The Joy (Not Pain) Of Running And Cycling
"You don’t like your knees very much, do you?" The doctor looked at me quizzically upon feeling around my knee cap, which elicited a squeal of pain from me. “Chondromalacia,” or "runner’s knee,” (his diagnosis) is often caused by overuse.
I have been running since I was 18. While I love the endorphins and “runner’s high” associated with running, for me, it’s really about the mental escape/stress relief. When I run, I think of things I need to do, sort through issues, and often have ideas for work! At the end of a run, I feel like I can take on the world.
The doctor continued on: “You should be biking or swimming.” I knew the latter wouldn’t happen and I couldn’t bear the thought of eliminating running from my life. I was sad to think that I might not be able to run the Fairfield Half Marathon, which I have done for the past four years.
Ironically, I started working with JoyRide, where we focus on cross-training via challenging workouts that push your limits, and leave you feeling happier (sounds a lot like a runner’s high!). Taking this to heart as an employee and avid exerciser, I have blended a mixture of cycling / strength classes, as well as a minimized running schedule, to prepare for this Sunday’s Fairfield Half Marathon (13.1 miles).
The low-impact nature of cycling has helped me build my endurance and strength without aggravating my knees and causing me more pain. The good news is that the hills have gotten easier, my knees feel healthier than ever during training, and I have found a runner’s high inside the cycling studio! I hope my overall time improves. However, the main point is to finish the race without aggravating an injury --because, "yes, Doctor, I do like my knees!"
Good luck to the fellow JoyRunners: Jaymie Pavolonis, Jeannette O’Malley, Barbara Lincoln and Fredd Fishman and everyone else who is running this Sunday. We will all run at different paces, but we will do so with joy in our hearts, a love of running and a goal in mind.