Keep on running 2

July 15, 2010

I thought it was about time for an update on the running. The last time I wrote about it was BC (before-chemo) and therefore rather aspirational! Then I said that I was going to keep on running no matter what – and so far I have kept to that….

Though to get it in perspective:

A typical training week BC consisted of 4 runs (though I had been plagued by an ankle injury this spring so sometimes only 3 runs) covering around 30 – 45 km (depending on what I was training up to) plus a day swimming and/or biking (sometimes a long ride on my bike outside, sometimes an interval session on the exercise bike). On top of this I have two different exercise routines – one for my legs and one for my core, which I would typically do 3 and 2 times per week.

 A typical training week now consists of training 3 times a week – 2 runs and one session on the exercise bike. So far my runs have been between 4 and 6.5 km and my average pace has dropped by 30 – 40 seconds per km. That’s all I can manage. No exercise routines, no biking outside (I’m scared in case I start feeling bad when I’m far from home) and I’m not allowed to swim because the risk of infection is too high(chemo destroys the immune system).

But I have run/biked 3 times every week since I started chemo!

One of the things about the chemo that I find hardest to deal with is that in such an incredibly short time I have gone from feeling super-fit and physically robust to feeling incredibly physically fragile.  It takes me an incredible amount of willpower to go out and run on days where I am feeling pretty rotten. Sometimes I have to have a nap beforehand just to get the energy together to do it. But I have decided that the goal is simply to get the running kit on and go out. If I then only walk for 5 minutes, then I have still accomplished my goal. So no matter how far I run I feel great because I have exceeded my goal!

There is a difference on how much I can manage on different days of my cycle, and since I’m only on my second cycle, I’m still learning about this. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a direct correlation between how bad I am feeling generally and how it goes with the running. The middle Sunday of the cycle, which is when I start to feel less fatigued, is the day where it is hardest to run! On the other hand, the final Sunday of the cycle, which is when I feel best, also seems to be the day where I can train hardest.  In the beginning I was very careful, but now I’m beginning to feel more confident and starting to experiment with picking up the speed or running hills…..

But no matter what I actually feel great when I run! There are so many weird things going on with my body, but when I start running I forget them all. Sure, it does feel like I am running in slow motion, but I’m running and it feels like running always does. And as always it provides the mental space to work through my thoughts and my feelings. I can feel my spirits lifting for each step I take!

The lifted spirits last for a long time after the run. But I also feel physically better for a couple of hours after a run. Not only does the fatigue lift, but best of all my appetite returns for a while.  So I try to time my runs before a mealtime and I find I can eat much more than I normally can these days AND enjoy my food which might seem like a small thing, but believe me it isn’t!


6 Responses to “Keep on running 2”

  1. Kerry Says:

    Nice to read that very uplifting post. You’re a tough cookie. Hats off 🙂

  2. Colin @365er Says:

    GO KIRSTEN! That’s great, well done for keeping some sort of active routine in place through this lousy chemo. It’s odd, but now I’ve completed my chemo, and the tiredness has gone, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back on the road! I only manage about 3 x 5 Km a week now, and it feels hard, but I hope that persevering will see me increase that soon and I’ll start enjoying it again in the near future.

    Keep up the good fight!


    • Kirsten Says:

      Colin, first up congrats on your remission! It’s probably not surprising that it takes your body a while to get totally back to “normal” so hang on in there and I’m sure that one day very soon you will be out running and it will feel really good again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s