Friday, April 1, 2011

Running, bad knees, and bicycles

My first quest for fitness began the summer after my sophomore year of college.  I was taking summer school at Pepperdine and every morning I would wake up at 5am and make my way to a track that overlooked the Pacific Ocean.  Not a bad view for a workout.  My goal was never a weight or a size.  I wanted to be able to run 5 miles straight by the end of the summer.  Why 5 miles?  Who knows, but that is what I wanted to do.  When I started I could barely make it around the track once without stopping and by the end of the summer I was running 5 miles.  I walked more than I ran and then I ran more than I walked.  Pretty soon I wasn't walking at all.  I fell in love with running and the way it made me feel (losing 30 pounds didn't hurt either).

Fall came and full time school started again.  Although I still ran, I did not run as much as I had that summer and I would not run that much again until I moved to Colorado.  My roommate Ross and I started logging a lot of miles again to prepare for the Bolder Boulder (a Memorial Day 10K race).  This was my very first race and I enjoyed training for the event.  I enjoyed running the event too- that is until I blew out my knee.  I hobbled to the finish line and then took a 8 year hiatus from running.

After the Bolder Boulder I found it very painful to run.  I had also just met my husband.  Then I was dating my husband, getting married, going back to school, teaching, and having children.  Unfortunately, I let exercise take a backseat to everything else in my life.  After the birth of my daughter I started to get serious about getting back into shape.  After all I had 80 pounds to lose!

Since my knees had given me problems I decided to give into the Colorado peer pressure and hop on a bike.  I started on my Trek Mountain bike and, like I did with running, I started to slowly progress to longer rides.  I soon discovered that I loved cycling as much as running, perhaps even more.  Cycling was not just easier on my knees, it was a lot of fun.  I graduated to a hybrid Trek and finally in September last year Kevin got me a Giant road bike for my birthday.  Cycling has been a wonderful joy for me and it has given me the best gift ever.  It gave running back to me.  I found that all my biking had strengthened the muscles around my knee. Last April I slowly began to run again and I don't think I could have without my bike.  I was always careful to pay attention to aches and pains.  But my knees feel good (mostly) and I am enjoying being able to run again!

I am about two years into my second quest for fitness.  It has been slow and frustrating at times, but I am glad I have stuck with it.  7 pounds to go and I will enjoy running and biking it off!

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