Getting older as an athlete 

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I’m one year away to 40 years old.  It’s hard  believe it. My mind definitely doesn’t feel it. But my body has.  😥

I grew up being a very active kid. I often ran and biked ride with my mom in my adolescent days. That would be the foundation of what was later to come in my life. I grew up playing sports my whole life. I played basketball, baseball and football. Basketball would be the sport that would get me a scholarship to play at UC Berkeley and to play pro basketball internationally.  

My teenage years were great athletically. I did things without realizing what I was doing. I could jump high without thinking about it. Run fast without warming up. As a matter of fact…I could run a mile in 5 minutes and 10 seconds.  I never thought anything special about it until today. I would play  basketball with my friends all day and night. I still remember my friends and I breaking into the local junior high school so we can play basketball all day. We played numerous games without getting tired. We were never sore.   Those were fun times but that would change as I got in my 20s.

My 20s were great in the sense that I knew I could jump higher if I practiced. I could run faster if I put in the time and the work. I could get stronger and more powerful if I lifted weights. I could lift heavy weights without warming up. I could run fast with minimal warming up. I knew I  could improve more as a basketball player if I kept up the training.  I did accomplish all those things. I got super strong. I jumped higher. My body responded as my mind commanded.  But unlike my teenage years I would get a little sore.  I could still play basketball and run all day but I would feel it more in my body afterwards.  This is when I felt I needed to implement stretching so I wouldn’t be as sore and would be able to play and perform on the basketball court the next day. My 30s unfortunately would be the start of the beginning of the end for me athletically.  In my early 30s I could still play basketball but I couldn’t play all day anymore. I saw myself getting my tired. I couldn’t jump as high. I didn’t have the same speed, agility and quickness I had in my 20s. My body was more stiff. It would take me a full game until I got warmed up.  I would be sore for days after playing. But I was stronger physically. I really got into strength training to keep my body strong and to it from breaking down. I got into long distance running…half marathons. I knew I could have  full control of my body and strength with running and strength training. But this would change as I approach my mid to late 30s. 

My mid to late 30s have not gone as well. This is the first time in my life where my body doesn’t respond to what I want it to do. I had to cut my basketball playing down because I wasn’t performing how I wanted.  My mind thinks one thing but my body has something else in mind…I feel your pain Kobe Bryant. I even started to feel it when I ran and lifted weights. Lifting heavy weights started to put a strain on my body and joints. I still lift heavy but only on certain exercises.  It took me longer to get warmed up when I lifted weights also which increased my time in the gym. But I was good once I was warmed up. But super sore the next day.  Similar to weight lifting it took longer for me to get warmed up when I ran. I would be super sore the next day depending on how fast and long I was running. But I loved the feeling I got from running even though body was always sore and my joints were stiff. I felt like an old man sometimes when I got out of bed. I even started to get all kinds of little injuries from things I thought normal such as runner. I developed a runner’s tendonitis in my right hamstring. I would strain my calf on numerous occasions from running. I even had to stop running a few times.  This is the first time in my life where I don’t have control of my body.  Very frustrating. I guess I’m just venting. All part of the aging process. 

As I look back in my life. I felt invisible as a youth. Able to do anything I wanted physically. My body responded everything my mind commanded it to do whether it was running faster or jumping higher.  Today at 39 years old my body is not responding to what my mind is commanding.  Again… very frustrating but I have accepted these things as part life and the aging process. Father time is undefeated. But I will continue to stay active.  I have a saying…”YOU WILL LOSE IT IF YOU DON’T USE IT”. Health is wealth. I will continue to run but not at a super fast speed. I will continue to life but not super heavy. I will implement more yoga and stretching. Biking Basketball?…I will leave that for the youngsters.