I Regained Control From an MS Flare by Challenging Myself to Run
I challenged myself to run 10 miles in April. I didn’t know at the time how I would make it work, because I was numb from the neck down due to an MS flare. But I was eager to take back control from multiple sclerosis and throw caution to the wind.
The distance was scary enough to encourage me to run, but short enough for my goal to be achievable. Even if I couldn’t run on some days, I had an entire month to finish the total distance. Yet I’d felt super exhausted since my flare started, and I was worried I’d overdo it and make the flare worse.
The last time I did a similar challenge was in July 2019, when I set myself a stupidly high goal of running a total of 50 miles during the hottest month of the year. It wasn’t my cleverest moment, but my strong discipline and organizational skills pulled me through.
I divided the number of miles by the number of days I could run to determine how much distance I needed to cover each time I ran. On average, I had to run 4 miles, three or four times a week to hit my goal. It was hard, especially considering I was not a runner, my MS is temperature-sensitive, and I had only started running in March of that year.
I did it anyway and smashed my target by running 55.5 miles!
Because I once ran more than 50 miles in a month, I knew I could definitely reach 10 miles now, even during an MS flare.
I got into the habit of running a mile each morning before journaling, doing my hypnosis meditation, and starting work for the day. I convinced myself that a mile isn’t very far. It’s manageable in smaller pieces, right?
I underestimated how hard it is to run with numb limbs!
Still, by the middle of the month, I’d started to enjoy running again. I had run 10 miles by April 16. The crazy thing is that I continued to run, even though I’d met my goal. It was a way to feel free again.
The sense of accomplishment was amazing. At that point, my life consisted of poor mental health, depression, and a lack of self-confidence. Exercise helped me combat those low feelings.
Awards have always driven me, too. I was stubborn enough to do whatever it took to run those 10 miles so that I could claim my medal at the end. And I did it!
The question now is, what is my next challenge?
This experiment taught me that if my mind is in the right place, I can accomplish more than I think. It also taught me that whatever bad situation I may be going through, I can focus on setting a goal for myself and feel accomplished, even if my body is letting me down.
Have you accomplished a personal challenge lately? What was it? Please share 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.