I ran a 12-minute mile today.
My elementary school, PE class-avoiding self has been vindicated!
When I decided to start my run-walk journey many, many moons ago (October 2014), my first mile took me 24 minutes to get through. I mostly walked, hoofing it on my treadmill, cursing my cardiovascular system and wondering why on earth I thought this was a good idea. My heart rate hovered in the 160-170 range and afterwards I lay down on the floor while my dog, Suki, licked my face and I tried not to cry because Jeez, that pretty much sucked.
Fast Forward to Today.
(Nic Note: Oh my gosh, don’t you wish you had a Life Fast Forward button? Like to skip the 11 months it takes before run/walking doesn’t feel like death any more?)
Today, I woke up at 6 a.m. as per usual (because this is my life now, no biggie, HA!) so that I could beat my hardworking sister to the bathroom (#OldHabits #DieHard). I ate my gluten-free toast slathered in sunflower butter (#AllergicGirl), suited up (#BackOffSunlight), and set out.
Yep, that’s right.
My treadmill has been collecting dust all summer as I’ve given it up in favor of some free vitamin D, which I may or may not actually be absorbing as I think only about 6 inches of me remain uncovered when I run (See What’s POTS? in the side bar, regarding PMLE).
My current neighborhood has an abysmal lack of safe running areas, so I run up and down the same stretch of scarce sidewalk over and over for 30 minutes.
Let’s do some math, shall we?
If I run a 12 minute mile and I run for 30 minutes, how many miles am I running?
2.5 ladies and gents, 2.5.
Go ahead and giggle at my paltry mileage, stinkface non-Chronic runner people who ended up on this page by mistake. I have my headphones on and can’t hear you anyway.
I, however, feel like a rockstar.
It is my greatest hope that no one gets the wrong idea here, and thinks that because I make it sound so super fun and awesome that run/walking with a Chronic illness is not a big deal. It is a HUGE DEAL. It is SO HARD.
I have mast cell issues. Mast cells do not like a number of things, but their least favorite things are adrenaline and exertion. Guess what running is? An exertion factory farm whose main product is adrenaline. Every time I run, my face turns bright red and swells up a tiny bit. I look like a tomato.
It goes back to normal once I take a really cold shower immediately following a run, as for some weird reason Cold appears to be the only antidote to Mast Cell Face that I have been able to come up with. In the meantime, it kind of feels like my face might burn off. I wore a t-shirt the other day instead of my long-sleeve get-up because it was hot and cloudy and I thought I could get away with it. By the time I came home, my arms were also on fire and weirdly puffy.
Let’s not get me started on the rebellion of my Chronic heart. Let’s just say it makes me very aware of its Thoughts on Running (they are of the #WTF variety).
Also, if I’ve run today, there is a 90% chance I will randomly fall asleep at some later point in the day, usually when it is not convenient to do so.
So why, oh why do I keep doing this?
Sure, my heart screams a bit, but my feet pounding the pavement is louder. In fact, the simple sound of my fancy watermelon-colored running shoes connecting with the pavement over and over and over again is louder than most things.
It is louder than the voices inside my head that say I can’t. (Because, spoiler alert, I can.)
It is louder than the voices outside my head (as in #haters) who say I can’t. (See above spoiler alert.)
It is louder than the hamster wheel of thoughts that tell me I should be worried about employment, moving, being more 26-year-old single white female than I think I am right now.
The sound of my running shoes is so loud that from approximately minute 5 to minute 25, it is the only wonderful sound I can hear. Even the Demi Lovato pop songs my earbuds are pumping into my ear canals fade into a sort of white noise.
Minutes 1-5 are awful. That hasn’t stopped. Once minutes 25-30 hit, things get loud again and I head home.
I wish my body would cooperate more so I could run forever and live in that blissed out quiet space for all eternity.
In the meantime, I am super duper grateful for what I’ve got going right now. It’s blowing my mind that I have sliced my mile time in half. I’m not judging myself against anyone else, because that will get me nowhere. But judging me against the me I was this time last year? Let me tell you, I am a flipping unicorn compared to that girl. (Not to be putting you down or anything #PastLifeNic, but I’ve come a loooooong way.)
It feels amazing!
I know that running is not for everyone, Chronic or not, but I am sure there is something you are doing Chronic friends that is blowing your own mind right now. Have you recently done something you didn’t think you could do? Think about where you were this time last year- What is different? What’s better? It can be hard to see yourself as improving when marching the long walk of chronic illness, but I feel like everyone has something! Tell me about your something- I’d love to know what it is, either here in the comments or over on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell