Or whatever happened to Mike?...
Shoes go on and I close the garage door behind me. I start slow and stay slow, running up towards my my old routes in Sabino Canyon. After a short while I drift back towards home, finishing slightly faster than I started and stopping the watch at just over 20 minutes.
Kiera's made scones, the kids are on spring break so there's no rush to do anything, and I sit down to breakfast before heading to the gym for Pilates class and a swim.
Did he just say Pilates? Yeah, I did. Simply put, things aren't the same. The 80 miles per week I averaged for a few years while chasing the still-elusive 2:29 marathon with Mystery Coach have given way to weeks of zeros punctuated by 2-4 mile runs when the body is able. On good days like today I almost feel like my old self while running the last mile home until I catch my long shadow to my right, which shows a very slow runner heavily favoring one side while pulling his left leg along, just keeping it high enough to (usually) stop it from dragging along the ground.
When the run ends the scones aren't the usual buttery ones with chocolate chips and other goodies. Kiera was kind enough to make a dairy free, low-fat variety that works with the new diet. Delicious as usual, but not the same.
At the gym Pilates helps keep me in some semblance of shape. I'm focusing on my core strength more and more as balance has become a real issue, and I'm even throwing in the odd yoga class when my schedule permits. The swim that follows is more for my spirit than fitness. I feel more free in the water than while doing any other exercise, as without gravity the numbness on the left side from my chest/upper back down to my toes doesn't affect me as much. Also it alleviates the constant constriction I feel around the left mid-section and around the toes on my left foot, which usually feels like I'm stuffing my foot into a cycling shoe that's two sizes too small.
I quit the swim early to give myself a few minutes to soak up the sun, as several medical studies indicate that extra Vitamin D is important and therapeutic. I try to memorize the feeling of sitting on the deck chair with the sun on my face and the breeze drying me, and the squawking from the water aerobics crowd slowly fades away when I close my eyes.
I'll try to come back to this place and these feelings when I'm strapped down and sliding into the MRI machine with a Gadolinium drip in my arm in a few hours. It's a tough few hours as I'm no fan of tight spaces, but it's unavoidable for someone in my condition.
I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on March 18.
When I started this blog I enjoyed relating the positive experiences that running and life afforded me. Things are different now, but I feel I can benefit from sharing this experience as well. I hope by writing at times about what I'm doing to stay healthy and vital with MS I can continue feeling empowered while dealing with a disease that specializes in stripping power and independence away.
What remains the same is my incredible family and the support and love they offer, and for that I am eternally grateful. I also have many good friends who show me the same kindness, and I'm thankful for them as well.
I hope you will stay tuned, and I hope Mystery Coach will still keep up the running end of things around here. Thanks for reading.