I must admit that yesterday, for the first time, this experience brought me to tears. I’m usually incredibly poised, but yesterday I lost it. My feelings were just too strong. Here’s what happened.
Given my recent flair-up of tendonitis in my knees, I’ve had to cut back almost entirely on my running to concentrate on my rehab. My physical therapist has designed an elaborate routine for me to do every day to hopefully get me back to running in time for the marathon.
I call this routine my “S.S.R.” (Stretch, Strengthen, and Roll). Yesterday, I cleared the living room floor, plugged my marathon mega-mix into the room’s speakers and dutifully began my S.R.R. routine.
As I’ve written previously, I hate stretching. So, after about 30 minutes of stretching, I was glad to turn to my strengthening exercises. But now I know that if there is anything I hate more than stretching – it’s strengthening. My hip muscles were so weak that they literally trembled uncontrollably as I performed the exercises designed to strengthen them.
So after about 20 minutes of pathetic shaky strengthening, I was thrilled to move on to rolling around on my styrofoam log. What could be more relaxing than this? Piece of cake. Walk in the park.
The rolling is supposed to loosen tight spots in my legs. My physical therapist has taught me four different exercises to help my legs. I’m supposed to roll in each of these four positions for about 2-3 minutes each, and when I find a “problem spot” I’m supposed to stay on that spot for about 10 seconds.
I was on the last of my rolling exercises when I found a particularly strong “problem spot.” As I leaned into the tightness, I huffed and puffed. I stared at the seconds on my stopwatch, wondering why time can’t fly. I tried to un-furrow my brow; I tried to think happy thoughts. This is good for you, Julie. This is good for you.
Intellectually, I know that this dull pain is bad ugly tightness leaving my body, yet in the moment – that didn’t make it hurt any less. I felt nauseated and lost my ability to process these feelings with my usual even-keeled patience. Tears began streaming down my face.
When I finished this last exercise, I stopped crying, mostly because I was just so thankful S.S.R. was done for the day. I rearranged the living room furniture and put my styrofoam log away for the day.
Just now, I’ve cleared the living room in preparation for today’s S.S.R. However, as I continue on, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: if I were running this marathon “for myself,” yesterday would have been the end of the road.
I don’t say that lightly; I gave up running two years ago when faced with similar rehab for the same tendonitis in my knees. What’s the difference this time? I have a reason to move forward that’s much bigger than just myself. Narcolepsy is more than just “a cause” to run for. It’s the sole reason I’m running…and stretching, strengthening and rolling. Right now, I’m out of my comfort zone and I don’t know what will happen. Nonetheless, I strongly believe that running the marathon for narcolepsy is something worth fighting harder for.