Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Just a Number, Right? - Martha

So my question for all you bloggers out there is this: why must I enter my age every time I climb on that stupid treadmill at the gym? Shouldn't I be getting some kind of nice reward for hauling myself on instead of an instant reminder staring back at me from the screen of HOW OLD I AM?! Like maybe a little piece of chocolate should drop out at the end of the workout! Thanks to our surprise Nor’easter last Friday, I found myself at the gym for the first time in ages trying to make up for lost time outdoors. And my annoyance at always having to put in my age is especially poignant this week because in less than 72 hours, I will no longer be able to enter a digit beginning with a 4! I know this may sound trivial in the big scheme of things, but I am really sensitive to turning 50. Maybe it was the AARP envelope that arrived yesterday. Maybe it was the story in Newsweek today that said EVEN if you start exercising at the age of 50, SOME positive effect on maintaining cognitive functions could be found. Is 50 the end of the line for trying to keep my brain intact?

So I'm going to do something really defiant the next time I go to the gym. I'm not going to enter my age. That will show them! I hope it makes smoke pour out the bottom of the treadmill. Actually, I hope that doesn't happen because then they'll just raise my membership fee. But seriously, we're on a need-to-know basis and unless joules are calculated differently than when I was in school, I really think the machine doesn't need to know.

Instead, I'm going to focus on running my race. After all, striving for this goal instead of filling out my AARP card was the reason I wanted to run the marathon this year in the first place. This week I was browsing in a college bookstore while taking my daughter to visit colleges and I found some great thoughts on the shelves. Being a refrigerator magnet junkie, I can never have enough of those short but powerful statements staring back at me. I will leave you with the two I purchased yesterday in “honor” of this special week of mine:

young. old.
just words.
(george burns)
How old would you be
if you didn't know
how old you are ?

Hmmmmmmmmm, perhaps I’ll try surfing for 60?!


Dan Quinn said...

Hi Martha!

I'm not only impressed by your training efforts but by your witticisms about the whole experience. I understand that your knee in misbehaving somewhat as you jack up the mileage. This may be the time of year that I prescribe the most advil, and ice. Assuming that you are suffering from a bit of ITB syndrome, that and stretching are the mainstays of treatment. Seeing a PT for iontopheresis isn't a bad idea. If all else fails, I've got a cortisone shot with your name on it waiting in the drawer!! ;-) Good luck and just finish baby!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday,Martha, from Elise, a friend of Heidi's , i hope to watch you two on marathon day!!

Anonymous said...

Dear Martha,
I hope that you don't mind me, a stranger, addressing you by your first name. Your blog entries are just so "down to earth", though, that I feel like I know you. I am a middle-aged ICU/ED RN training to run the Kona Half-marathon to raise funds for the American Stroke Association. I've NEVER done anything active. Growing up, my sister was the pretty, popular, blonde, athletic one. I was the plain, shy, brunette, studious one. That definition, along with a couple of embarrassingly clumsy attempts to try out for team sports, defined me for decades. Years later, the diagnosis of mixed connective tissue disease and its impact on my energy levels, joints/muscles, heart, lungs, nervous system and MOSTLY attitude further cemented my self-perception as someone who could only be solitary & sedentary, not part of an active community. THEN, a couple of years ago, I fell in love with an athletic man 7 years my junior. (He's since dumped me for a 29 y.o...poor man, doesn't have the sense he was born with! Even so, his brief visit into my life was a positive thing!) I decided to risk pursuing physical challenges and since then I've lost 89 lbs. (40-ish more to go), attended Rollerblade Camp, climbed (a small but rocky) mountain, and jumped out of an airplane at 13K feet (despite my fear of heights). Training for the (half) marathon has been tough. My feet and knees (and lots of other things) HURT! This week, though, my challenge was turning (don't tell anyone!)...48! In the past, age has just been a number...but this year (perhaps the negative side of meeting that man) I noticed wrinkles and neck jiggles that didn't seem to be there before. Your blog entry, however, reminded me that "50 is the new 30". I can't really "run"...I'm doing 15:47 miles on my "long run" (7 miles) halfway through my training and they are HARD! Sometimes I'm embarrassed that the guy next to me is running 7-9 mph and his long strides look so effortless. BUT, I remind myself that a year ago I could only last 3 minutes at 2-3 mph and now I'm doing 2 hours at 3.8...and sometimes I'll have an outburst for a minute or two at 4.8! This week, I'm going to print out your blog entries and take them to read on the treadmill to encourage me when I want to quit. (My treadmill doesn't ask my age, but my weight...another of those "need to know" things. And it doesn't dispense chocolate either, but I'm going to propose this to the gym manager.) I'm sorry to take up so much blog space but I wanted to tell you that your sense of humor is helping this fellow "runner" and wish you & your colleague well on your marathon run. By the way, I'm reading John Bingham's "The Courage to Start"...I think it would tickle your sense of humor as it does mine. MAM @