Running Again

Day 29 – This was a really good day at the gym; I didn’t go planning to do any running, but when I got there, the crowd was pretty overwhelming on the floor. In fact, the area where I do my warm-up stretch and the machines I usually use first were all occupied. I guess that’s a good thing because lots of people were working on their fitness.

I looked up at the track on the second level and, much to my surprise, no one was up there. My new Saucony’s were on my feet so it just made sense to go do some laps. My new running strategy at the gym is pretty simple. I don’t run on the treadmills much anymore and doing distance upstairs is not very attractive to me so I walk and sprint. Interval training/wind sprints seem to give me the most bang for my time.

Just a couple of miles of that kind of running really works out my legs. Afterward, I did some abductor/adductor stretching for my hips, several hundred crunches, and about a half hour of free weights. I’m trying to lift heavier weights to work my shoulders without getting a lot of bulk. I watch the guys around me who really look good with their big chests and arms and I really admire what they’ve done. It’s just not for me.

This session closed out with 10 minutes on the Stair Master and that really burned out my legs. Afterward, while I felt really spongy, I felt good at the same time because my body is responding better than I expected. The goal now is to just keep improving.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 [ESV]

High Steppin’ Again

Day 28 – Sunday in the fitness center a church is fast becoming a favorite workout for me. Getting in to a stepping class and leading it is major fun, it’s sweaty work, and when I mess up trying to lead, everyone gets a good laugh.

This part of my workout learning curve is teaching me that variety really is the spice of life. The move from weight training and machines to speed stepping on a simple platform lets me know that physical training can be done effectively without much equipment at all.

As with any fitness class, there are people of all levels of ability participating.  Trying to help each person get the most out of the class is a real challenge–not to mention calling the class and trying to keep my own wind. But I do appreciate those who follow my lead. They push me to do better even if they don’t know it.

A Long, Slow Journey

Day 27 – I went to the gym late in the day today and being Saturday, not many people were there. That was a good thing for me. I had access to just about everything. Plus, I didn’t feel rushed to get out of someone’s way. So I stretched my time out and worked slower. That didn’t bode especially well for the cardio part of my workout, but it did give me the opportunity to concentrate on form.

Apparently, I concentrated a little too much because I came away with a strained muscle in my low back; not a lot of pain, just a pulling sensation that I know is not normal. I did my 1,000 crunches, stretched a bunch, lifted weights and walked some.

I came away today thinking the habit is now established. Going to the gym is neither an anticipation or a dread. Now, it’s just what I do–again. I hope this mindset stays with me throughout the Spring and Summer months. It’s mighty easy to skip a workout when the sun is shining and it’s warm outside.

The problem is that when you skip what is necessary you end up doing what is not and often what you shouldn’t.

Living In The Here & Now

Day 26 – As much as my mind dreams about the good ole days when I was thinner & quicker, my body needs a lot more rest these days. I’ve never been a heavy or long sleeper, buy now I find myself going to bed earlier so I can still get up at 4 AM every day. Doing that requires a more strategic choice of workout times.

On days like today, following a major workout session yesterday, a morning gym time is pretty much out of the question. Add to that systemic soreness and I wondered if I’d even feel like doing anything today.

So, I went to my new fallback. . .you guessed it, extensive stretching. It keeps me from getting stiff, it works out a lot of the muscle kinks, and allows increased circulation to relieve the nasty soreness.

It’s certainly not exactly the same as going to the gym and stretching on the mats, but it’s close. In some ways it may even be better. I don’t feel rushed, all the equipment is always at my disposal at home, and I can stretch multiple times a day without going out the door.

That’s been a big adjustment for me because my mind says you can only do gym work in a gym. I really do know better. It’s a mind game, for sure.

For now, I’m going to take a nap. . .before I go to bed. That’s what old people do.

Run Forrest, Run

Day 25 – Running is in my blood, but I’m beginning to wonder if it’s still in my bones, especially my feet.  I love to run. More precisely, I love to sprint. Distance stuff is very hard for me.

I have new running shoes–so it was time to run. Laced them up tight, stretched myself out, walked a few laps to warm up my legs, and off I went. Wind sprints, my best friend for getting the heart rate up quickly and my worst enemy for shin splints. Today, I got my fair share of both. My new Saucony’s fit perfectly and with a good pre-run stretch, I was able to increase acceleration significantly. On a 1/16th  mile indoor track, ACceleration is not really the problem; DEceleration is.  The wall at the turns come into view quickly.

And still, I run. It feels good to get these old bones in motion. It feels good to still have a little kick left. And it feels good to have a much younger runner come by and pat you on the back with a smile and encouragement.

So, I run. Every time a little uneasiness begins to appear in my shins and feet, I think maybe it’s time to stop running. But, no, it may be time to slow down or run less often.  This one thing is true. . .runners run.

Soon, it’ll be warm outside and the days will be longer. I can’t wait. Then I’ll do some of that stuff I say I don’t like.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world. . . Romans 1:20 [ESV]

Another Day, Another Pain

Day 24 — Today, like most other days in this quest, I worked about as hard as I can work. Maybe, if I were still working with a trainer, I could work a little harder, but I doubt it. I’m pushing myself almost to the edge of my capability. No complaint here, unless talking about strain and pain is complaining. I don’t believe it is because it’s just a report about what happens to a senior adult body when you push it like a person much younger.

Oh, but I forgot–when I was a teenager and it was a football or track coach pushing me, it hurt then, too. And when I was in my 20’s running up and down the hills with my running partner, it hurt then, too. And when I was in my 50’s with a heart about to explode because I weighed too much, my cholesterol was too high, and my nutrition was horrible, it hurt then, too.

Now I’m in my 60’s, working harder than ever on nutrition and fitness and–it hurts.  I’m not hurting because I’m lazy or abusive to myself, I’m hurting because my muscles and bones are responding favorably to the work. And, I assure you, that’s a very good thing.

So, I’ll keep stretching, lifting, and running as long as I’m able. Maybe I’ll get to live to see all my grandchildren graduate and start their own careers and families.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 [ESV]

It’s A Hard Life, At Least I Hope So

Day 23 – Have I mentioned that gym life is difficult? Yeah, at least a few hundred times, I think. The upside is better health and, for some, a better looking physique. I pretty much gave up on that last part a good while ago.

I have noticed, though, that the harder I work, the harder I get. Some muscles groups are responding well, others not so much. . .yet.  Any lack of fitness training leads to loss of tone. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a few days, a few weeks, or much longer.

The older I get, the more I know I need to work hard to be able to maintain simple things like balance. Good fitness and nutrition leads to stronger bones, better digestion and metabolism, and even better rest.

I worked hard today at the gym; I felt better when I finished. Now that my mind is getting back into the habit of regular physical training, it is much easier to do the work and enjoy the results.