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Rediscovering My Passion for Running Helped Me Regain Control of My MS

Rediscovering My Passion for Running Helped Me Regain Control of My MS
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Sunlight flooded my bedroom. My tired eyes slowly pulled apart. Realization set in: It was Saturday. Yes! I love Saturdays. 

As I got out of bed and glanced outside my window, a crazy thought crossed my mind. 

“I’m going running.”

I hadn’t run in a while, and I still felt numb and tingly after a recent MS exacerbation. Would I be able to do it?

My flare-up was driving me crazy and getting me down. It had caused me to lose confidence in myself and stop doing things I love, like drawing. On Saturday, I took back control for the first time in a long time, and I felt powerful. 

I didn’t know if I would remember how to run, or how well I would run with the numbness, but I was willing to give it a shot. 

I pulled on my workout gear and dug out my ancient trainers. The shoes still had mud on them from the 10K I did in 2019.  

With a deep breath, I opened the door. Here we go. Let’s do this. 

Running felt strange at first. My legs forgot how the movement felt. I stumbled and tripped a couple times, but I didn’t let it stop me.

I ran. It felt magical. I felt free. I was winning the war with my body at last. The wind rushed through my hair as the birds delicately sang from the trees. 

I didn’t go far, only about a half-mile around the block. I just needed to know it was still possible.

Back home, I sat exhausted in my conservatory with a cup of tea, and as I scrolled through my phone, something caught my attention — a memory post. 

It was a video of me declaring I was going to start running, which I made so people could hold me accountable. It was on that day two years ago I had decided to run! 

“This is what I need to do,” I thought. Being out in the fresh air felt incredible. 

My husband and I have been going on walks recently to get out of the house, but nothing compares to the feeling one gets while running. 

Reading the story Cheryl Hile shared for MS News Today‘s “31 Days of MS” initiative, which took place in March to raise awareness about MS, reminded me why I started running. Hile, who has MS, has run over 50 marathons, including one on every continent.

After reminding myself of her accomplishments this week, I felt encouraged again. I never thought I’d be a runner, which wasn’t a hobby I’d planned on. 

But I needed a goal to keep me going. So, I found an April running challenge online. It requires me to track my runs on a GPS tracker and send the data to the company. If I reach my goal, they will send me a medal! 

As I write this, it is April 1, and I had my first run of the month today. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the tracker on, so it didn’t count. Oops! 

It feels so good to regain control of my MS, especially after my recent exacerbation, which seemed to take so much from me. 

Have you discovered an unexpected hobby? Please let me know in the comments below. 

***

Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jessie is the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast and author of the “ENabled Warriors Symptom Tracker” book. She’s also an illustrator working with MS charities and magazines worldwide. She’s interviewed paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, marathon runners, and more. Jessie, based in the U.K., was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and was told by a doctor to “go home and Google it” to find out what MS was for herself. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary, so she fills the internet with positivity for other anxious MS Googlers to stumble upon.
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Jessie is the host of the DISabled to ENabled podcast and author of the “ENabled Warriors Symptom Tracker” book. She’s also an illustrator working with MS charities and magazines worldwide. She’s interviewed paralympians, radio DJs, chronic illness bloggers, marathon runners, and more. Jessie, based in the U.K., was diagnosed with MS at 22 years old and was told by a doctor to “go home and Google it” to find out what MS was for herself. Her own experience of being newly diagnosed so young was negative and scary, so she fills the internet with positivity for other anxious MS Googlers to stumble upon.

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4 comments

  1. Leanne Broughton says:

    Do it while you still can. Many years back I walked my dog miles and miles everyday. He is gone and that time is special in my memories. People thought I liked to walk but in the back of my mind I knew I had to get it in before I could not walk.

  2. Dylan Chicken says:

    Dear Jessie

    Your rediscovery of running has encouraged me so much! Thanks for sharing.

    I used to run almost every day until about 2016 when I was struggling more and more with the MS. I haven’t run since. I used to love it.

    I have resolved to go for a short run this morning, even if it’s only half a mile.

    I was diagnosed in 2013 and was medically boarded early 2016. It’s been a struggle. But, thanks to your story, I’m going to take back part of me that was lost to the MS.

    Much appreciated!

    • Jessie Ace says:

      Dylan, thank you so much for your comment. I’m so pleased to hear my running journey inspired you. Good on you for going on a short run! Let me know how you get on. #StayENabled – Jessie

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