The Daily record reported the results of the “From Here to Eternity 5K” run earlier last week. It was a slightly smaller turnout but the runners brought lots of enthusiasm to the run. David Alexander and I shared the lead bike duties as the hill leading up to Loop Street is tough on a bike rider and any kind of speed when you try to shift down to a low gear going up a hill and a runner passes you near the top. The two man system worked fine and we were able to stay ahead of the runners and lead them through the course.
Some of the runners in the area may remember Paul Paese. Paul is in a new job out in Connecticut as a Dean of Education at the University of Bridgeport. He mentions that he is still running and has some great trails to run on near his school. He ran a marathon in Hartford and ran a nice 3:29 time for his best time in four years. That cool weather in the East Coast probably had something to do with that. When he left San Marcos he had a nice steak of consecutive days going. At the time he wrote that streak was still alive and kicking. It was up to 1,060 days and by now he has run over 8,000 miles averaging about 7 1/2 miles a day. He keeps mentioning that one of these he will have to stop the streak and when a nice winter storm hits the East Coast that may be the day.
Paul is a fine example of staying in shape over the years. I mention this as any runner over 50 is considered to be on the downhill side of things and some people start their decline shortly after reaching the old age of 30 years. We have a number of runners that enter our local races that are in well into the age of 70’s and still completing a half marathon or at least a 10 K distance of 6.2 miles. What is it that keeps some senior citizens so active and fit? Many of our local races have more runners in the over 50 and over 60 category than in the under 20 year age group. I have often seen Mom or Dad arriving at the finish line before their teenage children. Maybe it just takes age to reach your full potential for running and being fit.
In this weeks Bottom Line magazine there is an article, “What Older Athletes Can Teach Us About Staying Young”. It refers to Olympic Silver medal winner, Dara Torres, at age 41, and hockey player Gordie Howe who was still playing professional hockey at the age of 52. George Blanda was kicking field goals for the Oakland Raiders until he was 48 and Jack Nickolaus won the Masters at age 46.
A few tips are worth mentioning if you are thinking that you are too old to exercise. The first was “Fight the Enemy”. The enemy isn’t age – it is inactivity. By continuing to exercise to stay in shape the decline of an active lifestyle that is normally associated with getting old can be staved off until our late 70’s. This inactive lifestyle, not the passage of time, is the single greatest cause of their physical deterioration.
The second tip said “Push Hard, But Not All The Time”. The main message was don’t ease up on the throttle for a hard workout but maybe take a longer recovery time before pushing the envelope again. Schedule a rest day in between those tough exercise bouts. The one that needs to start at a younger age if you want to be active when you get older was the third tip, “Try to never get out of shape”. Getting back in shape is good, but never getting out of shape is better. Competitive athletes have never allowed themselves to get out of shape. As difficult as rebounding from a period of inactivity can be, it will only become more difficult the longer the inactivity lasts. The best time to start a return to fitness is today.
The best tip I thought was “Ignore Advancing Age”. Older active athletes feel young, think young and react with surprise when people think that being active is unusual. The comment most make when asked is, “I don’t feel old”. Talk to Bibb Underwood about that when at the age of 77 he pedaled a ride of 150 miles a few weeks ago and felt good afterwards. He still writes a humorous column for the Daily Record now and then to show that he has that young attitude.
The article mentioned working on injury prevention muscles versus the cosmetic muscles of a bulging bicep for a bodybuilder. Emphasize the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder, the abdominal muscles and the leg muscles to keep the strength up. It also mentioned maintaining flexibility and balance. Do some stretching exercises every day and practice standing on one foot now and then to keep balance muscles in tune.
I thought that the message was worth writing about. I started thinking that from when I started lifting weights and running it comes out to about 58 years and counting. It just lets some of you younger people in your 20’s know that you only have to lift or run for another 30+ years to catch up to Bibb and I.
by MOE JOHNSON