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    GETSTRONGRRR   79,455
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First, do no harm!


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

So one of the great thing about being 53, as opposed to being 23, is that I have a much better appreciation for what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong, what is important and what is not important.

At 23, I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. I could drink like a fish and wake up fine the next morning. I could party like a rockstar all night and not miss a beat the next day. I could workout hard ignoring all sorts of aches and pains.

Not any more!

I can't eat a tenth of what I consumed in college; I don't drink any more; a hard night of partying now means watching the fireworks on New Years Eve and going to bed at 12:01

And now I pay attention to aches and pains.

Some of my long time Spark buds know my story. The Reader's Digest version is that I joined SP in Jan 2001, 2 weeks after I had Hip "Re-surfacing" surgery (instead of a replacement, the doc went in and installed a modified ball & socket joint in my left hip). It really was a miracle....I woke up after the surgery, pain-free in my left hip for the first time in years!

My path to getting there was long and tedious, but it mostly consisted of ignoring a lot of minor aches & pains, toughing out things I should have been smarter about, telling the docs much earlier than I did.

Anyway, post-surgery the ortho doc said, "Enough of the high impact running, you're done. You need to start cycling, working out on rowing machines, ellipticals, etc. And you probably need to drop 20 lbs"

So I revamped my whole approach to exercise and fitness. I hired a trainer to start working on getting me stronger again (hence my SP name) and the first thing I told him was, "First, do no harm!"

I wanted to exercise right, I wanted my form to be perfect, I wanted all around total body improvement, I wanted to gradually build muscle & lose fat....I wanted to be the poster boy for recovery to the ortho doc who did my hip re-surfacing surgery.

And it has worked!

And so one of the good things about being 53 is an enhanced ability to recognize the difference between good pain and bad pain.

Even with all the care and attention in the world, even doing everything exactly right, even with having a professional trainer watch and assist when things get tough, sometimes weird muscles can tighten up, seize up, do whatever the hell they want, and cause a sharp, sharp pain.

At 23 I ignored them.....at 53 I pay attention and honor them! I know what good pain is and I know what bad pain is.

The burn of doing 15 squats with 170 lbs on my back.....good pain
The strain of deadlifting 300 lbs off the floor....good pain
The white hot fire in my legs at 110 RPM on the spin bike....good pain
A sharp tug in the hamstring doing hamstring curls....bad pain

So Monday night, I'm working legs out pretty hard and my hamstring seizes up on me....not too bad, but I feel something there that's not quite the burn of a good pain....but I decide to do one more curl.

Bad move....bad pain....bad, sharp pain....bad, stop all movement pain!

Too late, I felt a big fat knot, smack in the belly of the muscle, just radiating soreness, refusing to be ignored.

I told Stasi trainer guy, "we're done with legs today, let's finish up doing back and arms"

Monday night was not fun. I kept waking up every time I rolled over in bed. The next day I was walking around work trying my best to disguise a slight limp. Needless to say, I decided against a spin class Tuesday.

But today I woke up and most of the pain was gone. Even so, I focused on upper body only at the gym tonight, wanting to give whatever demons that still reside in my hamstring no reason to stay there any longer.

So, again, the good thing about being 53 is to not be the fool I was at 23 (even the fool I was at 33 and 43!) I may have done one too many hamstring curls that aggravated something deep inside there that seized up....but right as that kicked in, I knew it was time to stop and to give whatever was in there the time to heal back up.

And it's gotten better...2 to 3 days to recover and I can get back into it without major damage.

Patience, attention, awareness, maturity....yeah, growing old may not be for sissies, but there sure are a lot of advantages to knowing when to push hard and when to ease up!

Have a great night Spark friends!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
DDOORN 3/12/2013 1:00PM

    Kudos to re-inventing yourself and to be celebrating your health & wellness!

Don

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VHALKYRIE 3/10/2013 10:44PM

    I definitely take better care of myself at 38 than I did at 28. I used to down a bucket load of margaritas the night before and still manage to show up for school and work the next day! Not anymore - there are consequences! And so now I have a freaking halo - eat right, exercise, and have just one.

I just want to grab some of the kids half my age I see who are overweight and say, "Don't waste your pretty years on bad food! Eat right and get some exercise!" But I figure that isn't a good idea. I'm saving my crazies for my cat lady days in two or three more decades.

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PROT358 3/9/2013 11:35PM

    It was really interesting hearing the back story of how you came to sparkpeople. Young and reckless go together for a reason! "Do no harm" is a good lesson for all.

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DOUGDC 3/9/2013 8:54PM

    Really well described. Glad you're healing quickly. Glad you're keeping active. Glad you put the event out for the rest of us to learn from.
emoticon

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VEEJAY3 3/9/2013 1:37PM

    Rage! Rage against the age!

OK: paraphrasing a famous poet there, but I'm in your boat, and you're a lot more graceful about dealing with those kinds of aches and pains than I am. I have an arthritic knee, and I'm soooo aggravated! I've always had such robust great health that the things that have come my way the past two years are an affront! A slap in the face!

Thanks for showing an example of good grace in the face of pain. I'll TRY to learn from you.
:)

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MOM23JS 3/9/2013 12:12PM

    Great job listening to your body!

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/8/2013 4:39PM

    IDK, us cats are smarter than that, we prefer to avoid pain altogether. And they have drugs for when it is unavoidable. emoticon

I've always been "smart" about pain (read that as "a wimp") and inclined to stop at the slightest hint of anything resembling bad pain. Being accident prone makes one slightly cautious. But I know what you mean, which is why tonight I skipped the run even though I can't afford to miss any more training I can afford an injury even less.

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CHEEKYGEEK 3/7/2013 8:47PM

    BTW--excellent descriptions of good pain. That's exactly how it feels.

Here I always thought my common sense, slow and steady wins the race attitude was a result of being a Capricorn. LOL It's bad enough I let my own mind derail me--but stupid injuries are infuriating, so whether it's age or astrology (haha), I'm glad to stay bad-pain free.

Glad you are feeling better and didn't push yourself into a more debilitating pain. :)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 3/7/2013 8:07PM

    emoticon

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JTROBERTSON 3/7/2013 9:55AM

    Even at 33, I can tell a difference in my body's tolerance level for things, so I get what you're saying.

Also, I know how unenjoyable and unrestful a night can be with a painful leg. At least it's settling down. I know you know what you're doing, so no need to tell you to take it slow and get it better. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 3/7/2013 7:30AM

    Thanks for this blog. It's a good reminder of how I need to deal with training. At 57, I'm learning the same lessons later and perhaps slower than you; but I'm learning them.

One of the more frustrating things is that there's no good way to learn what bad pain is other than by making mistakes. I hope I've made enough mistakes to recognize bad pain soon enough now; but time will tell.

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BBECKER1955 3/7/2013 5:40AM

    "To soon to old - to late too smart" one of my father's truisms. Guess it applies to all of us in one way or another!

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BERGBA7 3/7/2013 1:37AM

    Very true! I try to do the same - stop as soon a "bad"pain appears - but sometimes I still push a little too far.. that might be age related, if I understand you well.
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One definitely has to learn to feel and listen to ones body.
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IRISHBEANERGAL 3/7/2013 12:35AM

    An important lesson! And one I have learned as well. At age 47 (almost 48) I can't abuse my body like I did in the 20s and 30s. And quite frankly, I don't want to!

Glad you listened to your body and things turned out as well as they did. Carry on!

~Irish

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KAYZAKCX 3/6/2013 11:43PM

    The One More monster got you.... emoticon Glad you fought it smartly after getting bit.

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ADVENTURESEEKER 3/6/2013 11:34PM

    Take it easy! So often we want to do more than we should. We need to listen to our bodies.

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GREENGENES 3/6/2013 11:05PM

    No kidding. That sense of good pain vs bad pain can make a big difference. Way to go.!

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KICK-SS 3/6/2013 10:39PM

    As we get older, we pay more attention to what our bodies tell us. Maybe we've just gained common sense over the years?

I'm like you, at 23, I'd of tried anything hurting or not - now, at 74, I think twice! And do NOT do a lot of things that I did.

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