Aging Gracefully

As the I approach the half-century mark, today’s Star Tribune reminds me that,
1. I better not lose my job because it’s not easy to recover at my age, and
2. If you want to remain physically active past 50, it’s not easy.

First the Star Tribune had a nice piece about how Minnesotan’s are bearing up under the recession. One of the featured Minnesotan’s is my former high school buddy (and now Facebook friend) Denise Pederson Sjoberg. An MBA, Denise lost her job at the end of 2008. After taking stock of her life, she ended up opening an in-home day care operation. It’s not been easy, the article hints at the financial challenges. But reading Denise’s posts on Facebook you can see the joy her new found lifestyle brings – and she lost 25 pounds!

I didn’t spend much time with the aging athlete piece. I respect those who want to run marathons and triathlons into their 50s, 60s, and beyond – but that’s now me. As the title of my blog suggests – this Hobbled Runner knows his place. I’ve made peace with the fact that my days of daily runs are over. Honestly, if I had the time to run more I could at best do maybe 2 runs a week. I prefer something I can do every day (walking) to something that requires special stretches and icing to continue on a regular basis.

Having said that, I admit it’s not always easy. If I see someone striding along the road effortlessly, having a nice run, I am still envious – but often as not the beautiful strider is someone under 40, usually under 30. The few older runners I see don’t carry it off with the same grace. I see lots of stiff torsos, necks – many hit the ground kind of hard – doesn’t look like fun. Then there are the aging athletes I overhear at work or social events talking about ongoing physical therapy, regular cortisone injections, orthotics, or the upcoming ACL surgery.

We all have our own reasons for pushing on (or not). Good luck to those athletic warriors who push the boundaries of age, but also good luck to those who stroll quietly through the neighborhood, trailed by an aging dog.


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