For a decade now, I have identified myself as a runner.
I’m not a crossfitter or a cyclist or a walker – I am a runner. I run. I have shoes specifically designed to run. I have a running partner who apparently is as crazy as I am because she and I like to run at 5 a.m. in my pitch-black dark neighborhood.
Running, like any type of exercise, has its own community and own sense of words – fartlek, PR, intervals. How’d you do in your last half marathon? Oh, I made it in right under 2 hours – and you, as a runner, know what that means. You as a non-runner can understand a bit, but a runner who hears that knows if that halfie runner is faster or slower than you. You know the amount of time and effort that went in to prepping for that half marathon. You know how limp that person’s legs must feel right now – they feel like gelatin.
For the past three weeks, I have not been able to run.
It started mid-January, when I hopped on an athletic club’s treadmill and started to run. Immediately, I felt a sharp, unyielding pain in my right knee. It was not some random pain or one that I thought I could ignore. I sometimes, to Kyle’s chagrin (and probably most medical professionals’), “play through the pain,” but I couldn’t this time.
There happened to be a trainer nearby, so I asked him his thoughts. He, as politely as he could, suggested that it could be that I hadn’t warmed up. I tried hard not to scoff, as I never warm up (which, of course, may be a problem, but I digress).
He also suggested tendonitis.
I tried warming up. I walked for five minutes. My knee didn’t hurt at all walking, but the moment I started running, the pain returned.
So I stopped.
Last week, I actually went to see a PT, who also determined that I have extremely weak hips, which could be adding pressure to my knees. Therefore I started hip strengthening exercises.
So for the last three weeks, I’ve rowed a little on a rowing machine. I’ve done the elliptical. I’ve lifted weights. I’ve done Zumba. I’ve done everything that hasn’t made my knees hurt.
I haven’t run.
Running has always been the easy exercise, the one I could burn 300 calories in 30 minutes and add a piece of cheesecake to eat after dinner. I could burn 500 calories in under an hour. But – only running is not good. This is coming from a self-identified runner, too. I’ve always known I needed to cross train, to participate in other activities. But I haven’t because it’s just been easier to run.
Now that’s come back and bitten me in the rear.
I’m trying to enjoy other exercises. I like running on my lunch break. I like doing Zumba on the TV in my bedroom. I love rowing (go figure). I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing something different and not feeling the pressure of getting a certain mileage in every week because I physically cannot right now.
But I do so miss running.