This isn't an easy thing for me to admit, but I'm struggling physically a bit at the moment. I'm running the Robin Hood Half Marathon in a few weeks time, and I've been trying my best to keep to a training programme. After that enforced two week break where I was flat on my back and unable to stand up, nevermind to get out the door for a run, I have something of a feeling of needing to do some catching up. I'm reasonably active most of the year, but over the last couple of months, my mileage has been steadily rising. Last Saturday, I did some hill interval running: 1 minute running up a steep hill, followed by 1 minute running down the hill, repeated twelve times. This was followed on Sunday by a nine mile run. For the last few miles of that run, the muscles in my legs stiffened up appreciably, and in the last mile, I actually started dragging my left leg a bit. Not good, but probably the result of three separate factors coming together: the layoff, the increased mileage and my MS.
I rested on Monday, but went out on a five mile run on the Tuesday night. This was perhaps a mistake: my muscles were still very sore, and it was something of a struggle to drag myself around (although I did, of course... still managing to clock in at 9.22 minutes per mile, below my nominal goal of 10 minute miles). I rested again on Wednesday, but went swimming this evening. This is usually the one form of exercise that I do that keeps the muscles of my upper body moving and hopefully helps to stave off wastage. With the increase in my running, I haven't been as often recently (I only went today because I couldn't get to football), and this evening I could really feel the stiffness across my shoulders as well as the lingering soreness from my runs in my legs. It was really hard work and I think I'll have another day off tomorrow before going back through the whole cycle next week.
The half marathon is on 13th September, and I'm looking forward to it. Between the two of us, C and I are hoping to raise £1000 for the MS Society - a cause, of course, that is close to my heart. I should be aerobically fit enough (my standing heart rate is something around 40 bpm), but I'm starting to worry if I'm going to be physically up to it. My willpower is good, I know that: I'm more than capable of dragging myself out for a run in any weather and more-or-less however I'm feeling. This is different though; I don't think that this is something that I can (or should) be pushing through; that dragging foot is a sign of the physical limits of my body that I'm going to have to learn to respect, no matter how hard or inconvenient I may find it. This is not an especially easy pill for me to swallow, and it makes me feel the thing that I fear the most: lessened by my condition. It also inevitably makes me to wonder how much more of this I'm going to have to learn to cope with..... something nobody can answer simply because there are no certain outcomes.
Of course, all these things are relative, and I'm very aware that although I may be having a few problems at the moment, there are people far worse off than me. I'm worrying about the impact a 9 mile run had on my body; some people can barely make it out of the front door unaided. I'm very aware and very grateful for what I still have.
Even so.... I don't like feeling limited.