Hunting season’s coming — time to get in shape

Getting old may beat the alternative, but it still isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m trying to stay in shape, but the aging process keeps getting in the way.

I’m not trying to be the next Mr. Olympia or develop six-pack abs. I don’t even care about placing in my age group in 5K runs. All I worry about is being in shape for hunting season. My workouts are tailored to building the muscles I’ll need to hike high into the hills to find the elk where they live, draw my bow or take a steady shot with my rifle, and then pack that critter out again. I do try to keep my weight down, so that I can walk all day looking for pheasants or grouse, without having to stop every five minutes to catch my breath.

But lately, my fitness goals have been hampered by ailments I never had to worry about when I was younger. When I was in my 20s, I could run nonstop for days and never have to worry about the damage I might be doing to my feet. But now that I’ve been abusing my feet for roughly half a century, I’ve developed plantar fasciitis. I’m told it will go away if I stop pounding my feet on the ground for several miles at a time day in and day out, but if I stop running, I’m going to pack on the weight again, which will cause me problems for hunting season.

I could lift weights to keep in shape, and that’s part of my recipe for hunting season fitness, anyway, but even that has had to be put aside for the time being, due to a bad case of tennis elbow. I don’t even play tennis. I have no idea how I developed this ailment. All I know is that it is painful enough that when I was doing skullcrushers in the gym a few weeks ago, the name of the exercise became literal when my elbow refused to keep the dumbbell suspended above my head.

I’ve given the foot a good bit of rest lately, so I went ahead and ran the Bolder Boulder 10K run last weekend. Well, “ran” is a bit of an exaggeration. If there had been someone walking the course, they’d have lapped me.

But I’m working my way back, and I hope I have time to get in shape before hunting season. And I’m praying no other age-related ailments crop up.