I am too fat to be a runner and I should swim instead.
That’s what the sports medicine knee doctor told me. The man I had to wait a month to see. The man I am sure I will have to pay a bajillion dollars for the twelve minutes of his time that I got.
“You’re built like a swimmer,” he says, “maybe a triathloner. Runners are about 110 pounds.”
Yeah, I sure see a lot of fat swimmers and triathloners–they’re all over the place! It’s a miracle that I didn’t stab this man, let alone curse him out.
“Well, I started running when I was 260 pounds,” I say, to show that, while I am fat, I could be fatter. “I build up slowly, in a smart way. And I get the pain when I cycle, too.”
“You’ve lost some weight. You’re doing too much, too fast. You have to stop pushing yourself. Cross training is good.”
He’s such a brilliant man. I should open up a sports medicine branch with my associate, Google.
I’m not built like a swimmer. I’m not built like an anything, except a person with around 40 extra pounds on her body, which probably means I am built like an anything-I-want-to-be.
He didn’t seem remotely interested in my story of slowly and smartly building up running. He didn’t care that I do do cross training, or that I stretch a lot (“I’m sure you do!” he said). He wasn’t that interested that the pain didn’t happen at all when I run in my vibram toe shoes (he didn’t even know what toe shoes were AND HE IS IN SPORTS MEDICINE). He didn’t think it was interesting that the same pain happens when I bike, as happens when I run. He was only interest in the fact that I am fat and a runner.
I told him that I wanted to have it looked at so that I knew nothing was seriously wrong and that, in 20 years, I wouldn’t find myself knee-less. I was being overly cautious, at the advice of lots of people. That’s definitely not typical Sarah. I love typical Sarah. Although it is good to know that nothing is seriously wrong with my knees. Okay. It probably is good that I went there.
And I’m not the kind of person to get walked over, I hope. I argued with him (politely). I asked what I could do to strengthen the area. He basically said that there is nothing I can do because I am fat. But he didn’t say “Fat”. He just talked about “the extra impact and pounding of every step”.
He was afraid to say fat. Or overweight. He just commented on my “build”? Fat is not a build. Go fuck yourself, Mr. Doctor.
Inappropriate cursing for blog? It has never seemed more appropriate to me. I hate when people don’t know how to comment on weight, especially medical personnel. But that’s a whole other story.
So the diagnosis is Runner’s Knee and the solution? Don’t run so much. No, because us human folk were not built to run or whatever. Running is just this random thing that we started doing recently. Since he hardly knew what barefoot running was, I couldn’t even explain to him that the impact is completely different in Vibrams. I am a smart person (despite being fat), and he didn’t seem to respect me or what I had to say about my body or history. Fat+Runner=Impossible.
I’m not ignoring his “diagnosis” because I am stubborn or because I think I know everything. I am ignoring it because he was stubborn and didn’t seem to give me any options, information, or energy. He saw me as a fat runner, and thought that was the problem. Yes, there is extra weight and it does change what I’m asking my body to do, but c’mon. My body can still do this stuff.
I intend to listen to my body, not run when it hurts to run, and keep being as active as I want to. Vibrams seem to have saved my running, and I will keep running in them.
He said that, with more time being active, the tendons, etc, would continue to strengthen. I guess that was moderately helpful to know. Yes. That is helpful knowledge that I hadn’t yet learned from Google.
I know my body & my abilities, comforts, discomforts, etc, and I will continue to respect what my body tells me while I push it to get stronger every day. End of Rant.
Where are my Vibrams? It’s time for a run.