Today we’re focusing on the importance of stretching. Stretching is integral to injury prevention and becomes even more important as you age. Or at least I seem to get injured more the older I get. I’ll admit I aspire to include stretching in my everyday workout routine; some days I’m better at it than others. My favorite form of stretching is practicing yoga. When I can’t make it to a full yoga class, 3-5 sun salutations do the trick. If you’re not familiar, check out this video. Or if a few overall stretches are needed, this article includes the basics.
To hone in on the importance of stretching, I’m sharing a story from my father, Chuck. They say you get older and wiser with time, but in this case, he should have listened to his son, Zack, and his girlfriend, Lindsay. Read on for more…
A couple of months ago I mentioned to Zack that the MN State Senior Games sounded interesting and take place each year in August. I proceeded to do a bit of research on the national qualifying times for various track events: 5:35 min for the 1500 or one mile event, 14.3 seconds for the 100 meter dash, 8.1 seconds for the 50 meter dash. With the 1500 and 100 meter events likely out of reach, I settled on the 50 meter dash as my best option.
Months pass and I put it out of mind until Zack says he’ll meet me tomorrow for an official qualifying time check. It’s at this point I realize I haven’t truly sprinted in 45 years. Rather than rest up, I headed out for a 20 mile bike ride followed immediately by a 3 mile run. It was such a nice day that I couldn’t resist! As I was finishing the workout, I thought briefly how my legs seemed to be pretty tight…an omen perhaps.
Zack and Lindsay showed up right on time the following day. After a couple of quick stretches, we headed out with stopwatches and a camera in tow. Now mind you, school land security rules have changed a bit over the years. They actually lock you out of the track. We were forced to go around one fence, scale another and squeeze through a chained gate. Being the smart woman that she is, my wife, Joan, watched from a distance.
With Zack and Lindsay both inquiring about my warm up, we found the starting hash mark and the 50 meter line. Lindsay asked again…is that short jog all you are going to do for a warm-up? I replied “it’s a warm day, I should be good to go.” Just then a police car drove by…Joan ducked down outside the fence. Luckily (or maybe unluckily), they didn’t see us.
I was anxious to get going. After one more inquiry about my warm up, the time had come. With Zack ready with the stop watch, I cast my shirt to the wind, got set and took off.
While I had been a bit apprehensive about failing to qualify before I started, I was now flying down the track with what seemed like a tremendous tailwind, ten meters, 20 meters, 30 meters… Everything going great, until, what the hell, did that cop come back and shoot my left leg with a stun gun? An electrical pulse shot through my leg at just over 35 meters. I was timed at six seconds at that point, so well ahead of the national qualifying time…instead I crumpled to the tarmac.
My left hamstring was locked up tight. While writhing in pain, I looked up to see Zack and Lindsay doubled over in somewhat controlled laughter. On the other hand, Joan was laughing hysterically (I guess she knows me a bit after 42 years of marriage).
Needless to say, I don’t have a qualifying time at this point.
Update: Chuck fully recovered to take 1st place in his age group at the Timberman Triathlon. Since then he’s encountered a sore lower back and mysterious toe injury. Lesson learned? I think not.
image via Pinterest (original source not found); graphic for Luv in the Bubble