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LJI:17 the rent I pay
The truth is that we’re all getting older.  Whether you are in the suspended animation of youth or have the over-40 aches I do, it all comes from the same place, our bodies are technical marvels that wear down over time.  The desire to keep us young forever has inspired researchers for years.  More and more studies are coming to similar conclusions.

Bodies are meant to move, through all of their possible range of motions.  Movement is medicine.  But throughout history we’ve created ideas and machines that in their drive to simplify tasks take our movement out of the equation.  That’s a wonder and a time-saver and a joy and it might be driving us to a future where we all become the people from Wall-E in the auto-loungers.

Human bodies are amazing.  Friday night I stayed up way past my bedtime to watch ‘Breaking2’, the Nike sponsored attempt to “science the shit” out of running a sub-two hour marathon.  Eliud Kipchoge finished in 2:00:25.  At the final straightaway to the finish, after having maintained an already blistering pace, he sprinted to the finish line.  Sprinted!  That time is faster than any person has run that distance in recorded history, and after the finish he smiled, and high-fived the spectators who were there, and thanked his pacers (most of them world-class athletes in their own right who gave up spring racing to be there and assist).  He did something that no one else has ever done.  There are limits to what the human body can do, but one of them was smashed.

I’m not going to run a two hour marathon.  I’m unlikely to even run a four hour marathon.  Like many distance runners, I’ve daydreamed about qualifying for Boston and have a plan.  Get 15 minutes faster than my current personal best, and maintain that for 15 years so I can qualify when I’m 60 – heh.

But to do that, to do anything really, I have to move.  After my husband threw his back out this spring it became obvious that we also have to move smartly.  So I am figuring out how to re-build my body from the ground up, or more accurately from the hips out.  If I kept running but did nothing else I’d have a few years left before the tightness in my right hip and glute and the plantar fasciitis in my right foot meant I was done.  But if I get smart, I can still run when I’m 60, or even 80.

So I’ve started a proscribed set of stretches that take about 25 minutes every morning, with additional stretches that should happen in the evening.  Every few weeks I feel out what’s working and what isn’t and add more things as needed.  I am waiting for the day something feels fixed enough that I can remove a stretch but that hasn’t happened yet.  Yoga class once a week is a necessity and more than one would be better.  I need to warm up before a run, and stretch out after.  Sitting up straight, especially at my desk (and I was slumped as I started typing that sentence) is vital since it’s where I spend the majority of my time.  I want to realign my skeletal system to make good posture the default and to do that I need to stretch and strengthen some muscles that have been dormant for a long time.

All of this hurts a little and is time consuming.  Changing habits is never easy, I find myself still skipping things I know I should be doing, thinking that I’ll get to it tomorrow.  But I’ve only got one body, and this is the time and effort I need to put in now to get the results I want: to still be moving with as few restrictions as possible in twenty years and beyond.  I’ll continue to marvel and take inspiration from the athletes who spend their lives perfecting their bodies for a single activity, and remind myself that living is an athletic feat too.

***This is my entry for LJ Idol week 17.  There were four different topics handed out at random this week, you can collect them all!  My favorite quote from Kipchoge in the pre-recorded stuff Nike created so we didn't just watch men run in a large circle for two hours: "Running is thinking.  You need to focus fully and think positively."  He is completely amazing.***

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This is super cool. I did not think about rent as the toll life takes out on your body, and what a motivational way to address that. Nice work.

Thank you. I'm trying to convince myself of the joy of movement too, the exercises are time consuming and boring and have to be paid, to keep doing everything else I want.

I'll never run a marathon. The farthest I've ever gone is eleven miles, and I'm okay with that. You have some good points about taking care of your body that I should be paying attention to if I want to keep doing 5 or 10ks.

Edited at 2017-05-08 11:07 am (UTC)

Eleven miles is awesome. I've run two marathons, and honestly I'm not entirely certain they're worth the pain, but they remain tempting. Yeah, at this point it's putting the work in just so I can move around the house without pain, the running is a bonus.

You are an inspiration! I am so out of shape. I want to get healthy to look and feel better and to be around to play with my grandkids but even that doesn't motivate me enough to get moving. I love to dance. I really, really need to start dancing again!!

Aw thank you. It's hard to change habits and moving again isn't always pleasant to start which makes it worse. Honestly, one of my favorite things in the week is my Zumba class. I don't know how much cardio benefit I get from it, but jumping around to music with a lot of other folks is good for me mentally. Dancing is the best!

Movement - something I miss. I totally feel this! (Ha Ha) Hugs and peace~~~

Oh noes, sorry it's a thing you miss. I've had several realization points this winter that if I don't start doing the boring, repetitive base work I'm going to lose it. This was a little bit of me trying to convince myself that it's worth it.

I do hate having to do all this extra maintenance as I get older-- things that took care ofo themselves just fine before and are now becoming self-destructive without extra work to make them behave.

I'm in my second go-round with plantar fasciitis, this one since last June. :(

But I agree that movement and strength helps. Really, when I think of people who don't exercise at all, I remember that basic fitness is what allows you to do things like suddenly go for a hike or to clean out the entire house. The maintenance takes time, but the results offer a sort of freedom. :)

I expected some extra maintenance, but it's become obvious this winter that there's more to it than I thought.

I am so sorry about your PF, it's such a pain. I got mine in control last spring, but I could feel it trying to creep back in this winter, it was a realization that I don't really get to stop those strengthening exercises.

That's just it, I want to be able to play with my nieces and nephews without worry, or scrub the floor, and that requires more work on a daily basis now that I'm older.

Running a marathon is just a lot of punishment! I seriously considered running NYC when I was in my late 20s early 30s (and admittedly at the time, because a woman I was interested in did it), but after thinking more about it (and after it was clear that lady would never be interested in me) I thought it would be great to roller skate it! But, that's not allowed.

Life is a marathon... hopefully!

I've run two marathons; honestly I prefer halfs, they don't take so much time or pound as hard for as long. But there's a siren call to a full that's hard to ignore. Roller skates would be awesome!

That's just it, if I want to move (however far) for as long as I live, there's sadly work to be done now.

Brava!! I'm impressed by your dedication to this goal. And it's a fantabulous goal! I agree with you entirely regarding our human machines and spend quite a bit of my own time on figuring out how to keep this body in shape. It's important to me and I always enjoy meeting other similarly-aged peers who feel the same way! Good luck with your running! And stretching! Add another yoga practice or three!

I thought this was a great response to the prompt!

Thank you. Figuring out what I need to do now to keep moving in the future has been a journey, one that is starting to be vital, and it's always good to meet other people in the same place. I need to find more yoga classes and then just force my schedule around them I think, I do so much better with an instructor leading me.

I'm not 40 (yet) but I am seeing a definite slowing-down and why-does-that-hurt-now in my body. Your piece is an inspiration to keep moving and don't let the aging process get me down.

The realization that some work now will pay so many dividends down the road (and hopefully make me less sore up front) came gradually, and then all at once this spring. Hopefully you can get in front of it now.

I completely understand. I've been doing 30 day workouts and sometimes the absolute hardest bit is just starting. Best of luck on keeping on, healthy is good!

Oh absolutely. There are mornings I give a death stare to my yoga mat and just don't want to. But it makes such a difference. Congrats on the 30 day workouts, I've seen those around but haven't investigated them yet.

Love this! Love that you are taking this on, and are willing to share it with us. There is great wisdom in what you are doing. Great wisdom.

I too am planning to do something to build myself up physically. It will be much smaller, and slower than your efforts, but nevertheless I am inspired by your commitment, and your goals.

Great...Fantastic...take on your prompt! Kudos, and congratulations!

Thank you. I had troubles with this prompt until it occurred to me that I live in my body and could write about a thing that has been taking up a lot of my brain lately.

Honestly, the half-marathon I was supposed to be running in two weeks became a 5k. The long-term goals are still big but they've pushed further out and I've pulled back to get a start on the rebuilding first. Smaller and slower are a great way to start, it's less overwhelming that way.

Your are right, all the way through. Good luck with your running. I love the strategy of aging into qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

Thank you. The difference between trying to qualify now and at 60 is 30 minutes, which is forever in marathon time. But my mom ran Boston, so I can't quite let it go.

This is so inspiring! And what you say about movement is so true. i just read the same thing yesterday in a magazine, that human body is designed to move about,bend and stretch and here we are trying to do exactly the opposite.

A great take on the prompt! All the best for achieving your goals :)

Thank you! Yeah, it's becoming a more widely held belief that moving more is something we all can use, I love that you read it yesterday,

This is a really interesting take on the topic! And it's so hard sometimes to do the things you know you should. The posture one is the worst for me. I sit down most of the day for work, and I'm always slumping over, until I notice it and fix myself. But then a few minutes later and there we go.

I am right there with you slumped over at my desk unthinkingly.
Thanks for the kind words.

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