Friday, April 01, 2011

The Same, but Different from now on

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.

13 comments:

blaxabbath said...

You are, hands down, still my favorite blogger.

Love2Run said...

Thanks for sharing this Mike. You've always been an inspiration and I know you will continue to be as you battle this disease. Sending lots of good vibes your way...

Edgepath said...

Mike,
As I read through the first few paragraphs of your post I was thinking....there you go, the consequences of years of high mileage...so when you came to your diagnosis of MS, it was a real shock. I wish you all the best with this very unpredictable disease. Please continue blogging - I am confident your experiences will be of more help and impact to all of us than even your detailed training logs of the past.

Best wishes,

Martin
Calgary, AB

crowther said...

Wow, Mike. Scary stuff. I'm speechless except to say that I wish you the best. This really puts my foot surgery (two weeks ago) and subsequent 3 months of no running in perspective.

Ewen said...

Thanks Mike. I wondered what's been happening in your world. Best wishes. I'm sure you will overcome.

Grellan said...

Mike what I always admired about you was your honesty and courage in saying what you felt (the good, the bad and the ugly). It certainly took courage to get that out and I know that with the support of your family and friends (real and virtual) you have the same courage to deal with this.
Glad to see you back blogging as your writing has always been a source of inspiration.

Thomas said...

Just like blax, you were hands down my favourite blogger (not that I want to come across creepy stalker like).

That's a very brave decision to put that out into the open. I hope the good days will outnumber the bad ones for some significant time to come.

You were always an inspiration to many of us, and that has only increased now.

Greg said...

Despite the lack of posts, I've kept you in my feed all this time hoping for you to post again, so this was a pleasant, and then suddenly unpleasant, surprise. I can't really add to what other have said -- you're an inspiration to us and we're all pulling for you.

Evan Roberts said...

Mike, thanks for sharing this. Following your training and racing has been motivating and inspiring. I know you'll meet this challenge, and hope you'll be able to keep running for years to come. Take care.

Chris said...

As the other guys said, your writing was allways inspirational! I wish you and your family all the best!

Chris

shy_smiley said...

Holy Crap, Mike. First I was surprised to see you're a long-time prolific blogger, then I was shocked as shit to discover you've been diagnosed with MS. That's big. The Big One. The Grandmaster Flash. I don't even know what to say. So I'll say a prayer. Keep on truckin', dude. It's the best we can do.

Mark said...

I'm sorely saddened, miffed and not wanting to believe this news. Keep your spirits up live long and happy for each day joy can be found in the smallest of places.

Please do let me know if ther is anything I can do for you.

Your running friend, Mark

Scott We Go said...

I've been following your blog for years, and I've been using it as a source for my own training since the day I found it.

I always have looked up to you.

It had been a while since I've checked the blog. I am shocked and saddened Mike. But, please remember the power of positivity. Thanks for everything and I wish you the best of luck.