February 25, 2004

I'm Not Old, But I'm Aging

On Monday, March 1, I'll turn 29-years-old. I won't be 30, quite, but I won't be 20 either, not by a long shot. Aging has never been a big deal for me. I mean, it's inevitable, so why bitch about it?

Well, that was before I started feeling the effects of aging.

Basically, from the age of 15 to 27, very little hurt me. I could pretty much push my body to tough physical limits and bounce out of bed the next morning no worse for the wear. This included wrestling, and Tae-Kwon-Do, and hapkido, and long weekend evenings downing pitchers of beer. I could take all the abuse in stride. I was INVINCIBLE!

Now shit is really starting to hurt.

I initially noticed the encroachment of bodily moanings some years back when I started experiencing little twinges of lower back pain. It was pretty much a localized pain, and I felt it primarily in the morning, so it was no big deal. By the afternoon, I was always back to my happy resilient self, complete with the ability to put my foot over my head and run for miles and miles and miles.

Then, in mid-2001, I started my own personal training to try my hand at running a marathon which, in case you didn't already know, consists of running 26.2 miles which, again if you didn't already know, is a shit-long distance to run. Seriously, you're better off taking a bike, or a car, or an ultra-light. Screw it: you're better off just sitting on a deck, grilling a steak and drinking a beer.

Anyway, at some point during my training, right around where I was running 9 to 10 miles with ease, I realized I was waking up in the morning and my body was considerably irritated with me. I ached all over. My joints wouldn't stop creaking and snapping until I stood in a warm shower for about four hours. Now, although I wasn't openly weeping with pain, I think I invented roughly 8,700 new expletives to bemoan my battered condition.

At some point, and I think it was in late November of 2001, I realized that I hadn't even started running HALF of a marathon yet, and my body was basically falling apart, and I came to the earth-shattering conclusion that there was a lot of other things I'd rather be doing than running for an hour and a half every other day. So, I was forced, quite happily, to give up my quest to complete a marathon. Instead, I had to content myself with five mile runs, a regimen I've adhered to ever since.

Things have been pretty much fine now for the past couple of years, with only nominal bodily creaks and groans between my running regimen and my weekly hapkido classes. Recently, however, within the past couple of months, I've noticed a distinct decrease in overall flexibility in hapkido. I have to stretch before class considerably more than I ever had to in the past, and that stretching now. Really. Really. Hurts!

Like I said, such gradual deterioration is only to be expected as I get older. But, still, it's kind of depressing. I've always taken pride in my above-average flexibility (in wrestling, my nickname was Frog) and my overall body resiliency. Now I'm starting to feel, I don't know, not fragile so much, but definitely less than invincible. Granted, I'm not old or anything, not by a long shot, but I don't particularly like being reminded that I inevitably will be, and that it will probably hurt a lot more than it does now.

Plus, I've noticed a lot of little grey hairs in my goatee, and that really sucks.

Posted by Ryan at February 25, 2004 10:52 AM
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