Q: I've always liked to be active outdoors, and working in an office for 40 years didn't do me any favors. I recently retired and decided to live out my dream of running in a marathon.
My wife thinks it's a bad idea and that I'll hurt myself badly, but I don't agree. I've seen and talked to a lot of seniors who are into running. I know I can do it, too. It's never too late to get back in shape. If they can do it, so can I.
On the other hand, I realize that injury is always a concern and I should take some precautions.
What's the best way to make my dream happen?
A: Be careful and deliberate.
Watching others' achievements, especially in old age, is inspiring, and races seem to be becoming more and more prevalent. Taking the opportunity to achieve your goals is fantastic, but your age makes it essential for you to take care of yourself while pursuing them.
Before you start, consult your physician and ask about any potential concerns.
Start gradually, and take your time. You can't get in shape as easily as a young person, so you need to take timing into account. Build up to your ultimate goal of a marathon while taking care of your body.
Start out on the right foot by going to a specialty running store and buying the proper shoes. Getting the right sizing and arch support will help you avoid strains and injury from repetitive motion and using improper equipment. Take advantage of the staff knowledge by asking questions.
In the near future, try out a shorter race, like a 5K. Training for a specific, intermediate goal will focus you and help you get in the right mindset of careful self-improvement. A half marathon can be your next step.
Most of all, listen to your body. Running with a minor sprain or tenderness can blow up quickly and leave you incapable for weeks or months. Take breaks as needed.
Good luck! — Doug
Q: A squirrel got into my house in the evening and made a hellacious mess. It raided my kitchen for food and then left me to clean up after it.
A kind neighbor helped me remove the squirrel but then recommended that I call a cleaning service to take care of the aftermath.
I cleaned up the obvious mess and don't think that it warrants a cleaning visit. Is it that big of a deal?
A: Yes. It's better to be safe than sorry.
You need to have a deep clean of the room before eating in the kitchen. Wild animals can expose you to a variety of diseases, which can make you very sick.
Hiring a cleaner may be the easier option if you don't have the right products or aren't sure what needs to be done.
At a bare minimum, you need to bleach all surfaces.
Don't clean around items — you need to remove everything from the floors and counters, cleaning the surfaces and items individually.
Throw away all food products that were exposed. This includes any open containers or packages, even if they look undisturbed.
To avoid having to do this again, find out how the squirrel got into your home. Remember to close doors and unscreened windows. Check if any other rooms were similarly disturbed. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.