A year after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Robyn Baldwin remains healthy, strong and entirely positive about her running future. But from time to time, the question of not being able to pound the pavement, does cross her mind.
A question that pops into my brain on occasion. Something I didn’t think I’d think about until much later in life. I’m 33. I’m still “young”. I’m still vital. I’m still energetic. I’m still able-bodied. Yet I still ask myself what if I can’t run one day? How will I handle it?
When I was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in December of 2014 my world started spinning. I’m careful to never use the words falling apart because I believe I was given this side-kick as part blessing in my life. I have an auto-immune disorder but I don’t have a death sentence. I believe this gift has been given to me so that I may be more grateful every day for all the blessings that I have in the present moment. Today I can run. I can tackle obstacle course races. I can climb ropes and over walls. I can spend a long run out on the trails or through a subdivision. I have my balance. I have my mobility. I am stronger than I was this time last year but that could change at any moment. My disease could become progressive without warning and my life may be centered around a wheelchair. It is not my reality but it is a thought that pops into my head from time to time.
Can I run fast? No. Can I run? Yes. And for that I am so grateful. My plea to all able bodied runners is that you truly sit in gratitude every day for the ability to run. Take a moment in your run and thank your legs for carrying you. Thank your lungs for filling up with air and powering your run. If you’ve ever succumbed to an injury, like a twisted ankle or fracture than you will know about that itching feeling that tells every cell of your body that you want to run and need to run. May we learn understanding and empathy for those that used to run and are no longer able to. May we seek to learn their strength in acceptance of what they are able to do and may we learn to be graceful when we may transition to someone who used to run.
May we never obsess over the future and create anxiety but may we truly be grateful for the present moment that running can keep us in.