The odyssey of getting older continues. It continues to be not at all what I expected. Forty five in a few days, that’s supposed to be old. Not adult, but old. Past adult. At least that’s what I grew up believing. And yet, here I am at the cusp of aged, and I feel like maybe I’ve just started to grow up a little. I’ve only just figured out what I want to be when I grow up.
Most of the advice and commentary I got when I was a child was that growing old meant gradually getting worse at everything, and that everything would be harder and harder to do. I’ve gotta call bullshit on that. I think that as people get older they tend to just move less. You do get more efficient at things, and things are easy and don’t require so much effort anymore. If you settle for that…then yes, you are going to move less. But moving less isn’t really living, it’s static boredom.
It’s great to be really good at something at pursue mastery, but that’s ignoring the potential of aging. I no longer need to put the same effort into some things. It’s difficult to improve my core skills, but that’s not age. It’s because I’ve explored and developed so many different options that their is really nothing left to do but slow and dogged practice. That practice is a finite and known thing. It only takes up so much time in my life. And that means that I have more free time to do new things.
I’ve started jogging. Not to be a runner or anything like that, but just because it seemed a simple and cheap way to push my workout schedule from three days to six a week. Why am I working out six days a week? To prep myself for working out twice a day most days. Why am I doing that? Because I have all this physical freedom gained from years of training knowledge. It would a shame not to put it to good use. There is no reason I can’t look forward to more and greater fitness and physical skill as I get older.
Plus my super-efficient body is awesome at getting every possible calorie out of the food I eat, because it expects to do heroic things on a daily basis. It expects me to have to be an epic warrior all day, fueled only by a bowl of porridge and a shot of whisky. Eating more than a bowl of porridge means I have to be that much more heroic. I can’t let my poor body down, can I? I promised it in a year or so I would run down a stag and wrestle it into submission. Gotta train for that.
I started out with the couch to 5k program, and we are just starting week five. So far it’s pretty easy. It helps that we weren’t starting from the couch, but from what was already a killer workout program. The only adjustment running really needed was the getting used to someone taking a small tack hammer and repeatedly smashing it into all your joints for no reason whatsoever.
The first time I tried running (since I was twenty, anyway) was about two years ago and it was a disaster. I tried an easier pre-couch to 5k running method. Thirty seconds of jogging alternating with a minute and half walking, eventually working up to a minute and half of running. I had to stop after a few weeks because of a nasty case of plantar fasciatis that had me hobbling for the next six months. Not fun. I was on naproxen and wearing special insoles for a year. Kinda made me leery of taking up the common sport again.
I bought a pair of Vibram five-fingers toe shoes to work out in class. It seemed a fairly natural thing to try and wear them while running. I’ve worn them every day I’ve jogged since I started this program. No pain whatsoever. Well, a little. My middle toe on one foot goes a bit numb towards the end of the run. Apparently it’s caused by landing a little too forward on my foot. I’ve started working through some alignment drills to improve my running form, and it’s making things better. I guess I should have been running barefoot all along.
I’m not sure I’ll keep jogging as a regular thing. Might just make 5k’s a warm-up to another workout once I get them down…or a cool down. It’s not an unpleasant experience, but not really a thing I want to specialize in. Great tool to add to the overall workload though. So many other physical skills out there to work on next. Maybe archery?