5AM Runner

Down on My Knees!


knee_painHaving survived a drinking session and staying up late to watch Mark Zuckerberg on SNL, I nearly became a 7 AM Runner, barely making it up “on time” this morning.  As my body slowly caught up to my mind, which normally happens about a mile into the distance, I slowly relaxed into my regular zone, just going with the music and breathing easy.  That is, until a new, unfamiliar and entirely strange feeling suddenly set in…

Believe it or not, my knees began hurting!  Sure, I have heard it all before, that runners “damage their knees” and that walking is much better if only because of that…. But come on, who’s going to get up at 5 AM to just WALK?  That’s no fun, too easy, not challenging enough, childish, weak, or any other macho cliché that fits!  Still, I felt uneasy and worried, as the thoughts of “I am getting older…” began to find their way into my wild imagination….

My knees were actually fine by the time I got back, but the thought still bothered me, to such a degree, actually, that I decided on a little research of my own on the matter.  As expected, most of my findings held that running would eventually destroy my knees by wearing down their cartilage, slowly but surely leading to arthritis (me?  arthritis?!!). But then I came across another single, stand-alone study, as reported by Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times. Her in-depth research has actually determined that runners may have healthier knees in old age than their relatively-inactive peers!  This great theory holds that runners’ knees develop a “motion groove” that actually conditions the cartilage to support the stress, protecting it into old age.  So even though as a runner I may develop some minor arthritic symptoms by the time I am 55, or even by the time I am 39 (today), my joints are definitely going to be better off by the time I am 75-80…

And despite the fact that this report stands alone amidst the sea of all kinds of “conventional wisdom” that tells me to stop running, I am choosing to go with the New York Times and their expertise on all issues known and unknown to man!  They can’t possibly be wrong on this one, come on, this is NY Times!  But those knees sure do hurt again tonight…