22 July 2014

Time to refocus. Let's go!

Phew! The half marathon is over! I'm glad I did it but I'm not sure I want to do another long-ish race anytime soon. The first half of the race was great, but the second half got progressively worse until I could hardly pick up my feet. The stupidest MS symptom ever is foot drop. On the plus side, I burst into tears right before the finish which made for some really unforgettable race pictures. Joking. I will not be purchasing those. Or showing you an illegal watermarked preview.

I also ran a 5k last Saturday, and in case you're wondering, that's just 6 days after the half. I know, I am your hero. I went to the race alone and had a great time. For some reason, going solo to a 5k is my idea of paradise. Here's a photo of what might be my least offensive race face ever, but still embarrassing. This was right before the finish line, which was up a little surprise hill. This was not on the course map. What is wrong with people?

I'm back on the 5k train and really excited to stay on till the end of the line. Or the end of 2014 at least. My next race is at Oiselle Bird Camp in about three weeks. I wrote up a short training plan which includes copious hill repeats instead of speedwork. The track is my absolute favorite but I think I need hill work way more. And since my endurance has not been great lately, I'm planning to keep up with a longish run once a week, maybe 6-10 miles. However long I can run without encountering the dreaded foot drop.

I'm still on track to run 1000 miles this year; this will be the third year in a row that I've run at least 1000 miles. As of today I've done about 583.

MS has been a pain in my butt for a couple of months now. I've had more fatigue than usual, and this foot drop thing stinks. But with a little planning I am still able to do everything I want to do. Eat better and more regularly, rest more often - you know, the things everyone is supposed to do anyway. I've had this disease long enough to know that it's cyclical; that I can have a few months with a new symptom and then it vanishes. In the past I've had The Gremlin, which was a weird sensation in my calf that felt like I was dragging a little rodent around, and also that thing I can never remember the name of, where you feel a shock when you put your chin down close to your chest. But they went away, so hopefully this foot dragging shit will go away too!

Let me pause here and reassure you that although I might seem like a complete downer, part of coping with MS (for me) is having a wry sense of humor about it. As I write this I'm in a very upbeat mood. I just like to make fun of everything. And oh my god I'm turning into my husband.

I mentioned I'm trying to take better care of myself. Well, sometimes I cope with MS by eating copious pop tarts, but that's just the first line of defense. If I'm having new symptoms and they aren't going away quickly, I get all panicky and vow to never eat sugar again (or some similar drastic measure). Right now my drastic measures are:
  • Cleaning up my diet by significantly reducing sugar, caffeine, dairy, and processed foods. This is good for everyone, so it seems like a no brainer for someone with an incurable degenerative brain disease. (Wry sense of humor people, keep up.)
  • Practicing mindful breathing. Being all meditative and shit seems likely to calm the nervous system. Studies show it or something.
  • Considering eating some fish (or at least fish oil). Omega-3s, blah blah blah.
  • Getting back to core and strength exercises. For the last month or so I fell off the wagon (See also: half marathon training, laziness). I do 10-15 minutes of simple things like situps and pushups a few times a week - nothing crazy but it helps me feel more controlled when moving around. Sometimes I feel like I'm flinging myself around willy nilly - it works but I occasionally walk into something. Surprise!
  • Doing balance exercises. Single leg deadlifts help my brain talk to my limbs about where they are. So much more efficient than writing letters. 
So that's what's up in my world. And now I will let you in on a little secret. I really want to break 24 minutes in the 5k this year. Okay fine, I've told you this about seven times already, but maybe you weren't paying attention! Anyway, If I focus obsessively on that one thing and forget about half marathons and trail races and knitting sweaters and getting a PhD in Folklore, I just might be able to do it. I'm pumped! Let's go!

1 comment

  1. You and I have similar 5K time goals, though mine seems like more of a dream, considering I'd have to knock about a minute per mile off to make it happen. Dream big, right? I've also made a commitment to getting serious about core and strength. I am so bad about it. I get done running and I really don't feel like doing anything else (add stretching to that list, too). But since I can't run like I want to right now (until the baby is born and for awhile after), I figure in the mean time I'm going to get to work on my upper body. I really have no more excuses.

    Don't give up on knitting sweaters, though! And have fun at Birdcamp!