Did you ever see an old guy trying to run in 15 year old running shoes with a sole that’s come unglued in the front flopping around?
It’s a recipe for disaster (fall, broken hip, etc.) and that was me until yesterday when my new running shoes arrived.
I’m trying to resurrect my ability to run, slowly and short distances, just because it’s a capability I believe humans (even old ones) should have.
Near Disaster – A Running Lesson From a 4 Year Old
The importance of having the ability to run was amplified for me recently when I was attending to my 4 year old grandson.
We were in his front yard and for reasons unknown he decided to take off toward the street.
Without warning, my capacity to run was challenged. Catch a 4 year old or face possible disaster!
I rose to the challenge, but it wasn’t pretty and required much more effort and pain than it should have.
That incident, which lasted considerably less than a minute, brought home to me in a very graphic way the importance of doing everything I can to maintain my mobility, strength, and yes, even my ability to run short distances.
Running 20 yards should not be a challenge, even for a senior. Heck, look at the UpGraded Senior Superstars on this website:
- Ed Whitlock, age 85, running (fast) marathons (26.2 mile race).
- Ida Keeling, age 100, setting records sprinting.
- Fauja Singh, age 100, oldest marathoner.
- Cliff Young, running and winning a 544 mile race at age 61.
So, what’s my excuse for not staying in good enough shape to save my grandson, if life challenges me?
If it had turned out differently and my grandson had been harmed, saying “I was too old to run” wouldn’t make me feel better, especially with those UpGraded Seniors mentioned above standing in judgment of my honesty.
Nope, trying to use the “too old to run” excuse would only make me feel worse, because in my heart I would know that it might have turned out differently if I had taken better care of myself.
We never know what challenges life will throw at us — usually without warning. There are literally thousands of variations on the story I just shared.
And, if you think life is going to give you an exemption from physical challenges just because you’re old – think again!
Putting it in an evolutionary perspective, what do you think happened to Paleolithic seniors when they could no longer run from the perils surrounding them?
Bluntly stated, they probably became lunch for a predator or at least became a casualty of a dispute with a warring band of Neanderthals.
Fortunately, we’re not faced with those life or death challenges on a daily basis as our ancestors were, but staying fit still helps stack the deck in our favor against the inevitable surprises life has in store for us.
Thank you, life, for this teaching moment in which no one was injured. That’s more than enough motivation for me to renew my efforts to stay in shape.