The older I get, the more of a fitness fanatic I become. I keep myself active with yoga, tai chi, biking, and running. Every once in a while, I'll bust out the shin guards and play a game of ice hockey (although, true be told, I haven't touched the ice in over a month).
Today, I am more or less immobile. I angered my right ACL after doing sprint intervals without a knee brace. I didn't realize how angry my ACL was until I practiced one of my tai chi forms, only to get searing pain run up my kneecap whenever I tried to do anything that involve serious knee-bending. Combine that with my ongoing issues with my left knee and I'm left with no choice but to lay low for at least a day.
The ACL seems to be the Injured Tendon of Choice when it comes to professional athletes, especially football players. On the one hand, it makes me feel a little badass: I'm dealing with the same injuries as the athletes who get millions of dollars to play sports. The only drawback is that I don't get paid like a professional athlete, on any level, even after you factored in my salary when I was a teacher. And right now, given that I'm essentially retired, I'm on par with ball boys in tennis in terms of payment. So, if I'm going to get injured like an athlete, can someone at least throw a few bucks my way?
All kidding aside, having to delay physical activity due to injury is across the board frustrating. I'm currently training to run the Ashland Half Marathon in October, and every day spent in injury is another day I'm not prepared for 13.1 miles. I'm also an endorphin junkie, so going too long without any physical exercise leaves me grouchy.
But everything pales in comparison to the realization that the aging process has begun. I do not have the same body that I had as a 14-year-old sprinter in high school. I can't eat pavement and walk away with nothing but a skinned knee anymore. I'm more susceptible to injury and I take longer to heal. I need things like knee braces and NSAIDs -- purely for precautionary measures. And it's only going to get worse. This realization is enough to send anyone into an existential tailspin, which I have time to do, since I'm not currently on a run or at a yoga class.
Frustrations aside, I can't let it stop me. I want to be that 80-year-old marathon runner. Not the 50-year-old who can't make it up a few flights of stairs. Part of me wishes that the younger me shared the same fascination I have now with the potential of the human body. But I also recognize that the younger me felt she was immortal and was too busy gushing over boys or hanging out with her friends to really do anything.
Tomorrow's another day. All I can do now is sit back, watch some "Pawn Stars", and pray that my ACL was just angered and not legitimately injured.