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Doing Their Best

I’m always on the lookout for people who are doing their BEST ThirdThird.  I am drawn to people who are doing what they want to do, choosing intentionally how to spend their years.

Dave and I were recently camping in the mountains of Colorado.  He was doing what he loves to do…. run.

This time, he ran in a 50-mile ultra-marathon, a trail run traversing rocky trails with a 3,000 foot elevation change. His BEST ThirdThird definitely involves running. Acclimating to the altitude had him out there for 2+ weeks prior to the race, I came in for day of and day after the race.

http://runrabbitrunsteamboat.com/courses/50-mile-course-description doing best

Part of my BEST ThirdThird involves supporting Dave’s keen interest in pushing himself physically as a runner.  I “crewed” for him…ultra-speak for meeting him at the 2 aid stations possible with dry socks, hot tea and soup, and encouraging words.

Camping at 10,000 feet, the mornings were cold, we had no electricity, and the “amenities” were a stiff hike away. I didn’t mind… I was there to support and to experience.

We met a couple who were traveling in their pickup /camper. They were there, enjoying nature, for a week. Then, they were heading west to more mountains for a few days. Eventually, they’ll make their way back to Utah and home.

They take two trips a year. The other trip this year that they took in their camper/truck? Alaska! For 3 months! They love to travel and have found a way they enjoy traveling.  No cruises for them, they said.

 

Being the not-shy person I am, I asked them their ages.  Dave and I had both thought them to be mid-seventies. I asked when they told me that have a daughter my age (well, 62, actually, slightly younger than me).  They are 82 and 84 years old! Hiking around at 10,000 feet every day. Walking to the lake and around the trails. Sleeping in their bed above the cab of the truck that crawling into can’t be a small feat. And enjoying one another’s company.

doing their best

We found out their 64th anniversary was the day after Dave’s race. We took a bottle of wine over to their campsite along with our chairs and we heard of their family, their year long separation (unexpected, one week after their honeymoon) when he was drafted to Korea, a few of their other trips. They had blue collar careers, raised three children and have grands and greatgrands. It was such an unexpected joy to sit with them and watch the sun set up in the Rockies.

Mark and Bobbe. We won’t forget them. Living simply. Figuring out how to enjoy their (unexpected) ThirdThird into their 80’s! What great inspiration they were to us spring chickens on our 60’s!

 

 

 

Aging is Real

aging

I referred to myself as “old” at a physical therapy session recently and the PT (who is about 35, I’m guessing) chided me.  I was using the term a bit tongue-in-cheek, because I don’t really feel old.  In my head. Aging is real.

In my referral to this PT, I saw that my doctor referred to me as a “trim, pleasant, 64 year old woman” and it unnerved me a bit. Really?  Me? A “64 year old woman?”  That non-personal way of describing me caught me off guard. (At least she called me pleasant!)

In my head, I know I am 64, but I am still as energetic
and quick and robust, physically, as I have ever been.

 

Reality, though is that I am beginning to feel as if I’m “getting there” in terms of feeling old-er.

Who knew that our bodies start to poop out after 30? (Professional athletes know, I suppose.)

If I had thought of it, it makes logical sense that:

  • Hips that have kept me moving for 64+ years might start to show some wear and tear.
  • Birthing 5 babies (only one of five being under 8 lbs), might show up later…much later…in ways other than the joy of having grandkids.

At 64, I might not have hearing that is as acute or eyesight as keen or energy as abounding as 30 years ago.

And who knew that melatonin and its sleep benefits starts to poop out as well!? I read recently in a blog about all sorts of people “of an age” who wake at 2:00 a.m. Dare I say, “Me, too?”

Truth is, I do feel like I’m aging every day if I focus on what isn’t working as well as I want it to.

Longslowjoy.comThis week, I have decided that I am NOT a runner.  I can walk distances at a hearty clip for a while, but running just isn’t working for me. After trying for more than a year to get my lungs and legs to the point they might keep going for more than a mile, I admit that I just don’t have a runner’s body (the physical therapist convinced me). That source of frustration and inner conflict is gone….runner, no more.

While my husband is in Colorado, acclimating to the high elevation of Steamboat Springs for a 50-mile ultra-marathon, I have decided I am not a runner.  He sees running as what he was created to do. He is most alive running. He has studied and planned and prepared for this run…and there will be others.

www.longslowjoy.com

Dave’s great love of running is why I tried to love it….and why I am able to lay it aside. It’s not for me.

 

I’m not giving up my goal of staying fit and active into my 80’s…no way!  But, I will be more realistic about what that will look like.  And I will do what I enjoy, not what frustrates.

As with most things, this is a mind-set problem.
I can think of myself as “old” or “pre-elderly” or “aging.”
OR I can focus on keeping myself active and engaged, planning to be fit and active into my 80’s and beyond….with just a little bit of tweaking as I go along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo credit: Hands with story via photopin (license)

Sticking with It in Your ThirdThird

stick with it

I read the book “Younger Next Year for Women” last year and it made sense to me. Their prescription of eating wisely and having good relationships are not much of a change for me. But, exercising an hour a day for the rest of my life, if I want to stay fit and active into my 80’s, is more of a challenge.

I have always been athletic and I enjoy fitness classes and can make myself spend time on an elliptical machine if I have a good book to distract me. That is not really enough if I want to really be fit. And I do want to be really fit, not just sort of fit.fit and active

Running, I decided, at age 63-and-a-half, is what I will do.

And, so, I do. Run. Regularly (not daily). (And not all that fast.)

I throw in some mixed yoga/pilates/taichi classes in and have discovered cycling
classes on bad weather or very cold days, but, running is what I am trying to learn to like to do. It’s cheap (good shoes are not expensive compared to buying gear for some others exercise options), it fits in our environment (no mountains or lakes nearby), and there is no real reason that I shouldn’t or can’t run.

All I had to do is to change my thinking from “I hate running” to “I am thankful I can run and it will help me stay fit and active into my 80’s if I do it regularly” and I was on my way.

It is a challenge, though. I have to constantly remind myself that I want to run. Progress is slow. I keep track of my runs so I know that my progress is slow. It can be boring, since I think I should not have earphones on.

But, I am sticking with it.

Here are 5 things that I am learning about sticking with running as an “older” runner:

1. Competition should not be your primary motivation.
I do think that if I keep running, there will be a time that I will be able to earn a medal in some race somewhere (as in, if I keep running long enough, there will be no one else in my age group), but at this point, my speed and endurance are not impressive…especially compared to others who have been running longer.I have to focus on my reason for running…to stay fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond)and forget competing.

2. Don’t listen to 20- or 30-somethings who give you advice about running.
When I was first starting, I tried to find sympathy about the challenges of being a novice runner. “Just add a quarter mile every week and you’ll be fine.” “Run sprints once a week.” “You’ll see progress fast if you stick with it.” I soon realized these young whipper snappers, though well-meaning, have no idea what I am facing (and is before them).

3. Find a route that is at least somewhat pleasant that gives you options.
I have a route in my neighborhood that I can make 1.8 miles, 2.3 miles, or 3 miles. There are some days that the long route feels good and I am willing to make time for it. There are other days that I know I have to get out of the house and a shorter one is the one that I will do. It makes it easier to get out and do something if I know where/what I am going to do. Going to the track and running laps is not very pleasant, I think.

4. Invest in a pair of good running shoes, bought from a running store.
Purchasing running shoes on your own when you are starting to run is crazy (in my opinion), especially when you are older. There are so many versions, it is extremely helpful to go to a place where they can analyze your gait, measure you correctly, and find the best features for your feet. They often will have “last year’s model” in the back for a discounted price, so ask. They also might be able to order in a different color if you object to the one they have available in your size (I didn’t realize I am picky about color of running shoes, but…)

5. Find a good massage therapist.
I used to think that getting a massage was a luxury. It is now a legitimate, occasional need. I have found a woman who really knows her stuff. Her massages are not what I would call relaxing, but they put me back together and make some hip and back discomfort disappear. She also has helped me understand that always running on the same side of the road that is sloped is probably going to result in some need to see her.

 

I am sure that as I go on, I will continue to learn. The other day, I used my running time to compose a keynote address in my head and I took 3 minutes off my 3-mile run! My runner-husband has been telling me that “it is all in my head” and that I can do more. I see what he means, now. When I wasn’t thinking about how much I am not enjoying running or how tired my legs feel, I ran further and faster, with no ill effects.

I am not ready to enter any races. I am concerned that if I perform poorly (according to my standards), I will be discouraged. I am wired to be competitive and right now, I am simply competing against my own natural aging process.

Medals and ribbons are not the goal.
Being fit and active into my 80’s (and beyond) is the goal.

 

What do you want in your thirdthird?

Cover photo credit: runners via photopin (license)

Fit + Active

I’m committed to living out my ThirdThird in the best possible way I can.  My ThirdThird.  My Best ThirdThird.

Since having my “30-more-years” aha moment in 2012, I have a pretty consistent mindset of making it the best I can.  A huge part of that is remaining physically fit and active.

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