I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough moment this morning. A rewind-post from just three years ago reminded me of a trail race through the beautiful Angmering Estate. It’s a race I did a couple of times, attracted to its name: Angmering Bluebell. In April 2014 I ran 10 miles and it was hard. A lot of uphill running, mud so deep, I had to cling onto the bushes, sheep and sheep poo; and a lot of swears… I loved it.
I was so proud to do the 10 miles, the furthest I’ve ever run in one go. Noodle had just turned 3 and I was getting my fitness back. I ran 12 miles a week topped off by boot camp sessions at the weekend. I’m not very good at exercising and I had finally found something I truly enjoyed. Running gave me time to think about all sorts of stuff, it was my escape. After the first 10 minutes, I felt I could go on forever.
Unbeknown to me, even then things started to change already. I had my first of two nasty falls even before this race. When I started tripping up more and more, I started losing confidence. I just couldn’t explain why it was happening. Nights got dark and I stopped completely for fear of falling. I still did other exercise but I did lose my flow with running completely.
What I know now is that I was experiencing a type of foot drop, very much a symptom of having MS. On its own, nobody could have drawn this conclusion, but these days it’s so bad, I struggle to lift my foot up off the floor to get up the stairs. Anything faster than a slow walk and I start to stumble. If I get tired, my foot starts to scrape the ground.
I’ve only been on the edge of that deep hole and peeked over the sides. I’m not about to get in it!
I have had a lot of time to think about stuff lately. Mr Naish has been on a contract working away during the week, so I have a lot of quiet time. I have worried and stared down a deep hole of “why am I still numb since last June?” and “this feels so much more than just being a little unfit” and “it’s only been just over a year since it all kicked off, where will I be in another three years?”.
So, as I looked at my race number from just 3 years ago, it hit me more than ever. I have to do something and just go through the motions of doing it, like brushing your teeth, like having a cup of tea. I need to try to strengthen up that friggin’ left leg! And, I’ve only been on the edge of that deep hole and peeked over the sides. I’m not about to get in it!
I’ve been given exercises by my physio to strengthen my hips, I have researched special, achievable Pilates moves, my amazing sis in law will help me put the finishing touches to my nutrition (she runs an amazing fitness & health group in Worthing) and with starting my Decease Modifying Therapy now is the perfect time to really commit.
I’m hoping the strengthening exercises will show a noticeable improvement in not too much time as I’m really quite impatient. I’m looking forward to not feeling so stiff anymore and walking more confidently again. I will document how I get on, what works, what doesn’t. I have trawled the internet and found loads of inspirational people with MS who take part in races, cycle rides and all sorts of activities to raise money and awareness. All of them are admirable but I’m missing the journey of how they got there, so I’m hoping that this will be just that for someone else in my shoes.
One of my goals for this year is to do a run. Will I achieve that??
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