Immune to nothing

Where to begin?

It’s been one of those weeks. Fatigue floored me on Monday and seems to have held on all week. By Thursday I was terrified there was a relapse on the horizon and I have no idea how I managed to make it through the week. All those feelings and emotions about MS were so raw, the reality of it all just hit me again and I’m struggling so much with it at the moment. By Saturday the fatigue seemed to have calmed itself and I was delighted to wake up actually feeling rested for the first time all week – so on with the runners and off we went. From a mental perspective, I needed this run so much – I needed that feeling that it gave me.

But it never came.

It was too warm and the heat just made every step that bit harder. My legs felt like lead. I couldn’t enjoy it and this felt like torture. But I persevered: every runner has days like that and it’s worth it when 17km later you can look back and see that, despite it all, you still achieved what you set out to do – it stands to you.

Then I hit the 12km mark.

That dull ache I’d been ignoring in my right foot for weeks suddenly turned sharp and I found myself sitting barefooted in the Phoenix park trying to massage it better. Stubborn as always, I laced my runners back up and continued with the next 5km – I was not going to arrive home feeling like a failure. I could cope with the pain but I’d worked too hard for this.

With hindsight, I realise now how stupid I was. What was I thinking? It’s looking like I’ve actually injured myself. I was so focused on the MS and not letting it stop me that I’d forgotten that my body is still built like everyone else’s. MS does not make me immune to the injuries that plague most runners.

I’m hoping a few physio appointments can help whatever it is. There’s less than three weeks to the half marathon and I can’t bear the thought that this injury could affect me for that.

Maybe my body had been trying to tell me something all week as it was though – and, despite everything I’d talked about, I just didn’t want to listen to it. I was angry with it and on some subconscious level perhaps that run became more of a punishment – a way of telling my body to just shut up and keep moving. Yes, we should all challenge ourselves and push ourselves that little bit out of our comfort zone, but there’s a difference between dragging yourself out for a run on a cold evening when you’d rather curl up in front of the TV with a chocolate bar and then ignoring your body’s calls to rest and stop running because of fatigue and actual pain.

So there’s a lesson to be learned from this week and I think I’ve now got some serious apologising to do to my body. Someone hand me the chocolate and the TV remote.

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