Life Begins at 40

Three weeks ago today, I turned 40. Nothing special in that, literally billions before me have crossed this magical threshold, kept calm and carried on. For me there was no fanfare, no balloons, and little fuss. There was the obligatory birthday cake in the office, a few of my team even muttered ‘happy birthday’ before wandering off with my chocolate cake, I even got a solitary ‘you don’t look 40’ compliment from a 41 year old clearly in much worse shape than me. I also got a solitary birthday card (thanks dad) and birthday present (thanks lovely wife).

So while I am not exactly balding, over-weight or suffering from senior-skin syndrome, I do in fact feel very 40. For most of this year I have been struggling with chronic back pain caused by a herniated L5 disc, and a growing feeling of losing the moment to ever get into shape is intimately paralyzing. If I’m honest, I’ve never really loved exercise in the crazy way you’re supposed to. Never really loved the agony of pushing myself to the limit, the feeling of about to puke because I ran just one more mile, or the feeling of being sweat saturated and sun-lashed. But, I am told, that’s because I am out of shape and don’t exercise. Apparently, if I just push through for long enough, I’ll start to love it. So, I’m going to become a runner. Yes. That’ll be me jogging in the bike line, startling your dog and flicking sweat in your face feeling all smug and superior. I’ll be loving the pain and begging for more. Apparently.

Before I do anything though, I need some things.

Stuff

You can’t start a hobby without buying stuff. In fact, that’s pretty much the only reason to get into something new… it’s all the new stuff you get to buy. Unfortunately, running doesn’t actually need that much stuff, and I have most of it anyway. I’ve got the insanely short-shorts, which will nicely show of my whiter than white legs. I’ve got the Saucony running shoes (actually they’re about 7 years old, and have probably 10 miles on the clock) and I have the arm band for my iPhone, which my wife bought for me last christmas. Er… never worn it! It also came with a free Runners World subscription on my iPad, which I’ve downloaded. I might read it too.
Never been used!
Speaking of iPhone, I need apps. How can you get fit without an app to hold your hand. I chose Couch to 5k and MapMyRun, both free on the app store. Finally, I need to start a blog, so I can bore or enthrall my army of fans (maybe just my wife and my dad). That’s this, the thing you’re reading. So I’ll use the said apps to track my progress here on the blogosphere.

When to Run

So here is the million dollar question. Probably the best time to run, is when I am least likely to do it. That is, first thing in the morning. I am not a morning person. I wake up feeling like I just fell off a cliff, and landed on a jagged rock wrapped in barbed wire in a boiling pot of sludge. That’s on a good day. The first thing I think of when I wake up is, how much longer can I sleep for. When I finally drag myself out of my pit, it’s straight for the coffee and the nearest chair. My stretch ambition is to want to run in the morning, but I need to be realistic.
Given I work 5 days a week, roughly from 8 – 6 or later, evening runs are my best bet. I’ve recently moved to a quiet part of Brooklyn plenty of quiet streets, so getting some miles under my belt shouldn’t be a problem. I just need to do it.

Other Exercise

Given my back issues, I also need to work on my core. We have an exercise ball at home, which is deflated (no really, it is)… I’ll find the pump I think! Additionally I go mountain biking weekly, and really want a Kayak. Strange things happen to men’s chests as they go into their late 30’s, and if you’re pretty slender like me in the first place, the effect is pretty gross. So upper body exercise is a must. But first things first, let’s get running.

Start Date

Well obviously, it has to be tomorrow…
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