The Unlikely Runner


Just as with eggnog and wearing jumpsuits, I was always into the idea of team sports but never really figured out a way to incorporate it into my life. Sure, I occasionally played handball at my German secondary school and was on my high school basket ball team due to the expected advantage of my height, which is actually just clumsiness that borders on the goofy category. However I find just as much joy in playing on a team as I do in small groups for academic projects: virtually none. Maybe it’s because I am a micromanager and find other people hopelessly  unreliable; or maybe I just have an issue getting along with others and cannot really openly communicate with them. Whatever the case, team sports are not my thing (so everyone please stop recruiting me for your volleyball team).

A few years ago, however, I started doing ashtanga yoga. A solitary “sport” if you will that really made my body stronger. But no matter how challenging the practice is, I still yearned for another kind of dynamism. And against all odds I became the unlikely runner. Unlikely for several of reasons. First of all, I have abnormally tiny lungs and get winded very easily, so cardiovascular endurance was never my strong suit. Secondly, I quickly become very bored with monotonous exercise. And lastly, I am, as said, incredibly clumsy and running in any terrain would surely end in some kind of bodily injury.

And yet since last September I’ve started running between 15 and 17 kilometers a week. All you devoted runners out there may scoff at this, but may I remind you of my feeble lungs. Also, please don’t sneer at my preference for the treadmill. I can defend my choice of indoor running, if only by praising the safety that the smooth band provides. I’m not fast by any means; whenever Swiss Guy and I jog together he still pulls a Forrest Gump and leaves me in a cloud of dust. However I’ve massively improved since starting half a year ago, and actually – gasp – enjoy it (when I’m listening to good music. Many a runner’s high have come from a great song on my awesomely named exercise playlist “Run, Fat Boy, Run”).

Unfortunately a month ago I started having extreme pain in my left knee after running. A week in Zürich I went for a run outside and afterwards the pain was so bad I could barely walk, I could barely limp! Imagine Swiss Guy’s embarrassment when I insisted on purchasing a granny-panty-colored knee brace at the pharmacy (which proved to be useless, but what the hell). Back in Edinburgh I’ve started slowly again on the treadmill and it’s going well. Shall I see these symptoms of runner’s knee as a right of passage? Or should I throw my Nikes away and stick to running Elementary marathons? Either way, let’s give a standing ovation to my tiny lungs.