke, and I’d think, “I will never look or swim like that.”
Along the same lines, when I was younger, I would never stop and take a walk break in the middle of a run. Who does that? An old person? Well, I certainly never thought that would be me.
Fast forward to now. This is a big year for me. A milestone birthday, with a number that I am not comfortable with, is looming on the horizon. Am I in denial? Most certainly.
I feel like, at midlife, we tend to look back on things in our past and assess what we could have done better. Did we do everything we wanted during those younger years, or did we waste that time? I have been doing a lot of introspection these past few months, and I am feeling that nostalgic pull for sure.
I have entered the realm of more rest days, shorter workouts, more sleep, and more yoga. It is so much more important now, to take care of myself. I still have young ones at home, and I need to keep up. The days of long runs that leave me hobbling around like the walking dead need to be left behind.
The past two years have brought me serious and stubborn injuries that have finally taken their toll. Emotionally, I am tired of pain. Physically, I am slow to get moving. And when I do too much, I certainly pay for it. The last two injuries have been the most severe, and they have been life changing, to put it lightly. And, I cannot ignore them.
So, what to do? Well, if I want to continue to keep up with the kids and enjoy life, things had to change. And change they did. As an older athlete, strength training has to take a front seat. Sure, I’ve lifted my entire life, but it has taken on a new urgency as I continue to fight to maintain muscle each year. And, the other most important activity has become flexibility. Again, I’ve done yoga for over 20 years now, but I must continue to pursue it with intense focus.
These are the things that consume my schedule with regards to fitness. Of course, swimming is always blissful. I have always said that the pool is the fountain of youth. I firmly believe that. It is the yin to my yang; the yang being running. So swimming is obviously still high on the list.
I am hoping that I will be able to stay fit and healthy to witness grandchildren some day, and I want to be able to stay as active as possible, so in the end, I am willing to make the changes that are needed.
I am sure that some of you reading this are past this realization, and have probably been nodding your heads as you read this. I feel like we all get here at some point.
Despite all of this, I am still looking forward to 2022. I will still be out on the trails and at the pool and the lake. I will always treasure watching the sun rise over the water while I swim. I will never tire of watching the trail come to life as dawn breaks and the sun smiles through the trees. Never miss the opportunity to delight in the beauty that surrounds us every day.
Run long, friends.