The body has all sorts of delightful ways to remind you that you’re getting older. Some are obvious, others are subtle. Some are tsunamis that strike without warning, others are the slow inevitable creep of continental drift. (I’m looking at you, my slowly-but-surely receding hairline.) Today I’m keenly aware of one nasty one in particular — my crackling bones.
I’ll go ahead and be judicious and say that it’s possible I can’t attribute the cricks and cracks in question entirely to age, but I’m living in denial that my running career of the last couple years is causing lasting damage to my body. It’s not. IT JUST ISN’T, OKAY? Now that that’s settled…
I posted last week about another kind of drift, that being the outward slide of my waistline and the upward trend of my bathroom scale. Okay, my wife was pregnant so it was impossible to be careful about what I was eating, not that I was trying anyway, but that’s over with now, Sprout the Second is a month old tomorrow (!), and it’s time to restore normality. So: diet starts this weekend, and my new exercise regimen has been ramping up for about a week and a half. Or maybe two days. I don’t know because, as I’ve mentioned before, my house exists outside of space and time as we know it. Or, at the very least, space and time are playing silly buggers on me.
Anyway, that new regimen has me doing some bodyweight exercises on days on which I do not run. I have a feeling that this is a pretty good way for things to start off because on the first few days I did these exercises, I could not climb stairs properly afterward, nor could I reach the top of my head to wash it in the shower. I have it on good authority that destroying your muscles like that is a good way to wake them up, so those must be good signs, yeah? That workout is getting easier, so I’m ramping it up, doing extra sets and extra reps. But during yesterday’s session, I dunno if it was especially quiet in the room or if I was in a higher state of awareness due to the blood flow or the dizziness induced by my 60-second plank attempt, but I heard a funny sound while I was doing some jumping jacks.
Quick sidenote on the jumping jacks. I’m not sure if I’m doing them wrong, and I feel that I must be, because they are the easiest part of the workout for me. Unless of course I perfected the technique in 5th grade gym class and my muscles stored it in memory which is tapped into and processed with perfect efficiency now twenty years later. That works, right?
Whatever. The jumping jacks are easy, but I hear a sound. Sort of like when you have a handful of pop rocks in your mouth; a low crackling that fades in and out as you open and close your mouth. Or maybe like the consistent repetitive clack clack of chips at a poker table. Damn, where’s that coming from? Oh, it’s just my entire both feet clicking and crackling away with every jump.
I’ve had a pretty constant pop to my right ankle for a lot of years: the detritus of a pretty gnarly ankle sprain that I never went to the doctor for because I’m a man. It goes off if I rotate my ankle in bed or flex the foot going up or down stairs, stuff like that. But this noise is not that. This is my entire foot, in fact both feet. I tune in more closely as I finish the set, and it’s like I can hear dozens if not hundreds of tiny little bones and ligaments and tendons clicking and sliding and ticking against each other like a bunch of ball bearings trapped in a spider web.
What do I do with this information? Go to the doctor I saw a few months back for my plantar fasciitis and say, oh, yeah, now I can hear every bone in my foot move when I do jumping jacks? He’ll only tell me to stop doing jumping jacks or stop running, so that’s right out.
I guess I just have to accept that this is my new body, one that makes all sorts of noises I wasn’t planning for it to make. (I’m sure my wife could tell fantastic stories about my unintentional emissions.) I have another birthday in a few weeks, maybe by that time my entire skeleton will calcify and I won’t be able to scratch my nose without sounding like a set of dominoes falling down a marble staircase.