Recently I have had the lucky ability to reverse my body’s aging processes by completely changing my diet. I switched to completely clean eating supported by wonder shakes made from natural ingredients including very high quality whey protein, pre- and post-biotics, 70 trace elements as well as 21 minerals and vitamins. Together with a series of supplements which add in a layer of antioxidant support as well as additional critical vitamins and co-enzymes – and pulling out a large amount of processed foods and sugars I reduced my metabolic age to 33 (when I am actually 49!).
I have enjoyed the results of this eating revolution by finding renewed energy for sports – ones at which I had previously excelled but given up when the ravages of a middle aged body torn apart by two pregnancies in quick succession and the exhaustion which comes with being a middle aged Mum, took over my competitive instincts.
I have since completed three cycling tours increasing my average training ride from a measly 50km to 100km so that the total distance per tour of 600km in 4 days seemed relatively easy to complete. I started to re-run a 5km distance by entering our local parkrun and I once again completed an Olympic distance triathlon (my pre baby happy hunting grounds) and found glory again when I was crowned age group winner.
My energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds – with a metabolic age of 33 what was there to stop me? I put my entry in for my greatest ever sporting endeavour – an Ironman triathlon and upped my training once more time.
But then – disaster struck. My knees, always dodgey and prone to pain, really flared up so that by 8km in my long runs I was reduced to a hobbling mess. Successive visits to the physio did nothing to fix the pain which would flare up whatever muscle release we had tried that week.
I took my MRI, completed a few months ago on my right knee due to a possible cyst at the back of the knee) to a knee specialist. It did not take him long to tell me – you have Grade 4 osteoarthritis in BOTH knees, your anatomy is screwed and you can no longer run more than 5km at a time. If you run longer, particularly when the pain is as bad as it has been, you may do permanent bone damage.
Bugger. My entry is in for the Ironman in June, I have paid nearly $2000 already in entry fees, hotels and flights, I have a brand new time trial bike purchased specifically for the purpose, I have already worked hard for at least 5 months with a dedicated plan implemented 1 month ago – and I have told everyone that I am doing it to show I can beat old age.
I am faced with the decision – go hard, complete the swim leg and bike in the best times possible and then walk the marathon or pull out of the whole event entirely. I won’t pull out of just the run – that’s not an option – if I travel on that plane to Cairns in June it will be to do the whole thing in some shape or form.
I am still in deliberation – I tend towards doing it unless it’s the dead of night and I am thinking about how boring it will be to walk 42km.
And I also look back to see where I went wrong. My nutrition has been awesome these last two years but it’s not been enough to overhaul years spent running and cycling without adequate stretching or muscle building in the gym. I also never paid much attention in previous years to supplementation – perhaps if I had popped in the fish oils and glucosamine across the last 20 years I may have been in a different spot right now. Perhaps if I had not torn my ACL way back in 1994 paying some daft game of rugby things would not have worked out so bad? Perhaps? Perhaps?
It’s all irrelevant now – except for the lessons it teaches us. We have just the one body for life- we need to look after it the best we can. And we must also count our blessings. As I cry over the loss of knees adequate for running, there are others that face ongoing treatment for cancer, or face the loss of a complete limb from accident or, worse still – the loss of a child after a critical injury.
I still need to count myself amongst the lucky ones- my metabolic age suggests I should live a long and healthy life free from diseases, particularly those affected by weight, obesity and poor diet. I have the use of all my parts and I can still cycle, swim and walk. And I have a happy and healthy family that support me and whatever decision I make regarding the Ironman.
So the bottom line – look after yourselves and your body – it’s the only one you will get. Be grateful for it and treat it well. Feed it right!
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