Monday, July 21, 2008

Holy Knots!

Since I began losing my balance in 2004, I have not done alot of hikes which are steep and gain in signifcant altitude. I really rather prefer to be out on a mountain trail than walking on a side walk or pavement in a neighborhood or bike path even though it is much more difficult for me and slows me down. In a way, I kind of enjoy the challenge...using my hiking poles and conquering a trail which at one time became impossible for me. There are points which can be frustrating (like when I am working hard to tackle the trail and all of a sudden a few people easily saunter by who are obviously not regular hikers). It is at times like that which I realize how easy the trail really is and would have been no problem for me prior to my imbalance. As a matter of fact some of these trails were too easy or the elevation gain too small that I opted for more extravagant hikes.

Even though hiking on such trails for me causes moments of frustration and I really have to work it, I do so badly want to go and long to be in the mountains every nice day that passes by and I witness their majestic glory. I pleaded with my sister to go out hiking with me Saturday. I cannot go alone as sometimes I need help and also because it is not safe anymore for me to go out on one of these hikes alone.

It ended up that my sister had plans for the early afternoon but being the good sister she is, she agreed to go hiking with me early in the morning. It also meant hiking on the trail we selected at a fast pace so she would be home in time to get ready to go to the Mariner Game.

Now hiking on a flat easy trail I can go fast and far without having any soreness the next day. I believe we hiked 6 to 7 1/2 miles on a partially steep trail in the Issaquah Alps known as cougar mountain. Trying to hike up and down a steep grade really is a workout on your calves. At the time I did not think it was going to have any or much of an effect. After the hike I actually went to the gym and rode for 2.5 more miles on this sort of running, skiing, stairstepping type of machine.

Yesterday when we went for our walk my calves were slightly sore and then this morning they feel as if someone used my lower legs as punching bags. Ouch! The pain of the tight knots sharply jabbed my calf muscles each step I took down the stairs and headed back up!

I rested them throughout the day by not going to the gym or taking a walk. They were still sore but I chose to go for a run this evening which felt fantastic as I was able to stretch out the sore muscles. I am not exactly certain the exact time it took me (just under an hour) but I had a phenomenal run and was just shy of 6 miles when I stopped! It was perfect running weather just before dusk (a cool 67 degrees which made breathing easy and kept me from overheating which makes me tired).

I wanted to just keep going so I did. A part of my motivation was thinking my friend Skip who I recently told I would like to be able to run a 10K. He has all confidence in me and told me that he believed I could do it. I have had my doubts. Running for me is hard work and many times I have to push myself just to make a 5K.

I was also pondering about things such as the surgery coming up and the fundraising I am trying to do to raise research money to stop these awful brain and spine moles from taking away more of our quality of life. It is a complex mix of emotions to feel that can leave me in periodic episodes of anxiety. People not understanding what I am trying to do can get me quite discouraged at times. You really have to be tough all around with this NF2 as it really dishes it out to you and is a constant. It never ends until life ends. So in a way, NF2 metaphorically leaves one tied up in tight knots as we fight to someday break free. It can be very anguishing.

Today a fellow person with NF2 who is really facing a tough ordeal which most of you without any serious medical ailments could not even imagine, told me to not be discouraged. Coming from him that brought me comfort and helped me to hang in there. I just hang in there long enough and eventually I would make it.... Just one more bridge to make it to and once there I decided I was strong enough to make it to the next. He told me we are all just doing our best to survive from one point to the next. I kept that in the back of my mind during my run and did not give up. I just kept pushing from one point to the next.

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