Friday 28 September 2018

Runner's Knee & the Potential of Youth

This features much later in the post.
How can this happen ALREADY? Wah! After Wednesday's run my knees ached all day, and they began to ache again yesterday on a walk to the Historical House to pack a few more boxes.

I looked up "Why do my knees hurt when I run?" on the internet and discovered this horrible malady called "Runner's Knee." Tomorrow on my way to Michaelmas Mass I will stop in at the fancy running shoe shop and have a serious conversation with complete strangers about my pronated feet and their evil influence on my knees.

Enjoy being young, kids!

That is actually a better topic for my blog than aching knees, which are of interest only to me, B.A. and perhaps my mother. My hypothesis that the human body starts to break down from the ridiculously early age of 35 or so should be of interest to any human in danger of turning 35 one day.

G.I. Jane was probably not a great film, but I found it very inspiring, having begun to get in shape for the first time in my life. And for almost ten years I was in great shape and regretted only that I had not been more athletic as a teenager. Although not overweight, I had disliked corporal existence and felt that my body was something heavy and smelly that I had to drag around. A daily two-mile run somewhere pretty, followed by a dumb-bell session, and (probably above all) fasting from sugar would have made me less depressed.

A fun, enjoyable and healthy goal for a teenager or twenty-year old might be to become as strong, fast and fit as possible by 30. You can maintain the strength of your 30 year old self for twenty years, apparently. Oh, this is where my brother Quadrophonic would like me to warn you that I am not a doctor and you should not take any of this as a substitute for medical advice. Consider it philosophy.

For a young, healthy body to mooch around a shopping mall or sit in a chair with the internet all day is simply a waste of a young, healthy body. We all know what young, healthy human bodies are capable of from watching the Olympics or just an important race. Whereas I do not think Olympic training is necessarily good for bodies--the training goal is not the fitness of the body but the victory--it at least shows us what the human body can do.

Actually, that would be a fun experiment even for a middle-aged person: what can MY middle-aged, seemingly falling apart body do? However, even if I could run the Edinburgh marathon one day, it would not be as impressive as what a thirty year old, after twenty or even ten years of training, would be capable of.

So if you are under 30, I highly recommend that you see a doctor to ask for advice and permission to develop your fitness to the highest level you are capable of. And, again, this does not mean winning competitions but seeking the maximum health of your body.  For example, boxing training is fantastic for your body until you step into the ring and someone punches you in the face. I am grateful for my boxing years as they made me a stronger, healthier and braver woman,  but I hope I quit before my chances of developing Parkinson's skyrocketed.

The other unsolicited advice I have for the young is for those with dry, curly, bushy, thick hair. I wish I had known this at ten, let alone thirteen. Had I known this from a child, I would have been bullied less and felt a lot happier about my appearance. Dear heavens, the freedom of not having to think about one's appearance.

Anyway, it is this: never brush your hair, stop using shampoo, scrub your scalp with a bit of conditioner after working it through your wet hair from the ends, use a detangler on your conditioned-up hair, rinse, squish the water out with a towel, apply a tablespoon of coconut oil to your hair, comb it through with the detangler, and then loosely braid your hair for a few  hours, unbraiding it later long enough for it to dry, and then braiding it up again. Since I discovered coconut oil, I have been able to grow my hair as long as my smooth-haired mother can for the first time in my life.

And now I shall find some advice about fitness goals for the over-40 set, listen to some Polish, and learn some more about the anarchist objections to the minimal state.


  1. On the hair topic - I have discovered a revolutionary "no poo" shampoo for curly hair! It is incredible, I will never go back!! Similar to what you've described, only it's an entire process, researched, tested, and found amazing, for those of us with curls.

    It's called the "DevaCurl" (brand). My hair dresser suggested I look into it, along with having my hair cut dry, so that curls can be cut to the way they naturally sit.

    No-poo shampoo (the "poo" part is what creates a lather/foam, which is detrimental to curls; they call theirs "conditioning cleanser"), along with the same brand conditioner, same brand gel, and either a microfiber towel or old cotton t-shirt to scrunch the hair dry after applying the gel. (terry cloth towels pull curls apart and create the dreaded frizz). I comb my hair wet in the shower, before washing it, but after applying the conditioner through it and making sure it gets nice and deep, I don't run my fingers through it again - it pulls curls apart before they have the chance to form in their natural cozy spot.

    I have been doing this process for a year now, and it has been the most amazing game changer for my thick curly hair. It doesn't frizz the way it used to, and it's all around so much more curly and happy!

    Anyways, I just thought I'd share this with you and all your curly haired readers out there. If you don't love your curls, you will after doing Deva process. (NB: I'm definitely not being paid for this advertising :P)

  2. Oh yes, microfibre towel is a great idea. I don't use gel these days, but I will have a look at this DevaCurl stuff!

  3. On knees: look into Katy bowman, she has lots of insight into knees and how they relate to the whole body. Also, add in some leg stengthening exercises (squats, etc), as strong legs take pressure off knees.