Friday, January 13, 2012

Either Or

My philosophy about life, in part, is that every morning when you wake up you have a choice, a real choice about yourself, your life and your world. You can either get better or you can get worse. There is no in between. There is no status quo. There is no today will just be another day and nothing changes.

Everything changes. Even you. Physically, mentally and emotionally. You get one day older and it doesn't matter what you do or don't do, it just happens. Time is always there, not your friend, just doing what time does, passing along. You are simply another person on the path to the future.

You can't get off for a moment, it's just what is, time. And that means you get older every day and you have the choice to get better or worse. You can do both in the same day, and mostly we always do, but at the end of the day, while you are still older, you will be better or worse.

Twice in my life I've faced being what I thought was my worst. When I turned 49 I was physically the best I'd been since my 20's. I was running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week, which for me was the farthest and most often I'd run. Then the pressures from work took it all away by the time I turned 50 I was a physical wreck, 15 lb heavier and I couldn't run a mile.

I spent the next year and a half to get back to close to what I was, and only got close but never there. The body just didn't seem to have the ability to get there, it always got tired when I approached that goal. So I settled and stayed about the same, running 3 miles 3-4 miles a week for years before getting older and slower to my mid-late 50's.

And then the proverbial wheels came off as I slowly quit running and gained the weight back. I tried walking which worked for awhile but then the body had problems as I've noted, so, when I turned 62 I was even worse than before, the worst I'd been in my life, again, and I saw no end to getting, let alone being or feeling, better.

Then I started walking ~6 miles to town and back. First 2-3 days a week in October-November and now in January I'm up to 4-5 days a week. Not without issues again. Blisters were the first issue but now I simply tape my feet to avoid them. Then the toes (black toenails), and those I haven't resolved, but I'll live with them.

The worst is the infrequent problem I've always had all my life, shin splints. They've haunted me more with running since my 40's. Usually they last a few weeks and go away with consistent running, but they haven't gone away with walking. For now I just walk through them and by mile 2-3 they're gone without any return problems until the next walk.

I have an underpronation with my left foot which causes more stress on the outer muscles of the shin and results in shin splints. This only happens with running and extended walking (more than 1/2 to 1 mile), and can continue for another 1-2 miles, less with running. There are months it's not a problem and then suddenly it is for a few weeks to months before going away.

And that's why I have the choice every day now, to walk and get better despite the problems, and hope they'll get better, or not and know rest won't make the problems go away and I'll go back to gaining weight and feeling crappy. At my age, the choice is pronounced and obvious, and the decision even more important.

So, despite the body not wanting to get out in the winter cold and often rainy weather, I have a choice, to do nothing knowing hope won't make me better, or to do something with the chance I will get better. For now, the effort is the better choice. Every morning of every day for the rest of what life I have left.

Every mile walked is a mile away from who I was and a mile closer to someone and something better. What I don't know, but I'm slowly working up to 7 miles with plans for 8 or more miles, as they say, down the road. I have the routes to town planned out to add increments of 1/2 to 1 mile when I'm ready. When I'm better.

And by then I'll be better to add the distance. And with each trip I carry the backpack to bring home stuff from the local commercial area where the turnaround point is, with the cafe as the reward for the halfway mark. Add 10-20 lbs of stuff and the walk becomes more exercise with the return route with some elevation gains and losses between there and home.

And that's the either or for me now, but it's less the either or the or and simply what I must do to stay alive or slowly get worse.

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