Monday, April 21, 2014

Aching and...Aging?

Aside from the whole "I'm Loud, I'm Proud, I'm FIFTY" thing, I rarely think about myself in terms of being a certain age.   Age is what you make of it.  I'm convinced your physical age is just a number...except that lately, I'm beginning to see a difference in people younger than me.  Not in attitude, but more in physical ability.

And I don't like it.

Let me explain - it's not that I resent anyone for being able to do more than me, but rather, I'm realizing that the reason so-and-so seems to have an easier time with running might be because they are 10 or even 20 years younger than me, and their bodies aren't rebelling with random aches, pains, and such nonsense.  Their joints, tendons, and muscles are still in their heyday of youth, while mine seem to be turning into the cranky old man who's waving his cane, yelling at the whippersnappers to get off his lawn.  Quite honestly, it's annoying to be doing something "good for you" and hurt while doing it.  Some days it just makes me frustrated to think that I'm up and out there early on a Saturday morning, while others are sleeping (not even sleeping IN, just sleeping to a normal time) and they are the ones who aren't hurting!  Makes me miss my sedentary days - well, somewhat miss them, in a "things seemed better back then" nostalgia which probably isn't completely true, but indulge me for a moment.

Lately it feels like I'm having one thing after another pop up.  From my right ankle, to the bone spur on the top of my left foot, to the new pain where my big toe meets the foot (apparently related to that bone spur).  From the hamstring injury that is still hanging around, to the Achilles pain in my left foot (or is it plantar fasciitis?).  Instead of things going away, it seems like they're just piling on.  And that's just the bottom half - don't get me started on my elbows and weird nerve pain in one wrist.  This is beyond annoying and frustrating.

I'm not pushing myself too much with the running, not in the least.  I read other running blogs, and I'm not doing anything near to what many others do in terms of mileage or frequency of running.  But then, I usually think to check the age of these bloggers, and sure enough, I'm quite a bit older than them.  So is it age?  Do our bodies really start falling apart?  I want to say no.  I want to will it to not happen.  But I fear it IS happening, with or without my acceptance or permission.

And I don't like it.

To (mis)quote John Donne Dylan Thomas (thanks, reader Genie!), I will not go gentle into that good night.  I will rage against the dying of the light...because this is unacceptable to me.  I reject the notion that my body is getting too old to do whatever I want it to do.  And so I keep on, but with pain.  Which tempers both my enthusiasm and fun.  Is this just how it's going to be from now on?

I don't like it.

28 comments:

  1. oh how I can so so so very much relate.
    the older I get the more I ADMIRE my parents for hopping out of bed each morning and my grandmother for pressing on until 101!

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  2. Hang in there! My guess is that the stuff going on with your left foot/leg is all related. When that crap happened to me, the only medical professional who could successfully treat it was a chiropractor (and believe me, I resisted going to one). Maybe try one of those out for the foot/leg stuff?

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    1. I am resistant to chiropractors in general, too.

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  3. I was just thinking about this same thing the other day. I was wondering how many people actually "feel" their age. And since I have been struggling with much pain lately, I wonder if this is what I will feel like when I become even older? I hope not!

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  4. I so completely identify with this. I feel there are times when enough of those nagging aches and pains add up to equal it affection you mentally as well. I have a running acquaintance who is a very good runner and at the end of every running/facing season he takes one complete month off from running. He does swim a bit and do some light walking but not everyday. Additionally he spends that month getting 1-2 massages each week and working with a foam roller. So while he's resting from running, he's also actively working on healing. (Rather than just not running, does that make sense?) He swears this is what enables him to train the way he wants to the rest of the year.

    I even resist this type of thing but when I think back on my best running, it's usually been preceded by a period of not running (due to injury, illness, vacation). I hate to admit that but it's true.

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  5. I am with you on this one. When I get home from a shift at the restaurant, the next day everything hurts - my knees, ankles, lower back and then I too realize that I am 20+ years older than some of the other servers that are in their 20s. Gah! Ibuprofen is my new best friend! Hugs!

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    1. But you are keeping up with those young whippersnappers, which is awesome!

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  6. Everybody is different. I always have something hurting somewhere usually in my feet. But I am happy to get out and run. I also see so many my age (am I am 60) that are running marathons and running 5ks so much faster than me. I wonder how they do it. Then I remember everyone is different. We all just do our best.

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  7. Oh yeah. I hear you loud and clear. SOOOOO relate to this. And reading it made me think about how maybe it was like the grief process (you know, the five stages…) and so I looked them up, and I think I'm somewhere between depression and acceptance. With maybe a little anger thrown in.

    Off to take my ibuprofen so I will be able to work in the garden this morning with MLG….

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  8. It really doesn't seem fair, does it? I'm in the same boat--have more energy and motivation than I did when I was younger, but as soon as I gear up to push myself a little, something pushes back. And some people do seem to magically exempt from that, damn it. But I guess we're shaping the mental toughness that will help in our Depends years when everything starts breaking down more dramatically for everyone.

    But I'm still waiting for the dang scientists to invent pills that make our muscles and joints young again, is that too much to ask?

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    1. You said it - it's the push back that gets annoying.

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  9. I have nagging aches and pains pretty regularly and I'm only 32! I've been dealing with some of this since I was about 14, so I'm just used to it (which is probably not good, but like you, I'm rebelling against it). I'm guessing some of these younger bloggers deal with similar issues but maybe just don't talk about them? I tend not to unless it's a major injury that's putting the brakes on my training. But gosh, at this rate I hate to even think what my body will be like when I'm 50!

    But I'm still happier to be as active as I can, for as long as I can. On my last trip home, both of my parents (who are in their late 60's, fairly sedentary and not in great health) expressed regret that they hadn't even tried to take care of themselves when they were younger, and that's not how I want to feel 30-some years from now.

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    1. I don't talk a lot about the aches and pains either, but maybe more of us should acknowledge them, just so people don't think we're sailing though this, you know?

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    2. Yeah, I think I'd feel better knowing I'm not the only one who can barely make it up the stairs after a long run ;) I guess I don't talk about it because I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but more so, I don't want people to feel sorry or think that I'm limited. Hmmm, I'll have to think about how to best do that...

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  10. The only time I notice the aches and pains of aging are when I sleep, which seems kind of weird to me. If I stay in one position to long, I hurt and wake up. That doesn't seem fair, does it?

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    1. No, it doesn't...our bodies sure are weird, right?

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  11. I feel like that with my back. I think "Isn't this something that happens to older people??" Guess not - or I am getting older and just don't want to admit it.

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  12. How 'bout some encouragement? Read "the Grace to Race" bu Sister madonna Buder. She is an 87 year old triathalete. She has the pains but she has presevered through them. You will be inspired to keep going by her

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll have to check this book out.

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  13. I can so relate! I've been thinking these same exact things lately. I'm 55 and trying to lose weight and get in shape and it's so much harder than when I was younger! I read runner blogs too because they are so inspiring, but I still feel like a little old lady waddling instead of running. It's so hard not to just throw the towel in!

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  14. You and I are on the same side of 50 Shelley, and boy oh boy, can I ever relate!!! However, I'm trying to accept that, adapt to my body's "limitations" and be grateful that I'm still healthy enough to move at all. Sounds flakey I know, but I do find a bit of comfort in that...

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  15. I might be one of the few who doesn't relate. I think this has not much to do with age, there are people of high age that are in better shape than me. I think it's how once's body is. Your legs/feet are your weak spot, Lori's back is hers and in my case it's usually my back too (which hurts less when I exercise :) ).

    Of course when we get older, we won't be running as fast as the younger ones but I believe we can run at a reasonable pace till we are really old, as long as the body cooperates.

    But I get it that you don't like it because running is your passion.

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    1. I have to say, even just five years ago I thought the same as you - some people have their issues, but it's not due to aging...until I hit 50 and started falling apart. I mean, seriously, my ELBOWS??? So that's where I'm coming from...a place of shock and surprise that it's happening to me. Boo!

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  16. "I don't talk a lot about the aches and pains either, but maybe more of us should acknowledge them, just so people don't think we're sailing though this, you know?" I agree a million percent. Acknowledging pain isn't the same as complaining about pain, and I think more of us who experience chronic pain need to acknowledge it to ourselves and one another, if for nothing else, to validate what's happening and to find support.

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  17. I am loving my 50's, but not the pain part of it!! I am currently in a self-imposed week off from running (okay, I jogged just a teensy bit on this morning's walk, I confess) to try and get the foot and the hip and the shin splints to ease off a bit. Part of me wonders if I had dropped the weight and gotten in better shape earlier, instead of waiting 'til my 40's, would things have held up better? Obviously nothing I can do about it now, but it's a nagging regret..

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