richmond park feb 18I’ve always thought of myself as a low-maintenance woman. I’m in awe of women who sit on the tube with a bulging make-up bag and apply it expertly, but I wouldn’t know what to do with most of the contents. I’ve hardly worn lipstick since my wedding day, when nearly all the photos show me chewing it off. I had my eyebrows done and ‘coloured in’ last year in the eyebrow bar across the road from my work, but the result was so ferocious I have never been back. I have a long-term relationship with eyeliner and mascara that is not going to end any time soon, but that’s as far as my beauty routine goes.

But my creaking body seems to need an increasing amount of maintenance to keep it going through marathon training. A stressed TFL muscle needs a regular routine of glute strengthening exercises, and I seem to end most days side-stepping across my bedroom with a theraband around my feet much to Jonny’s amusement. Tense calves need agonising minutes on the foam roller every day. In addition, I’ve got lymphoedema in my arm so I’m religiously following the exercise routine I got from The Haven in the hope that it will make a difference. Gone are the days when I would run as much as I liked and rarely stretch. It’s hard to know how much of these ailments are due to the treatment I had, and how much is down to age, but I do feel like my body isn’t as resilient as it used to be. Still, on a beautiful day like today I’m glad to still be able to run 20 miles, even though it was bitingly cold in the wind and I got slower and slower towards the end. It’s less than a month to the Palestine Marathon and although my training hasn’t been as consistent as I would have liked, I think I’m just about ready. (Famous last words.)

5 thoughts on “High maintenance

  1. Have you ever tried magnesium oil on your calves? It worked wonders for mine!
    Loved your bit about the women on the tube doing makeup–I am always mesmerized by them, they completely transform themselves! Mesmerized, but i never follow suit, just not me!
    Good luck with the rest of your training–first person I’ve read about doing the Palestine Marathon. The (running) world is so big!

  2. Ah…. here lies the great dilemma of the (slowly but inevitably) aging runner. As you age you are 1) going to slow down and 2) going to get higher maintenance. Injuries are going to take longer to heal. There is also (apparently) a whole lot of stuff you can’t even see like bone density loss/DNA erosion etc. The big question is: Do you fight it or embrace it?
    I’m not sure of the answer. On the whole, my experience of aging is that it is best to give everything your best shot – e.g. keep running seriously, keep the weight off, eat and train well, be disciplined… but also embrace the wider ‘best bits’ of aging (yes – there are some!) and enjoy the ride.
    Have you read Murukami’s ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’? Not the greatest book (and he’s not the greatest philosopher) but a recurring theme he reflects on is him recognising that he will slow down and it is inevitable.
    I turned 60 this month and I’ve already reached the point where my finishing position in my age group is frankly, the only thing I’m really interested in although the great thing about running longer and longer distances is that age and gender seem to become less and less critical.
    Personally, I think an interesting ‘coping mechanism’ is to embrace variety and decide when to move on. I finally did the ‘Classic Quarter’ ultra solo last June – 44 miles in 9:48. For me personally it was almost the perfect race in perfect conditions – surprisingly misty and cool. I was down to weight, fit and un-injured. For all these reasons it is quite possible that I’ll never beat that time and if I do it again, it is like setting myself up for disappointment. I will always do the CQ as part of a team because it is an amazing day out but I’m not sure I want to solo it again – as someone said ‘you don’t climb your Mount Everests twice’. There are other races out there. Maybe with the Palestine you feel you have ‘unfinished business’ from last year(!) and I completely get that but sometimes in the great journey of life I think it pays to bag the medal and the memory and move on.

    • Good advice, thanks for sharing! I need to bookmark and re-read often to remind myself (coming up on 52 soon, with some health “stuff”).

      Been moving toward this approach myself – though not as eloquently expressed – in self-defense (mental/emotional as much as physical) as it were.

      Congratulations on an amazing time for your race – would be impressive even if you were a decade or two younger! Happy new age group! (birthday)

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