Getting Old sucks

A cozy spot for triathletes and other multi-sporters

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:58 pm

Work and family functions have limited my "work outs" to several walks and one ride on my mountain bike, now equipped with $30 worth of fenders, to run an errand. The walks have been between 15 - 120 minutes. Had hoped to get out and snow shoe but work and weather conspired to prevent that. The good news is I am a lot less irritable and miserable. My temper is quicker to get under control. I love working out but I tend to go too hard and then I am tired and sore and my emotional state also suffers. I bought a Dr Ho foot massage set up. I had tried it at my mother in laws and it has had in my mind remarkable results. Tingling and numbness in my feet combined with a very tight left calf have responded well.

I was thinking about the controversial Peleton commercial. The question was asked what Husband would think giving his wife an exercise bike was a good idea and my dad might have been tempted to do so. His thinking is worst case, he could use it. He did try and bribe my mom with large cash incentives to even use a treadmill. She did not and the grand irony of the universe is that my dad is dead and my mom is going strong as we celebrated her 82nd birthday. She was taking care of my sisters son and then drove over to our place to celebrate her birthday and Christmas. She does not work out and even go on daily walks so luck and genetics clearly have a much bigger role than most of us would like to admit. The comfort I find in this is I do enjoy going to hike, doing weights, biking or generally working out, being active so slowing down may not be devastating to my health.

I then read something shared by Cycling Canada - a person expressed their annoyance about Master athletes who take what they do too seriously for as the author noted, it is "just a f**king hobby". Most agreed but one dissenter noted it was not a hobby but a lifestyle. My thought is that does not matter. I can buy an expensive bike, expensive kits and read books how to improve. To get goals and pay good money to see how fast I am relative to my peers but still, I have learned I need to keep that in perspective. I think I dodged a bullet this year although I am still suffering or feeling the impact from over doing it. Taking it too seriously. There are the obvious chronic issues I aggravated that continue to pop up. And worse, it is hard to put into words but it feels as if I put my entire system out of whack. Call it drained the battery and left myself in a state of chronic inflammation that even now I have to be careful not to aggravate. When I was younger, it might be days to recover. Now, it is months and I do fear that there may come a tipping point where I never do recover. No regrets what I did this year … because in addition to going too hard, I sold the fat bike. I did a quick try on a snowy field with the mountain bike and it reminded me just how tough that sort of riding can be. And oddly enough, if I push it too hard snow shoeing, I am fine the next day. Exert the same effort on a fat bike, it can be days or even a week. So maybe I am learning.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Dec 13, 2019 1:18 am

I was a little depressed today. Still too busy with work to sneak out and go for a snow shoe adventure, instead I was "forced" to walk around 10 minutes to a wonderful natural area where one could easily forget they were inside the city limits. I took my camera and got a few nice shots but it was more about experiencing the moment. I was first depressed I could not go out and "play". But after around 45 minutes, I was then depressed had I gone the mountains, just how tired and sore I would be. It seems every time I feel like I have finally over come the abuse and misuse of my body this year. The over training and over doing it, I get reminded I am still paying a price. To the point that after 30 minutes or so, I cannot even really enjoy a nice slow and gentle walk in the woods.

lthough going to a 6 - 8 K bike ride earlier this week, the nice walk today is pleasant and likely very healthy for me, I have a nagging sense, the Fear Of Missing Out. That I have only so many years before I cannot do the harder and longer walks that I want to do. Or maybe a better word, that I "should" do because I may not be able to do. Never mind I end up tired and sore. Eat too much, have to take days off the recover and thus the entire experience ends up being unsatisfying and unhealthy but there is that false sense of accomplishment that I did something worthy and noteworthy. But I got a new book from the Library: The Joy of Missing Out. The feelings I have may be the "hedonic treadmill": that it is human nature that once we strive and sacrifice to achieve a goal, the attraction and reward eventually wears off as we reach that objective. And thus we continually seek a new goal, a new challenge. Run a marathon, qualify for Boston, run Boston should have been the end of the story but … I had to run Boston faster. After destroying my body doing that, go to shorter trail races. Get faster, make the podium in my age group but then, make the over all podium until I destroy my body. Cannot run fast marathons, do yearly marathons. Run as many miles as my body can take, run a third less miles but fast. Run a 50 K race and then a marathon. Until I destroy my body. Then switch over the cycling. Do some fun 100 K races and then over train and burn out to do a 100 mile ride. Swear I will never do that again. The next year, do a 100 K race, a 87 K race and then "only" 150 K. So do the 100 mile ride again and it is even worse. Now have some fun doing 100 K but now the damage is done. Sell the fat bike as it did try and kill me but then try and kill myself going too long and too hard snow shoeing.

The sad, pathetic and stupid thing is I have really enjoyed using my mountain bike with studded tires to run errands of 6 - 10 K. To have a break half way through the ride. Or to walk 3 K, relax as I sip on an Americano and then walk back home. To have the energy and a lack of soreness and stiffness to do a 15 minute work out with weights. Not to strive, to struggle to see how fast or how far but what does my body want to do today. And yet for some bizarre and unexplained reason, I was sitting earlier today thinking about driving 45 minutes, struggling through deep snow in - 15 degree temperatures for 2.5 - 3 hours and then driving back because I "fear" not being able to do that next year or the year after that.

One my wife's older friends died today. She was unable to eat and was completely frail. She had to move into a retirement home and did not like it. Having said that, last week she engaged in a hobby she enjoyed and passed away this week. It got me to thinking instead of fearing what I may be missing in terms of time or distance, what if this week I have a nice enjoyable walk where I was able to get a few pictures. I was able to enjoy the experience, be immersed the environment instead of the death march with my end down as I fight exhaustion and pain to make it back to the car or home. It is "fun" to push and challenge oneself but not on a constant basis. Definitely not on a weekly basis. To focus on quality rather than quantity. It is so easily intellectually and rationally. I am in a better place emotionally when I use moderation. And yet … I almost seemed forced, compelled to be stupid and continually over do it. I suppose the first step is to recognize I have a problem. And not only intellectually but emotionally, I know the solution.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Dec 15, 2019 12:15 am

Saturday morning and I had some work to do. No big deal as it was rather chilly and I had some time limits as off for dinner with my mom later in the day. Also did not want to tire myself out too much. Ended up doing some weights, 20 minutes on the elliptical and a nice sauna. I thought to myself, a nice non descript workout but I felt good during and after.

I had time to read and came across the Danish concept of Jante. Oddly coincidental as I also have a brother in law interviewing for a job in Denmark so I read up on the culture. The essence of that philosophy, originally meant as satire in a fictional book, is "get over yourself". You are not special, what you do is not special, etc. There is a school of thought this is why Denmark is at the top of the "happiness" charts. There is a sense of "good enough". A marathon may be good enough instead of a ultra. Or a half or a 10 K or … 100 K may be a good enough ride instead of 100 miles.

In our society and cultural of positive thinking, we can and must always do better, there are no limits if one has will power and the right frame of mind and no wonder we are depressed. Where we would be much more happy and content to accept our limits. I think back, the first marathon was fun. Qualifying for Boston was magnificent. Running Boston was a magical and a once in a lifetime experience and qualifying again somehow justified and confirmed all of that. So why run it again when I had no motivation to do so. Thus I had a create a goal - break 3:30 the second time or at least run faster. I did the later and it was a miserable and wasteful experience from literally the second I saw I qualified again - the dread of the flights and the costs to the miserable frozen water bottle training to sitting in a hotel room by myself staring at the ceiling just to say I did it, again. The next three marathons were no better and each got progressively worse. But we must strive, we must set goals that are difficult to achieve and in this way we provide reason and meaning to our lives. But how much better had I gone back to 5 and 10 K races and hiking. Ride 100 miles to see if I could do it. I could and all I can say is I survived but then somehow convince myself doing that again was worthwhile. I literally lost almost a full year to injuries and I am still not 100% better. Four marathons was good enough. One 100 mile ride was good enough. I had to run a number of 5 Peaks races so I could win my age group and … I must have spent hours standing around after races to get a silly little medal. The kicker was in my last year of running, I finished second overall in my age group for the series. Three hours of standing around to get a coupon for 20% off the cost of races the next year. My ego and vanity felt very silly that day. Had it been the best 4 out of 5 races, I would have never bothered with the third race but because it was best 3 out of 5, I did the last race. I actually started to resent the training and hated the race but I still stayed around for three fricken hours. Of the three races I ran, another runner finished 3rd, 3rd and 2nd to my 1st, 1st and 3rd. He never stayed after any races and never got a medal. And yet, the racing was good enough.

The same rules apply to my work. Keep my head down, do the job the best way I can - quantity over quality and do not seek praise or recognition and rewards are showered upon me. But when I puff out my chest and take steps to "share" my knowledge, to "assist" the branch, that is when things go bad for me.

Thus I already have a News Years Resolution: To be satisfied, maybe even seek out average or good enough. To accept and embrace my limits. To exercise the self discipline and restraint of moderation but also to ensure my moderation is also done in moderation. To race once, maybe twice next year but not to kill myself training. The one event I will enter is 87 K and with no gruelling climbs but great scenery and roads I really enjoy riding on. But to do that with perspective. The very best riders will be doing 100 miles. And although my competition may not be the best recreational riders around, they will still kick my butt so ride as hard as I can but know it does not matter in the end. To try and have as much fun as possible in training. If 10 K snow shoeing gives me joy and pleasure, then that is what I will do. If for whatever reason I am not feeling it, there is no harm in missing "perfect" conditions.

The fat biking conditions have not been better in years. And yet I see progress in my thinking and feeling for I do not regret selling my bike. Getting the bike and gear ready to go. Driving at least 60 minutes in total. Having one great ride out of 3 or 4 for whatever reason. And instead having as much or more fun riding my mountain bike around the city. Or as I did today, a using my home gym. I enjoyed the experience for two short years but I cannot say I miss the overall experience. There is not the fear of missing out but the joy of missing out. So progress and hope.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Dec 17, 2019 11:04 pm

I am going through withdrawal and a weird, almost double grief.

As the dear reader may recall, I accidentally became the voice of old, fat and slow fat bikers on an Facegroup site. I had a small but loyal following more because I loved to write and take a ton of photos. And more so, because most of the reports were from young, thin and fast fat bikers. The upside was I was almost famous. I had two neighbors who I had never met before recognize my bike and stop and chat with me about how much they loved my posts. The problem was I then almost never in the moment. I was looking for the perfect photo op as I was also writing the ride report when on the ride. And as it turns out, my fat bike wanted to kill me so I sold the bike and became a lurker for the most part.

There was a revival of sorts as after a heavy snow fall, I went snow shoeing a couple of times and shared photos and trial conditions that a few people seemed to appreciate. I also joined a Hiking group.

But then the typical internet crap starts to be highly noticeable. Someone makes an arrogant and snotty pronouncement and someone else has to respond with an arrogant and snotty rebuttal. The worst and straw that broke the camel's back was someone noted that the rules said you have to have 3.7 " tires or more to ride when there is snow. One response was screw any and all rules and a virtual bench cleaning brawl ensued. Forgot courtesy or common sense. A few people tried to say that after a fresh snow and newly groomed trails, only fat bikes. But now, with hordes of fat bikers, snow shoes and hikers, the snow is so dense and packed, a regular mountain bike may work. But they were quickly drowned out or ignored by the mobs screaming at each other. Same sort of crap on a hiking site. With an added creep factor that when a pretty young woman posted a photo of her on a hike, lots of very uncomfortable comments flowed.

Thus I left both sites but here I sit, wanting to join so I can just make one more point. Never mind in a week or two at most it would all be electronic dust. That I could enjoy my hikes and just be in the moment rather than try and record everything to "share".

I miss the old internet. One could have a very lively and spirited debate but with substance. You would right a long message, submit it and then in a day or three, a moderator would either allow or reject it. I still had my fair share of "kills" : where my arguments were so forceful it literally would drive an opponent away. And I myself was fatally wounded more than once. But now, this free form, instant garbage and trolling is something I do not understand or even want to.

The other problem with these sites is it plays to my addictive tendencies. So if I am just a little bored and tired as I seem to be all of the time, I can go online and not really have to think. And yet I can still participate and call someone a Douche. And I can look up and see two, three or even more hours have gone. And yet the most brilliant ride report with wonderful photos and a ton of likes, is gone. And likely was virtual dust within days. The delusion, the false sense of belonging to a tribe and virtual interactions became more of a time waster and also energy drainer.

I also feel my mind starting to shrink and whither. Instead of big ideas and concepts, it is quick hits and pretty staged photos. One site I abandoned very quickly was when the members instead of sharing the joy and passion for our hobby, it became a contest of staging photos of the "antics". It was so fake and inauthentic I could not stomach it and so I left. In a sense, that applies to the other sites. I do recognize that many real and lasting friends were found on facebook but I am not looking for that. The one thing endurance activities had for me was it allowed me to go off on my own for hours in a socially and culturally accepted manner. Not only that, there was praise and recognition. So I am not looking for a ride or hike partner but in theory, to gain a sense of belonging to a group formed around a shared interest. But as noted, this is poisoned for me and thus I have to cut ties. But a lot harder than I thought as whatever they do it, there is a strong urge to go against all logic and reason. To stress and anger myself reading the post of "idiots" and then trying to explain to them how dumb they are. I crave that fix but I have to remain strong.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:50 am

Out of a walk with my wife. There was one small patch of ice about 500M from our home. My wife slipped and fell but did it in such a slow motion way, she escaped any major harm. But in helping her up, I lost my house key. I did not know that until we got home. It was at night so I ran to the stop where I thought the key would be. It was there and I ran back. So in total, about a kilometer or so in total. My speed and form were encouraging and it kept alive a dream, a fantasy that when I turn 60 in four years, I can do a race or two. Maybe even jog a marathon.

But as the night wore on, I was not doing as well. First my back, then my hip all started to act up. I had planned to go snow shoeing today - took the day off. But there was the threat of rain/ snow at my destination so decided that was not a good idea. But very stiff, sore and lacking energy. Did go for a small walk and after an hour or so, was ready to go for a bike ride but no time as I had to drive my wife to a funeral service. That may not have been such a bad thing as very stiff and sore tonight.

We know of the mind body connection but I still find it fascinating that the mental stress of work can have such a profound impact upon my body. Stiff, sore and fatigued as if I had done a hard run and yet it was all mental work that caused it.

One thing I do not seem to have the energy or stamina for as I have finally been worn down is politics. I can almost add the "news" as well. There is so much opinion, so much rush to cover a story without any context or research behind it everything is becoming white noise. Woke and purity tests annoy me as much as crude, rude and socially unacceptable. I am a realist and pragmatist who is not bothered by wars, famines, shooting and the like but at a certain point in time, one becomes desensitized to it all. I could go on about how I am increasingly convinced our democracy is fixed and fake where people with money control most of the levers of power but that is not necessary.

I have been working so hard at work I decided to go on a spending spree of sorts over the past few months. Snow shoes, new hiking boots, microspikes and that was around $350 or so. I have given up on social media and trying to reduce the time spend on the net even just reading "news" stories. Decided I really need to sharpen my mind and as such, I got a 50% discount combined with a holiday sale, I bought around $600 worth of computer war games for around $200. Top get my mind sharper by trying to test myself with tactical and strategic games.

I need escapes and I am trying to find healthy ones instead of passive distractions. I never want to say never, but I do not see any running going forward. Granted it has been some time but the 1 K I did last night hit me as if I had run a half marathon. I have been walking and riding, doing some weights and even an elliptical so the legs and back should have revolted as they did. As I withdraw into more manageable and probably more healthy lifestyle choices that take into account my age combined with a body that has been severely misused and abused.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:26 pm

There was literally no transition from being super busy at work - had an important meeting on the 23rd to family functions. Clean the house, make food for the 24th and 25th when we visit and prepare for a brunch for my mom on the morning. I had hoped to sneak out and do some snow shoeing on the 24th but by the time I had finished what I needed to do, it was too late. The 25th was busy and I did not even get a walk in. So the 26th would be the day. But I woke up after basically two days off and EVERYTHING was stiff and sore. The wind chill was - 24 and so I decided to take a nap. Several hours later, I was up. Finally had the sense to use the home gym. 15 minutes of weights and body weight [pull ups, etc] 20 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes in the sauna and I felt much, much better.

Did sleep in a little today. But was out of the door by 9;30. Drove a little less than an hour and I was in the front ranges and climbing up Prairie View with my snow shoes. The workout yesterday really seemed to help. Glad I had snow shoes on - saw some people using runners but with nasty winds and hordes of people churning up the snow, at my weight it made for a much more enjoyable adventure. I started to lose some steam at around the 5 K mark or so and just in time for the first look out. I took some photos with my relatively new $600 camera but the photos make it worth every penny. Ate a quick energy bar and at first was jogging back down. There was a slightly better look out that I am guessing may have been another 1 K or so. But thigh high drifts I attempted had me turn around before even attempting to reach the better vantage point. The tank was near empty just as I reached the parking lot and that feels 1,000 percent better than me dragging my walking poles in the Zombie posture. In my "youth", you know when I was 55 I would have pushed on and ignored my central governor and body that was warning me not to do so. But today, I turned around and felt great about it. So much so, there is another 10 K or so hike I plan to do.

As a side note, the fat biking conditions are near perfect. But I have no regrets selling my bike. There is the odd time such as when I saw a boxing day sale of $1,200 for an $1,800 bike but that quickly disappears. I think of the maintenance and having to put on the bike rack, the bike, drive out. And although the conditions may be perfect, if I am little tired or stiff, cannot quite maintain near perfect control of the bike, it can be very frustrating. And my shoulder and knee in particular are also grateful I am not trying to mess them up again. To boot, I am having fun hiking/ snow shoeing and riding my mountain bike on the city bike pathways with studded tires.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Dec 31, 2019 10:57 pm

A nice day for a snow shoe and I was able to take advantage of that: The plan was go up Sulphur Springs, better known as Suffer Springs to mountain bikers. Then up a downhill trail known as 727 and back down Race of Spades.

The day was just warm enough, the snow just soft and deep enough to justify snow shoes for the first 2 K or so. Then I reached 727 - one person on a bike and sled had come down but even deeper and softer snow. I climbed and climbed through thick trees. So much so, I was sweating a storm as the 60 kph winds could not penetrate the woods. After an hour and half of straight climbing and now about 5 K or so out, I bailed to road and decided to take Sulphur Springs back. The temperature was now around + 5 and it was tough walking. So I needed up doing around 12 K or so and it took me over 3 hours.

In bailing out, I got some incredible views but had I stuck with the trial and to the very end, it would have been more trees and more soft and deep snow. It is interesting in reading about the Fear of Missing Out and the Joy of Missing out, it was something I thought I "should" do but as it turns out, I did not. And had I been really smart, at around 75 minutes, turned around and I would have probably been done in around 2 hours.

The only good thing about over doing it with walking is I am tired, I am sore, I am stiff but not debilitatingly so. And I should be good to go for some small activity tomorrow. I am hurt enough to really question if it is something I "need" to do, "want" to do and most importantly, "should" I do it.


Time for a few New Years Eve Rants:

I have resolve to avoid political pundits. I intellectually know they make money by inflaming passions and thought I could avoid such tactics. I cannot so I need to avoid that. There was one show where I expert in the field made some interesting observations about what could happen in 2020 and another "guest", an ex politician made these snide, catty and petty remarks in defense of the chief of his tribe. That was enough for me.

I bought a number of computer war game from Matrix/ Slitherine. The problem is that with several of the products, you had to read forums in a self serve sort of way to get the software to work. I spent a full night doing that as I bought a number of games - 50% off for Christmas and as a 15 year member, 50% off again. There was one product I could not get to work and it took several emails and threats of me reporting them to paypal before they finally helped me out. But not before noting how I did not properly follow all of the multiple steps I had to follow according to forum/ self serve guides that were not very clear to me. I want to download a product and use it. Not right click to open as an administrator and … It is the last product I will buy for me. What happened to the customer is right? When did everything become self serve and one is almost ridiculed if they cannot figure those instructions? I am starting to learn the limitations I have as an recreational athlete but there was never any illusion about the lack of computer skills. So now, if it is too hard, time to abandon that whether it be running or downloading.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:31 am

Went for a very little walk today and then got ready for a day of football. But my entire body then started to feel tired and sore. My left calf has been especially bothersome. I have no doubt that I am paying the price for pushing my body too hard for all of 2019. I just recovered from my shoulder when I hurt my knee. I just recover from my knee when I hurt my back. Then the countless aggravations of the back. I finally recover to a point where I then push very hard on my new bike. So if 2019 was the year of over doing it, 2020 has to be the year of moderation.

In that vein, my "boycott" of social media or at least where I am an active participant seems to be working. When I have gone on facebook groups, it is to determine where I might want to go snow shoeing, etc. There was one particular post where I had withdrawal symptoms as someone said one person had snow shoed a particular trail and that was me. My ego and vanity screamed out that I NEEDED credit but I resisted the urge and temptation to become active again.

Even though it has been a very short period of time, the lack of facebook and reading political pundits and speculative/ opinion piece articles on the net has been starling. I not only have the time and energy to do more reading, my focus is much better. I had bought a few computer war games that when I was a very active net surfer, seemed to be way too complex for me to learn and play. By riding my mind of the toxins from the net, not only did I learn to play in very short order, a few of the games were actually quite boring and too easy. There was one American Civil War game with various units and multiple commands and how to issue the commands that always seemed to be way too hard. But today I started to play it and click and move the units and then watch for minutes as they engaged the enemy. I finally just got bored the stopped playing. But just weeks ago, my mind was so unfocused, on such an short attention span looking for the triggers on line sites use to attract and distract, that game seemed well above my cognitive functioning level. Although I had read studies about how casinos and websites use tools that are essentially an infant's mobile but adjusted for adults but having disconnected just a little, I can see how accurate that can be. My brain had become too accustomed to click on a button, get outraged, push reply and then find the next shinny object.

Unfortunately, the shinny object analogy hits too close to home for my physical endeavours. Out of the 8 marathons I have run, the first four were great, the next four were increasingly terrible. But I had to get to "10" at least. There was not a year when I ran multiple 5 Peaks races where at the very least 1 or 2 races were more of a chore than a fun hobby. But as I was going to the race series age group title, I "HAD" to train and run those last miserable races. In cycling, 100 K is good hard challenge but just about anything over and above that is miserable and yet time and time again, I found justifications and rationalizations to do the longer fondos. Even more strange, is that it was not for prestige or recognition. At best I am a very average cyclist and any non cycling people I know have questioned my sanity for doing such long rides.

In that last four years or so, compression fracture in my lower back with several major aggravations, rotator cuff tear, significant knee injury and countless aggravations of other running related chronic injuries and problems. I saw that in my dad and thought I would never get to a point where I was in some sort of pain and stiffness every day and yet here I am. And even worse, yesterday I rode my bike to the Library. Then the Chapters. Then to Shoppers. It was around 16 K or so in total with three rest stops and it was a good challenging, drenched in sweat sort of ride that took a total of 2 hours and I felt great after. Or walk about 4 K, have a coffee and read the paper and walk back. 15 minutes of weights. All of these littles things brings me joy and pleasure, increases my energy and yet I always insist on pushing myself too hard. I suppose the answer is the same restraint and moderation I have exercised when using the net. Allow myself 60 - 75 minutes out and then turn around whether I have reached the end point or not. Or take long rest stops and not just enough to catch my breath if I really need to go longer than 2 hours. To do an 87 K Fondo at the beginning of July but that is it for the year.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:25 pm

I finally had an epiphany that altered my behavior. I had read about the Fear of Missing Out, Continuous Improvement modern culture that when combined with social media has one chasing the horizon in a fruitless effort to achieve [fill in the blank or blanks]. Happiness, meaning, purpose or something along those lines. We are pursuing a "lifestyle" that in turn is a mere illusion and a crafted and well presented image. All fine intellectually but then I read about snow shoeing and even though I am sore and tired, I hike up some front ranges.

Since August, I had been going 110% at work and the stress and anxiety that arises from that, never mind the lack of exercise at times, made the situation much worse. But our unit was challenged with getting finishing off 391 of "X". Everyone was killing themselves to reach that goal and on December 30, 2019, we did. Even with the extended break, everyone I talked to in the new year sounded defeated and worn down. I was the same and I was about to start the death spiral again - stressed and burned out mentally from work and the body thus in weakened condition, subconsciously if I go out snow shoeing and over do it, I will be as happy, content and relaxed as all of those people look like in the photos they took on top of a mountain. If I do that, the aches and pains of my body get worse and what little mental and emotional reserves I have get used up. Then I end up in the physiotherapist office and once again cry out to the universe that I am sick and tired of being sick and tired, especially when it is self inflicted.

Finally to the epiphany: We get an email congratulating everyone on the team for dong such a great job. How everyone busted their butts to achieve a stretch goal that looked as if there was no way would could reach that at the start of November. About 40% of the goal was reached in the last two months or so and so a pat on the back. And what was our reward dear reader may ask? It was in 2020, the goals have been increased. What was expected to be done in 90 days, now 60 or less, etc, etc. And the number of things that had be done by the end of the year increased and quite significantly. It is almost as if one hears, "great job in getting some arbitrary goals done and nearly dying in the process so as your reward, we are going to finish off the job of trying to kill you.".

This is not anywhere unique to my company. I suspect this is everywhere as I noticed over the extended Christmas break as others did, people on line where very snippy and petty. It was akin to someone asking how to run a 2 hour half marathon and at least one person would respond with something to the affect of I have to really slow down and take extended walk breaks. And there were also a few honest posts about how miserable something was but would add at the end, "but it was still fun".

So for the first time in my career, I have finally caught up and I am actually a little ahead in my digital "paper work", I did not tell my manager I have capacity to do more. Instead of getting in my car, driving to the mountains and then trudging through the snow, I went for short walks around my neighborhood or a quick 6 K bike ride to run some errands. I have effectively taken a step back, slowed everything down. Instead of surfing the net to find opinions I do not like, tempted by click bait, I have started to play some computer war games I had bought for "some day". As I may have mentioned before, when I stopped feeding the outrage machine, my head seemed to have cleared up. So games that seemed to be way too complex for me to play and had to wait until I was retired and had the mental energy and focus now seem to be very easy.

I am listening to my body for a change. Again, something intellectually easy to accept but for me, it never seemed to be easy to do. I have not completely given up my social media addiction: I am no longer an active member and cannot post or reply but I still lurk. So maybe I should hike up that mountain or snow she there or ride my mountain bike through the hard packed trails of Fish Creek or … when I read about these things. But for now, I am "living" vicariously through carefully crafted images of random strangers trying to portray themselves in the best light. And my mind and central governor reminds me that yes they look very happy and content but remember when you did that 15 K loop where for a good portion, you were breaking trail in knee to thigh high snow. Just how exhausted you were and at times yelled out in frustration as each step became a struggle. Where when I finally got onto a well worn path I was doing the Zombie shuffle back to the car and in doing so, caught my snow shoe and fell. Where my mood went from this is great being out in nature to where the f**k is my f**king car so that I can get the f**k back home and end this torture and misery.

For me, the timing could not be better. I am caught up at work and very little is on the schedule. So I am actually able to complete the every increasing "to do" list to ensure "data integrity". This has reduced my stress and anxiety. It is currently - 17 C and it may come close to - 30 over the next few days. So when I read about the poor souls who are out there and trying to say how much fun it is to have various body parts frozen, I realize I was one to be pitied. A couple of years ago, it was - 24 C and I decided I would not let a little cold get in my way. So I properly layered up and that took some time. Drove out to the mountains on icy and snowy roads looking like the Michelin Man. Got on my bike and immediately the bike started to creak and groan and not in a good way. It was not far into the ride when the first layers started to succumb to the cold. The bike was not happy, I was not happy and instead of stubborn determination, I turned around about 15 minutes into what was going to be a 60 - 90 minute ride and drove back home. I did not consider myself to be flawed or a failure in "quitting" but rather it showed a wisdom borne from experience and a lot of stupid mistakes. I still laugh at the one time I ran when with wind chill, the temperature was colder than - 40. It must have taken me 20 minutes to put on all of my layers. There was one one square millimeter of my body that was exposed. The only problem was I wear glasses so when it is - 40 or so, one's glasses are going to fog up. So here I am "running" on a bike path near the river and I can barely make out shapes. I was thinking I could easily go off the edge, down the bank and no one would find me. As I was going along, I hear this strange sound. It turns out it was a bicycle and as he passed me, he yelled out, "great day to be out as we have the paths to ourselves". I nodded in agreement but in my mind I thought, what sort of deranged lunatic would be out biking on a day like this. To which my mind answered, the same sort of deranged lunatic that would be out for a run. Which goes back to something I am really trying to embrace: Just because you CAN does not mean you NEED to or SHOULD.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jan 18, 2020 2:52 pm

Recent events has really hit home a theme or theory I have read by an author I have recently read and over several books. That is the idea that Limitations are good. As I had written before, there is a thought that the Danes tend to be the happiest people on earth because they do not brag about personal achievements but that is at least in part due to the fact they also accept everyone has limitations. In North America, we are bombarded with the idea you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. You are only bound by your own mind and soul. That if you run 5 K, here is a medal, here is your photo, here is your official time on an official website but … at the same time that you are exceptional, epic, wonderful, great, a unique and powerful snowflake, there must also be continuous improvement. The idea is that if you do not improve, you are actually going backwards. So run 5 K, you have to run it faster. Run 5 K then there is 10 K, half marathon, marathon and so forth. The not so subtle message is you matter and are important but only if you always are trying to get better, no matter the cost. The only limits one has is that they do not have enough positive thoughts or will or determination or heart or … This applies to sport, to work, to everything.

Thus the North American view seems to be that if you fail at something, either someone else is to blame or you are deeply flawed. Not that given one's genetic makeup and even the circumstances of life at the time, one can do everything right and fail. I believe we all know that to be true on an intellectual level but on an emotional one - how many stories are 70 year old does this or 80 year old does that which are meant to inspire but the underlying message is these genetic freaks who are 20 years older than you are doing "X" and you cannot manage half of that so there is something wrong with you. And instead of the occasional article, with social media, we get that message every day.

In 2002 I ran my first race, a 10 K event. I had a cotton shirt and my day to day wrist watch. I had no idea one could actually train with schedules and the such for my preparation was go for a quick run after work and sometimes on the weekends when I was not golfing. If memory serves me, I ran around eight 5 - 10 K races the year after that. Then a marathon with no real training to speak of for that as I had finally found Runners World and had been using tip and tricks to improve my 5 K times. I ran that marathon and finished within my goals. Started to train formally, burned myself out, somehow had enough time to recover and qualify for Boston by winging it. Tried formal training again, stress fracture but managed to run Boston and then qualify again after that race. When I looked at logs for the training leading up to my first Boston qualifying marathon, there were more than a few months of 150 K. My best month was 245 K but my average was less than 200 K. At the time, most "advanced" training programs had 200 K a the minimum and the sky was the limit for the max. I ran fast when I felt like, did two 40 k runs with the last 5 brutal and hard K at marathon pace and did some other unconvential things. I was told on Runner's World I had zero chance of qualifying but I did with a comfortable margin of more than 3 minutes. The second time I qualified, I ran even less. The point being my success was genetics, luck and some hard work. It was not because I was that much more determined or dedicated than others, I just had some natural gifts that I was able to take advantage of. I sat on a bus to the start line with a guy from Chicago who cried when I told me he made it on his 12th attempt. Although the universe did not care how many miles I ran, how much time, effort and dedication I gave versus others.

Oddly enough, I knew I would not have too many shots. I had a sense I had to do what I needed to do, to grab the brass ring when I could. I ran my second Boston Marathon in 2007. But there were signs that the genetic material I had been tapping into was being eaten away. In 2007, I entered the 5 Peaks series and won the Southern Alberta title. I raced against the Northern Alberta champ once - he beat me by around a kilometer in a 6 K race. In 2008, my first race in that series was with the big boys. They kicked my sorry behind. So I went back to compete against the weekend warriors and easily won my age group the next 3 races. The 5th race, around 7 K, I was beaten by more than a mile by a teacher who had only entered the race that morning as he was there to be a chaperone. 2009 and 2010, the real runners found the Sports distance and I did nothing. At the same time, the injuries started to pile up. Literally did not run in 2011. It was the start of my home gym.

Refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose, I started to jog and then run. I followed advice, did the 80/20 rule of slow to fast. I made it up to 500 K in one month but was well over 300 k for most of the months. But again, by the book, I followed the advice of not adding too much, etc, etc. With my genetic material, the extremely hard work and dedication, my will, my determination, my heart I was going to qualify for Boston one more time in the fall of the 2012. I was going to do so at sea level and in Victoria an that only added to the ease. Long story short, I missed Boston by over ten minutes.

I was still a special and good person. If anyone had any doubt, I merely had to put on one of my two Boston Marathon runner jackets. So working harder did not work, I had to work smarter. I lacked speed so I ran about a third of what I did in 2012 and ran as if I were going to set a personal best in the 10 K as that was also the goal. I was a little better but still missed Boston by around 10 minutes. And I was only able to run one more race. I was not sure I even wanted to do that race. It was a 9 K race in Fish Creek. It was a very hot day in August. In any event, I had turned 50 after I had registered and was 50 at the time of the race but the totally incompetent timer put me in the 40 - 49. My time was enough to win my actual age category but finished 4th in the category I was in. I was about to complain when I said, I am hot, I am tired, I am hungry. If I made my case, I would wait around an hour for the medal presentation. I would deny someone a medal when I had a wall full of the damn things. So I left, made a wonderful lunch and was sitting on my deck and enjoying the day when had a stuck around, I am not sure I would have received my medal. It taught me all of the pomp and circumstance about how wonderful and great one is for running "fast" was just that.

The other thing is one day I went to relive the days when I was truly exceptional. Before I abandoned the desire and need for continuous improvement. When the universe confirmed how special and wonderful I was. So I went onto the 5 Peaks website, brought up the link the past results and found to my utter dismay, the site that did have my results is gone. If there was ever an example of enjoy the moment but at the end of the day, it is transitory and nothing one can do can change that. That one can always try to get faster or go longer or whatever but everything becomes dust.


So this was a long and rambling way of saying as one might have certain abilities, one can also have certain limitations. And as I have very sadly discovered emotionally and psychologically despite intellectually knowing it, one's abilities do diminish over time. Such as where a good hard 20 K run was something I could do on a whine on a nice summer day, now that is not a bad length for a bike ride. So there are limits and seemingly new ones every day.

The good news is that I believe our minds are structured to accept, embrace and even take advantage of this. If a recent study is correct, looking at literally millions of people, unhappiness is a Bell curve. The peak for most people is around 42. You are happiest as a child and as a senior. For me, I was hitting my peak around 42. I was running the Boston Marathon, working my way up the corporate ladder to where I was becoming a respected and senior member of my team. But then my running started to diminish. I made it the position I wanted with the company but that meant a little more work and exponentially more stress and worry. I had a new house and with new mortgage and when combined with the stress and pressure of work and economic uncertainty, I was depressed in my early 50s.

I tried the recapture my rewards of running by doing wish list races such as Moose Mountain or doing well in 10 K races. But compression fracture in my back from hill repeats and aggravation of back, hip and calf injuries killed that notion. I started to bike for fun but as is my pattern, stumbled upon "fondos". I am a very middle of the pack sort of rider and after 2019, have no choice but to embrace my limits - 100 K at most. I have also made weaker attempts to capture past glories with fat biking and snow shoeing as two examples. Not in official events but relative to those on Facebook. I had a fat bike around 500 days or so and rode it 100 times. I had developed a bit of following on line for my ride reports but knee and shoulder with aggravation of everything else forced me to sell. That it was not fun or interesting or unique anymore only made the decision easier. I enjoy snow shoeing but for two hours.

I have thus peaked physically and although I could fight and struggle against inevitable tide of diminished abilities, I have essentially given up. I was chatting with a coworker out of Ontario who is of my vintage. After a long, hard and miserable fall where we were both run off of our feet trying to reach stretch goals, it was reassuring to speak to someone going through the same thing. He told me that at around 2:00 pm every day, he thinks to himself, this the best I am going to feel today and tomorrow that will be just a little bit worse. That his dogs no longer gaze upon him with affection and love but with the thought in their eyes, when our master dies we will feast on his remains. Misery does love company and so yes I have limits and diminishing abilities but so does everyone else aside from a few freaks who get all of the press.

I had a super duper year after several great years. A couple of years ago my manager who is as blunt and direct as I am told me I should enjoy the accolades as I would never do better at work but somehow last year I did. Having said that, the emotional, psychological and even physical toll from the mental stress and anxiety going 110% for several months was way too much. Even if I wanted to, I am positive I could not keep up the pace. I hit my limit and to be frank, It was not particularly rewarding. It is akin to one of my later marathons. I look at the blood soaked socks, the permanent sweat stains, the memory of painful and torturous long runs and the medal and finally asked myself, was it worth it? To continue with the analogy, my work is essentially asking me to finish a half marathon up right and smiling and to this point, I have running the marathon distance and as quickly as I could manage. So time now to cut back to a half marathon as it were.

Having finally paid off the mortgage, the motivating fear factor of how would I pay for the mortgage if I was let go because I was not going double expected of me has finally vanished. I paid off the mortgage earlier this fall but I was on automatic pilot. With the Christmas break and the normal corporate stuff that is meant to motivate and inspire but instead had me looking at where I am and where I want to go. One thing that hit me as I collected a number of books and computer games to enjoy when I retire. Now that was done when I thought I might be able to retire by now. But as it appears I have at least ten more years, time to ease off on the throttle - for work and physical activity - so that I can enjoy those books and games. Thus far, a great decision.

And this week, the final piece of the puzzle fell into place. Wind chills of colder than - 30, I was stuck inside. My mental and psychological state was much improved. I have accepted I cannot do what I have been doing for the last several years at work. But that I can ease off a little, fade into the wood work and still have job security. In fact, slowing down will allow me to shift my focus on ensuring data integrity and the other new metrics one is judged and so it may work out for me. I felt better at times physically but still stiff and sore. I skipped one day and did nothing and it felt even worse. So one day, onto the elliptical and did that for the hour "His Dark Materials" was on. I worked out a light sweat but I felt very good. So I did that again the next day. And the day after with about 10 minutes of fundamental or foundational weights. Squat, lift, curl and press. My body feels better and my mood already good is even better.

I had to run some errands in my car. There were some nasty icy sections and so I was taking my time. I saw the look I must have normally had with other drivers - a grim determination to get from point A to B as quickly as possible. Whereas I was much calmer and trying to get to point B in one piece and take my time so my engine would be warmed up. I had hints or even a knowledge slowing down, not pushing everything to the max and accepting my limits and those are contracting would result in peace and contentment but I had never followed through - until now. It is still very early and to make this a habit, I have to continue for at least 60 consecutive days. The wisdom that comes with age is wonderful. But is that more just experience?

For me, I have run the Boston Marathon, won the 5 Peaks age series title twice and finished second once, ran a 50 K race, rode 100 miles in a Fondo twice and been one of the top producers in my company over the last few years. And as I like to joke, that and $5.50 busy you a peppermint mocca at Starbucks. The world and my universe did not collapse on itself when at work when I was caught up, I did not ask for more work. That after selling my fat bike, my knee and shoulder are fine. When it was too cold to snow shoe, my body did not collapse in a heap. Instead of doing a longer and more frequent workouts, I took the time to read a good book and play a game. I am starting to fade away into obscurity and anonymity as I am cutting back and slowing down on purpose for a change and it is really starting to feel good.

It was funny but I will think about where I rank with the other members of the team. I have certain skills and abilities to handle and enjoy doing what my manager calls "sh*t" files. Although that is an asset, when I think about the people even in my region who can handle the more technical and precise work, I see myself as 3 out of 3. But the other day I remembered, that there are actually 4 members of the Western Canada team. The fourth member is extremely capable and effective. She is great a drilling down on the technical aspects of matters both big and small. And yet her name is rarely raised. It is interesting that although she does not get the public recognition nor does she have to live up to expectations of wonderful greatness. She will have a job with the company for as long as she wants as she is competent, capable and effective but in a quiet and unassuming way. She does not draw any attention to herself and so can go about doing her job without a lot of stress or worry. I have always thought this might be a better way but now I am convinced. I remember a long time ago when I was much more practical and pragmatic and did not let the desire and biological need for recognition and prestige allow me to be driven by ego and vanity. Prestige and recognition is in our DNA for at one time meant for of the limited resources when we were officially tribes roaming about. And now through a bonus or raise. And at one time, I was asked by a manager why I did not put in the extra effort that so and so did. My reply was I will get a 2% raise for my efforts and a $1,500 bonus. They will get a 2.3% raise and a $2,000 bonus but when taxes are worked in, they need up with a few hundred dollars more than I will get. Then when in add in time and effort into this equation, I probably make more per hour then so and so. The manager shrugged their shoulders and said, then keep up the good work. I did not at that time had any desire to become a manager and still do not and so that was never a factor. I did work harder for a time to earn the privilege of a home office but that is long since been paid for. So I have asked myself, how much am I missing by pushing so hard at work that I then push too hard at "play" and end up being tired, sore and miserable for weeks and sometimes months on end. I suppose I had to become so battered emotionally and psychologically that my intellect could finally prevail over my DNA.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:18 pm

Although I never did run one of the MEC road or trail race events, I was nevertheless saddened to see that option has been extinguished. This along with the bike ride event I did do. I rode 100 K, 100 miles and 100 K for $45. That included well stocked aid stations and a wonderful post ride pasta dinner I would have paid $20 alone for. The first thing that came to mind were the losses in the retail. But reading between the lines, the other problem was attendance suffered because all they were offering was timing and a banana. Is it not sad that that was not enough? That one needs a shirt and a medal and a photo for otherwise it is almost as if they did not do the event. I would have liked to do the spring ride one more time with my fancy new bike. It was a great course but the one time I did the 100 k ride, I was not in great shape. My bike had gravel tires and so was not riding well. And there were 100 kph gusts of wind. Great scenery of classic Southern Alberta ranch country but I cannot cry too hard over the loss. This ride and the fall ride were merely options for sometime in the future. I cannot run although I still harbor a notion I might be able to do so one day.

The good news today is I was able to use the sit/ stand desk in the standing position for the first time in about a year. My back and legs are finally abl to attempt this. I have been taking a number of breaks throughout the day but thus far it has gone well. So there is a certain degree of irony, if that is the right term, for the fact I am grieving the loss of events that would beat my body up so much that I could not use the stand option on my desk the same day I have finally been able to use the stand option.

I continue to cull out website I would visit more out of habit than anything else. It is actually quite scary just how effective sites are that get one addicted even after the initial attraction wears off. And also how quickly the mind can shut down and go on auto pilot. In making a number of cuts, I have a lot more time and energy. My mood is better and I can think more clearly. I am currently suffering some mild withdrawal symptoms but these will pass.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:49 pm

I have to ask, what is wrong with people. Back before I started to run in races, I would go for hikes with my day that could total 40 K or so. There was one hike in July we took where we were so high up and so isolated, half of the lake was still frozen. So this facebook site would allow me to connect, if only as a lurker, to people with a share interest so I have been lurking on Hike Alberta. I enjoy looking a photos of mountains - especially taken from a summit or at least from the Alpine. I did not join as I was feeling quite inadequate at times because I did not drive two hours to be at a lake before the sun had risen over the horizon. To hike across that lake and then up through thigh high snow to get some magnificent photos. Or other such adventures. I had been and continue to be a day hiker which is fine and great but relative to the projected image of many, not so great.

Having said that, my own insecurities and anxieties were not a huge issue as I noted, I merely lurked. Never mind that a "pretty" girl with yoga type pants gets two to three times the number of likes as what could be a professional photo. In not joining I did not have anything to live up to. But the problem is people and to my original point, what is wrong with them. The tipping point was someone asked how the highway between Banff and Jasper was to drive. It can be down right dangerous at times and even those with four wheel drive trucks and SUVs are scared. So someone in a car who wanted to make some stops to hike along the way, that was a fair and reasonable question. But some a hole had to pipe in. Is this site about hiking and should we posts photos of our cars. When several people pointed out that to get to hiking, one needs to drive and thus asking how the road conditions are in the middle of winter is a hike related issue. So he doubled down and suggested people need to do their own research and by relying upon sites such as Facebook, that is the reason people are getting hurt or even dying. What sort of moron believes checking with a Facebook group as to how safe it is to use a car to go for hike is going to lead to an epidemic of deaths is beyond me but it happens more often than I would like. Or people whining about people whining about people whining

Thus people being jerks combined with unrealistic expectations has lead me to cease all lurking. The thing is when I hiked, I bought a guide book and did the hikes that interested me and were within my "comfort" zone. I had no idea if what I was doing to great, average, below average or in any way shape or form relative to anyone else. My dad did not like hiking in the woods and so we found hikes that got one above the tree line as soon as possible. It was a personal preference. The thrill of the old fashion camera to see if the photos actually turned out was part of the adventure.

I do wonder for every good idea, good hint how much "damage" is done. I appreciate the value of "crowd" sourcing but rather than be a regular member or even lurk on a daily basis, why not do a search when and if needed. Even then, if someone askes what is the best beginner snow shoe and you will find as many different answers. And does it really matter is one is 3% more efficient?


Call me a neo luddite but I am starting to find all of the connectiveness to be very disconnecting. Too much information and so much of that is merely opinion. False and projected images to create meaningless "likes". How many impeachment updates does one need in a day - I have cut back on what I follow on twitter to weather alerts, some local news and local golf and cycling alerts.

It is no coincidence this is happening as I am starting to moderate my activities. At one time I could smugly and with arrogance dripping off the statement, I was bored so I went for a 20 K "jog" with a average pace of quicker than a 5 minute per kilometer as if it were nothing special but deep down, I knew I was much better than 95% of the population. Now that I cannot even run 5 K, I am not that much into sharing. In many ways, I am healthier and in much better place now but ...

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:52 pm

Before the recent cold snap, I went for a couple of snow shoe hikes. The last one was around 12 K and about 360 m in elevation. I was breaking the trial and thought I may die in attempt. The cold snap hits and I am on the elliptical at an easy to moderate effort watching an hour long show. So today, I was not sure what to expect.

I started in just the hiking boots and snow shoes strapped to my back. The trial was so well packed I did not need anything more. There was some residual stress and anxiety from work as I later saw I my walking pace at one point was 5:37 for a kilometer. In any event, I continue to the path less travelled - still relatively good but it was a nasty climb. The total elevation gained was over 500 m on a 14 K round trip, 7 K to the top of the ridge but with around 250 or so in just the last mile or so.

Where necessary I slowed my pace or even just stopped to lower the heart rate. Made it the top and was greeted with the front ranges so close I could almost reach out and touch them. Had an energy bar, put on the micro spikes for some down hill traction and off I went. Did have a nice chat with a father and son at the top and that made me a little sad. It reminded me of the hikes with my dad and how I abandoned those to chase medals and personal bests. So the saying you only regret the things you do not do is a lie. But on the other hand, it was a nice friendly chat. Had a number of those. With fat biking, one continues to ride but with hiking, it is almost customary to stop and chat. I even built up some good karma. I was actually feeling good at the end of the hike. Some kids - 2 men and 2 women in their early 20s - asked me if they were on the right path to get to Prairie mountain. They were not and I slowed down and guided them to the proper trial - not a lot of karma as that was on my way to my car but still … the other thing is people are hell. Some hiker who was off to a campground and obviously knew what he was doing had told them the trail I was on would get them to Prairie mountain. When I ran into them, they might have been a kilometer from the well travelled trail head. But what the jackass had told them to do was go 2 more K away from the mountain. Then take a link of around 4 k over a small pass. Then on a different trail, try and find a little used and hard to find trail that leads to a longer trail up the back side of the mountain. Again I have to ask, what is wrong with people. Instead my route was go 1 K to the trail head, go 3 K to the summit and then back down to where their car was. To send 4 people who obviously did not know what they were doing on a 5 + K round about way to then have route finding on a 4 K or more route up the mountain is close to criminally stupid. The arrogance of people and not being able to assess a situation and give the best option floors me. I am not going to let this part upset me too much as I had a great day, took some wonderful photos and I am already planning my next hike.

And I need to emphasize that we talk of the grand and epic adventures and training and yet, a couple of easy hours on a elliptical while watching tv did more good for me than anything else. It does not have to a struggle between good and evil but a simple little thing. So that for example, my legs are strong and rested whereas in the past, I would start off such a hike tired and sore. Or should I say once I started to run and train as before that, I would and could go on these hikes on a weekly basis and be fine. Every so often, even go close to 40 K. Something to be said about slow and steady.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:30 pm

It is amazing just how easily social media can suck one in. Or at least suck me in. I had a headache and was sore so did not have much ability to do much but casually surf the net. I was looking for idea and conditions for some potential hikes. A great site to find this is a mountain bike trail facebook group. I started to read some reports. Then started to look at other such sites. Then linked into mountain bike race sites. Next thing I know, I thought of how much fun it would be to ride for 24 hour straight on a mountain bike in my prime. Or how I need a good full suspension bike that would only set me back $5,000 or so - a good used or discontinued model as the new ones cost much more.

This was all good in theory but today it hit me I do not really enjoy riding a bike on mountain trials. I lack the skill and ability to be able to power my way up hills and descents are even worse. My last attempt on dirt last year was to climb a relatively easy trail of around 5 K or so. It was not overly technical or even overly steep for that matter. At first it was great. I am in the woods. I am slowly but surely working my way up to the summit of what is really a very big hill. But with each passing moment, the small bump at the beginning of the ride that I barely noticed started to become a bigger and bigger obstacle. My legs were aching, my heart pounding, lungs bursting and then my back started to hurt. This was at around three quarters of the way up and I quit and turned around.

So there is the image of people having fun, smiling and living a wonderful lifestyle of riding 24 hours in a row. Or 3 to 6 days in a row of distances I could barely do once, never mind three or more times on consecutive days. So I want to live that life, to smile and achieve. I must have a terrible and fatal flow NOT to really want to do that. But … reality is I do not. I have literally continued to run when at the 5 K mark of a 30 K run my foot starts to bleed. When I have gotten home, my sock is soaked in blood. So I can endure pain as any marathoner can but after the first few times experiencing that, it was no longer novel or interesting or a cool experiment. It was just painful. To run a marathon the way I wanted, I had to put up with that. And by the last marathon, all of the suffering did not translate into the sort of performance I expected, maybe even demanded of myself. I did one road 50 K ultra - The training and race itself had only two goals - met the generous time deadlines and finish upright and smiling. I accomplished that and although there was some temptation to repeat that magic, I decided if I could not recreate magic at Boston, I had no chance with a 50 K run and so abandoned any thoughts of a repeat.

The one bike ride I want to do this year, the Highwood Pass Gran Fondo Lite - 88 K through the foothills and into the front ranges but before the climbing gets nasty has its registration open in a couple of weeks. I am sad to admit I looked at the 159 K event and thought, it is only $20 more at $149 for the early bird special and so would it not be neat to try it one more time. Fortunately my logical and rational brain screamed at the top of the lungs, NO, NO it would not. You would have your head down and barely notice the surroundings after a couple of hours. The brief vistas not blocked by trees would likely be ignored. The roads passed the turn around for the Lite Ride are terrible and not much better than a gravel road and I hate riding on gravel.

I will blame of culture - always having to do more or better. Otherwise, you are going backwards. Maybe, but as someone once said, everything will kill you so you might as well pick something that is fun.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:26 pm

Looking back, I now wish I had listened to my body, my gut and the universe, the last marathon I had run was back in 2006, my 4th and had not run four more. That when training in general whether that be for a marathon, a trail race series or a Fondo that when my body was screaming for me to take a break, to reduce the duration, frequency and intensity, I would do so. To spend five more minutes at the halfway point resting. I say that because it hit me these old and unhealthy habits are still engrained in my mind.

Last Saturday, I did a moderately hard 14.5 K hike. There were a few times I was tempted to turn around in the last mile or so but I persevered and was rewarded with magnificent vistas. And better yet, the way back down was so much fun I caught myself giggling. Later that night, I was not so happy but within a day or two, I had made a substantial recovery. Still a little stiff and sore, the smart and intelligent thing would to wait until I was fully recovered to attempt the next big hike. But to my point, when I "had" a long run or ride to do, I would scan the weather reports. So if the day I wanted to do the activity had poor weather, I would move the run or ride sooner when I knew the weather was better. This created more aches and pains and no doubt contributed to my current chronic issues. So this week, I thought I might be good to go by Sunday. But rain and snow in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, I could still sneak out and do the 2 - 3 hour hike before then. But then my mind and body informed me that would be insane.

I am stiff and sore now. So to do a challenging hike with a ton of elevation change would only make it worse. And if recent experience is any indication , could lead to a complication that lasts weeks or even months. There is absolutely no reason this hike cannot wait a week or four even. I can also use this to comment on social media. One goes onto a group page with over 3,000 members. A handful of outliers, less than 10 go for weekly if not more frequent hikes to bag summits. You enjoy the wonderful photos and on occasion, that hike looks fun. But I wonder if under that, your subconscious is asking given the cultural context of 'continuous improvement' that you are flawed in some way because your hikes are at least 3 weeks apart. And to boot, on general are less challenging. Even though 99% of the people in the group take the same approach you do.

I was on my mountain bike doing some errands. It was not a particularly hard ride nor very far. And yet, when I got home, my shirt was drenched in sweat and my body knew I had just finished a good workout. I was not on the top of a mountain or having to navigate a technical trail full of roots and rocks but it still felt good. Again, there is a part of me deep down inside that will compare myself to the images others project on the net. Sometimes the people I am comparing myself to are 20 or even 30 years younger. They have twice the skills and abilities and twice the bike I own. And yet there is pull to try and improve and do more not because of how much I love mountain biking for at best there is a like and at times I question what the hell I am doing but to address some "flaw" in my character or soul. Even though for every "epic" ride, there are at least one or three reports about a quick spin after work in an urban park. The later much more my speed. But the good news is that I am actually quite content to do these rides, to put off a hike for a week or two now. I recognize the real flaw is Fear of Missing Out or comparing myself to people I should not compare myself to.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:12 pm

All this week I was going to sneak away and do a 3 + hour hike. However, every time I was ready to go, something urgent came up at work. Or when I was going to go, I was so stiff and sore I did not believe I would enjoy it. I did get in a nice 20 K ride and a 7 K walk. I had thought that I may have felt good when I got out there but the relatively modest ride and walk was stiff quite hard on my body. I am absolutely convinced that the abuse and misuse from 2019 still haunts me. So right now, the best course of action is more an active rehab than just being as active as I can.

On the ride, I saw a short cut across a well travelled but still snow covered field. It was good I did that because despite every good reason not to, I still am somewhat pining for a fat bike. The reason was I was reminded about how much hard work that was and the strain it put on my body. I continue to fight a temptation to buy a "reward" given the tribulations I face at work. One week I was told I am doing things too quickly and therefore some observes may start to questions the results. Not that the results are bad but the image or appearance that I did not struggle for weeks or months on end could give the wrong impression. The next week, I get a phone call from my manager asking me not to yell at them because some of those observers have asked if I could get them something in my normal quick approach. Thus week 1 I am doing great, Week 2 not so much and then Week 3 I am doing great again but without really changing my approach. In the past, I would say I deserve and earned something big to make up for this and go out and buy a fat bike. Or something on my wish list. Oddly enough, my wish list really does not have much, if anything on it.

The good news is that in not pushing myself so hard physically to reach made up goals and objectives to the point I was too tired and unmotivated to do anything, I now have the time and energy to go to a play. I always had an excuse - too tired, too sore, in a bad mood. But in being forced to cut back and applying some well earned wisdom, I really enjoyed the play I attended today.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:51 pm

Near the very end of shovelling after a light snow fall, I felt a twinge in my back. Went for a business meeting and on the way home, stopped at an outdoor golf driving range. Heated stalls, etc, etc. First time I had swung a club in about six months. I was doing pretty well and even though I only bought a small bucket, about three quarter of the way through the balls, I should have stopped. But the bucket was $10 and I felt compelled to continue. But in addition to getting tired, I was getting bored so rushed through the other balls. Now the twinge in the back was a ache. So the 2 + hour snow shoe hike was put off the next day. And the day after that. And it was too cold the day after that.

My back is a little sore right now but having been to a physiotherapist countless times, I did some of the basic exercises and it is manageable. But it is just enough to once again cancel my snow shoe plans. That and I do not feel highly motivated to drive on some slick roads, tromp around the woods for several hours and then drive back home. The good news is the guilt and shame of telling myself, a nice hour or so bike ride later today when it is warmer is not there. I see no weakness nor flaw in considering an easier choice. Hell, I may not even do that. And equally as good, I do not see that is wisdom or strength or discipline or courage to choose a different option. It is merely a different option.

Yesterday, I had a number of projects to do with work. I work from a home office and all of a sudden, it is 1:00 and I am still in my pajama bottoms. I decided I needed a break so walk 3.5 K, mostly up hill, to a coffee shop where they make a mean cameral latte, read the paper and then walk back home. On the way home, I found myself breaking into a smile and even had a quick giggle. I was overcome with this intense moment of joy. It was a nice day, I was walking at a normal pace - so it was not too far, too fast or part of any challenge such as 100 days in a row or whatever. It was an unplanned and devoid of anything special or unique but it was great.

If studies are to be believed, older people tend to be more happy and content. At least part of that is because one can find pleasure in simple things. And that in turn is, again if you believe studies, are more content when you have fewer options. And through experience, the glow of an accomplishment does fade. Some time ago, I was dealing with someone through work and I was wearing a Boston Marathon jacket. I never really took offense at the question, "did you run it" as I have anything but a classic marathon body. In the corral at Boston, I probably had at least 30 or 40 pounds on average more. In any event, I said yes I did and added, twice. He told me he had run almost 10 years before I did but the tone was not bragging or with pride but more like we were part of some secret club but with a hint of shame for lack of a better word.

The year I ran the second one, I was at a 5 Peaks race and fellow competitors and a race director were gushing about my accomplishment. But with each consecutive year, the luster and shine has slowly faded. I am still extremely proud but do appreciate the law of diminishing returns. The first hint was five years after my last Boston, I ran the Victoria marathon. My father in law asked about how that went and when I told him my time, his reply was how much slower I was than I had been. It put everything into perspective and just how fleeting things are.

I share this for I have accepted that in theory for years but just now is it hitting me in practice. It helps when I cannot run, I cannot fat bike, I cannot do much of anything for more than 2 or 3 hours within intense pain and misery. There are times when I think about doing a small 5 K race so I can do well against my peers. And I go out with a nice warm up and then slowly build my speed to a slow run only to have my body and mind shut that down after a kilometer or maybe up to a mile. I am going to register for a 89 K "fondo lite" that will be held at the beginning of July but that means I do not really have to start "training" until the beginning of May. And even then, for the most part rides I would done without this event.

I do have to admit it a very strange feeling to wake up and think that I have to do … and then nothing comes into my head. Not only for the day but the entire week. Or I have set out everything to go for a hike the night before and then go, nay, I do no feel like it when I wake up. But nice to realize it really does not matter. Odd not to have any real goals or objectives but also nice not to have something I HAVE to do, where it becomes more of a chore. And if the back is a little sore, take a day or three off to let it settle down rather than tape and ointment and pills just to let me do the next "mandatory" work out.

Dstew
Bill Crothers
Posts: 3421
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:41 pm

Re: Getting Old sucks

Postby Dstew » Wed Feb 19, 2020 10:26 pm

There was a pretty young woman who made a terrible mistake on a facebook hiking group. She posted a photo of her looking more like she was off for a coffee than a hike staring at the mountains in an instragram type photo. The caption was cannot wait for summer so she could take in the gorgeous scenery but as noted, she took up most of the frame with some nice mountains as her background. First the creepy men made the expected creepy comments. As it was attention, she did not seem to mind. But then the mob attacked. They noted this was not instragram or another attention seeking forum but one to share hiking experiences and knowledge. She was shredded and left. Another person with a 'look at me' type post also then was attacked. The problem for me is I am on the site to maybe find a trail I might have otherwise over looked. Or current conditions so as nasty and mean the mob was, I did have sympathy. On the other hand, the tone was off putting as much as the attention seeking morons.

All that is going on in the world, in Canada and at my job, I decided my broken toe and I had to take advantage of perfect weather. No clouds. Temperatures around + 1 and where I was hiking, a rare day without wind. So off I went and up Prairie mountain. It is literally 3.5 K of straight up but I did fine. I read about another route down that was less harsh on the knees. But that added 3.5 K and I was very tired near the end. Got a number of great photos and my soul was refreshed. Forgot my watch but it was around 3 hours or so to do the 10.5 hike. Next time, a up and back and that should be around 2 hours or so.

I love the nature. I loved the challenge of hiking up a mountain - thank goodness for microspikes as I am not sure I would have made it otherwise. And most of all I loved and embraced the solitude. It was if my energy cells had been drained by our modern world and so something as primal as struggling up a steep slope where I was concentrating on the next step was great and needed.


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