Coming To Terms With a New Rite of Passage

I went to the gym today. No, I didn’t go to the gym to run on the treadmill. I’m still not embracing winter, or running on the treadmill. Today, I did strength training to help with my 70 day pull up challenge.

Update: I still can’t do a pull-up.

While at the gym, I took the time to look around me. It struck me like a ton of bricks: I was the only individual below my -ahem- 30’s sporting underwear lines. And they were distinctly delineated over my spandex. Since the introduction of thong underwear, I’ve always associated underwear lines as an 80’s thing. Which really translates to “out of style.” This moment led to the acceptance of a rite of passage we all must traverse: aging.

In middle school, my friends and I called each other Golden Girls. I was Dorothy.

In middle school, my friends and I called each other Golden Girls. I was Dorothy.

Yes, I understand that age is nothing but a number and that you are only as old as you feel, but you don’t hear teens and people in their twenties exclaiming the insignificance of turning 16 or 21. The physical evidence further supports the metamorphosis I’m currently experiencing. Where I was once able to run five times a week with little pain and scoff at the idea of rest days, sore muscles now force me to park my exercise routines for a day or two in order so my muscles have time to recuperate. Joints that I took for granted now creak to make their existence known. I’ve also done a complete 180 on weight training, so much so that I now prefer a workout with weights over one with just cardio. It’s good for the bones and muscles. That thought would have NEVER crossed my mind a few years ago.

Aside from the physical signs of aging, there’s the social-cultural signs of aging. It is the social-cultural sign where something that once played an influential role during a specific time in your life no longer means anything to you. For example, MTV was once a staple of my adolescent life (especially when they actually played music videos), but now, I couldn’t even begin to tell you what channel it’s on, what music videos they play, and what umpteenth season of the Real World they may be filming. Episodes of Full House (I thought Stephanie was cuter than Michelle), New Kids on the Block songs, and Garbage Pail Kids remind me of my “good ole days.” Come to think of it, adolescence really bites, so maybe they just remind me of days when I was actually young and never for a second thought about anti-aging creams or osteoporosis.

I watched this show religiously.

I watched this show religiously.

Finally, there’s the technological sign of aging. Here’s my take on that:

1) A tweet is an onomatopoeia.

2) Getting up twerk on Mondays is horrendous.

3) Updated post means the kitchen chair is no longer broken.

4) Babies touch screen, windows, dirt, and anything their little fingers can reach.

5) Legos have wireless connections.

6) Telegrams are vintage instagrams.

7) An application of Vicks Vaporub on the the chest will help you breathe easier when congested.

8) Silverware is fancier than hardware and more durable than software.

9) The World Wide Web serves as a good example of alliteration.

10) You ipad, I etch-a-sketch.

Etch A Sketch

I guess there’s a trade-off to aging. You are confident enough to sport underwear lines at the gym and not give a hoot about keeping up with the latest trend. You are no longer easily influenced by pop artists who eventually go out of style. You have a greater sense of identity based on experiences as opposed to what others think or say. And that rotary phone that has been replaced by smartphones will one day sell for millions on the Antiques Roadshow. So here’s to the rite of passing of aging.

How are you dealing with aging? Are you fighting it like Joan Rivers or savoring it like a judge on Iron Chef America?

Severe Case of Runner’s Block

I’m choosing to not exercise my running rights. It’s not that I’ve changed my philosophical belief that Running is Democratic, it’s just that I’m disenfranchised with my running options. While I really enjoy running, I dislike cold weather just as much. In fact, I’m starting to believe that I dislike cold weather more than I like running. Winter has offered me snow, strong winds, below freezing temperatures, icy roads, or a combination of all.

My first running option is the outside world. I’ve attempted to run outside, but each time I ventured to add miles to my running shoes, I’ve literally been pushed out the door by my husband like a cat who is being forced into a tub of water. Truth of the matter is, I don’t like running in the cold. I don’t like wearing multiple layers to stay warm to then take off layers because I’m too warm. I don’t like being extra cautious with each and every step I take for fear of slipping and injuring myself due to icy sidewalks. I don’t like running head on to 20 mph winds. I don’t like how my fingertips feel when it’s cold, or how my nose turns red and gets runny, except I can’t feel that it’s running because it’s completely numb. So I’m choosing not to run. And you know what, choosing not to run is part of my democratic running right.

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My second running option is the dreaded torture mill. Each mile feels like the endless passing seconds on the wall of your last period class the day before Summer Break. If I can get at least a 5K on the treadmill, then I consider it a victory. I’ve tried various approaches to make the miles go faster – music, netflix, visualizations of everyone in the room naked. I don’t know if that last one has ever worked for anyone. Maybe it’s only for when you are giving speeches or presentations? So I’m also choosing not to run on the treadmill. And again, it’s part of my democratic running right.

Torture Mill

Torture Mill

I’m hoping Spring comes early, because I have an ambitious sub-2 half marathon come May. This means I’ll need to invest a considerable amount of time on strength training exercises – P90X, Insanity, Weight Training, Spinning Classes, Thighmaster.

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Of course, choosing not to be an active participant in the world of running brings about feelings of guilt. How can I possibly not exercise my running right when so many others do not have the opportunity to do so? But I’ve come to accept that if I want to believe in the power of running, it’s important for me to enjoy it. Otherwise, running is no longer democratic. It becomes totalitarian.

How is your winter training coming along? Do you mind running in inclement weather? What do you do to stay fit when you are not running?