Getting Old sucks

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Mar 20, 2020 7:56 pm

My 82 year old mother is in a retirement building. She can drive and is completely independent. They are no in lock down but she told me they were. I bought her some coffee and I could fill out a form and visit but she stayed behind the glass door and took the coffee. It seems every email has something to the effect that I hope you are safe and healthy. I needed a few things as I would not be the least bit surprised if we go into 2 or 3 week total lockdown. I was in Walmart to get some clip on sun glasses. The clerks kept 6 feet away. In the self check out station, they have marks six feet apart. Had to get some speciality light bulbs. Kept 6 feet between me and the staff. I find myself watching a commercial and thinking, that is not good social distancing. Or a beer commercial where very attractive young people are doing what attractive young people do in a bar and I do not think she is hot but rather how unsafe that behaviour is.

Got in a nice bike ride today - just to get some groceries. The stores were not overwhelmed and it was definitely less frantic. I rode hard enough to work out a good sweat. I am slowly getting use to the new normal. The tentative plan is to go for a hike tomorrow. The funny thing is when I run, hike or bike, I always loved to do that alone. So I have been practicing social distancing for years and years.

I am finding solace in accepting my fate, whatever that might be. Not that there is no part for free will in my theory. I watched how to properly wash your hands video. I have been diligent at washing my hands and the now daily routine of wiping down the most touched surfaces. When I go out, I make sure I am keeping my distance etc. I was driving home and caught myself reaching for my eye but stopped as I had not washed my hands. But was it fate that I am taking these precautions.

I am trying to use this time to evaluate my life in thinking about what if I were to catch this and not make it. On my material wish list, a very expensive bottle of Scotch. My travel wish list; None. There are places in this world I would like to see but none on a bucket list. I hope I can still do the July bike ride and no never knows but should that be cancelled, not the end of the world. It might be neat to jog and finish one more marathon but it would only count if I were 60. There is no unfinished or pressing business. Just a few weeks ago, that was rather depressing. There was no big challenge, obstacle to overcome, mountain to climb. But now, it is oddly calming and nice.

I want to avoid being too hippy but … I had this very strange feeling that I HAD to pay off my mortgage. So for the last few years, no major vacations or purchases and everything into the mortgage. I finished that off in September and there was this sense of "is that all there is". No grand or epic sense of joy or celebration. I task, a chore done. Likely just coincidence that this sense of dread and foreboding happened before this crisis but interesting to me nevertheless. I have a theory that like a central governor, the universe through its energy talks to us. That when we listen, the outcome is better than we do not. I believe one can have every positive thought they can and things still not work out. But there are messages, hints to be picked up. Such as stop running marathons, in my case after number ??

I have been working from a home office for many years. I bought my current house 7 years ago in order to keep mine and my wife's sanity given that change. So if I never read a news article, I would have no idea everything had changed. I might wonder why my stocks are so low. Or why there is no toilet paper. But I do read, too much and everything has changed. It is very surreal.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Mar 21, 2020 11:07 pm

Got up this morning at 8;30 and instead of heading out of a hike, stayed in bed. My back was a little sore but I went to bed with a dry cough so decided that hiking to the top of a mountain and back down if I had a cold would not be a good idea. I am now basing decisions by asking a question as to how this might impact my immune system. As it turns out, it was a hydration thing for as soon as I loaded up with water, no issues. I also decided to skip the hike because I assumed it might be busy. Looking at photos, cars will on the side of the road for I would estimate a good kilometer before the trail head. There is the physical distancing thing but I really do not want to see people on my hikes and this predates the virus.

Interesting thing about timing. Multiple marathons, an ultra and a couple of 100 mile rides and this is the year I decide I really need to cut back and moderate what I am doing. I was pulling back from my excesses at exercise and work and so this has not really impacted me yet.

I get the physical distancing as it is now being called. To avoid unnecessary contact. To practice good hygiene. But … to quote Senca: "You want to live-but do you know how to live? You are scared of dying-and, tell me, is the kind of life you lead really any different from being dead?" I say this because in looking at a photo of car after car parked on the side of the road for people going hiking on over 30 K worth to trails, the panic mob was screaming about how everyone was going to die because on this hike in the mountains, you might come across some other human beings. In my experience on bike paths, people are moving to the far side. Why is a little common sense and practicality gone? Why is it reduced to black and white: either completely ignore all guidelines or freak out and stay afraid and alone in your home? The Alberta Chief medical doctor was asked this and she said go outside with the caveat of staying 6 feet away. It is easy to do and everyone I came across today on my walk exercised that caution.

I went on a nice long walk later in the day. Then for a bike ride to grab a few things to complete my roast chicken dinner. Nice to see the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon nearly empty. Still no dry pasta but the fresh stuff was there in abundance. No Orange juice so funny how the mindless herd reacts. Everyone was very respectful and gave a wide berth. Came home, washed the hands and wiped down the items I bought so I am taking the necessary and recommended precautions without existing in fear.

My life is still not normal. But I am slowly trying to stay away from the net and news channels. the good thing is one can only read the same story or hear it on tv so many times before it stops making an impact. I was probably a very good thing that people had the living daylights scared out of them because I am not sure logic and reason would have worked. Tap the emotional first and then follow up with the logical and reason. Everyone is going to die and then this is how you keep you and your family safe.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:37 pm

Nice sunny day and the endless Covid 19 news finally had me put on my running shoes. Or more accurately my jogging shoes to attempt to rid myself of at least some of the tension and stress. No GPS but is was just under 4 K and around 15-20 minutes. I followed up with some basic weights and my metabolism was not use to this and so I have been sweating buckets. I managed the whole job without stopping and this included two noticeable hills so there is that. I even broken into a run at times but mostly, it was me trudging along. It was quite a slog but I my spirits have risen. With the ribs and everything else, I have not been elevating my heart rate and need to get back doing that.

The positive is that in the past, after 9 11 or when I first had the compression fracture in my lower back, I might fall into a resigned "depressed" mood where I would say, what is the point. What is the point not eating as many cookies as I want each day. Why go out and work up a sweat and inflict some minor pain and discomfort on myself. Why not just enjoy life. And following that, significantly increased risk of a heart attack or stroke and a rather poor attitude about everything. This time I am seeking a escape. The difference from previous times is I am going to moderate my efforts with the moderation of the moderation. That is a jog like this feels good. So over the next few weeks, what was a difficult slog is now a pleasant jog. So would then increase the intensity and duration. And since I am going to run that much, I "need/want" to have a reason to do so. One might think not having a disabling heart attack or stroke would be enough but for me, it meant an objective and goal associated with an official race. Finish upright and smiling would slowly evolve into more ambitious objectives. And then I would manage to cross over that line hurt and harm. And so ice, gels, pills, tape, etc, etc because if I eased off the pedal, I would be throwing all of that hard work down the drain. Never mind I would be sore all of the time aside from when I was running or cycling. And I was miserable to be around and everything irritated me. I had put in his work, I was going to achieve that goal because … one of those it really seemed like a good idea at the time but looking back, there is no reason I can come up. The caveat being the first time I was attempting to qualify for Boston, training to run my first Boston, my one and only ultra and the first time I did a 100 mile Fondo. The pain, the suffering and the sacrifice were worth those events.

I should add there were a number of events where I had fun training. There was the hurt but not the harm. I was not irritable or grumpy. But nor was it the overwhelming and all consuming process it could be. I had run my first Boston marathon and so weeks later, ran to qualify again and I barely remember anything of that. It was a whole bunch of fast runs and I am not sure I ever make it over 30 K and not sure any were over 25 K. Or the time I had to prove something wrong and ran the second fastest half I had ever run without a run over 16 K. And I was only running 3 or 4 times a week. Some early season trail runs fall into this category. Yes there was a goal, an objective but for whatever reason, it to not suck every bit of oxygen and energy out of my life.

I suppose this is return to when I very first started to "run". When I had no idea that some average person could pay money and have their race timed. Where the running was to deal with weight and stress and as those two were interconnected, it worked great. There was no structure. I did have to do intervals or other speed work because it was Tuesday. I ran on Tuesday because it was nice out or I NEEDED a run after a miserable day at work. At a certain point during the run, my body was signal that was enough and I would turn around and head back home.


The one silver lining out of this virus. My pet peeve in running are those people or groups that do not seem to understand the function of the yellow line. That one should always be to the right of that line whenever possible. Instead, these people straddle the line, take up both lanes and wonder from side to side as if they drunk and incapable of walking a straight line. Or some joggers 2 or 3 abreast talking to their running partner and expect you to step aside rather than for one or more to return to their side of the line. In any event, most people today were great about physical distancing but then some people were in their old and rude habits. So I had some fun with them - I would come up quietly and then just behind them, "cough." It brought me some joy to see the look of panic on their faces.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Mar 26, 2020 9:23 pm

I do not believe my body and central governor believes me when I say I will be more moderate in my approach. The day after my first real jog in forever, I was very stiff and sore. I was able to get on my bike and ride over the deposit a cheque my mom had given me - long story but if I did not deposit that, it threw her off and so I risk the virus to ease my mom's peace of mind. I felt good on the bike so extended the ride to become more exercise than errand. And the next day I could barely move. It seems a bunch of muscles that had not been used in a certain way for many, many months decided they would and should remind me to ease into this activity.

I have been able to walk but will have to ease off the weights as I did something to my rib area. Under normal circumstances I might push it because worst comes to worst, I go the doctor. But in these times, I want to avoid any risk of that because I would prefer to have all of their resources go to other more worthy causes.

The new but still surreal normal is starting to become routine. My favorite Italian Market was open and I got some wonderful veal cannelloni and fresh bread. Their restaurant is shut down and so trying, in a responsible manner, to help support community stores. Then off to Safeway for milk. At the front entrance, disinfectant wipes. It was 11:45 am and the store was mostly empty. Everyone was keeping their distance. As a side note, same in my community with some people making a good show it by stepping well off the sidewalk and shouting, social distancing. Or at a bike path intersection stopping back to let someone pass by and them saying, thank you. There was no disinfectant wipes and not a full shelf of toilet paper or much to my dismay, chocolate milk but otherwise, one would not know they are in a health crisis. I am hoping this is more an eerier new reality than the calm before the storm.

For the last few days, I have been able to put in a full day at work. I may glance at the updates but no beeps as I have the sound turned off. It has actually been rewarding. I can spend almost as much time as I want to really go through the details of everything and do extra research instead of running putting out fires. It may be very hard to increase the pace. My manager told me that she is constantly having the conversation with herself, I need to get this done now. No you do not or you might run out of things to do by 3:00. I am very, very, very, very lucky. My job, oddly enough, has been deemed essential. But if I start to get a big head, so are pet food supply companies and bike repair shops and … I swear the list of what is "non essential" is shorter.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Mar 27, 2020 10:14 pm

Went for a bike ride to get some chocolate milk. One store, one day, nothing. Different store, the next day, the shelves are full. Walked down the pasta aisle and there where lasagna noodles. Stopped at a independent coffee shop. One day, the shop is packed the students from the college next door and the next, a few people wonder in. When I got home, found out his shop will now have to close.

I rode to a store at the top of a series of hills as I really needed to get out of my head. As I was riding I wondered if my July bike ride will go on. It seems this is our lives for another 6 - 10 weeks at least so cannot see that going ahead. The other thing is that in a situation like this where our comfortable little world is tore apart with chaos, fear and uncertainty, it seems so silly, so superficial and meaningless if not down right stupid to pay $150 to get on a bike, pedal like hell for around 44 K. Stop, quickly refill water bottles, down some cola and energy gels or bars, get back on the bike, ride like hell 44 K back and then enjoy one beer and some pasta. To do this, get in a car, driver over an hour and cross your fingers it will not be miserable. A nice or interesting distraction but in the lens of today, how frivolous. How setting goals and objectives and using blood, sweat and tears to achieve that. Although easy for someone at the tail end of their "racing" career to say than at the beginning. That qualifying and running Boston, the 50 K race, the trail races and the long bike rides are things I hold near and dear to my heart. Thus anything I do going forward is really for "fun". To see how fast I can be but with the caveat that the training cannot be gruelling or too hard. With the virus, it is even more important for me not to test or strain my immune system for I know it is merely to see what part of the middle of the pack I will end up.

Although a race may have any an artificial meaning and point - if even to distract in a frivolous way where the results do not matter given how in the real world, what we do now can have devastating results - maybe that is the point. But setting that aside, thank goodness for running, for my biking. With the weather turning around, my City bike is ready to go. Soon, the road bike. I think - today they closed all road access to the provincial parks. Parking lots were over flowing. I had hoped to get in a hike before this happened on Monday but it did not work out. My wife is happy for her question was that she knows I hike alone but … can I really keep my distance on a trail. And right now, there is more than a little ice so do I really want to have a hospital bed right now. Forget someone else, does anyone want to be in a hospital right now? I seem to have somehow aggravated my rib injury. You know you are old when … you aggravate a rib injury by sleeping on it wrong. So walks, no weights and maybe a short bike ride are the right thing on every level.

It was nice to see today that what we are doing right now does seem to be flattening the curve. BC Health provided a model that shows that what we are doing is slowing it down. When we see stories from the Europe, it can be hard to wonder why we sacrifice if that is going to happen in any event and can forget about Korea or Japan.

In other positive news, I got paid a nice bonus this year. I had been saving up an rainy day fund as my house is such that I may need a new garage door, furnace and/or hot water tank in the not so distant future. Right now, I could live very comfortably for a year with zero income. I say that because whenever I have come close to that point - a $4,000 bike, a $5,000 sauna, a $5,000 bike with carbon wheels, a $3,000 bike … you get the picture. My job is as secure as it can be. So here I sit with a windfall of money and for the first time in maybe forever, I have zero desires or wants. I could live with a new playstation or Xbox. There are a few computer war games I would not mind owning. But I almost never play the Xbox I have. I have a number of war games on my computer waiting for me to play so these are itches I can ignore and have largely gone away. I am healthy and have everything could need or use. It is a feeling I that is oddly surreal but well in line with everything else.

If the weather is as warm as predicted, the rough plan is to go for a nice easy 20 K ride. But right now, it seems I have actually living in the moment. Everything is in pencil and subject to change on a whim and maybe for no reason.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:20 pm

Instead of + 8, Saturday was cloudy and a cool/ humid sort of - 2. So I went for a walk instead of a bike ride. Today was good for a ride but snow starting tomorrow and - 16 by mid week so decided I would put off getting the road bikes ready until I do not have to keep my bikes in the basement. When it is just warm enough to get the outdoor furniture out of storage, then the road bikes come out as well. I am hopeful that will be next week.

So I jogged, did some stair repeats and then some more jogging. Not an fast pace and took a number of walk breaks but it felt good to be out and literally be able to run away from this crisis. I am doing much better from an emotional and psychological perspective and such activities help me keep things in perspective.

My entire life has been in preparation of this pandemic. I really enjoy my own company. Once my mom called and I was out on a long run. She asked my wife if she knew where I was or how long I was going to be. My wife told me her response is she had no clue as I just disappear for hours all of the time. I bought my current house specifically to create a great home office. I have thought of joining a club to run, hike or bike but when I have seen these clubs out on the trails or roads, either having to wait for someone or being behind does not suit my personality. Plus I may have a rough plan but at one time I would go further or faster than planned. Now, I will even go shorter or slower. So when I am on my own, I can get lost in my thoughts. I can work through an issue or at times, just lose myself in the moment as I did several times today. There was no virus, no potential economic issues but rather the next step on the stairs I was running. How was my heart rate and breathing.

And as the trauma of all of this is wearing off. Where I am adapting to the new normal, I have to admit certain things are starting to get annoying. At first, my company had a number of updates. And the digital and weekly team meetings. How is everyone feeling, how are people coping. That was great and even necessary at first but human nature is human nature. The little cliques that always existed are starting to surface. The yappy know it all is once again the yappy know it all. I really enjoy the actual work but these team building activities have never had any appeal for me. I am on an Island in my home office and I am happy in this paradise. So I do not need nor want to share with someone in Ontario who has kids out of school or whatever. They give me no support and nor do I provide any. They are nice enough to have a drink and dinner with once a year or so but I not care for this get to know people I might see a total of 8 hours in person once a year. Plus what I do and how I do it is unique to me. I and none of my managers have ever figured out how it works but it does. So I cannot really share anything. And at this point in my career, I am not going to learn from someone else. Add on top of this, my industry had been facing a significant regulatory change before the virus and was to have been implemented next year so I am likely to have to change and modify how I approach my job.

As someone once told me, I can be inexpensive, I can be quick and I can provide excellent quality but you can only pick two of the three. For most of my career, I have been quick and inexpensive. I have had at time slow down and focus more on quality. So the changes were going to force me to move to quality sooner rather than later. The plan is to retire in nine years and so it is now starting to become that point in my career where big numbers are becoming less relevant. One wants to climb the ladder and gain a certain reputation, you push hard and get great numbers. But I am now at a point where that only means higher and tougher to reach expectations. And management is starting to dig deeper into my work and so the numbers are starting to no longer justify the flaws in quality. The corporate philosophy is also shifting there.

My work has been like my running or cycling. I have reached a point where I have run a work equivalent of a Boston Marathon, an ultra and 100 mile Fondo. And as with these activities, the law of diminishing returns is hitting me hard. I did not turn any request this fall and when combined with a back injury I never really let properly heal all year, by Christmas I was emotionally, psychologically and physiologically burnt out. All for, after tax, a couple of grand more. So the idea as with my exercise, focus on the quality of my activities but that can be judged not only by frequency, duration and intensity but how much fun did I have, no much pain and suffering did I inflict on myself. And with work, my numbers will not be great this year and I am going to lose a couple of thousand dollars of bonus money next year but when someone looks at my work, the quality will stand out. And I will have the self satisfaction of a job well done. Plus, the stress and anxiety of running across a high wire to get the numbers I have is something I need to get away from. It is a rush as with going fast down a hill on a bike or running fast but as I am finding out, a price that is increasingly more difficult to pay.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3435
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Apr 03, 2020 12:02 pm

Still adjusting the to new normal. It was a little surreal as everyone was on edge, a little anxious but it did not seem much had actually changed. Then the non essential stores were closed. I had been going to the grocery store and it was slightly different but not much until I went this week. The one way aisles, the cues where to stand and a sense of fear as the many customers seemed to be afraid. As expected, some were obvious. I "had" to go first thing in the morning - great sale of Roasts my mother in law insisted I take advantage of. I was going to sneak the wrong way down an aisle, did not and grabbed some other items first. The store was rather busy. I got the meat aisle, took back but some jerk had come down the wrong way and was standing close to some person who was lingering and grabbed two of the three roasts that were left. I at least got one roast but there is still an element of a Lord of the Flies out there. The staff were happy and relaxed so rewarded my good behaviour with a Tim Horton's coffee and bagel.

Right now I am very busy with work with some caveats. Monday and Tuesday mornings, one would not know anything different was going on. Some people would wind things down a little early. This slows down so that by Friday afternoon, it is pretty much a dead stop. I volunteered for a special project that will keep even more busy for a month or two. As an added bonus, will give me some transferable skills.

I was getting into a nice routine. I would go for a run or stairs or a bike ride. Then for a walk with my wife. And then winter hit again. - 20 with wind chill and some snow. For some reason, instead of using my wonderful home gym, I was reading and watching the news all night. There was one legitimate reason, every time I did any weights I aggravated my rib injury so … But last night, tired of the constant stream of the same news. Of frigid temperatures, I got on my elliptical and started to watch Westworld. I am okay today as when my body told me to stop at 40 minutes, I did. I was somewhat surprised by my lack of endurance but spring seems to be around the corner and this will allow me to be more active.

Getting use to having one's life on hold. My wife was to attend a very large bridge tournament in the middle of June but I suspect there is zero chance that will proceed. They can get over 1,000 players and even if things are a little relaxed, I cannot see how this can go forward. Especially with the average age in their 60s and more than few in the 70s or even 80s. I have a bike ride in July. It is a couple of hundred riders and the rules have everyone go single file but … How would one work an aid station? I can see some things being relaxed but unless they can find an effective treatment, forget any mass events until there is an effective vaccine for the general population.

Before my first road race in 2004, I went to the gym, I ran 3 or 4 times a week and was blissfully ignorant one could race on an official course and get an official time. I started my home gym with one big purchase every six or so months because I had literally run myself into the ground. I eventually returned to running but for many months, happy to use that gym and go for a jog. Repeat in 2015. And this year, I had registered for the one ride and had my eye on another in September but I feel a sense of loss. It was going to be a nice distraction but not overly taxing or serious. Do a bunch of 30 - 40 K hard rides. Throw in a few 60 K rides and a handful of 80 - 90 K rides with a nice pit stop for coffee or ice cream and see how well I do against the other members of the middle of pack. I did not need this ride to motivate me to do these rides but it added just a little bit of spice, of interest. Right now, as this is one of my biggest worries, I think I am going quite well. Funny how a pandemic puts things into perspective. To show one what is really important as compared to what we had thought was important.


Return to “The Dark Side”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest