Recently while out for a run, I came to a wide intersection where the Don’t Walk light was flashing. I sprinted across before the signal changed. A couple standing at the corner, obvious non-runners who waited instead of crossing as I had, glared at me. The husband snarled, “You runners think you’re so cool. Just wait until your knees go bad at 50.”
I soldiered on and shook my head. Guy must have been having a bad day. But later I got to thinking. I do know former runners who had to give it up because of bad knees.
I don’t want my knees going out on me. Would it be better if I stopped running? I reached for the phone and called my friend I.P. Aard, a medical researcher at the National Institute of Running Sciences. I told her about my unpleasant conversation at the intersection.
“This is the second time in a week you’ve called me. What’s going on, buttercup?“
“I just like talking to you. You’re so pleasant.”
“Thank-you, sweet pea. The guy at the corner – you didn’t punch him out did you?”
“Of course not.”
“Good job. A gold star for you. But it’s true that many runners have knee problems, especially as they get older. If I were you, I’d be pricing wheelchairs right now.”
“No,” I shouted, putting the phone down. What a total downer. My day was ruined. The phone rang. It was I.P. again.
“C’mon, I was joking. You’ll be all right. Sure, some runners have knee issues, but often it’s hereditary. The benefits of running far, far outweigh being sedentary.”
“That’s good news, I.P. I was really scared for a moment. Really scared.”
“There, there, Jim. It’s all right. Everything will be okay.”