About a month ago I was in the middle of a walk/run. Nothing spectacular. Just alternating walking and running every five minutes for a half an hour on the treadmill. About halfway in, while running, I felt a twinge in my left knee, which as most of you (hopefully) know is my bad knee. Considering how light my workout was I didnít think much about it and kept on going.
But the next day walking up the stairs, I noticed it hurt.
And the next day it hurt too. Needless to say I was a little frustrated. I hadnít even started really running yet. If walk/runs on the treadmill were going to take a toll on my knees how was I ever going to run a 15-20 mile long run? Or the marathon itself? I couldnít really scale my workout back much more than I already had. But before I let depression fully set in, I consulted my sister.
She gently suggested it might be Fred.
Every time my wife has gotten pregnant, I gained about 20 pounds. It happened with all three kids. Maybe this is due to matching her weird eating habits. Maybe itís stress. Maybe itís not getting any exercise. Or maybe itís completely psychological. Whatever the case, I can assure you that sympathy weight is absolutely real. In my case, this weight manifested itself in my own little belly to match my wifeís. When it first happened I joked that I, too, was with child, and named it Fred. Over the years Big Baby Fredís prominence has waxed and waned, much to the amusement of my physically fit sister. Other than that Iíve never worried too much about Fred.
The thought that I might be carrying too much weight for my legs to handle never even occurred to me. Sure, Iíve gained about 10 pounds since I stopped exercising but I couldnít weigh THAT much, could I? Well, there was nothing for it. The Beast had now added Fred to itís roster of evil minions which Iíd have to conquer if I wanted to cross that finish line. I downshifted to walking for another week, and invested in a pair of orthotics to further cushion my legs. I started wearing the brace on the knee again. Also, I replaced my Perfect Shoes with a pair of even More Perfect Shoes that gave me even more support.
The pain went away in about a week. And so far no more injuries. Iíve shed about 6 pounds. I can run four times a week and I have gotten my long runs up to four miles. But now I know, I have seen my enemy.
And his name is Fred.