Small Breakdowns: When Running Gets To Me

In my outward appearance, I’m sure I look like I’ve got it figured out to some. I’m not even discussing the invisible nature of my symptoms. Even for those that read my writing and know how I’m plagued by things like pain, fatigue, and cognitive issues, I might still seem like I’m dealing with them well and that I’m managing my disease well. I guess, for the most part, some of that is true. I’m doing the best I can at battling the disease and trying to still eke out a fulfilling life. I’d even go as far as saying, I’m doing OK at that. I do still have some moments and triggers that really get to me though, sometimes I’ll see something and every once in a while it will make me break down. The other day, I was out walking my dog and someone ran by us. It got to me; it really overwhelmed me, and I sat down and burst into tears for the first time in a very long time.

Running was a big part of my life

This may sound insane to most, I’m sure, but as a long-time avid runner, when I see people running, or hear them talking about it, I will sometimes excuse myself and have a small breakdown. The same can be said of hockey, though I always knew when that when I got to a certain age, I likely wouldn’t be playing or playing at the level that I once did. I guess I always thought running would be there in some capacity though. I have so many fond memories of running. Whether it be training for marathons with my sister, or getting ready for the next 5K with my uncle, or even coaching track and cross country, running was a big part of my life. I even still ran for a long time after my diagnosis, until I couldn’t. Eventually, enough myelin had been damaged and I was issued a cane and then eventually even prescribed a scooter (which I haven’t used yet).

It seems like running is everywhere

I get around well for the issues that I have. I admit, I don’t always use my cane, even though life is so much easier with it. That often leads to a lot of dangerous falls (including a pretty bad one through a glass window). I know I need to use my cane more; I’m not even sure why I don’t. Whenever I go to the doctor, I do a walking test, and well, let’s just say, it’s not an exam that I’ve managed to improve upon over the years. So realistically, I know that my running days are over, and that hurts at times, particularly when it seems like everyone and their brother are beginning to get into running. It seems like it’s everywhere. Everyone is training for something, even people that in the past would never think to go running. Even the MS Walk, while not the same as a 5K, seems like an especially cruel joke to me some years, because actually being able to do the walk can be so difficult for me.

Some things I likely won't overcome

So yeah, I have some breakdowns. I see someone running on the side of the road or hear someone discussing their next 5K, and I go and hide and shed a small tear. Because no matter how well I’ve handled my disease, a loss is a loss, and it’s painful. I’ve overcome a lot with my disease, but I know there are some things that even I likely won’t overcome. For me, that means I’ll probably never run a 5K again (and I still say “probably” because I am still a stubborn bastard). The thing is, it’s not that it’s always about “never” or the future, it’s that I want to be running right now. I want to put on my shoes and go for a nice run, and right now, I can’t do that. For me, that’s upsetting.

Hold your head up

While running is something that can cause me to have a mini breakdown, I’m sure everyone has something. I think it’s OK to occasionally have those breakdowns, it’s OK to shed a tear at a loss now and again. Just as long as you pick yourself up and keep going. Dry your eyes and remember that you’ve still accomplished a lot. Even by simply still being alive with this disease, you have something to hold your head up and be proud about. Pride in one thing doesn’t always lessen the loss of another though. So if you have something that you miss, I understand. I think most of us do, and I think that’s OK.

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