4 Comments to 'Watching Olympic Marathon Trials'
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Monday, February 15, 2016
I actually watched the end of the men’s and women’s marathon trials races on TV Saturday. I wasn’t sure if I could handle watching. Ever since this neurological disease has knocked me down, it’s very hard to watch people run. For a while, I couldn’t even stand to see someone running in the background on a commercial on TV. It just hurt.
I watched the end, though. It didn’t feel the same as it used to when I would watch a race. I felt pretty disconnected from it … and I was kind of glad that I did. I was able to enjoy seeing the athleticism of the athletes without having that desperate feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was even more surprising because of how things went with my Neurology follow-up on Friday.
So, I cried in Neurology Clinic Friday. I didn’t mean to … of course I didn’t mean to … I didn’t expect it. I had a couple good days a few weeks earlier and maybe I had started thinking that there was hope that this would all go away and that one day I would walk out the door and just run off down the street just like normal, just like I’d done for years and years, that it would feel effortless, that I would feel strong and coordinated, and that I would be able to stop taking handfuls of meds every day, that I could sleep at night without worrying something would go wrong, that I could depend on myself to drive everywhere …. Yeah, well, right from the beginning, the exam was so obviously abnormal that even I could tell how abnormal it was. My husband was sitting in a chair on the left side of the exam room and I couldn’t look at him. I thought I had held it together and then, bam, the tears just popped out like little water bullets.
It’s hard not to dwell on all of this, but I can’t help it. Part of that comes from the nature of the problems I deal with, like pain. It’s really hard to ignore pain every single day. Some days are better than others, but I hurt every single day. I set my alarm for 5:00 am every morning so that I can take a set of “pre-meds” for the day, go back to sleep for an hour, and then get up. I do that so I can actually get out of bed without needing help because of pain, leg coordination problems, back spasms, etc. I’ve actually just recently moved the alarm up to 4:30 recently so that I can start getting ready for when we change back to daylight saving time so I’m not making such a dramatic change all at once. Even doing the “pre-meds” routine, it still takes me about two hours until I’m pretty functional. The cold weather we’ve had recently has made it worse. And, that actually gives me an idea for how I can explain what the stiffness and coordination problems feel like. Do you remember going out to play in the snow when you were a kid and your hands got so cold making snow balls and such that when you came back inside, you could barely bend your fingers and had very little control of your fingers, like you couldn’t pick up something small or twist the cap off a soda bottle until your hands got warmed back up? That’s how my whole body feels, but mostly my legs and back and abdomen.
I also have pain all the time. It’s worse first thing in the morning and last thing at night (and sometimes in the middle of the night). I have different types of pain. My muscles always feel sore, sort of like I did a really hard workout. I get muscle spasms, too, and they can be so intense that they have torn muscles and broken both superior pubic rami (the small bones in the front of your groin). My back is tight ALL the time, 24/7, but it can go into spasm and there is just no way to get away from it, no position that helps, no massage, nothing. I have to take some kind of gabaergic med to relax my muscles when that happens. Sometimes, it just happens with no warning, but usually something sets it off.
Sure, there’s more, but I actually did not want to spend time complaining. So, enough of that!
My original intent with this post was to discuss how I plan to share the training I did when I was competing. I want to start with the year leading up to qualifying for Olympic Marathon Trials and then go through to when I shifted to ultras. I’ll include workouts and times and races and all those specifics. There isn’t room to put everything in, so I’ll try to pull out representative examples and include the good and the bad. I’ll also try to include some commentary on how it felt to go through such a transformation. Right now I’m thinking about starting out by posting two weeks of training, one from when I started training to qualify for trials, one from when I was at my peak of training and racing the roads, and one from when I had moved into ultramarathons. I might change my mind, but right now that’s what I’m thinking.
Well, time for my nighttime meds and all that ….
For now, Happy Trails!