About two weeks ago I was runningrunningrunning and an old familiar feeling caused my intestines to tie themselves in knots while I clenched every muscle in my body so I could get through the next 20 minutes – please, just 20 minutes – and then the next 18 and a half minutes and then the next 18 minutes and 17 seconds and so on and on and on and sure enough when I finally released my body from its entrapment, there was the blood I knew was coming.

I don’t really know if I can adequately describe what this does to me, emotionally. Physically, it’s not so bad. I mean, there’s some cramping, some soreness, a little general weakness, but nothing I’d call agony. Emotionally, though, it is the most turbulent kind of agony I have felt in at least a decade.

It doesn’t seem fair that having a genetic predisposition for ischemia when I run should send me into this kind of tailspin. How many people look for excuses NOT to run? For someone who has spent 90% of her life not running, not wanting to run, and not even wanting to walk to the mailbox if she could help it, being told it’s genetically improbable she ever will be able to run long distances – not even that she can’t run at all! – shouldn’t make her want to crumble into a thousand heavy pieces that sink into a pit of hopelessness.

I’m trying so hard to keep my head up but I am failing, failing miserably.


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