I’ve never been one to make a big deal about special occasions like holidays, anniversaries, or birthdays.
My own birthday became even more of a non-event on September 11, 2001, the morning I was called by one of my trainers while I was driving to Kinko’s. He was at LAX waiting for his plane to Chicago. I was on my way to the office in Ventura looking forward to the traditional birthday cupcakes. And then the world as we knew it changed forever.
After that, I avoided any sort of celebration of my birthday. Until now.
This year, I’m so pleased with the progress I’ve made in getting fit and healthy that I decided I wanted to run on the beach on my birthday, after not running on the beach for many years.
To prepare, I ran on the beach two weeks ago. Running in the surf was so exhilarating that I ran much further than I normally would. And then I trudged long distances through the deep sand, thinking to myself how strong I was, how alive I felt.
I pictured myself saying something like “This is what 70 looks like” in a post I would write on September 11th, in which I would talk about how I felt like I was flying along the surf as I ran on the beach on my birthday.
Alas, I was brought back to earth a few days later, when I was gripped with agonizing pain in my lower back. Days of ice and heat, and I was still in pain.
I did some research and learned that my butt muscles, the lateral glutes, were the trigger points for all this pain. It seems that “these muscles really have evolved for all-terrain activity. A life lived mostly on the flat and stable surfaces of a city offers little challenge to them, so they are weak and easily exhausted by . . . a walk on the soft sand of a beach, or anything that requires more balancing than usual.”
I figured out I needed some deep tissue work, which has led to my recovery. However, today, the day before my birthday, is my first day with minimal pain, so even walking on the beach tomorrow is not in the cards.
It seems I have been reminded why I decided that the tagline for Choosing To Be Fit would be The Art of Taking Small Steps to Transform Your Life.
I really wanted to start running again, so I added it into my daily walking regime. Then I began to focus so much on running that I let other activities slide, activities that would have helped those butt muscles prepare for the beach. My goal, the outcome, became more important to me than the process.
So now my birthday will include only a brief walk around our block. I admit I have felt pretty low about this during the past week. But the beach and the surf will still be there when I’m ready for them. This time I will train specifically for beach running. And this time I will do less at first and wait to see how I feel before I start flying again.
So — I guess this is what 70 looks like. I’m gaining more wisdom all the time . . .