The Running with Lyme Journal

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July 11, 2015 by scratchtype1

My eyes flip open and I groan. It takes effort to turn my head towards the clock and see the time. Almost 7. Time to get up. Past time to get up even if it is Saturday. I don’t move but keep my eyes open. Finally after some more time I turn the stiff neck and check again. 7:02. Finally I roll over and sit myself up.

Today is to be day 90 of the running streak. At least a mile every one of the last 89 days. It’s not feeling good. 2 days ago I began a second regimen of antibiotics for Lyme. Funny, I felt kind of good early on yesterday. In fact, the run of yesterday actually had me feel somewhat springy legs underneath me, those legs disappeared towards the last third of the run, but the legs had felt better than they had for almost 3 weeks.

Now today, holy shit. The neck is stiff. I stand up and the hip joints feel like gears with sand and no oil. This ain’t so good. Fortunately, the urgency to pee and poop keeps me moving. After that, I get water heating for coffee and also throw 6 eggs into a pot and set it to boiling. By the time the kettle whistles, the eggs will be boiling and I can turn off the gas on those and put a cover on the pot. While those things get to boiling, I check the blood sugar. 151 mg/dL. Good. I inject 2u of Novolog to help keep that level stable for the way the liver wakes up with me. I also inject a Lantus dose of 20u.


Time to run. Past time to run really. It’s almost 8:30. I’ve had 3 cups of coffee. I’ve got 4 hardboiled eggs in the fridge and 2 sitting out for part the post-run meal. I put on the Garmin. I put on the Xeros as I don’t feel like running out to either of the good barefoot running roads near me. I’m just going to run near home over the sharp and uncomfortable chipseal stretches.

Day 90, I tell myself again. This is day 90. If nothing else, I can run a mile. Up to the next road and back. I can do that.

The first mile is a slow mile. I’m different than yesterday. Why did I feel so much better yesterday? Why did that go away? Why did I feel so crappy yesterday afternoon? Is that a sign the antibiotics are working, that the lyme bacteria are dying but their death leaves a wake of toxins in the blood? I don’t really know. What I do know is that this run is going to be about keeping myself moving somehow. I think about how as I run right now Scott Jurek is in the last miles of trying to break the fastest known time for a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail.

The Garmin beeps. 10:05. More than 30 seconds slower than yesterday. Scott Jurek has been hiking and running for 45 days now. I’ve been running at least a mile every day for 90 days. His effort will probably result in a book. Mine so far is a blog post and hopefully another when I reach 100 days. If I get there. I’m talking a walk break now. I’ve been taking walk breaks some lately, just to keep getting miles in and when the legs feel too heavy to climb the hills I have to run on these roads around here. Hills that only a few months ago I often felt as light as dandelion seeds on a soft wind. The dandelions are long gone, so are those legs. All thanks to a tick bite, a tick I never saw, a tick that left a big red blotch on my buttocks some 6 weeks ago.

The Garmin beeps again. 10:25. 20 seconds slower but I didn’t walk any during the first mile. During this last mile I’ve pondered the idea of stopping at 2 and then walking back. It’s warm and humid, I’m going to be feeling it more and more, I’m sure. But now that I’m in the 3rd mile, I make the turnaround point and on the way back that could take me home, I make the turn left and up a short hill. About midway up it, I take another walking break. Give me another minute to try to recover and after that, try to find that easy running stride that can keep me moving. When I go along a stretch of road beside a mushroom house complex and approaching the overpass to cross a highway, I get a strong urge to shout, “Fuck Lyme!” I suppress it and look at the rocks they dumped into the ditch they dug alongside this narrow little road to help it drain better. Across the overpass. Nice downhill now, but I dread the thought of climbing back up it later.

Another beep. 10:43. Well crap. Ain’t I a slow bastard today? But I’m still running and I throw my mind forward to where I might take another walking break. The sun is bright and high now. But I’m going slow enough that I’m not absolutely drenched in sweat. Accept it, I tell myself. Yeah, maybe I want lightning bolts for legs, maybe I wish the Xero sandals would suddenly sprout wings from their heels and I’d be like Hermes. But not today. Gods don’t get Lyme. Scott Jurek could get Lyme, so that’s why his wife who lead his support team checks him for ticks every day. But I’m not Scott Jurek and I don’t have a wife or a support team. I only have my resolve to run these paltry miles. If I make it to 3.6 here, I can keep my margin of 100+ miles over the 1560 miles in a year pace. I can get that now, I’m sure. The 3.6 miles comes just shortly after a walking break up a bit of hill. Then it’s back to running again. I reach the entrance of an orchard and turn back.

Yet another beep. 10:35. But now this is going to be a slow mile, after I clear the downhill. Then comes that longish uphill of about a quarter mile before the overpass. I’ll probably walk on it some. But something strange is happening. Although I’m slow and can’t really say that I feel splendid. I’m beginning to feel good. Maybe the persistent rhythm of the feet is becoming an unstoppable chant. Still that hill looms before me. I turn the curve and see it stretched up high into the sky and it looks terrible. But somewhere up that hill, right near the point where it almost seems like I will stop trying to spring the legs in the running motion and take a walking step, that doesn’t happen. I continue up the hill. With a car coming over the overpass and towards me. It continues along, very much not moving any to the left in recognition of my presence on the road. I focus intently on it. Will it move any? It gets uncomfortable and I raise both arms, waving, “Hey there, car, do you see me?” That might be the difference. It finally moves over to create a more comfortable margin of space between a runner and the car. Soon enough, now the hill is done. And I just keep running.

The fifth beep. 10:15 on the mile with the most uphill to it. I’ve now covered the minimums. 1 mile for the streak. 3.6 miles to stay at least 100 miles ahead of the 1560 miles in a year pace. 4.3 miles for the daily mile average in order to run 1560 miles in a year. 4.8 miles to make the miles I’ve averaged per day for the year. And 5. 5 is the number I would like to average for the days during the second half of the year. I’m doing that so far in spite of Lyme. I have no speed, but I have persistence today. Why? Do we impose will onto our physical selves and go past barriers that way? Or is will only the sum of our physical selves that our brains interpret? Maybe the reason that I have this will today is because of how I’ve run over 2700 miles in the last 23 months. Hey, that’s more than the Appalachian Trail. Hey, Scott Jurek is going to have covered the nearly 2200 miles of the AT in 46 days. But he’s been running for a lot longer than me. And he’s not a type 1 diabetic. He also doesn’t have Lyme right now.

Just after the final turn for home, the beep for mile 6. 10:15. No walking breaks again. With just .3 miles left to go until I intend to hit the stop button, I try to summon a little extra speed. It’s not much, but I do hit stop and the pace showing at 9:25 for those .3 miles. I feel lightheaded some. It’s hot and the shirt is plastered against my ribs from sweat. I walk up the hill to home. Today is done, but tomorrow never is.


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