Out to Pasture

For the first time in many, many years, this TOJ won't be joining a wave for the Bolder-Boulder, the coolest 10K race there is. It's not because of an injury. Or the fact that I now reside in Oregon.

It's more basic than that. My long endurance runs are fewer and fewer. Over the past forty years, I've logged thousands of miles, much of it on trail runs in beautiful mountains. I've enjoyed the adventures, like my encounter with three mountain lions, and always felt a discernible runner's high afterwards.

Just yesterday I went on a run along the Deschutes River. It felt great to be outside, though it was a little warm. I felt a great sense of satisfaction churning up the dust. But a few hours later, I noticed something. My hips and knees were sore. That's nothing new because both knees have been scoped and my legs have always felt sore the next day. 

However, I've been busy learning other types of exercise the past couple of years. During that time of not pounding my legs almost every day, I've discovered how good and strong they can feel. The post-runnning soreness is not due to bad shoes or difficult terrain. It's the collective toll of the repetitive motion of running for decades.  

This TOJ's brain, which loves those running endorphins, says it's time to let my distance running legs out to pasture. They're tired of slow plodding through spectacular scenery. The slow twitch Type 1 leg muscles used in running will only get a spin, maybe once a week.

 Entering their sixties, TOJs become prime candidates for osteoarthritis in places like the hips and knees due to overuse. A few blogs ago I mentioned a book by Lee Bergquist entitled Second Wind: The Rise of the Ageless Athlete, a collection of inspiring stories of athletes who are continuing to compete into their old age. But there was also a consistent, discouraging pattern to most of them - they suffered from painful, sometimes debilitating, overuse injuries, e.g., swimmers with shoulder problems, weightlifters with back problems, bikers with knee problems, etc.

In my ACE training, the experts divided physical capacities into two groups. The first was those that are health related, including aerobic capacity, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition. 

The other group are skill related - power, speed, balance, agility, coordination and reactivity. I believe these are much, much more imporant to develop at this stage of life. I've got enough aerobic and muscular endurance, maintained by high intensity exercises that are short and sweet. I spend more time with weights, bands, stability balls, ladders, jump ropes and Bosu balls.

The legs still get plenty of work. The fast twitch Type 2 fibers in my legs are coming back to life. They can still jump, sprint and hop. They feel ageless.

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