I precisely remember the moment I started my life long love affair with running. It was a month after the MS bombshell had been dropped and I was doing what every self-respecting hypochondriac does i.e. incessantly searching the web for more information about this disease. My only exposure to MS in the “before days” was anecdotal information I knew about two celebrities: Richard Pryor and Montel Williams. Two polar opposite stories that gave me no further clarity about what the heck the future had in store for me (editorial note: avoid commencing your Google search with Richard Pryor. That set me back two weeks). So, I read blog after blog. Some stories lifted my spirits and others sent my spirits crashing down.
One night I happened on a blog of a woman from New York who was roughly the same age as me. She was notably wheelchair bound and lamented about the days she would run through Central Park with ease and freedom. I began to uncontrollably sob. In fact, it was the first time I had let my emotions just take over my entire body. When I finished that very ugly and messy sob, I needed to dissect why that story had triggered me. What I concluded was that I hated running. I sucked at it. However, I had always had this thought that one day I would run a marathon. I sobbed because that bucket list plan was seemingly gone now. I wouldn’t get to run my marathon.
True to my stubborn nature, that feeling of mourning turned to resolve. I thought, “f#*k it, am going to run this marathon…and I probably need some shoes” (editorial note 2: I often use profanity. I am not going to apologize for it, because I use it well). So, I bought some shoes and it was not pretty for several months. It turns out that marathon running is not as easy as buying shoes. However, I stuck with it. On some days I would slowly and painfully trod along because my right leg wasn’t quite working or my muscles felt like lead, but on other days I would fly like the wind.
Fast forward two years and I ran my first half marathon this past January and am running my second half marathon at the end of this month and a full marathon next January. Notably, my husband, who was fundamentally opposed to all things exercise, decided to join my efforts and run along side me. That quiet, unspoken support has propelled me along more than he can know.
The reality is that a marathon may have stayed on my bucket list indefinitely. Who knows if I ever would have bought those shoes. MS put the wheels in motion. It reminded me to live my life and use and appreciate everything this body can do. I never want to wonder or mourn what could have been.