Today, I am thankful for healthy knees.
For about a dozen years of my life, I lived and breathed the sport of long distance running. It was the 1970's - the sport was just beginning to capture the imagination of fitness-minded people. I was a member of the UCLA Running Club - an eclectic group of faculty, staff and students dedicated to road racing.
In those days, we had lousy low-tech shoes and rarely lifted weights to increase our strength and protect our bodies from injury. We simply racked up the miles, day after day, week after week. I ran lots of races, preferring the half-marathon distance. I wasn't fast enough to place in 10-K races, but did well in the longer ones since I had great endurance and a strong will.
The sport took its toll on my right knee. I stopped running around age 29. Too much pain. Besides, I wanted to be able to walk when I was 80.
It's been over 20 years since I hung up my old Nikes. I still miss the training, the comradery and the sense of personal accomplishment especially when I set a PR (personal record). I really miss the notorious runner's high (it's real and addictive). Sometimes, I run/walk around the park with T in a vain attempt to recapture the elusive "running with purpose" feeling I experienced years ago.
At age 51 (nearly 52), I am fortunate to have healthy knees. I owe my recovery to rest, weight lifting, cycling and daily walks. I've also kept my weight in check.
I figure that if I can continue my current fitness regimen for a few more decades and avoid serious injury or illness, I may still achieve a goal I set for myself when I was 20-something: to run a marathon in my 80s.
For this blessing, I am grateful.