Friday, 9 December 2011

It does not feel right for a reason

To save you the effort of my convoluted approach, you can probably get the idea by reading this or watching these videos:

Those of you who have decided to carry on reading, I like you!

I am injured at the moment. For some- or rather many- reasons, when I run or walk for over four miles my knees begin to hurt. It is an understatement to say that I have been finding this difficut,but the fact is that it is largely my own fault. I have known about the contributing factors for a while now. I know that my quadraceps are weak and I am slowly coming to gain some knowledge of the illiotibial band and gradually, often painfully, I am coming to understand the link between each of these parts of my body. 

I want to run! I can't help that. That is an instinct that I have definitely tapped into. If I cannot run the knock-on effects are difficult for me and for those around me. But now, for the first time in my adult life (which is surprisingly recent for a twenty-six year old), I am dealing with the causes of my problem, rather than just continuing to run and cause damage to my body. I've not run, in fact, for over a month now. But what I have done is, each evening, after my two mile walk home, slowly and methodically worked my muscles. I stretch them gently and I work them fairly hard. It is painful, difficult and slow to reward. Of course, ideally, I would not spend eight hours a day in the seated position and another five, six or seven horizontal. Ideally, I would be gainfully employed wandering around beautiful places, occasionally reprimanding idiots for littering and building up my muscles that way- the real way. I would not be walking on the horrifying constant camber of the pavement but some achingly difficult gradiant, summit-bound, or a gentle, inconstant trail through the heath or woodland or you get the idea.

The point here is that the modern world is undoubtedly not very good for you. It's not. I must admit at this point that there was a part of me that dreaded publishing this because it is a cliche and I could end up subjecting myself to a tirade of anti-hippy rhetoric (as if my detractors would be reading this. As if I have detractors. By the way, thank you for reading this!) . But I'm telling the truth and I know this because I have thought long and hard about it and have undertaken so very many days (as in hundreds and hundreds of accumulated hours) vicariously and directly researching and soaking up the evidence. Blah Blah Blah.

What I am trying to say is that I am a useful emblem of the state of things. I just kept fucking running. I couldn't stop and now I have been forced to stop because I am ruining my body by not addressing the bits I don't enjoy addressing. But the hard fact is that in order for me to keep doing what I want to do I have to address what is difficult.

As much as it is annoying, there is still something liberating about being forced to learn. That in itself is interesting: liberation in forced activity. There’s something in there about the power of instinct. I have finally stopped ignoring that niggling bastard with my voice that keeps prodding my godforsaken mind and knees and I have embraced what I know I need to do. And I am finding it hugely rewarding. I can slowly feel myself getting stronger. Ever so slowly, but it's happening and one day I will be a nietzschean wonder. 

In all seriousness though, if you are reading this and you spend a lot or a little time ignoring what you know to be true, then you are as stupid as I have been and you are likely causing some serious damage somewhere.

If, like me, you have not had the stones to engage your own instincts, or listen to that (annoying) better self, then please take my own folly to heart.


  1. I came across your blog from a reply Tweet you gave to the New Internationalist question ....and I kept on reading. Not sure if you are interested but the reason I kept on reading was because a) you walk and LIKE or LOVE walking b) you both acknowledged and criticised your criticism of "modern society" and finally c) you WANT to run. It is amazing to find another person who just wants to run! I wish you all the best and I hope you have no future problems with your knees :)

  2. AnthonyManrique8 July 2012 at 18:40

    Thank you, Lourdes, for your kind words. Running takes me to a place I've never found elsewhere, and I'm glad to share that experience with so, so many people yourself included.

    I'm still not running at the moment, which is tough, but I'm getting stronger now and soon I'll be lucky enough to have beautiful paths to pace down.

    I very much appreciate that you've read my words!