Monday, October 12, 2015

There's a Light at the End of the Tunnel

Several times recently, I ran a marathon on the weekend, but didn’t run again until the next weekend.  That’s not a good way to stay in shape, but I’m trying not to aggravate my injuries.  I didn’t have a race this weekend, so I went for a run yesterday.  Then a miracle happened.

Last night, my legs felt normal.  I woke up several times during the night.  (That’s normal for me.)  My legs were never stiff when I woke up.  I didn’t have any cramps.  I didn’t have to do anything to restore circulation to my legs.  I felt normal!  I also noticed a few times that my legs felt slightly sweaty.  I had good circulation in my legs.

This wasn’t a complete surprise.  I have good days and bad days.  I’ve noticed the good days are usually days that I went running.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had many of those days, other than races.  Usually on a good day, I don’t get as stiff after sitting for a while, and I don’t get stiff as quickly.  Usually on a good day, I’m still prone to nighttime cramps, but they’re not as severe.  This was the first time in recent memory that I actually felt normal.

Once I realized these symptoms were a circulation problem, I also realized my daily runs were masking an old problem.  The only reason I don’t have these problems all the time is because I’m constantly stimulating blood flow in my legs by running.  When I’m healthy, I run often enough to have good circulation all the time.

I’ve tried to remain optimistic that the circulation problems in my legs will eventually go away when I’m able to resume a normal training schedule.  That’s still about a few months away.  I’ve been cautiously optimistic, but I didn’t know for sure.  Last night went a long way to reassure me.

I’m also cautiously optimistic that I’ll eventually stop having problems with my legs stiffening up during races.  Right now I experience something that feels like stage one hypothermia, which is something I first experienced during a 24-hour race in cold, wet conditions.  When you lose blood flow to your legs, they just stop working.  I’ve been experiencing something similar, but less severe.  I can still move, but it’s slow and sluggish.

I’d like to think that when I’m healthy and can resume training, I’ll have a chance to get back in shape.  It might take a long time, but I should be able to get there eventually.  Again, I won’t know for sure until it happens.  Last night gave me hope.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train.

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