Nana Talk

Now is the Time to Start Living

I’m writing this blog from the Tallahassee Marathon Expo and packet pick up. Most people are just running in, grabbing their race bib, bag of swag and leaving. I am enjoying the people watching. Runners of all different shapes, sizes and ages have passed through the doors today.

Some will be running their first distance race, while many are marathon and half marathon veterans. I really admire these people. I hate running and can’t imagine doing it for hours at a time. Actually, I shouldn’t say I hate running. I actually enjoy running short distances on the trails with my best friend, Jane and my dog, Peyton.

For me running isn’t about time, distance or setting PRs. It’s a time to socialize with my friend, exercise for me and my dog and enjoying nature. It wasn’t always like this.

I started running 7 years ago with my friend, Sandra. She had the crazy idea of doing the Disney Half Marathon. I was crazy enough to let her talk me into it. We were pretty clueless on training and the only running we did was on the treadmills at the gym.

Our first run was a couple of miles. We felt like rockstars. We gradually increased our milage. Our first 4 mile non stop run was reason to celebrate. Only 9 more miles to add and we would be marathon ready. Seemed easy enough.

Being novices, we had to learn about proper footwear, dry fit socks, stretching, hydration and fueling the hard way. I also had a problem with staying upright while running. I fell…a lot. I fell so much that I clearly remember getting up from a fall and looking at a motivational sign in front of the school I fell in front of that said, Fall down 7 Times, Get Up 8. I think I was on my 8th fall. I kept scraped up knees and bruised palms for months.

I remember the day we ran 6 miles. We left the gym and ran downtown, to the mall and back. I was amazed that I just ran a route and distance that I commonly drive. I actually ran that far! Sandra fell in love with running, I did not. I did love the gadgets though and bought everything a runner could possible need or want. The more gadgets I had the more I could focus on something besides running. I had ipods, special earphones, fuel belt, key pockets for my shoe laces, runner’s gloves, dry fit clothes, cushioned socks, cutting edge running shoes and my favorite, my Polar heart rate monitor. I loved seeing how many calories I was burning and how high my heart rate was getting.

We were burning so many calories that we were sure we were finally going to lose some weight. Come marathon day, we both had actually gained weight. Too much carb loading (even for our mile runs), too many days thinking that we could eat whatever we wanted since we were running all added up. It was depressing.

After several more races, another half marathon and a lot more gadgets, I finally decided that I just didn’t like to run long distances as a matter of fact, I hated it. It just wasn’t for me. I have nothing against running; some of my best friends are distance runners.

I just wanted to find a way to run that I enjoyed. I love sprinting and found that I’m built for it. I love sprinting up hills. I love going all out for sets of short distances over and over until I’m sick. I love running up stairs. I love running on the trails. For me, running is no longer about pounding the pavement or punishing myself for eating too much. It’s about being able to move, being capable of running if I had to, it’s about enjoying time with friends, it’s about exercising my dog, and last but not least, it’s about the gadgets.

I really admire those people who take up running later in life or who continue running well into their golden years.

Since I write as slow as I run, I can now share info about the finishers of the Tallahassee Marathon. The Male Grandmaster, Alex Steverson age 51 finished the marathon in 3 hours and 19 minutes. The Male Senior Grandmaster, Denji Durden finished in 3 hours and 33 minutes.

Two guys, Bill Larsen and Dan Bowser age 70 and 71 both finished in under 6 hours!!

The ladies were well represented as well. Phyllis Sizemore, Perha Varley and Diana Burton ages 66, 67 and 66 all finished the 26.2 miles in under 6 hours as well.

The half marathon results are equally impressive. Many runners in the age groups from 55 and up ran incredibly fast. The oldest finisher male runner, Bob Keller is 78 years young! The oldest female runners are in their mid 60s.

Even though I am not much of a runner, I am fascinated with the ages of the finishers. I’ve noticed that a lot of runners seem to get faster with age. Just like with many things in my own life, I think it can be attributed to more time.

I spent most of my life taking care of my kids and at least half of that in the car taking them somewhere and dropping them off. My training time and my “me” time was limited to tiny bits of time when they didn’t need me first. Add a full time job on top of kid responsibilities and you can see how many people give up.

Now that my youngest is 17 and driving, I don’t hear from him anymore, unless he needs money. I don’t feel like he will die of starvation if I am not home to cook. I am finding that I have a ton of time for me.

Getting older comes with so many freedoms. This is the perfect time to take up exercise, train for a race or other event, learn a new skill, find a new hobby, learn to play an instrument, learn a new language, travel. The possibilities are endless.

This is the time to put yourself first and start really living.

I would love to hear what you’ve done or what you plan to do.

My First Blog, or rather, Blob as Super Nana

The adventures of Super Nana is off to a slow start. Even though I gained my super nana status in August of this past year, it still takes the work of mere mortals to get a website up and running.

My first blog was supposed to be about my 2012 goals, my training, my diet and my progress. I wanted to start the year and my new super venture with something to inspire all of you who are ready to change your lives, set new goals and break the stereotypes of grandparents everywhere.

The problem is, I’ve been grounded.

In November I went to San Diego for a marketing workshop through Dragon Door. Silly me put fashion and laziness before comfort and sensibility. OMG, I just used the term, comfort and sensibility!! I am getting old!!

Anyway, in order to get through security quickly while looking cute I decided to wear my 2 inch wedge flip flops. Not only did I schlep through 3 airports in my flip flops but I did a ton of site seeing once I got to San Diego.

I started having dull pain on the top of my foot a few days after I got home. After a few days I decided to have it checked. I’ve had a stress fracture years ago and I figured this is what it was. To make a long blog short, I ended up going to a Podiatrist who happens to be a close friend. He put me in this gimorous walking boot with strict instructions to stay off of my foot. That thing was a pain but I actually got to wear my cute 2 inch wedge flip flop to even out my legs. The culprit became a lifesaver.

As usual, my inner 20 year old thought it would be ok to continue my workouts without the boot. Since I was doing mainly Kettlebell Swings, Deadlifts, presses, Squats and Pistols and wasn’t moving around I thought I was safe to take it off and workout.

Prior to the foot injury, I hurt both of my shoulders from overtraining pull ups and presses and yet I continued to train. I kept telling myself that I would do less weight, less sets and less reps. I was a tough chick and would push through the pain. Nightly doses of Celebrex became the norm.

I even went to have my shoulders checked out by a top Orthopedic Surgeon. I was diagnosed with a torn Labrum and given instructions to stop doing the offending activity.

So here I was with an injured foot and shoulders. I thought I was different and that the rules of healing and taking time off did not apply to me. I never, in a million years would let my clients train with injury and here I was training with injury.

I noticed my foot pain was not getting any better and was actually getting so bad that I had to take pain meds. I made an appointment with the Podiatrist. He took an X-Ray and congratulated me for turning my little stress fracture into a full blown fracture. I was put in my very first cast right after Christmas.

Did I let a little ol’ cast stop me from training? No way! Once I adjusted to the height and weight difference, I started doing Kettlebell Swings and rope workouts. I thought I was super human..a beast because I was not allowing a cast or shoulder injuries slow me down.

Then came the hamstring injury.

Not sure why I thought I could walk up to a barbell and do a max deadlift after having not done a barbell deadlift in more than 6 months all while balancing on a cast and my cute little 2 inch wedge flip flop. I honestly think my inner 20 year old is trying to kill my outer 49 year old! I felt my hamstring pull and the pain was immediate. Because of my stupidity and stubbornness, I aggravated an injury that I had several years ago, also due to stupidity.

So, instead of starting my new blog on a super awesome positive note, I am starting by explaining why I am not training.

All of my injuries and lack of progress are my own fault. I am learning the hard way. I hope that sharing my embarrassing training moments and crazy thought processes will help  you avoid making the same mistakes I did.

Although taking time off and allowing myself to heal is very scary, I had to make a commitment. My fear is that I am already turning into a blob of mush. I know that I won’t snap back as easily as I did when I was in my 20s. I know that once I’m healed, it’s going to take a little more time to build up my endurance, strength and yes, my wonderful calluses.

Now is the time to focus on healing and healthy eating, joint mobility and flexibility, as well as emotional and mental growth. In other words, I need to look inside and fix that part of me that is so afraid to rest. I need to see why I have such a need to press on through pain and injury.  It’s time to re-evaluate my goals for 2012.

I promise NOT to work out for 4 weeks or even longer if that is what it takes. That means no working out. No modifying, working around, or sneaking in workouts. I may go insane. I may also end up better and stronger than I have ever been.

I also promise; I will NOT blame this on age. I will NOT throw in the towel. I will NOT listen to people who tell me that I need to start slowing down and that I’m too old to be doing the type of workouts that I love. I will NOT become a mall walker. I will NOT give up my goal of being super strong and I will absolutely NOT allow myself to believe that I can’t come back stronger and better than ever.