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Getting Creative To Protect My Knees

December 7, 2009

Today I ran like an Australian, on the wrong side of the trail. I learned it the hard way that crossing the street to come back was not congenial to the health of my knees. Routinely, I would run down the right sidewalk, then for a change of scenery, cross the street and run on the other side going back. The problem is the sidewalk cross-slope of the Chicago sidewalks. And if you run in the street, you get the same problem at another angle. Excellent flood control; not so excellent for my right knee. Most humans I know are asymmetrical, therefore it took me a while to discount the human factor and consider that the pain in my knee may have something to do with the slant of the street. Now I no longer cross the street to turn around, I pick a side. Now both sides of my body get exactly the same workout. Great. Except that this treatment has a side effect: boredom. Exploring the same side of the street twice in a single run is like having a playlist that is too short. Luckily, I enjoy running on the lakefront trail, where the world is flat and the other anthropological encounters don’t exist. When I need extra entertainment, I divide my route into three segments and name them, like Dora the Explorer: Bridge, Upside-Down Tree, Water Fountain; Bridge, Tree, Water Fountain; Bridge, Tree, Water Fountain! I repeat it to the beat of my music like a hip-hop artist. Winter brings other exciting opportunities for fun in the form of ice patches. I found there is always the logical way of getting around a road block and then there is the more creative one. And nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of almost colliding with a pissed-off biker who is going against my running traffic.

“We’ll do 100 M.P.H. / Spendin’ someone else’s dough / And we’ll drive all the way to Reno / On the wrong side of the road,” Wrong Side Of The Road, Tom Waits

Art: Boy Riding Against Traffic, © 2009 Maxim Dalton. All rights reserved.

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