Aging Under Water

Friday, September 27, 2013 | 1 Comment(s)

Mercifully, growing old happens gradually.  Imagine going to bed 21 and waking up with grey hair.  Very disconcerting.  Unfortunately, every once and awhile you trip over a geriatric speed-bump that sends you flying forward into the next category of aged.  It is both a moment of disillusionment and sadness.  The realization that all those college athletes on TV are a decade younger than you and you'll never be able to do a backflip again.  Yesterday, I got next level old. I know because aging is the least subtle process in existence.

I've gotten back into swimming.  I found a new, slightly smaller, slightly dingier pool than the one I used swim in when I was still in school, but the main advantage of the new place is that this pool is open all day every day, as opposed to the university's restrictive 2 hours of open swim time per day.  

I always stretch before I swim.  Well, more accurately, after the one time many years ago when i got an excruciating leg cramp mid-crawl, I have always stretched before getting in the pool.  While I have been blessed with hyper-flexibility, it is essential to get limber before swimming long distances. 

I don't always stretch post-pool.  I mean, I i go directly into a hot shower.  And I always shake it out in there like I just don't care.  But formal stretching, either inside the small locker room full of naked old men, or upstairs on the mats post-dressing, rarely happens.  

It's swimming.  By definition it is low impact.  Half the pool is full of octogenarians who move faster in the water than out.   Sure I'm swimming while they are running in place, but how strenuous is it really on my muscles?  It's cardio!   And, until yesterday, I've never had any problems with this routine. 

I can't tell you what time at night is was.  I have no idea.  I can tell you that when it started I was 122-percent asleep.  So was my wife. What it felt like was a shark bite directly into my right calf.  I began thrashing in bed as if it mattress was filled with water and had just sprung a leak.  The searing pain in my leg ice-picking its way inside my REM sleep.  Somehow my electrocution-like flailing woke my sleep-deprived wife.

"Are you, ok . . ."  she whispers earnestly into the dark bedroom.

"Craaaaaaaaaampppp" I tell her, still unconscious myself. 

"Oh, I'm so sorry babe.  That's too bad."  

She doesn't move her body. The next morning she recalls how utterly worn out she felt and how actually moving her limbs to help me seemed as difficult as running the 100m hurdles on Special K.  She figured the verbal consolation she provided would most likely get me through whatever difficult moment was causing my body to convulse, as if electrocuted.

I flopped around for another minute or so, focusing whatever concentration I could muster on helping the sinews of my calf muscle to release and relent.  My leg mercifully began straightening out like a tug-of-war rope that eventually surges in one direction. And just as it was relaxing back to its full outright and unlocked position, I was asleep again.  This entire ordeal an ephemeral memory of pain and recollection.  

Oh.  The next morning I had a Charley horse like you wouldn't believe.  I was Limpy McLimperson at work.

"What's wrong Matt, why are you limping?," asks a coworker.

"Oh, you know, I wen't swimming yesterday and forgot to stretch afterward and so later that night when I was asleep I was awoken by an excruciating leg cramp which only partially relented and has now resulted in a somewhat permanent dead-leg," I reply. 

I add, "Duh."

"Oooooohhhh . . . because you're old.  Why didn't you just say that?," she chirps, and prances off toward the back of the restaurant. 

"No," I think to myself, "because I'm next level old." 

1 comment:

  1. If you're next level old, then I'm next level old, and I'm not ready for that yet. Puh, we're not even middle-aged yet.