My Quest to Run Again

Why I Want to Run Again

My goal is simple—it’s to run again. I’ve lost the ability at the hands of multiple sclerosis. I’ve been living with the disease for the past seventeen years. The last time I could run more than a few hundred feet was eight years ago. The feelings of striding long legged, my lungs winded but fully inflated, the burn in my legs, and beads of sweat on my brow and the small of my back; they’ve all left me. I’m a past marathon runner, so I know them well; I crave them, and I miss them.

In the past, the drive to run came

Run Again, Jon Chandonnet

Can I Run Again

from a desire to appease my ego. After being diagnosed, I derived a big part of my identity from the ability—being able to say I just did a ten mile run, or even better, just completed the LA or Philadelphia marathon allowed me to feel whole, but the disease has taken those feelings away. My journey with MS has taught my ego many lessons; I have had to surrender many desires of my individual will to the divine.

You may ask, why? Why would you want to take on this goal? Are you not taking on an impossible challenge? MS is a chronic degenerative disease. It seems like you haven’t truly made peace. Maybe you’d suggest I spend a few days in the dessert, sit on a rock, mediate, and find a new desire or at least make peace. That’s the thing. If you follow me, you know I’m internally oriented.

That’s were the desire to run again comes from. It comes from deep within—the place of a curious mind. Over the past two years, I have worked with a trainer and brought back the strength of my core muscles. It is because I have challenged my body, and it has answered the call that I would even attempt this challenge. After two years, I stand straighter, my left leg stronger and more responsive. I now trust the leg to support me when I walk which has lessened the burden of my right. It feels like a natural progression; it feels like the next thing.

The Challenge

All that being said, there is still the issue of my body dealing with the effects of MS. The muscles of my left leg suffer from neuropathy, so the muscles of my glute, quad, hamstring, and calf muscles lack the responsiveness of my right—they don’t respond as quickly, have the strength, or process signals as effectively. My right leg has compensated, but my hips are out of alignment. This means my strides are not the same length when I run. As I mentioned, things are improving. The question is,

“Can things continue to improve to the point where I can sustain the effort required to run a mile?”

I’m not talking about running a marathon or even a 5K. The ability to run a mile is the challenge I want to take on. It’s a significant stretch goal, but I don’t feel it’s overly optimistic or head in the clouds thinking.

Maybe I should just be satisfied I can still walk, unassisted, after living with the disease for nearly twenty years. That is a feat in itself. Maybe I should let it go, but the drive is not coming from my ego or rational mind. It simply feels like the natural thing to do, so I’m going to listen and see where I end up.

What do you think? Am I approaching things in a way that will allow me to make it happen?