I was talking to a friend from high school last week. She's a little younger than I am, but her boyfriend is older, in his early fifties. He was a runner until a serious case of plantar fasciitis stopped his running over a year ago, and he's never recovered from it. She asked me if now that I was getting older (sheesh, is 41 really getting older ???) if I was starting to break down a little bit.
I said that no, on the contrary, I felt like I was getting stronger. I really have felt pretty good lately. This is not to say I haven't been knicked up. I have. I went into the Ironman in mid-april with a lot of pain in my foot- I didn't talk to anyone about it because I felt that it wouldn't affect my ironman- it didn't, and I've figured out that my aging bike shoes- 3 years old- are simply too tight and have been aggravating the arthritis in my big toe, which I've had since college- and a serious problem with my elbow from a combination of carrying Ian and playing computer games. Weight training has solved that problem.
However, when I ran the Washington Trails 10K and came away with an extremely tight calf Monday, I couldn't help but revisit my answer. When I say tight, I mean there was a ball in my left calf. I soaked it in an hot tub that afternoon, but I would find myself unable to run again until Friday (and I passed on the opportunity). I was still able to work out- that is swim or bike, including a 50 mile ride on Wednesday. However, on Thursday night, I was forced to spin for 45 minutes because a test run on the road outside my house indicated that I still could not run. Just touching the calf still was causing pain.
So am I getting old ? No ! Six weeks ago, I took two days off after the Ironman and started training for Eagleman. And the training has been going well. But there are days my hamstrings are tight, or my calves are tight. I've been pushing hard. Add to that having a young child at a race can complicate you day- I had only about 10 minutes to warm up and immediately after the race I had to start following Ian around instead of running a warm-down. Throw in a VERY hard and hilly race on a hot and muggy day and a little calf pain is totally understandable.
I've been a very fortunate athlete. Injuries have not kept me out of races or away from training. Neither has age. So no, age is not catching up, not yet anyway. If anything, the thing keeping me young is continuing to run, bike, and even, yes, swim...