Running With Fibromyalgia
As you may have gathered – I love running.
Long before I was diagnosed with Fibromylagia I was running.
I started seriously in 2008. I had got to the stage in football (soccer) where the youngsters were gliding past me with ease. I was doing more kicking than tackling. So it was time to call it a day.
Turning to running seemed like the most obvious move. I had always been quite a good runner at school and I enjoyed it. I had to do something sporty and something that would challenge me. So what better way to get things going than to enter a marathon. The problem was the more I looked into just how much training would be required the more I thought that this was an awful lot of training for just one race.
So from nowhere I suddenly declared all too publically that I would run 4 marathons in an 8 week time period in 2009.
Me and my big mouth. I had said too much and there was no pulling out. And so I went about looking into finding 4 marathons that all fell within an 8 week period.
In the end I entered Paris, London, Halstead and Edinburgh.
And I completed the challenge.
The truth is it was joy and pain. I loved it but man alive my body didn’t. I completed my fastest marathon in Halstead on the 3rd race coming in at 4hrs 31mins. But come Edinburgh my body was screaming at me and just getting round was hell. But the sense of achievement was amazing. I broke down crossing the line in Edinburgh in disbelief that I had done it. I had gone from no running to 4 marathons in 6 months.
I was seriously hooked. However from here on in the distances had to be shorter.
I became a Dad for the first time in the September after the marathons and the time it took to train was not really an option any more. I didn’t realise just how much time training for such a distance actually took up of your life. With a new baby and working this wasn’t possible.
Half marathons and 10k’s became the order of the day. Easier to train for and easier to run.
And then in 2012 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and suddenly running took on a different angle.
The challenge wasn’t the clock – it was the fact that I had managed to run in the first place.
To start with running stopped. It had to, I didn’t know what I was suffering from and when I did, I didn’t know how to deal with it.
And then I reached a wall. In order to fight this syndrome I had to start running again. I had to be normal. Running was my normal. Running was that part of my mind that allowed me to compete. By being able to compete I was grabbing back an important part of me that Fibromyalgia was trying to take away from me.
Running hurt, it still hurts. It hurts like hell. And so the challenge isn’t always the clock any more – it’s the fact that I complete the run.
Over the last 2 years I have managed to continue taking part in half marathons, 10k’s and 10 milers but not without going through the pain barrier each time. Come the finish line I’m broken. I long for the days when I was simply out of breath.
But I’m lucky, I’m running. Many with this condition can’t.
It’s getting harder and harder but fighting back keeps me going and keeps me sane. Keeps me normal.
The competitive side of my brain never turns off either. Just because you are in chronic pain all the time doesn’t mean that changes.
And it’s that part of my brain that continues to push me into challenging this hell.
I always aim higher than most people think I should. Running allows me to do it.
And it lets me visit that part of “normal”.