Getting Old sucks

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:19 am

My active/ physical life is like the Fast and Furious franchise. Now my version would be Fast [relative to recreational/ weekend warrior types who are slightly over weight and under trained] and Furious.

The reason this notion entered my head was I went for a one mile jog this morning before breakfast and told myself that jog or walk has to become part of my routine, again. Then a pattern emerged. I am in okay health or fitness. I slowly build up to where I can easily run a half marathon or bike 100 K or whatever moderate parameter one might use. Nothing epic or awesome as my speed would put me firmly at the front of the middle of pack and maybe even at the back of the front of the pack. Then I push for more speed and/or distance. Despite my heavy frame I am also able to go further and on the very, very rare occasion, also squeeze out some more speed. Then an acute injury and/or accumulated damage and/or aggravation of a chronic issue, I cease my activities to a point where I gain weight and my blood tests show serious health issues are possible. Sometimes this is as dramatic as ceasing all activities and if memory serves, that has happened at least five times in my life. The other is more insidious and fat biking is a great example: I go for a 90 minute ride one day and do nothing for several days and then an hour ride later that week or the next. But I eat as if I am active on a daily basis.

The last week was killer hard 50 K road bike ride, 4 K jog followed by a 4 K walk, 1:15 mountain bike, rest, walking 10 holes of golf, hard 40 K road bike ride, 60 minute easy mountain bike ride and today, the 1 mile jog. The problem was this jog started off rough as any jog seems to do. I got into a good but slow pace after about 500 M. Then about 500 M when I felt good and that last portion was a struggle. My back started to ache, the legs lacked any power or strength. I laughed out loud when I thought, "Ya right, you can finish a marathon some time in the future when right now, you can barely finish a mile". The days of epic-ness or aweseom-ic are gone. This is a fact I HAVE to accept.

I cannot see a single scenario or set of circumstances where I would ever ride 100 miles again. The reason is not necessarily physical as that ride is more draining than painful. It is emotional and psychologically it now holds zero appeal. If there was a "jog" cycling and "run" cycling, the dividing line is likely around 30 kph. In the clubs rides I looked at, the very bare minimum speed one would need to maintain over 80 K or more is 30 kph. I have done that once on a 105 K ride. And last year, for roughly 130 K out of a 150 K ride. I find the most pleasure and joy when my rides end up in the 29 - 32 K range. When rest stops are included, my average speed is 25 kph or so. The moving speed around 27 kph but given how long I am out there, it does feel like the 25 kph. If I were to use a adjective to describe the last 40 K of those two rides it would be boredom, disinterest, disdain and apathy.

A marathon is physical. There is pain, suffering and misery to overcome. And with the current and anticipated state of my body, there is no realistic chance of me ever finishing such an event. There is a possibility that with a slow build up of years, by cutting back everything else to a "cross training" level, I might be able to jog and finish but then there is the risk of boredom, etc. So do I really want to do something just to say I have done it for the 9th time?

The other thing is how many times can I do a sequel before one time it does not end well? In the past, with a 100 K road bike ride where my goal is to see how fast I can ride the course, I would be doing nothing but road cycling and maybe a little cross training with the focus on road cycling. At least this time I have finally broken away from that. A nice day and prefect for cycling, I actually went golfing instead. And when I got home, the bike was not used. And I have mountain biked as much. And two jogs in one week, wow. Weight training is something I am looking forward to doing later today. My "fear" is that if I continue to be sensible, to do many things for their own merit and not as "cross training" and the negative impact of the 100 mile ride slowly fades, I will regain my strength and power. And if the previous incarnations are any indication, I then make a really stupid decision and come to the conclusion I did last winter, I can train and ride 100 miles and it will be "FUN". That I can do that and nothing else will suffer. Or, I can do the 105 K ride and two weeks later a hard 87 K ride and then two months after that, a 113 K ride and that will be fun and I can still do everything else.

OR, and this is a completely insane idea, recognize I have chronic issues in my calf, my hip, my back, my shoulder blades, my rotator cuff along with bradycardia and higher but not quite high blood pressure. That for lack of a better term, if I continue to create inflammation and for lack of a better term, scar tissue to the accumulated damage I have inflicted on my body for the last 17 years now, if I am lucky I may barely be able to function when I hit my 70s if I last that long. As I noted before, I am following the same pattern as my dad and he told me he was at a point where he was going to quick hockey. Instead of a season pass to go skiing, he would only go on occasion. He was walking and carrying his clubs at age 69 but was down to nine holes and suggested soon he would need a cart. His bicycle was down to 30 minutes at most. I have to really see and understand that and not just in theory but in practice. That this is the path I am on and need to get off. It would be one thing if all of my excess brought my joy and pleasure. But it does not. I am at peace with the world. Content and happy when on my bike, when on a walk or job or on the golf course where it is just my wife and I playing. But that only lasts for 60 - 90 minutes or so. Under the right circumstances, 2 hours. But after that, whatever joy was gained, drains away. So at best, I am even and at worst, in a deficit. I am tired, moody and irritable. And all to appease my vanity, my ego and now and for good reason, no one else cares. If anything, the response I get is "why". It is time to actually use my logic and reason in action rather than just analysis.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:17 pm

Although the bike does help, I am setting personal bests also because of how strong and powerful my legs are right now. My upper back is a little weak right now for despite my good intentions, I have not really been giving it the attention it needs. So I expected my upper back to be stiff and sore this morning after a good upper body workout yesterday. I also went for a 1 mile jog, a 1 k walk and lower body weights but as noted, that was not a concern for me.

So imagine my shock and surprise when the legs felt much worse than the upper body. A good reminder that the ability of one's muscles to adapt to a specific activity is a double edge sword. It becomes very good at cycling in this instance but structural weaknesses seem to arise as the muscles get good at only doing one thing. And needless to say, it is only a matter of time before the imbalance/ weakness leads to an injury or aggravation. Right now, my left calf is an issue that arises every night. And lately, even during the day. I hate the term "cross training" as it diminishes the importance of having well balance and fully functional muscles or at least at my age and my stage of a "race" career. Especially when if on Fondo day, if my training goes perfectly and everything comes together, I finish 6th - 8th in my age category and just an average ride for me translates into a 16th place against my peers, how much pain, how much suffering for the risk of long term damage am I willing to risk?

When I decided to attempt and qualify for Boston and then once that was done, attempt to break the 3:15 barrier in Boston, my thought process at that time was I am in my 40s. Given my medical history, I would not have many chances to grasp that brass ring. For every story you hear about the person who qualified in the 10th or 15th attempt, how many more never got there? Thus I went all in. You name it, I did it. Ice, pills, ointment, tape, whatever. Largely due to good luck and fortune, my training efforts to qualify for Boston were successful and I emerged relatively unscathed. BUT … there is also no doubt in my mind, I did not allow the proper time to heal. I did extensive research and found training programs that would guarantee I could reduce my 3:17 down to 3:14 and so despite the constant warning signs my body gave me, I ignored them.

I can tell you the exact time my stress fracture happened. September 2015. At that time, the Calgary Marathon was in May. I had barely taken any time off when I was doing these nasty hill repeats and making my speed workouts longer. To qualify, I had merely gone with my gut. About the only planning was when was I going to do the two 40 K long runs with that last 5 K at marathon pace. Literally everything else was made up as I went along. One workout was 5 K jog, 10 X Curling Club stair repeats where others would ask if I needed medical aid, quick recovery and then marathon pace back home for 5 K. But it worked and to his day I regret going on the net, reading about how my methods should not have worked and then "fixing" something that was not broken. And after that, I stuck to strict training regimes and I ran that no matter what. So by September, something was ready to give. I was running the 22 K Melissa road race in Banff. About the 10 K mark, I felt something crack in my left shin. By 14 K, it is very, very painful. At this point, my one and only thought was race as hard as I could to the finish to stop the pain. I was strong and powerful as I crossed the finish line or so I thought. I got the post race refreshments and sat on a nice patch of grass among the other runners. I was time to get up and walk the 2 K or so to where my car was parked.

I started to laugh out loud as my left leg was not going to let me stand up. A group of women scolded me for laughing at them but I quickly explained I had to laugh for otherwise I would be crying at the pain and not being able to stand. They quickly rushed over and I had four people help me to my feet. I shuffled and limped my way to the car. I could not run for months and could only walk with a brace. I took a ton of physio and massage and broke the one cardinal rule I had about running. That is at races I would see people taped up or wearing a brace. I would say to myself, what sort of moron takes a hobby so seriously that they are willing to risk a chronic injury by running with the aid of a brace and/or tape. My thought process, which probably was not that wrong, was if you knee a brace or tape to do something, maybe that something is too hard on your body. In any event, I learned how to tape my leg and did run and complete Boston. At end of the Boston Marathon, I was actually in great shape. I did not over do the training or the race. In fact, there is a walking tour of Boston, the Patriot trail if memory serves me and I walked the entire Distance from Downtown Boston to Bunker Hill on Saturday and it was a hot day. I then even held something back on race day I was wanted to take in every notable sight I had seen on the net. Plus, we were meeting friends in New York and had to save something for the walking tours of that city.

As a result, my stamina was great and so a couple of weeks of hard 20 - 25 K runs, I qualified again. And again to this day, regret that was not my last marathon and that also takes into consideration I did run a second Boston.


I am not happy I have a left calf that gives me trouble some 14 years later and likely will be a life long issue. But the reward was qualifying for Boston and making every effort to break the 3:15 barrier at Boston. So I have no regrets. BUT … am I willing to suffer any sort of injury that would last more than a few weeks so that as noted, instead of finishing 15th in my age group, I finished 5th. The answer is a resounding NO. So if I have to cut back on the distances I am riding between now and September, so be it. I am hoping to get in one hard 90 K ride next weekend but that is really more for me rather than for the ride. And yesterday once again confirmed I need to have the time and energy to do weights, to walk, to mountain bike on a regular basis and not let my focus on a road bike fondo take over everything.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:47 pm

We are bombarded through social media and other sources that we are lacking. But if we had "X" for the low, low price of "Y', everything would be okay. But there is also the message that we should be outraged and upset or afraid. But if we click enough time and yell at random strangers on the internet who disagree with us that will not only make us feel better, it lines the pockets of the host website as clicks = ad revenue.

I am still not pleased that it took Cervelo a week to response to an inquiry made by a bike shop as to how to fix my bike but … it dawned on my today that if that is worst problem I am going to face today, this week, this month then I have to count myself as very fortunate. Even the timing is not terrible for me. My bike can be ridden but I have to avoid hills and I can only tolerate the noise for about an hour. But the weather has been cold and wet and not entirely inviting. Add in my legs are only now slowly recovering.

By only walking right now, whatever chemical I had naturally and taken in the form of medication is leaving my system and I can really feel the damage that I have done so far this year. When I am in full training mode, it is if the pain is in the background. It is there all of the time but I do not really notice it. And so I go out and do a workout. I feel better as the workout progresses and there is an after glow. And just when the pain is more noticeable, the next workout comes up. If the timing is right, the true suffering happens after the event. If not, I go into survival mode during the event. So right now, it feels as if I have finished everything and so now my mind, my central governor is no longer hiding or masking the pain but letting it remind me I do need to heal.

There is no question I have over trained. My sleep is impacted. So I wake up and not refreshed. My stress level goes up. What fresh new hell awaits me at work is one of the first thoughts of the day and so feel a sense of general anxiety if not some panic. But the good news is without a bike in perfect working order and combined with the weather, I am recovering. And one great thing I am doing again is a pre breakfast walk. Even as little as 15 minutes, my stress and anxiety will melt away. My mind is fresh and ready to tackle the challenges of the day.

So oddly enough, the bike problems are actually a solution for some other issues. This perspective is almost forcing me to re-examine my feelings with regards to a number of other issues. Do I want to spend my time arguing with strangers on the internet about issues that do not impact me. Or that I cannot do anything about it. Like a race or Fondo, it can be harmless fun. Everyone wants to be heard, to have a voice. But the problem arises when it is not fun, when the negative health impact out weighs any benefit. Train too hard to reach some artificial and arbitrary goal and the physical consequences are apparent and obvious if one steps back for a moment. One can also then see the impact on one's emotional and mental health as well. I have done this with the political forums I participate in. Or even the websites. One does also have to exercise their brain but there are good and bad ways to do so. So instead of click bait stories designed to prompt an emotional response, read a book or a magazine article.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:36 pm

BUYER BEWARE:

I bought a bike that retails for around $4,700 for $3,250 so a great deal. It was a close out deal and I did not ask any questions. Turns out, the bike shop I bought it from WAS a Cervelo dealer but I did not know about the what until after something went wrong. There is a lifetime warranty for the frame but only if one buys it from an authorized dealer. The problem started after around 500 K so when combined with the fact the bike came not from an authorized dealer, Cervelo has told me I am out of luck. It is also a bottom bracket issue that had been an issue but Cervelo seemed to have fixed and also technically not part of the frame.

The Giant equivalent is $3,800 and I am not so sure the wheels are as good a quality as the Cervelo so the Cervelo seemed to be a much better deal. Plus, it is a Canadian Company and I was doing my patriotic duty. What really bothers me is the bike went to an authorized dealer. The first annoyance was that it took Cervelo one week to email that shop how to fix the problem. And the second, as a new dealer and first bottom bracket issue, Cervelo bikes need a special tool and now another week wait for them to get the tool in. Because there is no excuse for either of these two things, I told Cervelo either they do something for me or I will have to look at a small claims action.

As it turns out, I am not a very good or loyal nationalist. When I had a problem with a Giant bike, three or four days and I was back on the road. I am still using this bike but the noise and now rattling, I dare not go too far and I am attempting to avoid any hills. But two weeks - there is no question next bike, if given the choice between poor Canadian Customer service or good Chinese, I know where my money is going.

The sad part is I love the Cervelo and it looks like it is going to cost me several hundred dollars so at the end of the day, I am still likely a little ahead. So the only bitter taste is the slow and terrible customer service. They even had the gall to give me a list of authorized dealers as if I would ever buy their product again.


I do wonder if this is the universe telling me it is fine to have some fun, but hard and long mountain rides should be avoided. A few hills here and there are fine but steep hills to build leg strength are not necessary. And indirectly, I have to lose some more weight. The good news is I was 199 pound tonight. I had been hovering around 210.

Forgot to mention I read an article about losing belly fat and how cycling is one of the best ways to do that. But a key component and something I had already smized is not to over do it. Riding year round with the fat bike where because of the snow and hills, it is a hard strain on the body. And then the long bike rides = stress and chronic inflammation and that leads to belly fat. The Cervelo is the perfect bike for some intervals or for a good aerobic workout of 60 - 90 minutes. But that would limit my official rides to once a year, if that. And definitely no more than 100 K.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:08 am

I have always said we are an experiment of one. But there are certain truths that apply to all. Such as chronic inflammation has some obvious affects such as increased body fat. Research also confirms that it can cause damage to organs and muscles and lead to things such as an irregular heart beat, etc. Ultra runners seems to have a higher percentage of these complications because they are ultra runners. But not all or even a majority so it is more about risk and where an individuals threshold is.

One does not need to be a doctor to know that after a marathon or a bike ride of more than 130 K, if they are sore and lethargic for months, that is not likely a good sign. That if you have to wear a compression sleeve every night, there is something one needs to address. I know these things and have for years. When one also considers what I have been doing the last few days and the impact of that, one can only come to one conclusion and that is I am an idiot.

Yesterday was a morning walk and post dinner workout. 15 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes on the elliptical followed by 10 minutes of kettle bell/ dumb bell work out finished off with a nice 20 minute sauna. A 20 minute walk today where I swear I could feel the muscles in my leg slowly starting to become un-knotted. To loosen up and not be as tight. I had a great sleep last night and feel refreshed and ready to tackle to the issues in my universe. This is not my first time going down this path but I have to keep on writing to remind me I have to stay on this path. Every other time, I regain energy. The muscles feel good. I have restful sleep. I have energy and I generally feel good physically, emotionally and spiritually. And then I over do it by chasing some imaginary, artificial and arbitrary objective or goal.

One example is last night I was thinking what am I going to do next year on my bike. There is the 80 - 90 K Cochrane Loop I like to challenge myself with twice a year. I normally stop for a Tim Horton break but I have always meant to do what I once did decades ago and that is stop for ice cream at McKay. The Bragg Creek routes of 60 - 90 K or so with an emphasis on the shorter ones every so often. I would like to do the Banff to Lake Louise and back of around 100 K. The 70 K Sheep river falls and back. And a variation of two of some Priddis Loops of around 50 - 70 K. With a ton of 30 - 50 K rides. But to be worked in with the odd mountain bike ride and given the promises I have made to my wife, where golf is on the top of the list. And to slowly work out to some trail running and quick weights a couple of times a week. So with ALL of that, why would I need to look and see if there are any official bike rides/ fondos to enter?

The answer is because I am an idiot. I have bought into the notion that if you do not record your activity, share it with others and then build to some event where you have sent goals and objectives, then did you actually really do it or is it worth doing. Even though such events tend to get me hyper focused to a point where everything suffers, it becomes a chore and even my health is damaged. AND worst of all, I know that. My logical and rational part of the brain continues to say, I TOLD YOU. Could this be the time I actually listen to logic and reason. That there are people my age and older who can run marathons, can ride 100 miles and at speed faster than my very short sprint speed. But I do not have their bodies. My tolerances have been compromised and reduced. I have to wonder if one reason I cannot run right now is my body and central governor are saying, you tell us you only want to do some easy running, maybe go to the trails but if we let you start, you will over do it and hurt us so … no running for you. How do I convince my body and central governor I really, really mean it this time I will listen and cut back and/or slow down when my body tells me to. The NO PAIN, NO GAIN, PAIN is TEMPORARY, PRIDE is FOREVER mentality is one I am finally willing and able to abandon. At this point, what am I proving by pushing through the hurt, the harm just to slow down the ravages of time. Ravages I have inflicted on myself due to the way I have approached exercise. Not as fun hobby to improve one's health but as a existential life or death struggle to define my self and existence. Needless to say, corrupted by ego and vanity as yes my feet are bleeding and I am in misery with suffering but how many of the unwashed mob could have done that run. The one good thing is as I have aged, people are no longer responding in a positive way to my insanity, my idiocy but asking one simple question, WHY. Why would anyone do that. And many times now, I do not have good answer. Because I can might work for the first time one rides 100 K for example but at a certain point, there is no good or reasonable answer. So maybe there is hope for me.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:14 pm

I had a full day meeting today. I was debating what I should do this morning: Sleep some more. Lie in Bed and rest. Get the meeting site early. Or the option I picked, for a very quick 1 K run.

At first it was jog. Not intentionally as my brain was telling my legs to run and I swear that I seem to have forgotten how to run. It was a very slow jog and even that was challenge. But as I continue on, it got easier and I got faster. I may have actually run the last couple hundred meters and even broke out in a sprint. Or at least a facsimile of a sprint.

I was drenched in sweat and even though it was a very short run, I felt as if there was a post run after burn of calories. In thinking back, if I needed t kick start hockey, soccer or soft ball, I would go for this short but intense workouts. Or if my pants were getting a little tight, some runs. If they were more than 4 - 5 K I would be shocked. But they always worked.

The problem since I really started to seriously run in around 2002/03, I had to put in some serious miles and paces to reap the same benefits. The good news is that I have now taken a long enough break from running that as noted, my body seems to have forgotten how to run. There is literally no muscle memory. As such, it is much tougher and demanding than I thought. Plus I believe the sub conscious mind, my central governor may be convinced that I will be limiting my runs to 8 K or so at most. That it will be done here and there. And there is no alter motive - not to train for a race or the gods forbid, a marathon.


Bike Update:

Here is some advice I instinctively knew but I should have listened to before I got the deal of the century. If you are going to buy a bike that costs any sum of money, go to a shop with a service/ repair department you can trust. I had read every review about Cervelo bikes and so I did not believe that was going to be an issue. I got the R 3, better suited for my needs at around $3,290 in the invoice I am looking at rather from Speed Theory rather than the $4,000 S 3 from The Bike Shop that had sold me great products and made quality and timely fixes when I needed the same. Boy was I wrong.

Long story short, I had given up on Speed Theory and Cervelo. Cervelo told me because I bought it from a store that was not an authorized dealer at the time of purchase, something that only happened a short while ago, I was on my own. Speed Theory said the same thing but that I got a bike for a super "clearance" price so I am on my own. So I took the bike into the Bike Shop.

The staff at the Bike Shop were super friendly. I had been told the issue was a bottom bracket. I dropped in to confirm about the tool they were waiting for so someone called Cervelo and it turns out after waiting a week and a half, this could have been dealt with last Friday. In any event, they took the bike for a test spin. I was told immediately the sound was terrible but it was not a bottom bracket. So I had the two most senior guys take the bike apart and discovered it was a defective wheel. They spend a good hour or more attempting fixes and the wheel is now completely functional. Or at least for me. They were not happy with the fix so they had me send my receipt from Speed Theory to them and they are going to try and get the wheel replaced under warranty.

As it turns out, a bike that retails for $4,700 and I got for $3,290 has bottom of the line wheels. A good manufacturer so their bottom of the barrel is not bad but nor is it great. Thus I may have to buy an expensive rear wheel. The guys at the Bike Shop told me the rear wheel is the key and so pay more money just for that wheel and eventually replace the front when it wears out. But if I get a free replacement, when the time comes, replace both.




I am feeling so good about everything, time to try another jog with some running thrown in.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:32 pm

Decided I needed a run to clear the mind and refresh the body last night. And curious, I wanted to see just how many steps I have lost. I did 5 K and that was a struggle. Managed a 5:42 per kilometer pace with two approximately 1 minute walks so not terrible speed by any means. My mind during this run, as it often does, started to wonder if I could race again or even finish a marathon. The answer I found during the run and not through some post run analysis was a resounding no on both parts.

As I was running, another part of my mind was asking, why are you running. Why not jog with walk breaks. Because I want to see how fast I can go. Then the other part of my mind said, fine but how far. At 2 K it was urging me to turn around but I somehow convinced my body to continue to 2.5 K. Even through in some dirt trails just to make it a little more interesting. I emerged from the dirt onto a bike path and behind a 30 something and healthy and fit looking runner. He was running but clearly it was a steady state or similar type run where he was far from going close to as fast as he could. I, on the other hand, was gasping for air and trying to keep the heart rate at less than vo2 max. It was almost as if I was racing against the ghost of my running past. I was a little sad at how far I have slowed down. But on the other hand, realized it did not really mean a damn thing.

I have no doubt with a 80/20 approach with 80% of my runs slow, 20% speed work and slowly build up both that I could do a 5 K race eventually. But the problem is I do not have any good reason to do so. And not for the $50 or more many races now seem to charge to do that distance. As it turns out, I enjoy jogging with regular walk breaks and the very odd increased in pace. I do need to add in intervals but not for any other purpose than they seem to be very good for health and fitness. Plus, they can be fun.

Nine holes of golf in the foothills today. It is not the greatest lay out or in immaculate condition but it is about 40 minute due west of Calgary and in the foothills. So the scenery more than makes up for anything else it may lack. And to illustrate how my priorities and perspective has changed, my main concern is not my score but will the post round burger live up to my wife's high standards.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:15 am

Had a nice round of golf for my age. I fondly remember the days of being able to hit the driver 250 - 280 yards and being able to use a stiff flex clubs. Now it is regular flex and 230 is a very good drive for me. I have not lost quite as much on the irons but ... it does suck to get older. The other sad thing is my wife was complaining that the hilly walk aggravated her knees. I got home, mowed the lawn, had a nice sauna and then after sitting too long, my back seized up. On a positive note, it is a nice distraction from the left calf issues. Another concession to the aging process: very hilly courses are off the list of course we want to play. When this course first opened several years ago, it was $20 to play and so the 35 minute trip and the hills seemed worth doing. But it is now $35 and worst, my wife hated the burger. So off the list. This is in stark contrast to several other courses we have played that were much easier to walk and had fun playing.

Any illusion or delusion that I can run as I once did is now dead. My body has told me, so you want to essentially and effectively injury your muscles so that when they repair you can then run faster and/or further and you want to keep doing that so eventually you can run an arbitrary and artificial distance on a specific day even though you have done this over 60 times. And you get to pay some good money to do that plus also spend some time the day before picking up your bib. My response is: if you put it that way, that sounds ridiculous and maybe even a little insane. I will continue with jogs and walk breaks for that is good for me and I do enjoy that. I did enjoy speed hiking at one time and may have to try that.

Nine holes on relatively flat courses with a nice post round meal. Jogs instead of runs. Mountain biking but not too long or to technical. And road biking with a limit of one very long ride once every two to three weeks and very long ride is defined as 100 K at most. Funny how at one time I was seeking to find my limits, my boundaries and then see how far I could push them out. And now, to find the limits and boundaries that are not too hard on my body and where the activity is about pleasure, joy and fun rather than accomplishment or achievement. I still will push for some "reward" but these will be mostly small things and very limited. An 80/20 rule in that 80% is for health and maybe 20% to see how fast I can go. But as I go forward, that might shift to 90/10.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:37 pm

I am an idiot when it comes to what I can or cannot do. Given no other option, I am slowly coming to grips with my limitations and even the question has changed from what I CAN do over to what I SHOULD do. I do miss the days when everything seemed limitless. Where I did not run a true ultra not because I could not do it but because, and this is a purely personal and honest opinion, seemed to be a very stupid thing to do. I should elaborate for when I started to research the topic, I read a number of blogs. The vivid descriptions of the pain, the suffering, the delirium, and even the soiling of oneself shared with a perverse sort of pride combined with the wonder as to why people expressed concern when one had to go the hospital following such events had me immediately question the sanity of that. Ironic given how insane I would appropriate things but that was my opinion. But back on point, where I could contemplate destination marathons or running a series of trail half marathons or focusing on road 10 K races or … I was not limited by a bad back or whatever chronic conditions restrict what I could or could not do. Marathons became boring, move to trail races. Short fast races became boring …

This morning it became very clear that my racing days are done. My 5 K "run" that was done at a long distance training pace years ago has hit me as hard as a very hard and hilly 20 k run I once did on a regular basis. Maybe even more so. I did some light weights - squat, press and curl and with each movement, I could hear my body crack. I was irritable and miserable last night. Awoke in a sweat a 3:00 am and did not fall back asleep until 4:00 am. There was an entire body ache that was mitigated by a nice pre breakfast walk. I can and did run. I could cut back and start a 1 K for example and then slowly work my way to [fill in the blank]. But I asked myself the why question in addition to the "should I" question.

This is not a given anymore but say I can work myself up to a good 5 K run where in a small and select race where if I am lucky and real runners do not enter, do I really want to pay $50 or more just for a chance to chase some "glory". Or instead, do a little jogging here and there with walk breaks every six minutes or so. But ensure that no matter what, I have the energy to go for at least one 15 minute every day. And eventually build up to go for a 60 - 90 minute walk. And to go hiking. Where the world seems to be coming at me at 1,000,000 miles a second, to do something where everything is slowed down. Where I am not trying to out race my issues, problems or concerns but to quietly, rationally and logically sort such things out. There was one particular work issue where last night my first and very angry reaction was a total declaration of war. But this morning, on my walk I realized I may not know all of the particulars and what the other side really wants or needs. To give time for my pragmatic and practical side to weigh in. And of course, do the same with regards to my activities.

This brings me back to fat biking. Two winters ago, I rented a fat bike. There had been fresh snow the night before and the temperatures were enough to start a slow melt. Add in my lack of skill, experience and weight, it was a gruelling struggle. The mere fact I survived was a grand accomplishment. After this ride, I discussed this with my wife. There was the cost of the bike. The cost to drive to the bike to where I could use it. How often could I use this bike given the melt freeze cycles of Calgary combined with the yearly deep freeze. I was riding my road bike on average 2- 3 times a week and even throw in the occasional mountain bike ride. The "season" was roughly from March to December with fewer riding opportunities on the shoulders. So a couple of months off any sort of bike would be a good thing. But on the other hand, what harm would be there in to kick some tires. $1,500 to buy a bike that I could use a dozen times or so each year where to rent was around $60-80 was not a terrible investment. Who cared about the weight of the bike, I needed something with wide tires so I could explore where than tackle the more technical trails. I ignore all of this analysis and decided I was getting old and so I deserved one more toy. And if that would be my last grand toy, why I go all out. When I saw the $5,500 bike on sale for $4,000, how could anyone in their right mind ignore that.

So I had a light 3.8" tired bike with top of the line components. A great bike for racing on hard packed trails. But I was not racing nor do I possess the skills to do so. Exploring the less travelled trails was a exercise in frustration mitigated only by me repeating to myself, my heart, lungs and legs do not know you are pushing your bike up yet another hill rather than riding on said bike. So had I stuck to the plan, I would have had a bike where I was half as slow and could not tackle anything remotely technical and could not be used in summer - with the full carbon fat bike, I reasoned I could ride it year round and sell the mountain bike. But that bike would have suited me and my needs and true desires better.

This goes to the larger topic of emotion/ instinct v logic and reason. Where I like so many others have probably convinced myself that my instinct, my gut, my sub conscious is a much better guide for me than my cumbersome, slow and most of the time, un-fun and unimaginative logic and reason. Or I let my ego or "society" dictate my course of action. Run a marathon and feel good. Quality for Boston and feel very good. Run Boston and feel great. Have some doubts, an impression that others think the first time I qualified was a fluke. So qualify again and everything fibre in my body told me not to run Boston again. Instead of the pure joy of seeing I qualified the first time, the second was a weird combination of "oh great, now I have to spend my precious vacation time and money to get to Boston and run". Long story short, they had considered cancelling the race due to a nasty Nor'easter so almost all of my time was being trapped in a hotel room, by myself. The weather was okay the day of the race and I had been focused on two goals: Do better than my first Boston and break the 3:30 mark. It was clear the first goal was met by about the half way mark but I realized that I had not really embrace the race. I was so focused on pace and my plan that all I was doing was staring at the pavement a few feet in front of me. It hit me I literally could have been running in Calgary and so what was the point. The weather screwed up the flights and so the next day, I spent the entire day in airports so … to say it was a disappointing experience is an understatement. And yet one I would have easily avoided without any regrets had I listened to my logic and reason. Literally the only thing that I could say about the second time was that I ran Boston as there was zero chance of me qualifying again. As I had already run Boston, there was nothing really to be gained. This list of where ego, vanity and emotion won and it did not work out well is actually amazing long. And to share one story of where logic and reason won: 50 K road ultra. I was going to run that is less than 5 hours. So I attacked the training as if it were a marathon. But after nearly crippling myself, I set my ego aside and told myself to figure out how fast I had to be to make the time cut offs and train accordingly. And even in training, I allowed myself routs or loops where I could but it off short. It was great and I had a wonderful experience. Then let ego back in and the next marathon and training was total disaster.

Thus walks, jogs, nine holes of golf once or twice a week, some mountain biking and road cycling all within reasonable limits so there may be hurt but no harm has to prevail.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:57 pm

Woke up today and physically I was feeling fine. But there was this general sense of anxiety, of dread hanging over me. I went for a walk and that helped but the feeling did not go away. I believe it dealt with my bike - I was going to be furthest point from home when some unknown issue would arise. I have absolutely no idea why that would have bothered me but it did. It was cold, 8 degrees so I had to sit and wait for the temperature to rise. Eventually I could not wait any longer and off I went. At first, my legs felt a little weak and my breathing was labored. Not a great sign during one's warm up. That have been due to the stress and tension I felt. But then once the heart rate really started to go and my focus was on the road and my pedal stroke, I felt much, much better. My average speed was 30.8 kph and on a less travelled segment, I am currently 2nd out of 27. The total distance was around 38 K and I had fun chasing down two other cyclists.

My rear wheel still complains on the up hills and generally feels a little funky. The one thing with the road and gravel bikes I have bought are the wheels were never great. They were good enough but even that changed. So I have decided to spend some money and upgrade the rear wheel at the very least regardless of the warranty or not. The price of the racing wheels are scary high but I do want an upgrade and to a solid performance type wheel but that can also take some battering given some of the local roads can be a little nasty. Plus, if I cut out the really long rides and when I do anything over 70 K or so, make sure I take a nice rest break at the halfway mark, my sense is I can get a few more years of chasing other cyclists down on the rides - the fools, little do they know they are racing me :D So why not spend a little money.

I have noticed that most of the bikes out there are these endurance/ gravel models. The theory is that they are designed for "comfort" but in my case, I was too upright and that put too much strain on my lower back. My model is clearly a road bike and even when just cruising, it is way more fun than my last bike. My last bike was dependable and functional and I suspect I will eventually go back to that. But while I can, why not have some fun racing around the rural highways that are literally just outside my door. That means absolutely nothing but as a matter of taste or desire, fast is fun.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:59 pm

I have to admit I was toying with the idea of buying a $2,000 fat bike for this winter. It did not have to be fancy and if anything, the less fancy the better for less maintenance. And it has to have as wide of tires as possible. That way, I could still explore the trails I want to explore or try and the weight would if not prevent, discourage me from tackling any technical routes. And with that cost, I would feel much less pressure to use the bike and so if I only rode it 5 - 10 times per year, that would work. I also then asked myself, do I really need to spend at least $2,000 - add in pedals and GST and we are at $2,300 - 2,500. So that starts to raise the pressure to use the bike whether I want to or not.

For me to enjoy a fat bike, there has to be a fair amount of snow to be able to groom the trails. But there cannot be too much snow that the slightest error has one in a snow bank. Then enough people have to travel over said trail to pack it down and widen it. It cannot be too cold but nor can it be so warm as to make the snow soft. There can be some art and luck picking the right time to ride; The snow may melt but if the next day, you can find the time it has frozen but not too cold to ride, it can be magical. In 2017/18 there were long stretches of such conditions between the end of November and into later April. Last year, a couple of weeks in December, a week or two at the end of January when a few weeks before, people were riding their summer mountain bikes, the February was weeks on end of - 40 and therefore a few weeks end of February and early March. The other times, the melt freeze was such a mountain bike with studded tires would do. With the summer that never was this year, one can only guess what will happen. Add a break from cycling would not be the end of the world combined with the fact fat biking has attempted to kill me, my money would be used elsewhere.

Which brings us to the next topic: My rear wheel on the Cervelo is not perfect. It is great flat, a little "bouncy" on the downhills and is less noisy but still making a racket on the up hills. But the bike overall is working beyond expectations. I was feeling sorry for myself this morning despite the fact my body was feeling rather good. No major pain or stiffness but rather some back ground issues. Sunny, warm and no wind, I told myself only a fool would not ride to prove a point I would not have a Fondo dictate what I did or did not do. The plan was the cruise out to Bragg Creek, stop for coffee and then race back. Keeping a nice steady pace, I managed to get out there in the second fastest time every. I had planned on relaxing and enjoying a coffee but instead, after a quick stop and gulping my coffee, I was ready to go. The way back did not start off well for I struggled to get one shoe to click into the pedal. But eventually I did. The legs felt strong and powerful and in no time, I passed two cyclists.

After racing for a bit where it turns out I set a personal best in the Bragg Creek to Redwood meadows and averaged over 39 kph, I went back into cruise mode. I caught up to and passed a gentleman who looked a little older than me and riding a bike that had seen its fair share of miles. There was nothing new or fancy and so when I passed him, I did not expect to see him again. But after a short distance, he passed me. For about 5 or 6 K, we were in full race mode with each person taking turns fighting a head wind. We passed another guy in his 30s who did not like that so after the older guy dropped me, the young guy caught up and passed me. I eventually caught and passed the young guy again. It was amazing how quickly the miles passed and I was having fun. It was nice to say, shut up legs and for them to go okay. Even better still, at the end of the ride, they were okay. Okay enough I actually did some light weights before stretches and a sauna.

68 K with an average speed of 31.2 kph. So imagine with truly tapered legs and a better set of wheels what I could do. So I have always been looking forward to the September ride but now, I am really pumped. And given logic and reason clearly show a fat bike is a silly investment, a really good set of wheels would only enhance the experience. The one thing I have always wanted to change are the wheels of my road bikes as they have never quite felt great after the first few rides. So why not splurge now and get a good set. So wheel shopping Monday.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:09 pm

My back is a little sore from the last two very hard rides that were a total of around 110 k. The good news it is the lower left back and the compression fracture impacting the right side was not aggravated. So I can easily deal with that.

I ended up buying some Shimano Dura Ace carbon/ aluminum wheels. They cost me a under $1,600 with tax. I had looked at a semi areo wheel but that would have cost me another $600 and not sure it would have made much difference. Plus the wheels I bought are good for climbing and there are no shortage of hills around me.

When I started to really look at the wheels that came with the bike, I have to admit I was a bit shocked. As noted, I paid $3,290 for a bike that retails for $4,700 for the 2018 model, $5,300 for the 2019 model. The 2018 had the bottom of line Mavic wheels that retail for around $600. The 2019 model, DT Swiss near the bottom that retails for $1,000. The thing that should have made me pause was when the salesperson told me that the Cervelo was a great deal so when I upgrade me wheels … which one of these things does not belong as literally everything else was near the top of the line. I had thought about upgrading the wheels next year for in the past, whatever road bike I had bought, the wheels worked great for the first 1000 K or so but then I would notice a drop off in performance, especially after around 3,000 K. It has been one justification to buy a new bike for new wheels, new components that were just above bottom of the line to be replaced would cost as much as selling the bike and buying a new bike. And who does not love a new bike. So why not spend more up front and not only have components that would last longer, they would allow me to go faster.

Thus I have spent around the same as full price for the 2018 model with a far superior wheel set. Plus, once the warranty wheel comes in, I can sell that or have a spare set for "winter" or shoulder season riding. Likely to go with the later as my experience on Kijiji is it could still be in the original wrapping and no one will pay you close to retail. As an aside, I felt bad for one guy who was trying to sell a bike that retailed at $12,000 for $8,000 and had to write, "No, I will not take $4,000 so quit wasting my time with such offers".


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