Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
November 17, 2016
I have to tell you, this past week has been an awesome one. I started off the week with one of the funnest bands on the planet, Gogol Bordello, seeing them for the fourth time in my life and singing along to the song “Start Wearing Purple” for maybe the 5,000th time. I remember the first time I watched them many years ago, trying my hand at moshing and seeing myself fail spectacularly. When I say spectacularly, I mean the idea that I could barely make a couple songs before having to take a break and get out of the pit while I caught my breath. My heart wanted explode that night and I drank a gallon of water afterward. It is the sort of memory I am not proud of, mainly because I remember how horribly out of shape I was. Sure, I still get as sweaty as I did back when I watched them the first time, that is gonna be a problem no matter how old or in shape I am in. These days however, I can manage much more in regards to my physical side of life. What happened on Monday night was both hilarious and revealing. What happened was something that was now really my own fault but also a realization. I am old. Really old. I joke but it felt so true on Monday.
So this is what happened. I did my thing that day; go to work, donate my plasma, and then took a nap considering I would be staying up past my usual 9 p.m bed time (yup, that should tell you right away that I have gotten old!). Anyway, all seemed good when the show started. A decent DJ kind of opened things up and then we waited for Gogol Bordello to hit the stage. The floors at the Rialto are pretty notorious for being hard, and I have been sore in the past just for standing for a few hours when I have gone there. But that night was different. Once Gogol Bordello hit the stage, I was jumping, pushing, dancing and moving all over the place. I did this for two hours, never stopping once and taking a break. I was a bowling ball smacking people all over the place and I was the pins getting knocked down. I maybe had my feet stepped on a good hundred times. I charley horsed my elbow so badly that it hurt the next day. Someone smacked the back of my left calf and I nearly buckled, but maintained my balance. I maybe got rabbit punched by flailing arms half a dozen times. My forearms were swollen from so many people ramming against me. I started cramping up in the middle of the show but pressed on because I am a “tough guy.” I was jumping around and acting like a man half his age amongst people that were at least 10 years younger than me on average. It was a great night to remember, but I paid for it the moment I started walking out of the building. You see, when you get older, you have to take care of your body a little better, and the one thing about plasma donation is you get a little dehydrated afterward and must eat and drink to replenish. Well, I sure as heck did neither when I got done with my session. My entire left leg just started cramping up, making it difficult even get to my car. I really had some issues with my legs when I sat down, overwhelmed with so much pain that I had to stand for another 20 minutes and stretch before I could get back in. And it didn’t stop when I got home.
I could barely walk and barely sit. Over the course of the evening I started to fall asleep, but I woke up in a frantic yell as my leg was convulsing and scared the heck out of my pups a couple times that night. I didn’t get much for rest and it was a horrible night. I could tell I was severely dehydrated when I drank a Gatorade I had bought a few days before and my body was overwhelmed, like the moment you fall into cold water and the rush simply overtakes you. Seriously, it was like my body took an adrenaline shot and a massive bolt of energy zipped through me (and I have been shocked my 277 voltage before!). Needless to say, I woke up with something far worse than a hangover…a full body stiffness. There was a joke way back in the day when quarterback Vinny Testaverde (who was 44 at the time) was listed on the injury log for his NFL team with the non-specific ailment of “full body soreness,” and he wa the back-up! Now I kind of got things rolling with some fluids and stretched and did a little walking, but I could tell some of my oversight was going to come back to haunt me. I didn’t do my daily push-ups due to the fatigue and the soreness, and I had to skip my Wednesday running because my left calf was just a mess and I didn’t want to push myself any harder than I had to. I sincerely felt old for the firs time in a long time, and it felt horrible. I have to tell you this, my Tuesday afternoon made me feel horrible, even though I put together a pretty good workout and was doing okay in regards to my body dexterity. But the fact I have to slow it down this week was discouraging, for it once again presents a problem for me that will continue to frustrate me as I keep moving forward. I really want to be a good all around athlete, but how the heck can I do that when my body breaks down from such a simple thing as hanging out in a mosh pit (and on a weird note, as I write this, the muscles on my left calve are convulsing….I wish I could get a good video of this). The one thing I will have to do in the future is obviously do some stretching if I ever come to a show that was as physically demanding as the Gogol Bordello show. I mean, I was a freaking champ but I paid the price. Just means I need to either do more moshing or do more prep work. Either way, I am kind of proud myself that I did so because seriously, I was probably the only guy over 30 that withstood the whole thing without the help of cannabis and alcohol (seriously, the band did not need a smoke machine that night to get the soft lighting effect…just goes to show not too many were worried about the fact the state didn’t pass a pro-marijuana law).
I was fortunate the next night at the Dream Theater concert that the place had pre-assigned seating. I got to enjoy the multi-media show that was Dream Theater and didn’t have to worry about stressing my body. Though at one point everyone was standing and I moved closer to see the band during their encore. Anyway, its was completely night and day between the two shows, for I was one of the younger guys that appreciated the band. It was all good though. I had a great couple of nights, discovering a nice little pita chain at the University of Arizona Main Gate Square and enjoying the sights for the evening. I got lucky in finding a parking spot because the basketball team was playing that night and I didn’t have to spend a fortune on parking vouchers. It was one of the few times in my life where knowing how to parallel park came in handy. Seriously, I passed that spot twice looking for something better and multiple cars passed it. I guess the fact the DMV is failing kids for not having a perfect parallel parking job is creating anxiety. I know my cousin had that problem with his test. I just wish having a three-point turn back in my day was allowed instead of the parallel parking job (though, they were much nicer back in those days I guess).
Anyway, I will stumble into work today not only exhausted from the lost sleep of the previous two days but also from that heavy feeling. You see, when I work out, I feel lighter than air and have a sense of purpose in my life. Exercise is the ultimate mood elevation technique for me and not being able to do so fully will make it tough on me. Throw in the fact I will be starting a tough week of work and you can feel my trepidation. But that is the battle between the idea of going older and the idea of staying fit. I have to look at the positive in regards to the main situation. I was healthy and strong enough to do what I wanted all night. The only downside is my body is still trying to adjust to the life I want and the life I am living. Trust me my friends, this is a battle worth fighting and seeking an ultimate answer. If anything, the night watching Dream Theater taught me a few things about life and growing old with grace and health. Here was one of my favorite bands, with all of the members either 50 years old or older, still doing the job of younger men. Touring, playing technically abstract and difficult orchestrations with their music and playing for nearly three hours. And they have done this some 50 times this year. If anything, it inspires me to continue what I am doing, even if there will be a setback for some weird reason. But there was also a visual pay-off to the persistence and their ability to push forward. They have a mean stage presence, unlike anything I have really seen at any concert I have ever been. When I witnessed M83 for the first time this past year, that was the most technically awesome show I had ever been to in regards stage effects. Dream Theater blew that all away, with 20-ft HD towers illustrating the epic rock opera that was the album The Astonishing while utilizing some rather expensive lighting effects they have to haul around with them while also implying full time electricians and lighting techs (and roadie union guys are not cheap). What I am saying is as long as I keep pushing ahead, I will get better and prosper. That is what we are all hoping for when we start doing this health and fitness thing, right? And in the case of Dream Theater, afford an awesome keyboard rig that moves around and tilts at the control of the operator.
Anyway, I will mostly likely have to continue my half marathon training next week but this is definitely starting to be a problem for me. It means I might have to start putting more time in the gym to stretch and strengthen my ankle and calves so I can ultimately do something I keep saying I want attempt….run the Colossal Cave 55K Ultra Marathon here in southern Arizona. I was thinking of doing it on the eve of my 41st birthday, which I will be seeking to do 40 races for my 40th year of life. I admit, this worries me in regards to the long term determination of whether this will even be possible, but I will continue to push forward on the endeavor. So when I go into the gym today, I will still do some calf based exercises and do plenty of stretches to help with the pain.
So there you have it, for the first time ever I really felt old, and so far I think I have kind of accepted the reality a little better than I thought I did. I certainly accepted it a little better when I realized I gained weight in 2014. Like always, I had to adjust some expectations as I heart the next couple weeks ,because seriously, unless my leg is completely active, my calf is already as stiff as a board. Might as well call me Peg Leg. I will still do some back squats but I probably won’t go as heavy as I want to and do more to stretch my leg than try to put weight on it. I still want to attempt a run on Friday night, even if it is a short one for that matter. Now here is the final thought on this week so far…do I regret any of the stuff I put myself through? I don’t regret the tired ears, the sore body and the empty pocket book. While I am still kind of behind and dealing with stuff, it was nice to do some “fun” stuff for once and get out of the house, for so many other things are going on with me this week that remind me about the rigors of aging. The issue with the state unemployment office will drag on for another month, for now I have to apply for a different appeal when I told them I wasn’t disputing the fact they took my unemployment away, but the fact they are trying to make me pay it back despite calling it am “administrative error” and did not say I lied to them. And also my sweet little pup Scarlett is sick and I have to confine the pups to a small portion of the house because I don’t want her having diarrhea all over the carpet. I hate doing that because I miss their nighty cuddling. But hey, the health is still in good order, so at least I got that going for me in spite of the soreness and my pulsing, massive calves. Seriously, it’s like one of the aliens from Alien is gonna burst out of my leg. Now that would make an interesting NFL injury report.
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
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