Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

Archive for healthy-living

On the Outside of 65+ with Outside advice

We’ve all picked up those magazines with “through the decades” articles.  Whether the topic is personal finance or skin care regimen, they generally begin with advice for each decade of your adult life, through 50 & beyond.  Since moving out of the 50’s decade I admit to taking umbrage with the “and beyond.”  Really, should I have the same plan at 60, 70, or 80 that I had at age 50?  Or, since there fewer of us beyond 60, do we cease to be a large enough part of the readership?

I recently opened the October issue of Outside Magazine and saw a by-the-decades series of articles on living your best life. Warily, I paged through, wondering if there was a decade for me. Starting at 0-20 (been there), on to 20-30 (been there),  30-40 (been there), 40-50 (been there), 50-65 (o.k., stretching those years a bit, been there) and finally, here we arrive at 65+. The + apparently indicates as long as we are sentient beings.

Within the 65+ segment, featured athletes include 79-year old Bill Iffrig (the Boston Marathoner knocked on his butt by shock waves from the bomb who then proceeded to the finish line), 

Bill Iffrig

Bill Iffrig 

80-year old Lew Hollander (a finisher of 50 Ironmans),

Lew Hollander

Lew Hollander

80-year old Yuichiro Miura

Yuichiro Miura

Yuichiro Miura

(the oldest person to climb Mount Everest), and 78-year old Harriet Anderson (a 12-time Kona AG winner).

 Harriet Anderson

Harriet Anderson

I object. Can’t we age 60-70 folks have our own segment where the grueling and impressive feats of those in their 70’s and 80’s don’t overshadow us? No? Well, I’ll go with it, since your recommendations for 65+ reinforce my own personal cobbled-together plan. Those include:

Osteoporosis Testing. Outside warns men they are not exempt from this quiet and debilitating disease.  (Yeah, we women get warnings from every direction and get tested, so this one specifically for men is warranted.)

Adding Resistance Bands to your Weight Lifting plan.

I’m onboard with this, having just replaced some worn bands with a fresh set with varying levels of resistance.images-5 The instructions with my recent purchase advised against using outdoors, but I do when I travel by car. They’re convenient to wrap around a lamp post or a tree in a rest area for a few assisted squats and stretches.  It breaks up a long ride.

Eat more Protein, fewer Carbs. Outside says that dietary guidelines call for at least a third of an ounce of protein per 2.5 pounds of body weight but note some experts think that’s not enough for we Baby Boomers.

I’ve read this in other sources and taken heed. I take in some protein shortly after most workouts, whether its running, weights or swimming.  My go-to protein is a shelf-safe boxed chocolate milk. Another favorite is dry roasted edamame, roughly 14 grams of protein in a small handful.  IMG_1275My current brand is GourmetNut.  Both items are convenient for post-workout and fit in the pocket of my gym bag.

Supplementals. 

Lots of information on this topic about vitamins and such, although the take-away was to get as much as you can of what you need from quality food loaded with nutrients, like those listed in Outside’s section for 30-40. Had we been eating those items consistently for the last 25 years (yes, I know some of you have) we would have a stronger base now.

The sci-fi blood spinning/youth pill stuff is interesting but it sounds like we in the 65+ group will be out-a-here before most become commonplace or affordable.

Overall, this issue is a good read with current information on how to stay healthy so that we can continue to go out and play.  Though much of the content of Outside is targeted to young men, the high quality of writing and interesting exploration of our natural surroundings appeals to this senior woman as well.  That quality writing includes an article in the October issue penned by 70-something Jim Harrison,images-6 author of books on the outdoors and many other topics that make life worthwhile.

So, Outside, thumbs up, although I’m still hankering for my own decade.  Is 60-70 too much to ask?

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Garmin signals ‘Wrap-up the Old’

Dear Garmin: The political, professional and personal end-of-year wrap-ups were overwhelming. Journalists, analysts and bloggers endlessly trolled through their 2012 calendars.  I became a bit of a curmudgeon with no intention of joining in the fray.

But you, Garmin, thought otherwise.

Garmin Forerunner 305

Garmin Forerunner 305 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

December 30, as I volunteered for a Resolution 5K we did an early course run to place mile markers.  Along with your beep to indicate the first mile, you sent a message that your database was full – please delete some data.  I ignored you.  Usually, I can squeeze in another 10 or 12 runs before you are actually full.

December 31 during speedwork, the delete data message returned.  I gave in.  This was your  timely and clear message to me to join in the year-end review.

What would the stored information locked in your casing reveal about 2012? Your data and my notes held the secrets of my personal bests and personal worsts, training breakthroughs, and training mistakes.   My added notes spoke to all the ways running enriched my life this year, with notes of friends and family support at the finish line, vacation runs, and solo explorations.  It’s all there in the log: travel, food, injuries, health, training with friends, and the new opportunities to learn and challenge myself that popped up sporadically.  All of this finds me one year older but a stronger runner, and hopefully wiser all around.  It’s there in tersely noted entries that accompany the numbers.

Thank you, Garmin. You have been my consistent companion through 2012, beeping on queue, tolerating the wind, rain, dust, heat and cold, traveling with me this year across two oceans, visiting three countries and accurately measuring 1,400 miles of running plus more in bike mileage.  I complain  when your battery is suddenly low a few miles into a run, when it is I who forgot to set up a recharge. You are forgiving and quickly show a “charge complete” when given the opportunity.

Then, on December 31 you send the message to delete this year, to clear the table for what is to come. Who am I to argue with the impeccable timing of such a steadfast piece of equipment?  After ensuring a copy of all notes and data are secured in my laptop, I hit the “delete all” button.

Garmin, you and me, here we come in 2013! I’m still running and you, amongst all my wonderful running buddies, are still my most frequent and reliable running partner (but don’t tell the others).

River Runners 13K run NY day 2013

River Runners 13K run New Year’s Day 2013

So, we’re off to a first run of the year with River Runners, a great group to be with any time of the year, but particularly on a cold and overcast January day.  They make every run a special event. 

Riverfront Park

Resolution: Strength Training to Conquer the Overhead Bin Lift

December’s last run on O’ahu and first run in Wisconsin resulted in the expected temperature jolt. With running gear adaptable to both climates, I was prepared for the transition from balmy upper 70’s in Makakilo to breezy lower 20’s along the Rock River.

Post-run on O'ahu

Post-run on O’ahu

trail along Rock River

Rock River Parkway Trail near family holiday stop in Wisconsin

Because this trip was planned for two distinctly different climates, I was doubly pleased to include everything needed for a multi-stop sojourn in a single carry-on bag and a roomy handbag. Sportswear designers deserve some of the credit for my efficient packing. Much of my running gear can now be combined with street clothing. Running skirts and dresses, leggings, and a running shirt (preferably one without a list of sponsors across the back) along with a wrap will take you to dinner and out for a run in the morning.

As a frequent traveler, I’ve worked to rethink what must absolutely be included in a packing list.  Self-sufficiency in handling baggage is important as circumstances will sometimes dictate when you – and only you – will be elected to get your worldly traveling goods from Point A to Point B. The always increasing checked baggage fees are an added impetus for this frugal traveler to lighten up.

My packing plan seemed flawless until I boarded the first flight. Lifting my carry-on to waist and chest height: no problem. Lifting it over my head: not happening.

English: Luggage compartments of an Airbus 340...

English: Luggage compartments of an Airbus 340-600 aircraft (economy class). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately, a fellow traveler with upper body strength to spare and about a 10 inch advantage in stature made short work of settling my bag into its space. Ever grateful for the help of strangers when I travel, this experience told me that with my bag packed about as heavy as the airline allows, my upper body strength was not equal to the task.

I was not put to the test again as a full flight out of Honolulu led to a request that some carry-on’s be tagged at the gate. I quickly complied, slipping my laptop out before my carry-on was handed-off. On the last leg of the journey, my husband joined me on the flight and made short work of stowing our carry-ons.

Still, this is a message that I need to heed. Do we loose muscle mass as we age?  Yes.  Can we take action to diminish that loss?  I think so. I admit upper body work and strength training in general takes a back seat to my mileage needs as a distance runner. A trade-off to spend time doing strength training when I could be experiencing the pure joy of running in the outdoors is a tough one, but one that it’s time to address.

Strength Training

Strength Training (Photo credit: Rtist MrB)

My strength training goal for 2013:  Build upper body strength to a point where I can single handedly lift a carry-on into overhead storage.

I’m all ears on advice from anyone who has a workout or a plan for a senior runner who would rather log miles than lift weights.

With gratitude that I’m still running, I’m wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy and Active New Year.

Hawaii Holiday Hill Run

Up and about in the early morning hours of my first Hawaii daybreak, I try to be a good houseguest and avoid waking my host.  I bide my time with a delicious cup of Hawaiian coffee and quiet time on the lanai. Patience brings the dawn and I’m off for a brief sunrise run.photo Makakilo, ‘observing eyes’ in the Hawaiian language, is a superb lookout point.  As I turn out of the street from my son’s home, the view extends down the island past Waikiki Beach all the way to Diamond Head. This morning, the landmark is shrouded in clouds but still visible. This vista was once a strategic spot to observe approaching visitors, be they friend or foe. Now, it’s a residential community far off the tourist circuit.photo

I run downhill on a wide boulevard under a canopy of monkeypod trees. A simple 4-miler will be  great for stretching out after a long flight, which is also a great excuse to run an out-and-back to the Malama Market and pick up a few goodies.  lThis little store at first glance appears to be a typical mini-market.  Inside, it has the feel of  an old fashioned grocery, with a deli area of fresh sandwiches, breads, salads and seafood with a local touch, and a great little coffee shop next door.  I snap up a pack of warm Hawaiian-style andagi, and a couple of other items.  Three favorites:  travel, running and a kickstart with a fresh morning local food treat.

"Sata andagi" is Okinawa doughnuts.サ...

“Sata andagi” is Okinawa doughnuts.サーターアンダーギー (Photo credit: Wikip

This is daunting running territory, with tough uphills and downhills. With a little less than two miles distance, my mini-grocery run requires a straight downhill with more than a 70 foot drop in elevation  (This U-tube video is a good visual of the downhill), which in turn means 70 feet elevation gain for my return trip.   With goodies loaded into a running backpack, I begin my reverse trek uphill with a jog, which quickly becomes a fast walk. 

I’m seeing a few other solo runners, retired boomers like myself along with a few military folks sharing a portion of my route.  On O’ahu, most runners are out early and in before 9 a.m. or so. With this year’s Honolulu Marathon taking place last weekend (Sunday, December 9), this is a recovery week for some.

The sun is quickly rising in the sky but soon enough I’m back to the house.  It’s time for some holiday gift baking before the second phase of my jet lag sets in.

Wishing all good family visits, good food, safe travels and few moments to get out for run.