Gettin’ real

I’ve said it several times: I’m an enthusiastic believer in chi running because it got me back on the roads and trails after a very long time off, when chronic knee problems had made running too painful.

But I also have to ‘fess up that I haven’t been able to do much trail running during the last couple of years, while my body adjusted to the sometimes-unpleasant side effects of taking anastrazole… one of which was a weight gain of nearly 20 pounds. Getting those pounds back off has been a big fight (perhaps because I’m still on the medication, and/or perhaps because losing weight is harder and slower after menopause), and every extra pound we carry translates to at least 4 pounds on the knees. Between the extra weight and the development of a Baker’s cyst, my knees have not been as enthusiastic about running as my head is.

The eventual inevitability of knee replacement has come up in conversations with several doctors over the years, but I’m in no hurry. Though my activity level has been affected, I’m not debilitated, and I consider myself to be too young to take on an artificial joint that might last just ten years. Plus, I’d always heard that artificial knees could not withstand the impact of distance running. Well, it turns out that last point might be wrong! Here are three encouraging stories about runners who kept right on running on knee replacements.

But like I said, I’m in no hurry! I’m taking the low-tech route for now: weight loss and chi running. I’ve been daily adding minutes on a treadmill, and have just begun a few sessions of physical therapy to retrain and rebalance my left leg (the dodgier of the two). I’m determined to get things humming because I have gone ahead and committed to the crazy challenge I mentioned setting for myself a few posts ago: I’m signed up for the Hennepin 50K trail race in October! There is a pretty generous cut-off time for 50K participants – even if I have to fast-walk parts, I should still come in “on time.” But that’s not my goal; my goal is to run most of this race, and maybe even come out of it jazzed for another one.

Yes, eventually I’ll have to “out” myself here on the blog so that I can prove to you all that I did the race; I didn’t register as “Marmat Forte.” 😉 I can tell you that I’ll be running with blog guest Robert Neeley and others of his/our clan, and that we’re going to use the race as an opportunity to raise money for rheumatoid arthritis research and treatment. You can read a little more about our plan on Robert’s public Facebook page, Run Zombie Run.  And I’m sure he’ll say more on his blog, 30races.com.

Stay tuned!

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