It’s been eleven days since my last run.

Last week at school I was short-tempered, easily annoyed, and rolled my eyes a lot.

Coincidence? Or just middle-school-before-winter-break?

Could go either way. All I know is that thanks to my continued knee-related running hiatus, my Vivofit has lowered its step-count expectations to the point that it probably thinks I’m 105 years old and possibly sedated. I haven’t been able to run, and biking requires a two-hour commitment to create a comparable calorie burn–that’s not feasible when it gets dark about an hour after I get home from work. So this week, all I managed was some strength and core stuff, which were pretty much offset by two evening holiday functions and some asthma issues.

I saw no point in repeating last week’s futility of getting up early and driving to Rogue only to fail after 100 yards. So I turned off my #JFR Saturday morning alarm and caught up on much-needed sleep. Long after sunrise, I finally felt like tackling something more than an indoor workout.

So I went to and choose my new bike, it was not an easy choice because they have a huge range and I want them all, but once I got it, I hit the road.

I live only about three or four miles from the Brushy Creek Regional Trail, but the road route isn’t a friendly one. However, I discovered that a new connecting street, while still closed to traffic, is finished and paved and accessible by non-motorized humans. So I dodged the Road Closed signs and went for it.

This route went straight to the YMCA and the trailhead. The only obstacle was crossing a major intersection, but a traffic light made that easy enough.

The trail is 6.75 miles from end to end–far easier on a bike than on foot. Which I know from experience. It was crowded, but most people were good about staying to the right and sharing the space.

I could have taken a path from the far end of the trail up through the adjacent neighborhood, but considering I was already nine or ten miles from home, I didn’t want to get too crazy with the route. So I turned around and headed back on the trail, then through the neighborhoods and home. 

Twenty miles sounds like a major feat, but the reality is that the bang-for-your-buck ratio of cycling is far lower than running. Twenty miles on the bike burned about the same calories as a five-mile run but took more than twice as long. I can only devote that kind of time on a weekend, and even then I feel like I’m barely maintaining my cardiovascular fitness–a stopgap measure at best. So while I have some options as the Tri Doc encourages my knee to get its act together, few weekday workouts are more efficient than running, especially for someone without a gym membership.

Yeah, it’s only been eleven days, but I’m already falling behind on my Austin Half-Marathon training. I miss running with my friends, I miss burning off the crazy.

What do you do when you can’t run?

About the Author: Melissa Cooper started running in 2011 with Couch to 5K. In the summer of 2012, in what seemed like a leap, she joined Rogue Running and completed her first half-marathon–San Antonio Rock and Roll–later that year. Finishing San Antonio was supposed to be a one-time bucket list thing, but these days her half-marathon total is at double digits (and climbing). Her favorite race distance is probably the ten-miler. By day, she is a middle school teacher who juggles work and life and running—sometimes even successfully.