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Tough Mudder: Running Sucks

I see a lot of runners at my clinic. It could be because runners are generally a health-conscious group, open to alternative forms of treatment like acupuncture and biopuncture and Chinese herbals. It could also be because running causes a lot of injuries. I think it’s a combo of both reasons.

I’m not a runner. But I need to be for June 22nd. That’s when I do the Tough Mudder. Or, at least, that’s when I hope to do the Tough Mudder. I’ve signed up for it, paid the fee, and started training. But I do wonder if I’ll make it.

Running is hard on the body. Or at least it’s hard on my body. Some people seem built to run. I recall my “Gait Analysis” course from my university days. I remember checking out the feet of my friend, a triathlete. I looked at his running shoes. My analysis was that he was an injury waiting to happen. But it didn’t happen. He was—and is—one of those people who loved/s to run. His body had somehow figured out how to make running work. My body simply does not understand the purpose of running beyond catching a bus or rushing to an appointment.

You see, my knees don’t have enough cartilage under the kneecap to protect them from the friction that happens during repetitive and pounding activities like running. But, then I see how a runner with the wrong feet can be a great runner. I’ve also seen a YouTube videos of a two-legged dog running without any extra support. And I see the patients at my clinic who regularly move past their own pain, suffering, and challenges. So, there is a way.

I am trying to start slowly. I run only on soft surfaces—chip trail, grass, and mud. I keep track of my distances, increasing them gradually. I’m now at 7 km, having started at 4 km. I walk when I need to walk. I listen to my knees. To a point. My knees talk pretty frequently when I run, but I’m learning when their chatter is nothing and when it’s telling me to stop. Last week I erred in my communication with my knees. I pushed an extra km and paid for it. I could barely walk a couple of blocks that afternoon. My knees were M…A…D…mad… at me. But some TLC afterward and I think we are resuming our happy relationship with each other again.

Are you a runner? If yes, what do you like about it?


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