First, and Last, Marathon

About 18 months ago I was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis in both my knees, though of course I had been experiencing some pain before that.  The condition has become increasingly irritating not just because of the knee pain, but because the pain leads to a second condition called a Bakers Cyst (also known as water on the knee) that adds new pains in the back of both my upper and lower legs.

For years my exercise of choice has been running.  I have run in many of the world's cities (except for Bangkok -- only a crazy person would run the streets there) and find the experience synergistic -- the new sights keeps me from being bored in my runs and the running helps me see details of a city I might have missed.  I am not really competitive, but I have run four or five half-marathons and a number of shorter races.

It has become clear I have to give this all up.  So I decided to go out with a bang, and run my first and last marathon, which will be January 7 at Disneyworld (I love the Disney marathons because the vibe is pretty chill, there are lots of fun things to look at as you run through the parks and past characters and bands, and the medals are really nice).  I usually run in costume for the Disney races but I think not for this race -- I will be shedding every pound;  I am considering cutting off the ends of my shoelaces to save weight ;-)

The big event comes in the next few weeks when my doctor is going to shoot me up with cortisone in each knee and drain my Bakers cysts.  From past experience, this will help a ton.  Even without the cortisone I have done a couple of 16-18 mile runs in addition to my daily running of 6-ish miles so I am fairly sure I will make it.

The first question I always get is what time am I shooting for.  Timing for my distance race performances is generally by google calendar.   I did my last half in around 2:30 so extrapolating that I will likely be far behind Oprah's time of 4:29, but I think my ego can survive.

Once the race is over, I have already found my new preferred form of excercise.  The eliptical machine feels good with my knees but I hate excercising indoors.  Biking can be fun but my *ss always falls asleep.  So I bought one of these bad boys and am already having a lot of fun with it.  Super expensive, but hopefully prices will come down if they get popular.


  1. ColoComment:

    I've seen a few of those on the bike paths around Ft. Collins. Looks like fun.

  2. pbft:

    I hear you about sore body parts from bicycle (heretofore my second favorite exercise). I bought a high-performance 'tadpole' recumbent trike (two wheels in the front). Fast, comfortable, and NO pain other than sore muscles if I really push. Not quite as fast as a bike up hills because you can't stand on the pedals, but faster on level and downhill. Did I mention the no pain thing? Try it out....

  3. Mercury:

    You're nuts but good luck.

    I'm pretty sure running is bad for you and I've never liked it anyway (except barefoot on a long, sandy beach).

    I recommend swimming for low-impact cardio.

  4. SamWah:

    I tried an elliptical machine; made my hip joints hurt.

  5. Pinebluff:

    Be careful on that bad boy as those small wheels are not very good gyroscopes and the thing will drift off a straight line if you aren't paying attention.

  6. Russell Steen:

    Congrats! Our family is attempting our first half marathon at the Princess Half at Disney. We were inspired by your posts and sorry to hear that you have to give it up.

  7. kidmugsy:

    My knees stop me cycling. Enjoy it while you can.

  8. Aggie -:

    I suggest you stock up on enough Advent Calendars for the rest of the year.

  9. Bill Drissel:

    Sorry you have to quit running ... good luck in the marathon.

  10. Rusty Bill:

    "I am considering cutting off the ends of my shoelaces to save weight."

    "The plastic tips at the end of shoelaces are called 'aglets'. Their true purpose is
    sinister." — The Question

  11. Brandon Claborn:

    Sounds like you could use some help being fitted on a bicycle and might need a try a few different saddles. Zwift, Sufferfest, TrainerRoad, etc. are really changing cycling indoors. It is a very efficient, safe and effective exercise. Sorry about your knees. I had to quit basketball before age 40 and cycling has become a huge part of my life. Have fun at Disney!

  12. b w:

    I found that all my knee problems went away once I started running barefoot on soft surfaces like grass, dirt, and the wet strip of sand at the water's edge. It retrained my gait to that for which evolution designed our knees.

  13. timworstall:

    Arse pain in bicycles. It's something that goes away with practice. Two things. Cyclist's padded shorts help. As does a good saddle. Something in soft leather which will, over time, mold to you and be very comfortable. Oddly, more minimalist gets better with time.

    My knees gave out more than a decade ago and but it was tendons that went. Cycling has helped enormously. Using clips so that you are also adding power on the up movement of the foot/leg is also a good idea if you're going to be at all serious about it. 20 to 30 km (I am really not trying to be an athlete) around the country lanes is a lovely way to spend part of an afternoon.

  14. rst1317:

    I'm curious how the new thing works over time. One of the questions I've had about any exercise equipment is how it causes problems over time. You're really stuck in, doing the same movements over and over. Maybe this is something you'll want to mix in some other low impact things like regular bicycling, swimming and others?

  15. Bistro:

    It hurts me to death but I'm gonna keep doing it for the agony in it.

  16. Craig:

    Two hours ago, I saw a woman "peddling" one of these south on 52nd St, just north of Doubletree Ranch in Paradise Valley.

  17. jameske3001 .:

    Try large amounts of vitamin D. I mean 5000IUs a day every day for 2 months, and then reduce. See how you feel. If it is bs, then no harm done, if not then you have to wise up on immigration. :)

  18. Clare Steen:

    Too add to what Russell said: I was also worried you'd been signed up for a marathon at Disneyland that had been cancelled. Glad to hear it wasn't your race that was cancelled and sorry you will have to find a new sport of choice.

  19. Nehemiah:

    The good news about the Disneyworld Marathon is that the biggest hill is going over the overpasses. Otherwise pretty flat.

  20. Sam P:

    Recumbent bikes and trikes are worth a look especially if you want to go faster and farther than you can possibly go on an eliptical "bike". You'll pay a premium price though, due to low production volumes and much better than entry level components typically used.

  21. Dan Wendlick:

    That's funny, according to my "Rums of the Caribbean" Advent calendar, tomorrow is Christmas

  22. SnowBuzzard:

    Look into Prozolone/PRP therapies. There’s a good doc offering these in Scottsdale (Five Seasons Health). Both my wife and I have experienced significant, lasting improvement for knee/hip issues.

  23. markm:

    Excessive vitamin D can do a lot of harm. How much is "excessive" is controversial. 4,000 IU a day is probably safe, and what I take when I can't get enough sun for my skin to make any significant amount of vit. D. In Michigan, that's most of the year, and it's also every workday.

    But Warren lives in Arizona and sets his own schedule. He could arrange time in the sun nearly every day, and his skin would make vit D until it reaches whatever his body considers the ideal level.

  24. jameske3001 .:

    If you think 4000 IU is probably safe then it is not safe. The probably in front of safe means it is not worth the risk for you.

    My experience of what I recommended was positive. A transformation in energy levels. No tiredness. No negative effects.