Around this time last year, I ran my first half marathon. About a month after the race, I developed an overuse knee injury. It was a classic case of too much, too soon. I had to stop running for a while. I walked for a couple months, tried running again, found that my knee still hurt, and then had to stop walking, too. I stopped exercising and starting bingeing again. By the time the holidays were over, I had gained 58 pounds. I've currently lost 33 of those 58 pounds, and I'm well on my way to reaching a healthy weight again. I've been pedaling a stationary bike, and lately I've been walking 2-3 times per week.
The main thing that triggered my weight gain (or my main excuse, at least) was being unable to run. I had become obsessed with running, and no other exercise would do. When I had to stop, it felt like the bottom dropped out. Rather than turn to another exercise, something flipped in my brain. Throughout most of my life, I've turned to food when stressed or depressed, and that's exactly what I did after I injured myself.
There's a social website called Daily Mile, which was created for fitness buffs. It provides useful tools for keeping track of your workouts, and just like other social websites, you can find friends for mutual support. Unlike most of my Facebook friends, my friends on Daily Mile are actually interested in my workouts.
I'm a little disturbed by the number of runners on Daily Mile who are pushing through injuries. I see myself in them…amateur runners who are doing too much, too soon. While I understand their desire to run, I wish some of them would take it easy, build their distance more gradually, avoid obsessing about their pace, and cross train. I want to stress that there's nothing wrong with running, but if you overdo it, you're going to pay the price. I still have aspirations to run a marathon one day, and possibly even an ultramarathon. I'm one of those oddballs who loves propelling himself for long distances, but I have finally accepted the fact that this is something that I have to build up gradually.
If, despite all my precautions, I continue to have difficulty with my knee, then I'm prepared to discontinue running. I'll bike, walk, and work out with weights. Although I truly love running, my main goal is to be as healthy as I can be. If that means never running another step, I'll be okay with that…as long as I can fit into my skinny jeans!
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.