Out-of-season shape

There are no two ways around it. I am getting old. I’m one of the two oldest guys on my veteran’s team and it’s not even close; the average age is more than ten years younger than me. In the weight room, I’m usually one of the three oldest guys there. And the gradual weight of age and injuries is accumulating to the point that there are days when there are more exercises that I can’t do at full weight than those that I can.

And yet, ironically, in some ways I’m in better shape than I’ve been for fifteen years. I started stretching regularly and I’m back up to 130 degrees on the leg machine, which isn’t as good as the 150 degrees it was when I could kick six-footers in the face, but it’s a lot better than the 90 degrees it was when I first broke it out again. I definitely recovered a modicum of my lost speed through increasing my stride length. I’m not only able to play complete games when necessary, but I’m also the only player that the captain feels able to take out and put back in again, knowing that I’ll still be at something close to full speed by the end of the game.

What I’ve done is back down on the heavier weight exercises, increase the lighter ones, and increase my running. I run at least one 5k per week, ideally one 40-minute session that covers between 5.5k and 6k, and if I can find the time, a second 20-minute session doing 2.5k to 3k. It’s the time that matters, not the distance; we play 40-minute halves and I’m trying to keep my body accustomed to that time frame.

Despite the running, I’m at 192 these days, and I’m topping out my curls with 5-rep sets using the 60-pound dumbbells. I think I need to get down to 185 to really get ripped, but that’s not too bad considering all the holiday feasting of the last six weeks.

Three lifting days, two running days, and seven stretching days per week seems to be doing the trick. There is no fooling Father Time, but at least one can hope to mitigate some of his more deleterious effects.

Last season ended pretty well, as I got our only goal in the last game and ended up on five in seven fall games. I’d likely have had a second goal if the ball hadn’t abruptly stopped in a mud patch in the area when I was breaking on goal again.  But I’d really like to make it to the ten-goal mark in a half-season, so I’m training hard in order to try and make that possible. At the very least, I’d like to be sure I end up in double-digits for the full season as it’s already clear that playing a spoiler role is the most we can do.

We’ve actually played very well against the better teams, garnering ties against two of the top three teams, but we’ve also been playing down to the level of the lesser teams and failing to put them away. I’d like to win one more championship before I stop playing for good, but it won’t happen this year.