If I could run without injury, I would run and run and run. In fact, I would be an ultra marathoner if I could. In my twenties I ran 10K’s, but ran through knee pain which was a mistake. Now that I’m 59, running through pain is no longer an option, I have to find the root source of the pain and cure that first.
There’s nothing that I love more than endurance sports. My biggest problem is that there aren’t a whole lot of endurance sports that older people can do safely. I have rollerblades, and used to do 50-mile workouts. But I’m not a good rollerblader, and Hubby decided he doesn’t want to rollerblade again because he thinks it caused some sort of injury. Imagine two older people, wobbly legs spread apart, dressed to the hilt in armor, trying to rollerblade for 50 miles, screaming at little kids on bikes to get over to the right side and at people to get their dogs out of the way.
Biking is also a fantastic endurance sport. However, a great road bike is really expensive, and if you’re not a good rider you get lots of flats because you have to pay attention to the road surface. I don’t notice road debris and I don’t like spending all day fixing flats (been there done that), so now I ride a $300 upright crossover Schwinn that weighs twice as much as my road bike did. It has big thick tires that can go over everything. In fact I’ve had it for about 15 years and I’ve never had a flat. I can’t really ride much more than 25 miles at a time, though. It’s just not made for long distance riding or speed.
Swimming is also a fantastic endurance sport. Give me an olympic sized lap pool and I’d love it. The weighlessness of water is a gift for back pain, and the way lap swimming clears my lungs is miraculous. It’s still not my first choice even though it would be the best alternative for me. The problem with swimming is that it’s not weight bearing so it doesn’t do as good a job at fixing my back as yoga and walking/jogging. Plus it costs money.
Everything takes second place to running. RUNNING RUNNING RUNNING, I crave the freedom of running everywhere and anywhere pain-free. I crave the runner’s high, where all of a sudden you have a burst of energy that comes from nowhere and your body is filled with ease and your breathing slows down and it feels almost like you’re gliding. I crave seeing the world on two feet. You can have your cars, buses, trains and airplanes, I’d rather take the route that doesn’t get me car sick and doesn’t suck away my enthusiasm to see the world. Seeing the Taj Mahal would be ok, but I’d rather see the kids playing barefoot in the streets, and the shanty towns they live in, and tangled mass of overhead wires that hover everywhere, just barely supporting a city full of people. I want to see the sacred cows that wander the streets.
I want to run up and down the Grand Canyon, gasping with awe when sunset floods my world with the most brilliant orange glow.
I want to run through the streets of Manhattan, watching New Yorkers as they live their lives: playing basketball, rushing to work, walking their dogs, selling and buying roasted chestnuts, washing car windows out on the streets to make some change, cab drivers honking their horns and weaving in and out of traffic like death on wheels.
I want to run through forests and beaches and have stories to tell and write about. I want to run to prove to myself that life exists and is still worth living.
Tell us about something you would attempt if you were guaranteed not to fail (and tell us why you haven’t tried it yet).
Too Big To Fail