Monday, 11 January 2016

wonky

I’ve got a new pair of running shorts. Most of my shorts are big, baggy cotton affairs with deep pockets. I have a “no lyrca as a top layer” rule, and shorts like these are pretty handy as a cover layer. Besides, I find the pockets useful for stuffing in things like my iPod or my gloves and hat if I get a bit hot when I’m running. The only drawback of shorts like these is when you go running in the rain: they soak up water like a sponge and then weigh a ton. After getting caught out in the rain the other day, I made the decision that I needed to get some running shorts better suited for the foul weather training I’m likely to encounter between now and the London Marathon at the end of April.

I bought some of these. I really like them. They’re much shorter and tighter fitting than my other shorts, but they’re lightweight and entirely fit for purpose.

me, earlier today.

I’m not used to showing as much leg as this although, given that at this time of year I’m almost always wearing tights or skins or something underneath, this isn’t really much of a problem

There has been an unforeseen development though, pointed out to me by my wife when we were getting ready to go out to parkrun on Saturday morning: these shorts come far enough up my leg that you can now clearly see the curve of my thigh muscles, even when wrapped up – as they were on Saturday morning – in a pair of Skins. This in itself isn’t an issue, but it did mean that, for the first time, my wife was clearly able to see the difference in the muscle bulk on my legs. I’ve known that I’ve been losing muscle mass on the left-hand side of my body for some time now. It was first pointed out to me by the sports specialist I saw at QMC about the problems I was having with my plantar fascia, and was subsequently highlighted by the artisanal craftsman who is tailoring my lederhosen jeans… don’t ask. I don’t know how this works, but the quadriceps on my left leg is now something like 10-15% smaller than the one on my right.

Normally, this is hidden by my baggy shorts, but now it was on display for all to see. I have no idea of the biomechanics involved here, or how it might be affecting my running, but there it is: a visible reminder of how multiple sclerosis is taking its toll on my body.

There’s basically nothing I can do about this, and because it doesn’t seem to be affecting my running, it’s essentially a waste of time worrying about it. I ran ten miles yesterday morning in glorious sunshine at a pace under 9 mins/mile, for goodness sake. I’m doing okay….. but even so, it’s sobering to be reminded that something so tangible is happening to my body. Maybe the muscles on my left side will continue to waste away. Maybe one day it will stop me running. Maybe…. But not today.

If you see me in my little shorts though, please try not to stare to hard at my left leg…. not so much because it will make me self-conscious, as you'll be in a public space staring at my upper thigh. Mind you, at least I’ll know what you’re looking at. Some people stare at my forehead when they’re talking to me: it’s very disconcerting and I don’t really know why they do it. Weirdos.

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