Getting Old sucks

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed May 27, 2020 12:40 am

I am having to adapt to a new reality, again. Although this time, a more healthy one.

Today I slept in until 7:30. I tried to stay in bed but could not. I worked until around 4:30 today. I did not log back onto the work computer until 7:00 pm. I dabbled here and there until around 10:15 but I ran out of my to do list. And for the first time in weeks, I went for a jog. I think it was around 6 K and about 40 minutes, give or take. I thought it would be painful but I seem to have retained some residual fitness through my walks so that was a pleasant surprise. The tasks I have left are getting less and less so I can then focus on my regular work. It is slow but I will not mind a break.

I have to admit it has been quite a rush. I am nearing the breaking point mentally and physically but I am oddly missing the excitement of it all. IN our fast paced world, I have been living in a warp speed world. Two days is an eternity. I loved the pressure and focusing on quantity and not necessarily quality. I have passed all of the audits but it was not pretty. That has always been my strong suit. It may be ugly and not exactly to code but I do more than anyone else. So now I am going to transition back into focus on quality and taking my time.

The new thing is this has shown me there is a plan B. That I could easily move down or back to a more commodity role rather than an elite one. The only dilemma is that I feel much more comfortable and at ease doing grunt work. And what has been a huge surprise at how good I am at making people feel at ease and comfortable with the process. Customer after customer wrote to thank me for being fast and efficient but with a friendly touch. I knew I could push paper but who knew I could also make it an almost pleasant thing. At times I would go to my wife and say can you believe someone said this positive thing about me and neither of us saw that in me. And as much as I would love to see myself as tough as nails and hard nosed, it was actually nice to be nice. To quote a very old show, It is nice to be nice to the nice.

The work had very demanding timelines and was full of stress and anxiety as I was asked to do tasks I had not done in literally decades but it was a good sort of stress. So I have not found the need or desire to then push myself to escape that or my thoughts by such things as running hard or seeing how fast I can go on my road bike. It is very clear there will not be any events this year but I am not sad. The very slight temptation to register for virtual event quickly passes.

When I bought my first real road bike a little less than 4 years ago, it was so I could go fast but for 30 - 60 K. There might be one or three longer rides but most everyone started and ended at my house. As I started to ride, I found myself seeking newer, more challenging and longer routes. Now I feel as if I am returning to my roots as it were. I did very briefly toy with the idea of selling my road bike but ... I suspect as the summer goes on, I may want to do Plummer road or Grandview Valley in addition to my normal rides. I will stick to a few standard rides but when I am on the bike and into the moment, that does not really matter. An hour or so on the road is good enough.

I am happy to jog. The only thing that I might think of doing is one more marathon after I turn 60. It will not be run but jogged but that will be dependent on my body. I have about 4 years as the timing of the Calgary marathon is such I will be a couple of months short of my 61st birthday when and if I enter. I cannot say I am in love with the idea and 4 years can be a lifetime but why not have some distant and maybe meaningless goal just in case?

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu May 28, 2020 8:43 pm

The good news about putting 12 + hours day with a stand desk is my strength seems to have held. I have not really test my endurance too much but as I ease back into my workouts, that seems to be surprisingly strong. I am not working tonight, the first time since April 14. I even managed to get in a hour worth of mountain biking around my neighborhood. There is some interesting little dirt hills to tackle and with the new bike, I managed those quite well. The only problem is that I must have beaten the living heck out of my body. I feel as if I was in a fight. I had nine hours of sleep last night and still needed a nap. The work itself was very rewarding but I cannot say that will be the case financially. I actually feel sorry for one member of our team. She was not able to adapt to the fast paced and hectic nature of the work. It might be messy and rushed but that was more important than her perfection. As a result, her volunteering may have a long term impact on her career as now she is seen as inflexible and cannot modify her approach. An approach that under normal circumstances is far superior to my own.

Interestingly enough, the concept of reward and competition has hit Strava. Earlier this year, I was going to buy a new bike computer. I was ready to try and compete to certain Strava segments. Maybe even squeak in a few top 10s for a day or even a week. Most of the time I was out of the top 10 but it was still neat to see how I stacked up. Finishing 30th out of 112 riders for the day was a cool thing to see. But now Strava wants me to pay around $100 to see that stat. I am not going to use any of the other paid features so ...

It is interesting that I am passed my prime, my peak but before the Pandemic, there was still some competitive juices flowing through my veins. To see how I did against the field, against my peers or even against society as a whole. Now, I jog and bike without anything to measure how far, how fast or how often. No logs. I suspect with the road bike I may still race against previous rides but then again ... without any events this year and who knows what 2021 will bring, the need to punish, test and even just push myself has faded to near nothing. There is nothing left to prove to anyone else and to be fair about it, not that I can anymore. But as or maybe even more important, I have nothing to prove to myself. But I am okay with that.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun May 31, 2020 3:25 pm

Without Strava segments to chase and not sure how the lungs and legs would respond, I got on my road bike for a quick 35 K ride without a cycling computer. . For the first half of the ride, I would catch myself easing off at times whereas if I had my computer on, I might have pushed a little harder or longer.

I was about 60% into the ride when I saw a rider in front of me. I said to myself, let us see what me and my bike can do. Interestingly enough, this was on the same hill where I went as hard as I could but my Anyroad did not respond so I ended up with the Cervelo. I dug a little deeper but not an all up sprint. I passed him quite easily. I took the harder and much hillier route and when I rejoined the road, I was still in front. So went a little harder. Way off in the distance, I saw a flashing red taillight. I now had motivation to keep up the pace. I could never seem to close the gap but the way the road was, I was never quite sure where he was. But with about 5 K or so to go, I finally saw him again. I was slowly inching up on him and on a little raise before a fast decline, I caught him. He tried to keep up but could not.

This one ride justified the bike. It was fun, it was very fast and it turned into a great workout.

I had been a little sad and depressed. The crisis is over and the long days, working the weekends are over. Not that I could have continued to do that much longer. I am pretty much spent physically, emotionally and psychologically but ... it was quite the rush. Being in the trenches, massive pressure with tight deadlines. So back to the job which is becoming more about corporate governance and data integrity than "results" but welcome to the digital age. Although I got my fair share of those things even during the crisis mode and but for a close to open rebellion, it would have been much worse. A combination of no events and diminishing abilities, I am increasingly left with doing an activity for, the gods forbid, the sake of doing the activity. The cherry on top was losing the free Strava competitions.

But then I had the ride I did. Or a nice jog. Or ... nothing that needs or even deserves to be logged or recorded. I am in the moment and just doing it for that reason alone. No training or preparing or workings towards to end goal or objective. I jog because I want to jog that day. Or mountain bike or road bike or city bike or do weights or ...

Of note is my career is on the same trajectory. I have peaked although I remember my manager telling me years ago, I had a year of a lifetime but then somehow managed to do that again over several more years. But conditions have changed. How success is determined has also changed. And with my physical abilities, I am not quite as sharp and have the same edge as I once did. And I am not as fortunate as I was in the past. I cannot tell you how many times it was right place and right time. At times, I would lose my temper and blurt out something that seemed to work. These opportunities seem to be fewer and further apart. And the way my industry is changing, the focus on quality over quantity will only intensify. That is not my forte. I see those who are very detail oriented as oppose to result oriented are doing much better. So time to fade back a little, to adapt. Such as with my activities, live in the moment instead of trying to climb a ladder or maintain my place.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Jun 04, 2020 7:46 pm

Work is finally slowing down, just in time for me to watch the protests against racial and economic injustice. I had written my views on certain events that have transpired but ... as one of my favorite songs states, Despite all of my rage, I am still just a rat in a cage. So this morning, despite a back that was stiff and a little sore, I put my "new" mountain bike on my car and drove to the mountains. It was cool at 9:15 am and that keep the crowds a away. I literally had the trails to myself and it turns out, enjoyed a great 1:15 minute ride. My bike was performing as good or better than I had hoped and only once did my lungs and heart fail to get me to the crest of a hill. I even stopped to have a nice Chia latte on the way home. I then dabbled at work and never once looked at the news or internet.

I should be informed and up to speed with the news but ... this weekend, a 12 year old niece beat me at a footrace. I knew she had some wheels but my extra weight and lack of solid aerobic exercise doomed my effort. But since then, I have engaged in some sort of cardio every day since and plan to continue on going forward. I can sit and consume endless streams of news and opinion. Get upset and outraged and then go on line as I have done and vent at people who hold a different view than I do. And the result is I do not sleep well. I am easily agitated and annoyed in real life. And I have accomplished nothing. I am no better or different than the virtue signalers I despise. So instead, go for a bike, a run and then read a good book. If I am going to inform myself, it will not be through "breaking news" or opinion pieces but thoughtful analysis after the fact.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:19 pm

This week was both depressing and a reason to be thankful.

Depressing in that I am really getting old. This morning, I just about threw out my back unloading the dishwasher. Also due to work.

I had been working from around 7:30 am until around 11:00 - 11:30 at night for around six weeks. And putting in several hours every weekend. But the end of the project was in sight and I was back to normal schedule. So of course I get the offer of a "buddy" to help me finish off the tasks I have to do. I tell my buddy that I was essentially all caught up but when some work comes in, I will forward that to her. She is not happy as she does not believe I am offering her enough so she goes to her boss to ask to be moved. Her boss calls my boss, my boss calls me and I now have to explain that I am not refusing help but I literally had nothing to offer at that point. I get two new files to do and so send them off to my buddy. Had I just completed the task, it would have taken me 10 -15 minutes. Instead, I spent around 30 minutes explaining the process she had been trained on the day before. I get a little revenge as I complained to my boss that my buddy is actually adding to my work load. She we agreed I would transfer the work directly to my buddy. Funny how no one was complaining about my lack of cooperation.

Then a day later, I was ask to come up with a list of tasks the "buddy" group would do. I had around 30 some odd files left and found 10 where I had followed up but someone else could finish them off when the requested documents were completed. I told my boss that the "help" was more work than it saved but if they took over the work, that would actually help. And offering up the work, I was now being a good team player. So needless to say and without any surprise, my offer was rejected. It seems they want to "help" but just enough to get credit but not enough to actually be of real assistance. What was also depressing is when this is all over with, the group who came in after their help truly was required if going to get credit for their offers of assistance.

Then I turned on the tv to see true and real injustice with significant impacts on the lives of people. And the depressing and all too predictable partisan divide. Everyone is now "playing to their base" it seems and so hard to feel as if any real change is going to happen. Or that a objective and rational approach that takes the best of every perspective is even a viable option anymore.

Thus emotionally, psychologically and spiritually I was beaten down. And as it turns out standing for 12 hours a day and then going to a 1:15 mountain bike ride physically takes its toll. Yesterday, I literally forced myself to go for a long walk. Around 3.5 K to get a nice chia latte and then around 4 K back home with a slight detour. I felt a little better so had some optimism for today.

Got up at 6:00 am but did finally manage to go back to sleep/ rest until around 9. Eventually made some waffles, watched a little tv and felt like a train had run over me. So I went for a power nap. Two hours later, I was awake but not sure I wanted to do anything. I knew I should. But everything seemed to be too much effort for little reward. I eventually got on my city bike and said I would go for around 8 K or so. Just enough to shake some of the funk off of me. Long story short, I ended up doing an old 20 K long run route and really, really enjoyed it. There were moments of pure Zen.

Whether it is work or the universe, it may seem or feel like one is merely a small toy boat being tossed around by the waves, wind and currents of an ocean. Relatively powerless to control where one goes or to impact their own destiny. But we can control how we react to all of this. To carve out our little piece of paradise. For me, that is reading history books. Or playing sophisticated computer battle simulations. But most impactful is do something physical. To bike or run or hike or ... and slowly but surely finding my inner voice. Where I am listening to my body as opposed to reaching some arbitrary and artificial goal or objective. Not that I have a lot of choice in the matter. I have always thought that wisdom in my case is after ramming a brick wall at full speed with my head that after a number of such charges, eventually I would realize the blood streaming down my face and my headache is due to me charging head first into a brick wall. Or to paraphrase how Churchill said about Americans, I will do the right thing after every other option has been exhausted.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:50 pm

Watched a documentary about the year Lance won the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. Although the drama of the race between the elites was neat to watch, what peaked my interest were the "side" stories about those just wanting to finish. The race in question was in 2009 and I thought, what if after running Boston I had do more things such as mountain biking.

So today, with the end of my pandemic work, I took off to the mountains. I had been running and biking on a regular basis so I knew my legs might be a bit tired but my aerobic ability would be up for the test. I had never ridden Ace of Spades - old school mountain bike trail so today was a great day to do it. I wore a very light jacket as I could then have my camera handy. Mistake 1. It took me about 5 K and have to stop because I over heated and my heart rate sky rocketed to take that off. Speaking of heart rate, I hit 90 + % much sooner than I should have. Now at least I am smart enough to stop and let to return to normal after reading a book about the risks of not doing so and pushing through that. One can actually suffer permanent damage to their heart.

I thought I had suffered and was struggling with some single track that was going up so hit the gravel access road. Problem is, that had some 21 degree grades and so that literally brought me to my knees. I finally get to Race of Spades. 4 K of mostly downhill. This will be fun. Plus I can avoid all of the TTFs - Technical Trail Features and still enjoy the ride. Legs tired, lungs tired, head tired and some very steep hills with nice little drops on a narrow trail and I was the only soul on it as far as I could see. After almost going over the handle bars twice, what will take the best riders 20 minutes to do, it took me 50. Those guys have full armor and are fearless. I had a helmet and I am acutely aware of how much things hurt and do not heal in a few hours or over night.

It was a great ride for on my modern bike I lack the skills and desire to fly down a narrow, root and rocked filled series of mini cliffs to make it fun and thus put to rest any regret or idea that back in 2009 ... At one time, I would have figured out a way to overcome that. I do have to work on my stamina but I am also willing to accept my limitations. So instead of the extra work and climbing to get to Ace, turn off at 727 and have fun on a much more mellow and thus suitable trail for me. It was nice to see what the bike could do and so the rider has to catch up a little. Not so much for the technical stuff but so that I can go on a true blue run and have the stamina to complete the ride and finish every climb.

The other nice thing is I have ridden my city bike, jogged and now finish a mountain bike ride. My road bike has not seen as much use but that is okay as well. I am no longer driven by this bike cost me "X" and therefore I have to do "Y" number of rides to justify. Instead, ride when I feel like doing that sort of ride.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:51 pm

I was not doing much for six weeks of hell but I was standing 12 + hours every day so I had to be in relatively good shape. A few bike jogs and bike rides seemed to confirm my assumption. And then I did a very hard 2.5 mountain bike ride. I was effectively done at 2 hours so the last little bit was a real struggle. I should have taken the Friday off but ... a ton of rain in the forecast and it was a nice day. I should have done a shorter route but an old habit if "punishing" weak thoughts kicked in. Saturday I was stiff and sore. Sunday was the rematch of I would guess a 200 meter race between me and my 11 year old niece. She beat me a week before and on Sunday I literally could not run. When I tried to go into the next gear, nothing happened other than my heart rate went through the roof. I had to pull up with 20 meters to go.

I have slowly been rebuilding. Some longer walks, some fitness bike rides. A jog. Yesterday, I did a number of hill repeats in and around my neighborhood. There is some undeveloped parkland about 5 minute ride from my house and a escarpment I can ride up and down. I am starting to figure out a better way to shift my weight for cornering.

Today, I decided was sprint day. I am a little tired, stiff and sore. There were thunderstorms in the area. And I wanted to see just how poorly I am doing. Much to my surprise, the average speed was 31.5 kph. It was only 26 K but I had some energy left in the tank. This has been the first time in weeks where I felt really good after a workout and not totally drained.

This past couple of weeks as showed me where my priorities should be over the long term. I got a ton of praise for my pandemic work but I also got a few slaps on the wrist as well. In pleasing the customer and doing the right and honorable thing did not always conform to our data integrity and administrative tasks. It had been a rush but that did eventually fade and it became a grind. A grind that negatively impacted my fitness, health and overall well being. But in the last week, I would take some time to go for a long walk or an bike ride for a hour or so. I would not do any work after supper. And today, I feel so much better. I am quite happy to forgo the praise and recognition in order to enjoy the great outdoors. To be able to read the Atlantic. And eventually, to have enough focus and time to play a good computer historical war game then try and unwind by mindlessly surfing the internet.

I have a friend in a different province but in the same industry. As she told me, about 35% or more of her time is now essentially data entry. And as a result, there are endless meetings and memos as to how they want to see that data input. This is not my strong suit but adapt or die. I had considered moving to a less stressful and thus well paying role but right now, I can adapt, improvise and overcome. Most of the stress and anxiety I feel is self inflicted so I need to treat this more as a job than a career. This is not to say the quality of my work can slide but more I can and will ease off on the quantity.

At one time I thought I would be retired by now. As it turns out, it looks like I have another 8 or so years. Of interest is that I can essentially do what I want to and still work full time. My unofficial time limit seems to be around two hours or so. I can do more but the "fun" factor can be crushed if I go much longer than that. That is nine holes of golf, a bike ride to Bragg Creek and back, a mountain bike ride for the sort of trails I enjoy, a trip around Calgary on bike paths and streets or a jog or walk. So I am oddly fortunate that what I can physically do, I can fit into my work day. I have no mortgage, no expensive dream or bucket list to complete.

And today, although not a work day illustrates where I am. I have this expensive road bike with great wheels and tires. I was able to go out and ride as fast as I ever could. But it was less than an hour and re energized me. So no need to change jobs when I can do all of that by putting my health, my fitness and my well being first.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:27 pm

Although I had planned on going for a job before a nasty thunderstorm had hit, it turned into a run. Or at least what my version of a run would be. I was struggling but did manage to just keep the pace a tad faster than 5:30 per kilometer. What was depressing is that this nice little old lady and little old man passed me riding little old people bikes. In the good old days, had that been one of my slow runs, I would have raced them and easily left them in my dust. But during that run, there was no other gear. By the end of the run, I had to dig very deep just to get to a 5:28 pace over 5 K. So I am left with jog or fast jog. The interesting thing is that I did not really enjoy the effort. I had to ask myself, why push that hard when I nice walk break and easing off the pedal in the last kilometer would have made that a much more enjoyable activity.

I have little doubt that were I to go for a number of long walks. Mix in some jogging, longer sessions on an elliptical and weights, I might be able to run again. But right now, never mind a compelling reason, I have no reason to do so. I am three years to my next age category so I would get killed by even recreational runners. I ran and trained hard not for any inherent value but so that I could at the very least beat my peers. My peers for the most part where other weekend warriors with specifically picked races where I knew I could compete for a podium finish. So for me and specifically for running, it was really for the shinny objects. Now, running is merely for health, fitness and general well being and that in turn means relatively short and slow jogs with the occasional McMaster like intervals.
\
Thus on a day off today, I did not have high expectations for my ride. I kept on debating whether I should do the 60 K round trip to Bragg Creek or do something a little shorter. The shorter routes involved hills whereas there was a route I could ride to Bragg Creek where the hills were relatively mild. Even on the ride I was thinking about turning around but decided to stick it out. It did not hurt when on one of the few hills a blew by two women and one screamed out for me to slow down as it was making them look bad. In any event, I was focused on form this ride. Making sure I had good pedal strokes and I was sitting in the right way, etc. It distracted me and I was travelling at a very good clip. I reached Bragg Creek in what had to be close to near record time but I had never really pushed too hard. So instead of the normal stop and have a coffee, I turned the bike around and headed back home. There were a few gliding breaks but never once stopped. A slight headwind had me convinced I was not going to do great but again, I focused on the proper form when riding into a head wind. I then hit my favorite part of the ride - through a high end community with lovely smooth roads and a nice little down hill. Next thing I know, I am on pace to average 30 kph an hour for the ride. So now I am digging deep as one short hill climb and then a nice little downhill to home. Set a personal best on the climb and my average speed for the ride was 31.4 kph.

A great deal of the credit has to go to the bike and wheels. There is no question they probably gave me 2 kph or more speed. And it was fun and rewarding.

Tomorrow, mountain biking. The forecast is for days of rain and so the trails will be too wet to ride for at least the next week. It is going to be a slog but a ton of time to recover.

I nice to put biking or even jogging ahead of work. That is I may have a number of tasks to do but I am now making time for physical activity as a priority and not something to be fit in only if time allows.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3462
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:46 pm

I had a successful meeting today. I thought it would end around the middle of the afternoon but it did not finish up until around 5:30. I had some supper, went for a walk and had contemplated calling it a day. I had a very hard spinner bike workout yesterday today could have been a rest day. BUT ... rain starting tonight and ending Thursday. 16 degrees and no wind to speak of. It was 8:15 and still light out. So why not go for a hard/ sprint of around 23 K.

I did not make the first traffic light so the thought of a fast ride was gone. The legs felt a little heavy and my heart rate seemed higher than for the effort I was giving. But I was able to keep a great cadence. The only down side was the sun was directly into my vision and so I was riding a little blind for most of the out. There seemed to be a bit of a headwind and so it did not feel particularly fast. But just as I was turning around, I caught my second wind. I was flying on the way back. And when I stopped the watch, 32 kph. I am jacked out about that. I am over weight, my stamina sucks and so to somehow squeeze a ride that out, it a great motivator.

And the spinner bike and the ride the previous day and the jog and this ride and ... this is what gives my life meaning and purpose. I find myself watching less and less news. Same with even reading internet articles. The "news" is getting surreal. I read an article about how a make believe "race", Orcs in dungeons and Dragons in a fictional game is racist. For the first time every I was going to write the article and suggest that there might be something more pressing that having Orcs being stereotyped because you know, THEY ARE NOT REAL. But on went on the twitter feed of this justice warrior to find less than 100 people thought his article was any good. And I also thought that I have not played D & D for well over 30 years. I have no plans to play D & D every again so let numb nut virtue signal to his tiny little mind's content. This was the straw.

I have fun being active. Or reading. Or playing a computer game. All of the other stuff is a distraction. Maybe of mild interest just because I am curious but I am trying to disconnect. To focus my attention, energy and resources where they do the most good for me. And as it turns out, I actually enjoy being a little physically tired and sore from a good workout that day or the day before. That not pushing myself, focusing on work is oddly quite unrewarding. I may seem I am doing good and making a difference but then it turns into spinning my wheels. There is no doubt this is a function of my age: I have "senior" in my title with zero interest in moving up the ladder. I do not want to be a manager nor try harder or more "interesting" work. Give me the ugly stuff no one else wants to do where there is no other objective than to get the job done. So what if I do not get a great raise or bonus. Before, that would go into my mortgage but with that being paid off and no major wish list items left to buy, I would not mind lower expectations. And that way, more time and energy to go for a bike ride, etc.


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