My physical therapist is, by his own admission, 68 years old. He is amazingly spry, jumping up on the table next to me to demonstrate things, or show me something. Today he pulled the wooden therapy table across the room with me on it – that’s not light. He has bright blue eyes and a wide, ready smile. He readily talks running with me, sharing his experience and knowledge. He’s a happy guy. I kinda have a platonic crush on him.

Today we measured some hip flexor stuff and my calf muscles (the gastrocnemius and soleus). They’re all, as I expected, tight. What’s funny is that in each place, I’m more flexible than most on the connected muscles. So my toe point is beyond normal (he thought ballet, I said gymnastics). And my hamstrings are flexible beyond normal for pretty much the same reason (gymnastics when I was a kid and a love of stretching). We talked more about running.

Here’s what he said: no matter whether I’m walking or running, I need to work on increasing flexibility in my hips and calves. I need to work on my core as well, but we didn’t get to those exercises today. Friday, I suspect. Weight loss, increasing flexibility and strengthening muscles COULD help me run in the future, but it depends on whether there’s degenerative disc action going on. I need to request an MRI from the doc so I know. I suspect I do, and will proceed as if running is off the table. For now. I won’t try to sneak in a jog or anything else that might jar my back. No more mosh pits. Heh.

At the end of my visit today he made a strong pitch for a vegetarian diet. He wasn’t proselytizing about it, he just talked about how studies show it helps a great deal with health issues. With Jeff’s recent heart stuff (he has to watch his BP and his cholesterol) maybe the time is finally right to make it so in my family. He gave me a small cookbook and another book that’s cool, but that Jeff will never read because there’s a lot of God talk in it. That’s cool. I can make the case based on science.

And seriously, if this dude is the poster child for vegetarian eating (leaning heavily towards vegan), and taking good care of the body (i.e. cardio AND strength AND flexibility), I’m sold. He’s in much better shape than I am despite being 25 years older!

So if I do the half in March, it’ll be at a walk. I’m cool with that. I walk a pretty good pace.

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