This new series is guest blogged by Doug Logan.
Doug Logan was the CEO for USATF from 2008 until September 2010. He was also the CEO, President and Commissioner for Major League Soccer from 1995 to 1999. To read more about his background and involvement in Track, Soccer, Rugby and the Music industry, read my Freelap Friday Five Interview.
SHIN SPLINTS REDUX
Let’s Try This Again
Jimson finally talked me into it. I have been contemplating resuming my blog after three years of exile and he finally pushed me to start again. We were sitting on some sunny steps on the Via Veneto in Rome earlier this month after a glorious espresso macchiato and we agreed I would post once a week. So, here we go.
Many of you may remember my prior commentary published over a two year period of time on the USATF website. The subject matter was eclectic and at times provoked hostile reactions. I called the blog Shin Splints because I intended to be mildly annoying but not so hurtful as to be truly painful. I occasionally was influenced by my love for music and literature and was honest to admit my perspective was influenced by my military combat experiences and my bi-lingual, multi-cultural upbringing. This post will be no different.
During the coming weeks I will address current issues in this wonderful business of sports. What will be different for this site, however, is that my point of view will not be that of an athlete, or a trainer, or a coach. My slant will come from one who has worn a suit to work for the past four decades as an administrator, owner, marketer, and commissioner of teams and leagues. However, despite the fact that I have been blessed to make a daily living involving one of my passions, I am first and foremost a fan.
While I plan to consider all sports, my knowledge of track and field and of futbol will probably dominate my musings. I have a lifelong admiration for athletic speed and its interrelationship with almost all sports. I once heard an old baseball scout declare “speed doesn’t slump“and the implications of that statement are fascinating.
I also intend to discuss the topic of aging, particularly in this era. I turned 70 on May 11th this year and am now a part of a unique class. My peers and I are healthier, fitter and have a clearer mind and more energy than any generation before us. With the miracles of modern medicine, a focus on appropriate nutrition and rest, and a disciplined exercise regimen, we can expect to live another 20 plus years with a decent quality of life. So, now what the hell do we do?
One of my favorite singer/poets, Leonard Cohen, has an opening lyric to one of his songs that goes “I’ve been sentenced to twenty years of boredom”. Employers no longer want us, our children no longer need us, women [or men] no longer flirt with us, and, despite our fitness, we have lost our grace and speed. Speed may not slump, but it sure erodes.
I will attempt to memorialize my quest for relevance as I enter this “fourth quarter” of my life. There is an old saying about professional athletes experiencing two deaths. One takes place at the end of their competing careers when they approach a life without the adrenaline rush they experienced as elite combatants. Those who survive the transition successfully find replacement activities to occupy them and fulfill them. As a new septuagenarian, I feel I should pattern myself after athletes who have discovered utility in the balance of their lives. I will write and let you know how I am handling this.
A final topic that I will spend some time writing about has to do with what I call, tongue in cheek, geriatric fitness. I spent many years running; running so I could eat more, running to compete in road races, running so I could feel better, and running so I would have a daily physical goal. Those years of pounding hard roads in bad shoes have left me with arthritic ankles, periodic sciatica and an order from my doctors to stop running. What I have become is an obsessed walker. I walk a minimum of 5 miles a day. Last year  I missed 9 days and walked in excess of 1,800 miles. My average pace is 15:37 per mile. So much for speed!
I have also radically changed my diet to allow me to lose weight and age leaner. In the past I have been motivated to lose weight by vanity, blood pressure reduction, or other societal influences. This time my weight loss is directly linked to reducing the pain in my aging joints, thereby mitigating the need for drugs or ultimately surgery. And, it has worked. I have kept my weight under 150 lbs. for over 2 years and I have less pain and greater mobility. From time to time I’ll share some tips with you.
When I was regularly posting this blog several years ago I was amazed at the number of people who took the time to read it. I remember being at the World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan in 2009 and eleven people came up to me from eleven different countries and talked to me about what I had written. Amazing! There are some of you who liked what I had to say who may approve of my return to the keyboard. There are others who may have hated my point of view or who may dislike what I will be filing. To those I say…