I’m working on remembering to post in here as a real-time return to running blog.
Across media, we often see the end result. The triumph. We learn about the struggle later. This blog is for the person like me, trying to learn more about expectations after hysterectomy. The moments in recovery where you see progress, but where you also have dreams of where you want to be. Cue Taking Back Sunday. Months into the pandemic, quarantine is also part of the story.
Working through pandemic stress is something else on top of running. My media consumption changes with my stress levels. I started quarantine listening to podcasts like Ali on the Run on repeat (highly recommend for information and positivity and thoughtfulness). When I started running again in August, I wasn’t quite ready to hear other people’s stories while I ran. The music I listed to while competitively swimming hit my soul in the right way. The music reminded me of my fire. You may have seen me silently screaming along to Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, and Lady Gaga around Baltimore. I said I was an emo kid, I didn’t say I was cool.
Despite the stress, running continues to go well. I’m consistently running over 25 miles a week, progressing through conservative 10% increase, and performing two closely monitored lifts a week with my orthopedic physical therapist. I very much wanted to dive in hard—but notice I’m not practicing circus yet? The cool thing about having multiple organs removed and the remaining ovary repaired, on top of endometriosis excision, is that recovery is LONG, even when you think you feel better. My psychologist and I talked about how the work we’ve done over the past year has translated into accepting the process, to see a way through.
Speaking of long-term quality of life—I have mixed feelings about races in 2020. I am well aware of safety protocols at races (yay!), but I will be cheering for people through social media. As a country, a community, we are being told to make our own risk assessment. But we aren’t all looking at this from the same lens. When you have a chronic illness, you think about your fragility. To quote Emily Toder over and over, I get to think about my own dying. At a poetry reading when I was 26, someone told me I was too obsessed with mortality for my age. Endometriosis isn’t my first encounter with medical trauma. I had a blood clot at 19, from undiagnosed thoracic outlet syndrome. I have been obsessed with existentialism and mortality since—a body is an uncontrollable miracle. I am concerned that a bout with COVID-19 could lead to new chronic symptoms. I don’t need more illness, and I do want to do everything I can to limit spreading to others.
We just don’t know the long-term effects of COVID-19, though we know some people are experiencing long-term issues. My life, and other people I know in the chronic illness community, has been dominated by the fact that one day you are healthy, then one day you are not. So instead of racing, I’m running solo, cheering through Strava and Instagram. And texting my run coach updates about when I want to incorporate solo time trials, pending clearance from my pelvic floor physical therapist. And texting my run coach that I’m so happy to feel good while rebuilding my base, because I am enjoying running for the sake of getting outside.
As cases rise in the United States while the holiday season begins, I do hope this perspective helps you think about your own movements. As most Baltimoreans say to each other when saying goodbye, stay safe. Some of us have taken to saying, stay safe and wash your hands.
Books I’m thinking about/recently read:
- Hidden Valley Road by Bob Kolker
- Vagina Problems: Endometriosis, Painful Sex, and Other Taboo Topics by Lara Parker
- The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.