Sunday, January 1, 2012

My brother phoned me this morning as he does many mornings. "what are you up to today?" he asks.
I tell him I'm on my way to run a 5K race. He knows a 5k must be on the road and he says in an older brotherly affectionate scolding kind of way, "Tony, Tony! You shouldn't be doing that! You know what happened last time you ran on the road before a big run. You were hurting. Your back? or was it your knee?" Yes, I said but the last time it was a 20 mile road run and this run is half road half trail. I lied. It was all road. well, paved trail. Same thing.
I met my friend Daniel at the race packet pick up. Daniel is new to running. I took Daniel on a 1 mile warm up on the natural trails before the race start. I talked about upcoming trail races hoping to entice him and explained how trail running is what I love best, and how it is better for the body and mind.
After the race Daniel and I hung out with a couple of co-workers. One being my old running and biking buddy John C. John was an accomplished runner and Tri-Athlete not too long ago. John ran through knee pain to the point of destroying his knee. Since his knee replacement at age 58 three years ago, John now is limited to riding his mountain bike. As we chatted I noticed a friend of his. "hey! John. There's your friend Nancy!" "Yea, Nancy. She was a great athlete. you know, she doesn't run anymore. She's got bad knees" said John.
I thought about my brothers comments. And thought about another running friend who's having knee surgery tomorrow. She's 41 years old. Another friend in our group is experiencing a nagging knee pain and will have an MRI soon. And today, I read a friends blog comments where someone mentioned his running days are over due to loss of cartilage in his hip.
At what point do we as runners say enough is enough? When do we slow down? The bad hip guy said he'd wish he discovered trail running sooner. Is that the answer? Run trails exclusively? I've seen really old road runners. Did they start running late in life or do they just run short races? I do remember meeting a 70 year old at the San Francisco marathon who was running his 50th marathon (he had his knee wrapped).
Discussing this subject with friends recently someone said, "well, obese people have there knees replaced all the time!" This is true.
The remark I've heard from those who overindulge is "I'm going to enjoy life"
Enjoy life, yes.
But be smart. How will you overindulge?
Sometimes too much of a good thing is not so good.

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