Something strange happened to me recently. I got old. It didn’t happen slowly and progressively like I thought it would. It happened practically overnight. Several months ago, I ran my first 50K and felt great doing it. I was without a doubt, in the best shape of my adult life. But a month ago, I hurt myself on a 10-mile run (at such a casual pace, I even stopped for breakfast). Getting hurt is typically no big deal. It happens with such frequency, it’s practically part of my training regimen. But what worries me is that I still haven’t recovered. I can’t even jog to the coffee shop without wincing. This is a sure sign that, without even realizing it, I’ve gotten old. There’s a hash run this weekend that all my friends are participating in. When they ask me if I’m going to run it, this is what I have to tell them: “I can’t run right now. I’ve got a bad hip.”
Seriously. A bad hip. That’s the excuse grandfathers give their grandchildren. “Granddaddy can’t wrestle on the floor, Timmy, because Granddaddy has a bad hip.”
Not only has this last month been lame because I can’t run, but I’m worried I might never be able to really run again. What if my hip never heals? What if I need a hip replacement? Should I go ahead and buy a white track suit and start playing Bocce?
My only solace is that my friends are getting old too. My climbing partner may not meet me at the gym today because his “back is out.” The guy that really got me hooked on mountain biking can’t do much of anything right now because his planter fasciitis is flaring up. One dude starts icing his knees at the trailhead directly after a run. He doesn’t even crack a beer first. Last year, we were all in our prime. This year, we’re looking into “low impact sports” like water aerobics and trying to start a shuffleboard league.
The lesson here? To quote poet Robert Herrick: “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”
Jesus, I’m quoting 17th century poetry. I really am getting old.