How to Get Fit By Jogging (For Women over 50)

I have been alive for over half of a century.  That means I have lived through disco fever, two Bush administrations, and the spectacle of Miley Cyrus twerking.  I have learned many things on all this time on the planet, and I am willing to share my nuggets of wisdom with you.

Today’s nugget is about fitness.  Jogging is a popular and effective way to get fit.  It is free, and anybody can do it, but women over fifty have to take some special precautions before getting started.  Here are my recommendations.

Proper clothing is essential.  Let us begin with the proper foundation.  If you are a woman over 50, your hormones have most likely caused your boobs to double in size.  You have to be careful not to let those puppies bounce too much or else they may knock out what’s left of your teeth. I recommend investing in a sports bra.  This bra should bear not the slightest resemblance to anything worn by a Victoria’s Secret model.  Look instead for a full-coverage model, preferably made of armor.A good fitting bra that supports your puppies properly should not cost you more than $75.00

Something like this is nice because it includes room for your rows of belly fat.

breast armor

Next, it is important to wear proper shorts.  Theoretically, any type of short should work.  In reality, though, unless you suffer from some tropical wasting disease, you need to be wary of the dreaded thigh chafe: aka “chub rub.”  This chafe happens when “thigh meat” meets “thigh meat” and it is not pretty.  You could use Vaseline or baby powder on your thighs to prevent the chub rub.  Some people say Desitin (the baby rash ointment) works well once the chafe occurs.  But I believe in being well-prepared, so I would recommend purchasing some anti-chafing underwear, which looks like something between a diaper and Dominatrix getup.

thigh chafe

With these anti-chafers and your breast armor, you should be able to wear any t-shirt and shorts and be ready to frolic.

Let’s not forget the footwear.  You will, of course, need to spend well over $100 for the proper running shoes.  Many types are available, and they all boast such fancy technology related to air, suspension, and support, that they must have been built by engineers.

Spending $150 for running shoes will not be enough for the woman over 50, though, since she has undoubtedly suffered from plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, and a capite ad calcem.  Therefore I highly recommend investing in prescription orthotics to insert into your really expensive running shoes.  They are only around $500, but your insurance may pay for them.

orthotics

 Speaking of injuries, if you have run even once in the past three years, you will probably be suffering from a knee injury.  This is no excuse for staying on the couch!  A decent knee brace should not set you back more than $770, and it might even save your knee.

knee brace

You’ll want to invest in good socks, of course.  Make sure you only buy those that manage your moisture with an unnatural fabric and boast a ventilated top to help your feet breathe.  You should not need to spend more than $15 for a good pair of socks.

When you are putting your socks and shoes on, don’t forget your antibiotic ointment, bandaids and moleskin to protect the blisters you earned from working out once already this year.

Although running with your IPod is not absolutely necessary, I find it helpful to keep my energy up. IPod tablets are engineered for maximum funness, and you don’t want to go out into the world without your maximum funness on, do you?  $300 should be enough to get you started.

You don’t want to have to carry your IPod in your sweaty hand, so make sure you buy an armband for it.  Stick the IPod into the arm band and wear it on your upper-arm.

Oh—before you go out the door, don’t forget your headphones to plug into the Ipod!

Now you are all set!

First, warm up with a slow jog.  If it is a hot summer day, this warm-up will probably be enough to get the sweat dripping into your eyes.  For the rest of the run, your eyes will be burning with sweat and you will be blind.

After a few more minutes, you will notice that your head phones have fallen out of your ears.  As you try to fix the headphones while continuing to jog, blind, you trip over your untied shoe and to flying, face first, into the sidewalk.
After waking up ten minutes later, you find that you are bruised, scratched and broken all over. You probably have a concussion.  Crawl home, blood and sweat dripping from every pore.

Post a status update on Facebook to brag about how good you feel after your run.

You’re done!

The Changing Seasons Photo Challenge: January

I can’t seem to get enough of challenges.  I just discovered a new one I’m going to join.  Cardinal Guzman hosts a Changing Seasons photo challenge.  (Click here for more information.)  The challenge is to pick a place near one’s home and post 5-20 pictures of it once a month in order to highlight the changing seasons.

My focus will be on Murphy Hanrehan Park, which is very near my home.  I live in Minnesota, and today it is relatively warm (20s Fahrenheit) but gray.

 

Debra Goes Mild with Cheryl Strayed

"Wild"
“Wild”

In the past couple of weeks, I have read the memoir “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed and seen the movie version of it starring Reese Witherspoon.  My reaction to both the book and the movie was a constant oscillation between “Strayed is amazing!” and “Strayed is batshit crazy!”

Strayed’s memoir is about a period in her early twenties after her mother died suddenly of cancer at the age of 45.  Reeling with grief, Strayed’s life started to unravel with her self-destructive behavior.  She became promiscuous, used heroin, and divorced her kind and loving husband while on her downward spiral.

Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed

One day, Ms. Strayed, who had never done an overnight hiking trip in her life, decided it would be a good idea to hike 1000 or so miles of the Pacific Crest Trail by herself.  “Wild” is her account of both her downward spiral and the hiking trip that helped her recover from her grief.

“Wild” is not a hiking guide or a self-help book.  It is a memoir, a work of literature.  Strayed writes beautifully and honestly about the beauty of the landscape she traversed, but also, frequently about the physical pain she endured.  Her backpack, which she affectionately called “Monster,” was way, way too heavy for her.  Not only was it difficult to walk with such a burden on her back, but it left her seriously bruised and blistered.  Even worse were her feet.  I don’t know if this is common for long-distance hikers, but her feet were in constant agony and she lost six toenails by the end of the trip.

Nonetheless, her book was inspiring to me.  I have done a little bit of hiking I my life, but not a great deal.  And I certainly do not enjoy pain.  But what she wrote about the healing effects of strenuous outdoor activity makes sense to me:

“I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back.  And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.  That I could bear the unbearable.  These realizations about my physical, material life couldn’t help but spill over into the emotional and spiritual realm.  That my complicated life could be made so simple was astounding.  It had begun to occur to me that perhaps it was okay that I hadn’t spent my days on the trail pondering the sorrows of my life, that perhaps by being forced to focus on my physical suffering some of my emotional suffering would fade away.  By the end of that second week, I realized that since I’d begun my hike, I hadn’t shed a single tear.” (92)

Strayed suggests that there is something about strenuous effort or—to be more blunt—physical pain in the wilderness that can make a person stronger, not just physically, but also emotionally.  Whereas heroin and sex were attempts to get outside of herself, Strayed realized on her hike that she need to stay inside herself in order to heal.

“But walking along a path I carved myself. . . was the opposite of using heroin. . . Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something.  That perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wilderness meant I too could be undesecrated, regardless of what I’d lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable things I’d done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me.  Of all the things I’d been skeptical about, I didn’t feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.”

So I am now inspired by Strayed to experience more of the strenuous outdoor life.  Yet, I still think hiking 1100 miles by oneself is crazy.  I’m not interested in doing anything like that.  However, I would like to get out into nature more often than I normally do.  So here is my compromise, my very Mild response to Strayed’s “Wild” adventure.

Strayed hiked a total of approximately 1100 miles.  My goal is to do 1100 miles this summer, by combining biking and hiking.  I pledge to hike a total of 100 miles and bike a total of 1000 miles this year.  I am no Cheryl Strayed, so these miles will be cumulative, not all at once.

I live in Minnesota, so I can’t really get outside until probably late April, when the snow melts and the temperatures are regularly above freezing.  Because of the generally crappy climate I live in, I henceforth declare the spinning classes can count toward my mileage.

I will update my blog periodically about my progress, so stay tuned!