Friday, March 7, 2014

My Changing Running Anthems

Running is like being involved in a really bad relationship. You want to break up with running, really. It makes you ache in ways you never thought possible. It demands more time and attention than you really have. You think it loves you, but then it trashes you over and over and over. Kelly Clarkson put it perfectly in "My Life Would Suck Without You". What a cheery and uplifting running anthem.

In college my running anthem was, "I am Woman" by Helen Reddy. Now I run, singing, "Being with you is so dysfunctional. I really shouldn't miss you. But I can't let you go."

Last April, I sat in the doctor's office and cried embarrassingly when he told me I should think about retiring from running. He was looking at an x-ray of my knees that looked sadly like the children's song, "Hagdalina Magdalina." One pointed North and the other pointed South. I had always pictured my geriatric self stringy and impossibly wrinkled and tan from running so many races. I was going to die while running. Or at least while hiking briskly. So I wiped my tears and set out to fix my knee.

I tried shots in my knees. They didn't work. I tried physical therapy. It didn't work. (And for once I faithfully did my exercises for two months straight). I tried not running (my knees still hurt). I tried Glucosamine. It kind of helped. I think.

But the fact remains that my knee still aches sometimes. And walking up stairs holding a child kills me softly.

Since my knee hurt no matter what I did, I decided to run anyway. Because, like that boy that only called me every six weeks, I missed it. And I kept texting and texting and running never returned my texts. And it avoided me in the halls. But I went to running's house and stalked it. (This is not what I did in a real relationship. Just this metaphorical running relationship. I promise.)

For the past four months I have been slowly (often sloth-slowly) building up my mileage. And finally I can run 6 miles again (once a week with two days of recovery after). I'm not sure when the last time I did that is, but it's been a few years. My left knee which has been the cause of all this running angst, is passable. I'm planning on running the Ogden Half in May and by then I might have a new running anthem. How about Katy Perry's "Roar"?