Born to run

Some of us are born runners. I am not one of those people.

There are several reasons why I will never be a runner. I have mitral valve prolapse, for one. I edited an article on mitral valve prolapse a few years ago, and it mentioned that people with MVP feel like they might die when they run. Yes. Yes, I do. I can jog for short distances, but run? Not if my life literally depended upon it.

Then there’s my knee. Patellofemoral stress syndrome. Where my knee locks up, and occasionally feels like it’s bending the wrong way; when I anger it, it swells up and refuses to bend at all. I’m told my problem is a slight misalignment of the joint. Surgery might fix it, but eh. I’ve already gone through one bout of physical therapy for this; I don’t care to repeat the experience, or needlessly escalate treatment.

My ankle, of course, deserves mention here. This one I wasn’t born with; it’s from a severe sprain I sustained six years ago. I also went through PT for that, and it helped, but I don’t think my ankle will ever be what it was. If I walk regularly, my ankle doesn’t hurt so bad or swell so much. If I overdo exercise, though (like, say, by running), I hurt and swell more.

And let’s not forget my allergies. I start to cough after about an hour of walking at 3-4 miles per hour — sooner if someone is mowing, burning trash, or otherwise stirring up dust nearby. MVP or no, I would be gasping for air after a mile of running.

Last, but not least, I see my runner friends casually mention things like bleeding nipples, blackened/lost toenails, and running in all weather — sleet, snow, pouring rain. I like being fit as much as the next person, but I am just not that girl.

So no, I don’t think I will ever be a runner. A jogger, though…that’s not outside my grasp. I see overweight, middle-aged guys jogging. They’re purple, but they’re jogging. (And oh, god, I just realized I am middle aged. Ahem. Moving on.) If they can do it, I can do it.

Why do I even care? Time. If I could run, I could get the same workout in half the time. And that idea appeals to me. (Okay, so do runners’ tight little thighs. I covet those thighs.) Even jogging would save me a little time.

So I keep trying. In the comfort of my own living room for now, but perhaps someday even in public. We’ll see.

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