Just finished reading a story in Philly Mag titled “The Real Chase Utley”. Great article. The Phillies’ second baseman is 34 years old, and facing the reality that his body, despite sophisticated therapies, relentless training, and an iron will, is simply not going to perform at the same level it did in his twenties. He’s made it adamantly clear that he is not done yet. But, alas, time will tell.
Even if pro ballplayers know all too well their playing careers typically end at the same time corporate warriors are getting their first promotion, and are paid handsomely to compensate for that, it still must hurt. Figuratively and literally. In Utley’s case, his knees are aching. Big time. And after reading the story, mine did too. The story hit close to home for me (or my running trail, to be specific) as I considered a 4 mile run I took the other day.
My knees ached. Actually crunched as I bent and flexed after the run. And yet I spent the next several days screaming I’m not done yet! Unlike Mr. Utley, I’m 44, not 34, and have never made a cent running (although I did receive a useless glass block congratulating me for placing top 10 in my age group in the Seattle 1/2 Marathon years ago), but I do feel some of his panic. Running has brought me indescribable joy over the past three decades. It’s kept my body lean. My heart strong. My head clear. And offered a healthy way to be competitive without hurting anyone.
But two marathons, four half-marathons, countless 5Ks, 10Ks, and training runs to stay under an 8-minute mile pace has taken its toll and now even a 4-mile run hurts like hell. Thank God for yoga. I was introduced to yoga in my mid-20s when it was still considered funky (which is what I loved about it) and Lululemon did not exist. I came back around to it at age 41 to recover from an injury after the Portland Marathon, and to soften a broken heart of not being healed soon enough to run Boston the following spring. I now teach and practice daily.
Letting go of an activity your body and spirit find joy in when you’re just not done! is hard.