May 31, 2015 by scratchtype1
I entered May feeling pretty good. All systems were functioning well, I had energy and I had time to run. I figured the biggest hazard in front of me would be the climbing temperatures. By May 15th, I had already piled up 81.2 miles and it was looking good for me to have solid month of up around 160 to 170 miles.
2 weeks later, I find myself doing something I never dreamed I would do when growing up. I’m stretching out an arm behind me and trying to use the cellphone to take a picture of my right buttock. It turns out the phone wasn’t able to focus well in the dim light from the ceiling lamp and my efforts to capture the right buttock in all its glory failed that way. But there are still those old-fashioned things called mirrors so when I went to take the morning shower, I turned my head around and over my shoulder and looked at the butt.
There it was. A bright red patch on the lower part of the buttock and the upper right thigh. Suddenly the prior days began to make more sense. On Sunday, I had a good run in the morning. I did some other things after that but felt a bit washed out so I took a nap in the afternoon. Monday morning I went out to run, I felt like I should probably be able to do at least 6 miles, but maybe 10 or more if I just ran easy. It didn’t happen. I was only able to do a couple of miles and that was plenty.
Monday was pleasant and mild weather, but later on in the day I felt achy and chilled. I sometimes went outside to soak up the good-feeling sun on the chilly-feeling and achy body. When I got up Tuesday, I felt very tired and very achy. When I went out to run, my hips ached right from the get go. It wasn’t so achy deep in the joints, but just somehow painful. I ran only a little over a mile. By the time I got to the shower after eating some yogurt and chocolate milk, I was completely chilled and discovered a paradoxical sensation in the hot shower. The heat felt wonderful versus the chilled feeling, but the shower spray hurt some.
Wednesday was slightly better. I then felt better on Thursday too, although late in the afternoon I noticed that I had a stiff and painful neck. There also sometimes was an itchy sensation down around my right buttock.
I was actually able to run decently Friday morning, almost 5 miles, not too terribly slow like on Tuesday when I was almost 11 minutes per mile pace. But I also felt that right buttock itching some. And I realized that I needed to check for signs of a tick bite. That and that maybe I should call the doctor’s office for a same day appointment because of the chance of Lyme disease.
So that’s how I ended up with a prescription for 3 weeks of doxycycline and a diagnosis of good chance of Lyme disease. It’s also some of how I will finish May with 147.8 miles, not so many as I had hoped for, but also how I ended up deciding that the best run of the month was today’s, the last of the month.
I wake up in darkness and only the red light from the clock radio. It’s a little before 4 and I try to turn over to go back to sleep. 15 minutes later it’s obvious that the urgency to pee is too much to ignore. I also know that when I get up, I should stay up and plan to run as soon as it’s light enough.
It’s now a quarter after 5. I pull on the blue JDRF shirt and a pair of running shorts. I check the blood sugar. 190 mg/dL. Not bad. I think, how many units? 2 or 3 of Humalog? 2 seems about right, but I need to also consider how I might run long today. The antibiotic already seems to be helping a lot, along with how my body had seemed to be doing better by Friday anyhow. But I had been surprised at how much less fatigued I felt on Saturday. And I feel ready to run this morning. I might be able to run long today if the legs have it in them. So 3 is tempting to help make sure there is coverage after 7 when the Lantus dose from the prior day will be close to running out. But I decide on 2. It’s risky that it might not be enough to keep my blood sugar from climbing higher and higher and knocking me down later on.
The first mile is deep in the twilight. It’s not cool, but not overly warm. The humidity is thick and reminds that this is another good reason to be running right now. If I had waited til after the Lantus shot at 7, the sun would be climbing fast.
I’m usually pretty good at not looking at the Garmin til the first mile beeps at me. But today I can’t manage that and steal a glance shortly before half a mile. The pace says about 10:10. I grimace slightly. I had hoped something faster, a good sign that there is a lot in the legs and that I can run long this day. Maybe I’ll only do 5 or so, I think.
I continue to run. I go past a line of trees to my left and now run by some pasture. The eastern sky is only a mild orange, it’s not a blazing fire of glory and revelation. Then finally comes the first mile beep. 10:01. Okay. Not fast, but not too slow and it is almost 70 degrees and humid. That’ll slow me down anyhow, anyway.
And I got to admit that the legs, while not fast, feel good. They feel good. I don’t know they feel good but don’t have much speed, but hey, after a week where I had 2 days that I couldn’t even run 2 miles those days, these legs feel kind of spry. So I’m off. Off to run at least 7, I think. I’m off to the barefoot running road, the road of delightfully smooth asphalt and little traffic.
I get to the sandal removal point some 17 minutes later. I’ve run to here at slightly faster than 10 minute per mile pace. I pull off the Xeros and tuck them somewhat underneath a rock near the township sign, the sign where the asphalt becomes easy and smooth, absolute delight to run on as a barefoot runner.
I start the Garmin again and then hit the split button so I can track the barefoot miles. The morning is calm. I see a couple of swallows here and there, and some Canada geese doing their wobbly walks in some of the fields. Maybe I’ll only do one back and forth. I don’t know. Just go with what the legs and body give me.
I’m not running fast. I’m running easy. For easy, I’m running somewhat slow for me. Still, there’s something about this way of running, to run bare skin to the earth, to the road. I feel my legs scissoring back and forth underneath me. And then I begin to sense how when I separate from the earth, I become a cloud momentarily floating above the road. My shirt is blue and electric. I am becoming charged. A foot lands and lightning strikes.
I become a lightning storm, my legs are the bolts that dance between the clouds and the earth, bolts one after another, maybe 160 to 180 times every minute. I crackle and I run. The legs are a pair of scissors with thunderbolts for shears. I begin cutting out yards and meters and quarter-miles and half-kilometers and a path. I am the lone cyclone on this quiet road of Sunday morning in southeastern Pennsylvania.
When I reach the turnaround point, it’s already settled in my head that I’ll be back to here again. I now get to run the downhill side of the out and back, the out is uphill and the back is downhill. The wind comes at me in this direction and it feels good, helps to evaporate the sweat that happens when running at 70 degrees in humid air. The clouds above are a patchwork of abstract inkblots where I don’t see images because I’m too focused on the feel of electricity to each strike of a bare foot.
This is the indescribable being described. I’ve had some ask me if it hurts to run barefoot. I say no, but how do I tell them how good it feels? How do you tell someone that on one run after being diagnosed and starting treatment for Lyme that I became a lightning storm running up and down a road? Does that make any sort of sense? It only makes sense to those who have been willing to take the blindfolds off their feet and let their feet see the earth. Yes, I’ve had some good feeling runs in shoes. I’ve had some magical runs in the Xeros. But neither of those can match this.
So I run. So lightning bolt after lightning bolt scores the road and the path. Over time, my pace becomes steadier and faster. I still keep it good and easy, but I get down to around 9:30 per mile pace overall. After almost 7 miles, the sun is getting high. The heat is beginning to build. I pull in to where I left the sandals and take a minute or so to put them back on.
Then I run for a while towards home. Still down around 9:30 pace, the electricity is still flying around inside me. Finally after 11.25 miles the heat is enough that I say, “Good enough,” and hit stop on the Garmin. I walk the last mile or so home.
So it wasn’t a great run in terms of pace this morning or some hugely long distance. But on other hand, 5 days ago I could only run barely a mile with aches and fatigue. I wondered some during this past week if the 20+ miles per week streak would end. But today I ended up with 29.6 miles for the week, giving me 36 straight weeks of 20 or more miles. I also now have 8 straight months of at least 125 miles.
Hopefully, the diagnosis of Lyme is correct and the antibiotic treatment will be effective. It was rather scary some this week when I ran on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Hopefully I’ll stay healthy and motivated and run 160 or miles here in June.