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!