Monday, December 31, 2012

Rebuild and Refocus for 2013

2012 was an interesting, eventful and very disappointing year for me in a lot of ways.  It started out as did the last 5 or 6 years with me being the walking coach for Robert's DisneyRunning community.  I had started the year with hopes of patching up the friendships that had been strained with Robert and members of other communities.  That all changed when he and his wife Linda were run down and killed, the day before they were to leave, for the Disney marathon weekend.  DisneyRunning for me was a way to give back to adult athletics by helping others get ready for their races.  It was sad for me to walk away from that but it was over.

I decided that I would get more serious about my own competition dreams, so I asked for help from some very good race walkers.  I got the help and coaching I needed and started improving by leaps and bounds.  I had some good training and a couple of my best distance races ever during April, May and June.  But I made the tragic mistake of not taking enough rest days and slowly began to get into that hell for athletics called "over training".  I was improving so much and so quickly that I didn't want to stop and looked forward to each workout.  Every effort was a hard effort.  By the end of June when I had the Indy 5K and half marathon back to back I was starting to feel the strain on my body from the hard training.  Had I listened to my body and not done that race but took a week off instead then the rest of the year would have been very different.  Instead I did those races and suffered a serious Achilles tendon injury.

The second half of the year was all about dealing with that injury.  I went to PT and would get better and then have a setback and that defined the time from July to the end of Sept for me.  By the middle of Sept I couldn't even wear a shoe without discomfort and race walking was impossible, I could barely walk at all without pain.  I went to DisneyWorld to rest for a week and hope that I could recover enough to compete in the State Senior Games and try to get a slot on the Ky. team for the National Senior Olympics in 2013.   Disney was lots of slow walking around the parks and lots of pain.  It was there though that I got the idea of doing all the strengthening exercises for the injury in the pool.  That made a difference and two weeks later I had a good enough race at State to qualify for the national race.

I have spent the time since then in slow and steady recovery to get ready for the January DisneyWorld marathon.  As I write this that race is only 13 days away.  I'm not totally ready but I plan to take it slow and easy and just get through it.  The goal is a fun event  and good fellowship, not a fast time.  When that marathon is over I will rest for a few days and then begin a slow but steady training plan that will allow me to be get to the national race well trained but not over trained.

2013 will be a year of rebuilding and refocusing but also a year of training smart.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Caution Grasshopper!

We see a lot of motivational stuff written for runners, walkers, bodybuilders, tri athletes and just about any sport or fitness passion you can imagine.  One of the most popular and one that's been around for quite some time is, "Just do it".  That is a great one for getting you off the couch and out the door, especially in the beginning phases of training.  That phrase has probably motivated millions to lace up the running shoes and get out on the road.

But if one is to lead a life of motion and fitness then you have to add wisdom and caution to the motivation.  "Pain is only weakness leaving the body", "It will only hurt for a while till you warm up", "Put your big girl/boy pants on and get it done".  All are wonderful at the right time but they can be exactly the wrong thing to hear at other times.

When you have been an adult athlete for many decades and have lived a life where being fit is the norm and sometimes being super fit has been achievable then you eventually learn that less can be more and rest can be better.  One of the ills that athletes deal with are tight sore muscles at times.  A tight sore place can mean a lot of things and dealing with it the wrong way can make it worse.

When I have a tight sore area, not an injury, but just for example a tight calf muscle or a very sore spot somewhere, I have a technique that usually works well.  The best fix is a visit to a good massage therapist, you don't usually have one in the house before your run or in the hotel your staying at and it's race morning.  Next best is to fill the tub with hot water and massage and work that muscle with kneading and long deep strokes with your thumbs.  Often that sore place is a buildup of waste from the last time you worked out hard or waste that has been building up for a while.  You need to push that waste out of the muscle so your body can deal with it.

That sounds simplistic but it's, I think a good lay explanation of what's going on in your sore muscle.  Muscles are like engines, food and oxygen in, combustion and waste (lactic acid) expelled form the cells.  That lactic acid builds up and causes soreness and pain.  If you can't make a place better with heat and massage then you probably have more going on that might need extra rest or a visit to the doctor or chiropractor.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Make This Place Your Home

I truly believe that we adult athletes have something more inside of us than just the desire to be healthy or the fear of not being healthy. I believe that just maybe there is a part of us that is not and never will be tamed and civilized.

Our world if we follow the news is in sorry shape.  But is it the world or the people in it that are making it that way.  My vote is that it's the people.  Greed, hatred and desire to own and control have turned our planet into a pretty sad place.  But for us, the adult athlete, it doesn't have to be that way.

When we train it's just us and mother nature or some like minded people.  When we are putting in our miles the state, of the man made part, of the world really doesn't have any meaning.  Moving our bodies and becoming one with that untamed side of us is all that matters.  The corruption and the greed have no meaning when we are gliding along through God's creation of beauty and wonder.  How much money we have in the bank, what kind of car we own are not even a thought as we will our bodies forward.

We the athletes have learned to transcend the trouble and bigotry of our world and find the peace that is there.  We become more like the wolf loping tirelessly along for the pure joy of just being in motion.  Our training allows us the opportunity to escape the madness and instead find the magic, we see just how amazing our world is.  We are able to truly be at home the way we were meant to be, free and healthy people, not asking anything of our world but to pass through it in peace and harmony with nature.

The rest of mankind may never understand what we have found, but we can continue to be the example of what's right about the world instead of worrying about controlling each other. Train for health and sanity, fall in love with the beauty around you.  Let your untamed side out to play and be truly at home and at peace with our world.

Thanks for reading.