I’m thinking about a lot of different things today. So this is likely to be a rambling narrative and I’m not quite sure where it’s going to go. First I’m trying to decide as I sit here whether to run today or not. I have been having a nagging ache in my upper right leg. I ran some pretty serious workouts last week which I was very happy with. On Friday I went to the clubhouse with intention of beginning to do some core and weight training for the first time since my eye operation in December. I was also looking forward to swimming for the first time, putting my head in the chlorine pool after five weeks. Well I cut the weight room/ core activity short because I felt some soreness in my abdomen at the sight of my three-year-old hernia operation. I went into the pool to begin a light swimming event, but the soreness reappeared as I started to swim. I ended up sitting in the whirlpool feeling sorry for myself for about 20 minutes. So this mild but obvious pain in my abdomen along with this other leg pain has continued for the last three days. I do not know for sure that the two are connected, but it does seem ominous. Now, in the last three years I have on occasion previously had a similar situation where I had pain in the area of my hernia scar which has lasted a few days and the pain disappeared. I’m hoping that is what is happening right now. After the operation Dr. Davidow told me that occasionally you can get a pulled muscle in that area because it has obviously been compromised by being cut open. Even though it heals, it is still subject to weakness. None of this uncomfortable soreness or pain has ever expressed itself while I was actually running. I could clearly feel it doing core work and swimming on Friday. So I’m still trying to reconstruct what’s going on, hoping that the intensity of last week’s work caused the discomfort in this area and it will soon resolve itself. Of course my greatest fear is that the hernia has recurred. So as I construct this post I continue to wonder if I should get a short run in today before the Nor’easter attacks for the next two days, or should I simply let things settle down and take off two days. Added into the mix is the fact that I will probably lose two days of training as we drive to Florida on Friday and Saturday. All arrangements are in place here in Jackson and in Saint Augustine, and I am very excited about training in some good weather. All indications are my mind will settle on attempting a 30-minute moderate run as soon as I’m finished with this post.
On another note I was struck yesterday as I sat in the Tom’s River Bubble watching two or three thousand people gathered to compete for the New Jersey Group IV state relay championship. SO many people focused on engaging in healthy, intense, spirited, yet good-natured competition. All happening while millions of people were marching In protest in just about every city in America while a newly elected president was arguing about who had the biggest crowd. I can’t resolve in my brain which of these two phenomena are more significant. One seems to represent everything about being a person that is right and normal, the other is just unnerving. As it turns out the Hillsborough boys 4 x 800 meter relay won a very exciting race. That was the race I had come to watch. The race produced a wonderful sport’s story that will probably not get too much attention. The Hillsborough anchorman, Mitch Baron, anchored the same race last year. His team gave him a sizable lead going into the anchor leg last year. Unfortunately Mitch was caught and the team finished third. Mitch was devastated and believed he had let the team down. Today Mitch received the baton in third place and ran down the two runners ahead of him to bring his team home first and win the State Championship. What a great story of redemption! All this while millions of people marched around the world to display that they are unnerved. And I have a pain, and we are heading to Florida, and the Giants are out of the playoffs, and I need to go for run, and I need a beer.🍺🍺 Slainte!
The first article listed above offers documentation of the educational benefits of physical exercise before school for students.
The second cites studies proving the mental health benefits of exercise for seniors.
Combined these studies emphasize the importance of physical activity to maintain both physical and mental health throughout the life cycle. Study after study have proven the positive effects of consistent, vigorous, physical exercise on sustaining and improving the mental health of seniors. Actual physical enhancement of key brain centers can be observed in the studies. Intellectual functioning as well as emotional stability and well-being are strengthened by a balanced, sustained program of aerobic training and resistance training.
Just arrived home after a long day trying to run and visiting and partying. The day began at 7 a.m. when I awoke to prepare to head to Spring Lake for cross country practice with the Jackson Liberty boys cross-country team on the boardwalk. It was a lovely morning with a beautiful breeze and a cloud cover that made the temperature just about perfect. I tried to warm up very slowly and walk to be sure my calf muscle would be prepared for a nice 40-minute run on the boardwalk. That was not about to happen. About two and a half minutes into my run my calf muscle began to speak to me about not feeling too well. It became obvious that if I continued I would have another severe cramp. So I had to stop. I left Spring Lake and headed home to make breakfast. It was a nice morning because Kristen was around, and we prepared to head to our first party of the day. It was a family pool party at Pat Conway’s spactacular party house a bit north in Old Bridge, about a 35 minute ride. The entire O’Rourke family was present with dozens of little kiddies running around and playing in the pool. It is always very nice to see everybody and catch up. However, we had to leave way too soon and head to South Jersey for the second party of the day. It was a birthday party for our friend Denny who is the boyfriend of Arlene’s niece, Rosemarie. The party was about a one-hour ride back south to Mount Holly. It was a very nice affair, tasty dinner, and it was good to catch up with Rosemarie and Denny and meet his family. The aborted run in the morning was disappointing, but on the whole it was a very enjoyable day .
I will have to spend some extra time in motion to account for all I ate and drank this day.
I mentioned recently that I submitted an entry into a Runner’s World magazine contest. Well, thanks to the efforts (votes) of my wife, my children, my extended family, all their friends and my friends, I have been selected among the top 100 finalists of 1,100 entrants. Pretty awesome! So, if any of my readers would like to vote and follow on Facebook, you can. It has been fun, exciting and humbling. It never occurred to me that I might be a 73-year-old “Cover Boy”. Ha! Ha!
Today was a rest day after three solid days of work. The body feels good, but the day of rest is indicated at this time. Just being careful.
So with no workout to report, I thought I would take this time to thank my friends and family who have voted for me in my silly quest to be chosen for the cover of an edition of Runner’s World. The contest asks each entrant to write in 200 words or less the story of a moment that changed his or her running life. I have shared the story with many people over the years, and I am convinced that it was a truly life-changing moment for me. I thought maybe the judges at Runner’s World might think so too, so I entered the contest. I have recreated my 200 word story below. If you would like to, you can vote daily. If you have voted, thank you.
Iamcontestant#513. The contest can be found just about anywhere under the heading Runner’s World Cover Contest.
Here is my story!
WHAT WAS YOUR BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT?
As a 15 year old freshman in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1958, I qualified for the 3/4 leg of my high school’s relay team to compete at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. I never knew a track meet like the Penn Relays even existed. I ran 3/4 of a mile in front of 40,000 cheering fans in a trance. I had never seen or felt anything like it in my life, and I was totally hooked. I have spent the next 60 years in the world of track and field. As a runner in high school I became a state champion. As a scholarship athlete I ran for four years at Seton Hall University. I had a wonderful 35-year career coaching high school runners. Now, as a retired, reinvigorated runner, I write a blog called +70 Runner to share my experiences and knowledge with seniors. I achieved my 5-year goal of running a 5k in 25:00 and finished fourth in the National Senior Games at 1500m. That race in 1958 clearly changed my life and set me on a path that has filled my life with wonderful moments and wonderful relationships.
This weekend is as every track enthusiast knows Penn Relay weekend. I have attended the Penn relays since 1957 almost without missing a year. I ran 4 times. I have loved every minute of it. If you read one of my earlier blogs, you will find my comments about how my first visit to Penn relays really changed my life. However for these days I am a bit of a wimp. I have a pretty large screen TV at home. I can buy the entire Penn Relay program on Flotrack for $19. I can see every single race for 3 days, morning, noon and evening. It’s like being at trackside! I can do this while having breakfast, lunch, dinner and $1 Bud Lights. I make hot dogs for myself to get that Stadium feeling. But I don’t have to drive to Philly. I don’t have to pay for parking or get a ticket, which has happened many times. I don’t have to pay $40+ for a ticket to sit in uncomfortable seats and get badly sunburned. My couch is really soft. Even though all of those are part of the Penn Relays experience, I’m a wimp. So I am sitting here watching the Penn Relays and not getting out on the road to run. I have to make a decision at some point to get to my workout. So, if you can’t make it to Franklin Field, look up Flotrack and buy the entire experience for $19. Have fun: I am!
By the way I watched the North Hunterdon Girls run the 4 by 8 this morning and Hillsboro’s four by four comes up in five minutes.
Today there was a dual meet at Liberty High School. I took the opportunity to drop over and say hello to my Liberty friends, coaches and athletes. I wound up as a volunteer timer at the finish line for the afternoon. It was very enjoyable. Since I left coaching at Hillsborough 3 years ago I have missed being involved in the high school track world during the spring and the fall. Last fall I volunteered as an assistant coach for the Liberty High School cross country boys team. The coaches and athletes were very accepting of me and treated me with great respect and deference. I have continued to be in touch with the team this spring. Those afternoons, when I stop by at practice or at a dual competition, always improve my attitude. For an old track coach and competitor there is nothing like an afternoon in the sun on the track watching talented athletes compete. Since I know these guys now, it is even more fun because I have someone to root for and interact with at a meet. I am looking forward to another exciting cross country season come September.
Experts in the field of aging tell us constantly that one of the key elements to aging in a healthy fashion is to stay involved. This is particularly true of staying involved with people of all ages. Volunteering at a local high school is an absolutely wonderful way to be involved in something that you find enjoyable and stay interactive with people of every generation . I don’t believe the benefits of such interaction can be overstated. So, to all my + 70 Runner friends I make one more suggestion;
STAY in the Game! Engage in your passion and share your wisdom.
I-MAD – 3
WEIGHT – 153#
A.M. HR – 51
SLEEP — 8.5 HOURS
Workout – lots of moving around for 3 hours at the track meet this afternoon. No real workout. Still determined that a day off is in the best interest of safety because of sore foot.
We spent the day at our condominium in Atlantic City. We took a walk on the boardwalk which was sunny, chilly and breezy.
We had a fun evening last night. We celebrated the birthday of a friend at a local pub and then played pinochle till midnight with my brother, Willie, and his wife, Jeannette.
Had to catch up on some do-it-yourself household stuff today.
I busted up my ring finger on my left hand trying to adjust a window. It has been bleeding for about two and a half hours but I think it is finally stopped. It was only a small gash but I guess it was pretty deep. Right now I have a Band-Aid on and I think I am going to survive without going to the ER. Will be in AC for one more day to finish up household projects.
I am planning to return to the boardwalk tomorrow for one of the familiar runs that got me restarted into the running world back in 2011.
Today was a blur of 12 hours on the road from Durham, North Carolina to Jackson, New Jersey. There were traffic jams everywhere and a final supercell storm as we entered New Jersey over the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Every person in America was driving a car on Route 95 today!
Too tired to attempt a workout tonight. I cannot wait to get on the road tomorrow and start blogging about training once again.
I hope that my readers miss my training log as much as I miss running and sharing.