The Difference

For everything I've lost, it'd be easy for me to quit fighting. For as difficult as my battles have gotten, it'd be understandable if I let go of my goal of completing my second marathon.

But I can't. I just keep chugging along.

It's not been easy, though. The difference between this year and last is like night and day. Last year, Botox was working for me, I wasn't on any meds, and the dystonia was staying above my ribcage. This year? Botox is not helping, I'm on narcotic painkillers that suck the energy right out of ya, and I'm battling exercise induced spasms in my abdominals.

I didn't know what I was getting into last year and was learning along the way how to properly fuel my body and recover from the impact of the long runs. I know what I'm doing now and my legs seem to be accepting the fact that I'm putting them through this again. But this year is so much harder on the rest of me.

It hasn't stopped me, though. I made it through the second half of my long run today and actually enjoyed myself, despite 50 degree temps, rain, 85% humidity, and 25 mph winds gusting to 38. Sounds miserable. But to me? It meant a warm hat, an empty parkway, and miles of nothing but solitude.

It gave me lots of time to think. About what I'm doing. About what I'm battling. And about all the folks out there battling the same condition I am, but who aren't physically able to run the miles I am.

It made me grateful. And just remembering how lucky I am can make all the difference in the world when it comes to seeing the glass as half full.

Running With Needles

An exciting time. Yesterday I went out for a 12 mile run. It was, without question, the most difficult run I've ever had, outside of the marathon itself. It was blazing hot, and so humid that I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my life. For the first time, I couldn't make it through. I had to split my run. I went 8 miles outdoors, but came back home to do the last 4 on the treadmill. It was absolutely a test in persistence.

Weather aside, the run went alright. My legs held up.

But, the Dystonia was all out of sorts. The Botox has worn off, and so my brain is playing tricks on me. One mile it's the front of my neck that hurts. The next it's the base of my skull, my jaw or tongue bothering me. Then that all stops and it moves into my arm. And on a fleeting basis, it's still moving in and out of my abs.

Once I finish up, for the next few hours nearly every muscle in my body aches and hurts. Except those with Dystonia. Those muscles, sufficiently worn out by a long run, are finally given permission to relax.

People wonder why I do this to myself. Why I push myself so hard via vigorous exercise. Truth is, I can't find a better way to combat my Dystonia. Not even Botox seems to provide as consistent of relief.

I'm due for my shots today. I have no idea how this round will play out. I'm not going to do anything drastic to alter what muscles I'm getting injected, but I've yet to figure out whether I'm better off running with needles; or without.