Today I went running for the first time since January. Unlike many chronic illness sufferers, the heat doesn’t bother me that much. The cold, however, (and the wind and the rain) really does me in. No matter how much I warmed up, I could hear and feel my knees and ankles cracking like an old lady’s. Also, I had to have warm clothes on before going on, otherwise I would freeze, but as soon as I started running I would overheat and would have to take off some of the clothes in the middle of it (not a very fancy strip, I can assure you) and carry them with me until I finished.
So I decided to stop for a while. By the time the weather got better it was the end of the semester and I was way over my head with work. Then I went away on vacation. So here I am, 7 months later. I went to the same circuit I used to do and – surprise – I wasn’t that bad. 😀 I think I did it in more or less the same time, the only difference is today I took several walk breaks whereas before I would just take one.
Either the exercising I’ve been doing at home to compensate for being on a hiatus from my dance classes and from running has kept me more in shape than I thought, or while on vacation I worked out more than I thought from swimming in the ocean and hiking in the woods. Whatever it was, I feel pretty good about myself right now. As soon as I started work again on Monday I felt my body yelling at me, “What is this sitting in front of a desk all day? This isn’t natural. Go on, get on the move or I’ll be really sore and achy.” It did get sore and achy by Wednesday and Thursday. Luckily I found out that stretching improves the pain, and as I work mostly by myself in a cubicle I started using the book shelves as ballet barres when my legs and back need a break. (And now I’m going to recommend ballet classes to everyone. Kidding. 😉 )
I don’t know how I’m going to wake up tomorrow, but I know that even if it’s bad it won’t stop me. Whether I go back to dance classes next year when I finish post-grad, or keep exercising at home, or try to keep running despite winter, I can’t really stop moving. I feel that the only reason I’ve never been paralyzed due to MS is because my brain learned during years of practicing several contemporary dance techniques that there are many ways you can make a movement and many ways your feet, legs, hands, arms, head can get to where you want them to be. When something feels wrong, the brain gets creative and flexible and forges new pathways to achieve the intended result. Our bodies and minds are endless resources. I’m going to keep working on never running out of those.