I did the 2017 Crazylegs Classic 8K a couple of weeks ago. That was the longest run I've done since I’ve been sick. I admit it cost me dearly, but I loved every single moment of it. What is it about a sport that really is almost every other sport’s punishment that makes me love it so much? There’s a cliché out there about not being the same person that finished the race as the one who started it. I’ve had several races like that in my time. My first 5k was one of them, as was my Half-Marathon a couple of years ago. So was this one. It was hard, it hurt the entire time, and I finished because I was determined to finish it no matter what. And I grinned like a damn idiot through most of the race.
I’ve learned a lot about mindfulness and stress tolerance recently. And what is running, if not an exercise where success is based on exactly that? The harsh reality of my life is that I’m always in pain whether I choose to mention it or not. Some days are worse than others, and some days it’s just…there. I choose to muscle through it for the most part because I absolutely hate the way the meds for nerve pain feel in my body. And when every single medication for MS and its symptoms has a side effect of weight gain and fatigue and painkillers and muscle relaxants can be addictive, I only want to take what’s absolutely necessary. I’d rather feel pain than not like myself.
It’s a mental battle, just like running. The funny thing about being a runner with MS is that MS does make running harder, but running doesn't make MS harder. And if I'm going to hurt anyways it's going to be on my terms., I will not give up any ground to my illness without fighting like hell for it.
The best part about doing Crazylegs is that I remembered how much I loved running. I’m not fast, and I probably look more like the Bee Girl from a Blind Melon video than I do a Nike ad. (If that doesn’t age me I don’t know what will.) And just when I thought I’d never do it again, I’ve registered for another Half-Marathon. Mentally, I'm ready for that. Now I just need to prepare my body for it. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ve become by the time I’ve reached that finish line.