This morning I went for the third run I’ve been on since my surgery 15 months ago. (averaging once every 5 months.. that’ll keep anyone in shape!! Though actually all three runs were perpetrated in the last month and a half). Each of the three runs has been horrifying in its own special way. The first one started out fine.. but after those first fine ten paces I felt horrible and kept feeling horrible for the short two miles that I managed to complete. It was about half a mile in that I heard some triathlon fitness freak padding up behind me and thought, “christ.. just what I need.” When the padding turned out to be a chubby little coed from Columbia in a pastel tee listening with oblivion to pop music on her ipod while passing me like I was a potted plant, I almost stopped and walked back home.
The second run was with my wife. On a whim. To keep her company. My wife is awfully fit for an academic. We went 4 miles, which was rather longer than I should have gone. At some point I had to ask her to walk for a while. A little after that, I asked if she would terribly mind carrying me.
This morning’s run was a more manageable 3 miles during which I experienced nausea and could feel my heart beating in my eyeballs.
So why the hell do it!? Well. 4 years ago, just before all this cancer horse shit started to go down, I looked like this.
(stop blushing.. you’ve ALL seen me naked).
To be, just 4 years later, a skinny-fat, incontinent, impotent mess with sciatica and a bad attitude, is a real kick in the teeth (make no mistake.. I will still WRECK you at handball). And it’s not just vanity. I mean at this point, with a shit bag hanging from me, I’m not likely to be doing a lot of shirtless hanging about in public. It just always FELT pretty good to be strong, flexible, energetic, and etc. I currently feel none of those, and I’m not sure I want to put up with it.
It was right around this time of year, the last time that I was in remission, that I finally had enough energy to feel the urge to get moving again. I ran. Within about three weeks I had gotten up to 9 miles, at which point my joints all revolted and I had to stop. But the damage was already done.. I was more or less back in shape. SO, right on schedule I’m feeling that same urge again, and happily, I know from past experience that it does come back.
The bad news is that everything hurts. Docs aren’t willing to acknowledge it, but I’ve heard the same from others who have endured chemotherapy too: the stuff makes your connective tissue hurt. It’s as though it ceviche-ed all my ligaments, tendons and cartilage. We’ll see how it goes.
In all honesty, I think that my physical state, and a general lack of activity are contributing to a level of listlessness and depression that I’ve been feeling for months now. It’s clearly not a silver bullet. I mean, there’s also the existential crisis I’m having around being a bike builder who doesn’t ride bikes, chronic discomfort that I’ve been experiencing since all this started, AND the creeping fear of recurrence and DEATH. But. Being a little proactive about getting in shape might help. I figure that if I write about it here I might feel just accountable enough to all of you, that I’ll actually get out and go even when I’m really not feeling like it.
A pair of running shoes might be a good idea too.