“If you’re not getting older, you’re dead”
It’s bound to happen to us all, at some point in our lives. For some, it comes early while others may not notice it until later. That moment when you first realize you’re getting older.
I’ve heard a lot of guys talk about this moment, typically hallmarked by a hangover that lasts a full day longer than it used to. Women often discuss the noticeable slower metabolism. Some see no signs until they literally can’t see well anymore.
Me, I’ve always been an older soul. I can’t tell Justin Bieber from Justin Timberlake but I can sing the entire lyrics of “Stairway to Heaven,” give you the real names of everyone in the band, KISS, and tell you who actually wrote, “Light My Fire,” one of the Doors’ biggest hits. I prefer to go to bed at a reasonable hour, then get up early, drink coffee, and read the paper long before anyone else at the lake – other than my father-in-law, also an early riser – is awake. I say things like, “Kids today,” while shaking my head, and I groan about “how damn expensive,” everything is.
Yep, I’ve been an old lady for quite awhile now. But one thing that never seemed to suffer from my senioritis was my body. I ran all the time, lifted heavy weights, frequently set squat and leg press PRs, and could go hard on my snowboard all day.
Last spring, this changed.
I found myself “feeling old” for the first time ever as an athlete. I couldn’t shake a nagging running injury and found myself in the physical therapist’s office weekly. It was easy to chalk this up to training for the Boston Marathon. While I wasn’t training as hard as when I qualified, I hadn’t taken a break from running since, so naturally things were just catching up with me…right?
This injury has followed me around since, ebbing and flowing in terms of discomfort, and I’ve also welcomed new aches and pains over the past year-plus. I feel like it takes me longer to recover from tough workouts, both in terms of general soreness and with how much sleep I crave after. I noticed greater fatigue after days of shredding this winter. Worst of all, while my appetite hasn’t changed, my metabolism seems it’s not quite keeping up. Now, this could be common timing with running a marathon less than a month ago and still trying to get back to normal eating. But, still, noticeable.
Last month I turned 34, which officially puts me in my mid-thirties. And that’s not meant to be a negative; my 30s have been the best years of my life in terms of physical and mental health. But maybe, just maybe, I’m not in quite the same place as that bright-eyed 26-year-old who ran her first marathon with spunk and all 10 toenails.
Does this mean I’ll be slowing down? Hell no! I’ve got at least one, maybe two, more full marathons planned this year, along with a handful of other races. I intend to get back “in the rack” so to speak and regain the lower body strength I had to forfeit due to lingering issues from this spring’s marathon. And I’ll be damned if I let myself grow out of all my pants, mostly because I hate shopping.
Does this mean I’ll have to work a little harder? Hell yes. And I’m also going to have to be smarter, and be more aware of what I’m doing and how it’s affecting my body. But I’m still a believer that age is just a number – and I hope you are too.
Have you had “the moment” where you realized you were getting older? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL. Or share your senior moment on Twitter with the hasthtag #wellirl.