Age Finally Gave Me The Boot



Running in a triathlon.


Certain words should never go together. For example, words like tear and rip should never be used in conjunction with the name of a specific body part. It’s just not right. It hurts. Believe me I know what I’m talking about. I had a recent and painful experience that would be oh-so-much-better if certain phrases never saw the light of day.


I love to run.

I may not be as fast as I used to be, but running is still lots of fun.

There are many things to appreciate about aging, like the fact I’m more comfortable about who I am and what I can or can’t accomplish on my own. It seems experience does give you a distinct advantage in understanding the way the world works. Hey, some restaurants and establishments even give you a discount. There’s nothing wrong with that.


I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m happy passing by the various milestones of aging, but once I get there, things usually turn out better than expected.



Road hazard ahead.

I've got to keep my eyes out for all the hazards now. Anything can upset the balance.

The one thing that totally bites about the aging process is how much harder it is to bounce back from injury. I used to cruise down the highway of life going a hundred plus and just fly over any little bump in the road. Now it’s more like I’ve got a loose tire and I could run out of gas at any moment. I have to be hyper-aware and more vigilant than ever as I never know when I’ll hit the next hazard, jarring pot hole, or out-and-out detour.


As I’ve always had a strong desire to run and participate in most any athletic activity, bouncing back from injury has become particularly irksome. I imagine there’s something more profound to say about aging here, like “Drat, I’m getting old.” In any event, whenever another injury occurs these days there’s inevitably a few choice words that sail high on the wind. And then, as soon as I’ve downed a couple Advil and settled in with my laptop, I’m crawling the internet to see if my new injury is serious enough I ought to see a doctor. That never used to be the case.


JB's new search engine.

I need a better search engine. One specific to aging and injury that lets me type in my whole inquiry before telling me what it wants to show me.


Back in my “yuut”, as I fondly recall it, there were days I came home from work, took a 50 mile bike ride, a small run (say 3 to 5 miles), and then did a couple of hours of hard rowing. I loved those days. If it was athletic and crazy I wanted in.


Going for a bike ride.

I love biking. Heck, I love most any physical activity.

My hubby always shakes his head and sighs whenever I reminisce about those good ol’ days. Oh, sure, I overworked a few muscles or joints on occasion, but the hurt never really lasted for long periods. To be sure, I could always count on a swift recovery.


Somewhere along the way, my body went out on a general strike. Apparently, it decided that it just wasn’t going to be as stretchy or resilient as I wanted it to be. Worse, the aches and pains ratcheted up and stayed with me longer than ever. That’s taken me out of my game.


Lake Meridian Triathlon.

This picture was taken after one of my first triathlons. Hubby says it captures how much I love to compete. He could be right.

I’ve tried to play it smart. I have gained a bit of perspective with aging and adjusted my routines. I cut down on the length and duration of my workouts. I’ve also been more selective in choosing events that are still challenging, but shouldn’t end up putting me in traction for months at a time. This has meant I’m walking more and running less than I used to. Plus, I had to take up swimming and heaven forbid, add stretching to all my routines.


Sadly, it appears I’ve entered a new phase of life. Now, even going about my modified ways isn’t going to cut it. I know this as fact because something happened the other day that has put me in a dread world of hurt. Technically, I wasn’t even exercising at the time. I was at work and doing nothing more strenuous than walking from one building to the next. That’s when it happened: There was no pothole. My ankle didn’t twist. No one bumped in to me. I just took a step and my Achilles’ tendon went “pop”. According to the doctor, “It’s just a partial tear, and that,” he stressed, “is a good thing.” Good? What’s good about any tear if it means I’m out of commission?


They gave me a boot for my partial tear.

My new boot is better than a cast, but it sure is a bit clunky.

At least, a partial tear doesn’t require surgery. However, they still strap your ankle in a cast-like shoe they politely call “the boot”. I’ve got to say, from a stylistic perspective the whole boot thing isn’t happening—unless you go in for a moon-walking military look. I will admit it is better than the alternative as you can take it off and do certain activities such as showering or swimming. Yet for all other purposes you’re stuck with this big clunky contraption that goes “boom” against the floor every time you take a step. I can’t even imagine what the dog thinks.


Getting ready to run with one foot.

I just can't envision being unable to compete. Maybe this could work.

I guess I’m lucky. In spite of all the abuse of the past I’m still in pretty decent health. Still, I know it’ll be a tough go for me moving forward. I face weeks to months of recovery, and in just a few days the boot is already an unwelcome accessory. In a sense, this is going to be one of my biggest mental challenges ever. I love working out and being outside—you can say I’m passionate about it. Yet this injury threatens my ability to continue on with the life I want with every fiber of my being. How do I learn to go with less when all I want is more? And will it be a permanent thing or just another obstacle to overcome on this path to getting older?


This wetsuit's a little tight.

I guess I'd better dust off they old wetsuit. Looks like swimmings in my future.

I suppose I should count my blessings this happened in winter. The best running and biking days are still months away, which gives at least some hope I’ll recover in time to take advantage. Meanwhile, it seems the pool is now destined to become my new number one hangout. Who knows? If I keep at it, perhaps I’ll even try another triathlon this summer. My new goal: Giving the boot the boot! Guess I’d better grab my suit and hop to it.


If you enjoyed this post, check out some others by Carol:
Speedo: Tale Of A True Champion and
Dad’s Now All About Downsizing

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