Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Over 50 and my legs are trashed

I had another post half-done a couple of days ago, but I will save it for another time and defer to a sadly interesting  and current letsrun thread. The thread is called Nearing 50 and my legs are trashed. I just altered the title a bit for this post. All I have to say to my younger running friends is to read this and start planning for the day when your legs lose their snap and you can't run like you are used to and would like to. It sounds like something a lot of long term runners are dealing with, if they don't quit all together,  and is a complete suprise to me. I knew I would get slower as I got older, and I knew the surgery and added weight gain would slow things down further for awhile, but I was not ready to never feel that snap in my legs again, for the legs to constantly feel heavy and to lack any energy, and to feel no ability to pick up the pace or even to do a short sprint when I am running. This is all new and uncalled for! I am complaining a bit, but I guess I am also somewhat fascinated, like looking at an accident on a highway, at what happens as long-time runners age. I wouldn't call it burn-out as runners on that thread desire to get their running back, just like me. When you are younger, you have no clue that this will someday happen.

I had a good week for reaching goals last week. This is my best mileage since my hip surgery last summer. I think it was more about reaching a goal and ended up being more a mental exercise to keep pushing to get the miles in. I did want to get a 50 mile week in this summer and that is not going to happen.

Monday: 3 miles Mine Falls Trail Race
Tuesday: cycled 26 miles group ride
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Friday: 8 miles
Saturday: 8 miles
Sunday: 8 miles
Weeks total: 43 miles running

While I am happy I stuck with my goal of running 8 miles each of those last 5 days, it was not pretty. My running is labored and at times seems more like a shuffle. My legs are dead, toast, trashed or whatever you want to call it. The desire is still there, but once I start running my legs are tight and I can't move them without feeling like an 80 year old man. I am running my 8 milers 6-18 minutes slower than what I would consider an average training time from just 2 years ago. I am still dealing with hip alignment and my foot throwing my stride off, but the dead legs is something else. There is no spark. When I saw that letsrun thread, I realized those guys are just like me. We have lost that ability we used to take for granted. I do hope to get it back, but the aging process stinks! I have tried a lot of things mentioned by various runners in the thread, but my legs don't want to move quickly and I am gutted and exhausted after each slow amble on my training route. But, I haven't given up yet. Someday these old legs will feel refreshed. It just ain't going to be easy, I guess!

I am still playing around with the insoles. I ran my fastest 5k of the Mine Falls Trail series on Monday this year, but it is still minutes slower than what I was doing two years ago. I will finish my insoles post some day when I have given the insoles more time to gauge their success.


Laura said...

Ok Jim, we need to talk! I run with several men in their sixties, and they are frequently injured, but unwilling to take a break or change their routine. It is time to re-set your expectations. This doesn't mean stopping, but instead determine the distance that is consistently sustainable for you and then go with it. Make your goal to be running at eighty years old, and then find a distance and pace that will get you there.

I have been running well for six months now, at modest distances, but yesterday my hamstring was sore again. I was discouraged and angry, but today I took a rest day; the men I know would not have done that. Come on, you know about pacing- now it is for the long haul, not just for a single run.

Jim Hansen said...

Good for you on your consistancy and knowing when to take a break. When is that race going to happen?

I still have to figure out what I can and can't do. Cyling feels good so I did that yesterday instead of running. I feel better the day after a bike ride rather than the beat up feeling after running.

I guess the thread I had been reading was fascinating and depressing at the same time. Some older runners just quit, others keep pressing and feeling trashed all the time, and others find the way to run and enjoy it.

This is new territory for me. I have always resolved to quit before I look like the old guys shuffling down the road. I know many former good runners like that. When watching the Falmouth Road Race this year the two people with the most beat up form out of the thousands in the race were two former Olympic Gold Medalists. Frank Shorter looks horrible as he runs (probably due to back surgeries) and he used to be the most elegant of runners. Joan Benoit- Samuelson always looks beat up, but she can still get the job done and runs with the younger speedsters.