Yeah, I concluded that - due to your screen-name - you were an athletic sort. Before I started to manifest severe Chiari symptoms (in 2002), I was a very competitive runner. I never entered a “fun-run” for fun. I entered to come home with a prize. In High school, I was a state champion in Track and Cross-Country (mainly because in "74, it was the first year Idaho offered girl’s CC events statewide - and no one else was running, yet.
In college, I qualified for Nationals in the 5K - but by the next competition year, I got a foot injury 'cuz I couldn’t afford new shoes. Then, in the 15 years before Chiari’s, I managed PRs in 5K: 18:30.0, 10K: 39:42.0, 13-miles: 1:32.0, and the marathon: 3:10.0. And then, Chiari’s took it all away. From 2002-2012, I went gradually paralyzed and brain dead. Extreme pain and agony every day! I can hardly believe I endured those years!
Right after my surgery in 2012, I started making myself go out for walks. It was so hard to get my legs to “listen” to my brain at first. But, I kept at it. I think the competitive spirit helps give ourselves the “kick in the behind” even when we don’t feel like doing it.
Needless to say, I kept pushing the walks. In 2016, I entered my first race walk at the Senior Olympics (I’m old enough for that, now. In the 5K, I got disqualified, because I didn’t do the technique right. Thanks to coaching myself! I sure THOUGHT I was doing the race-walk technique correctly! I’d consulted the internet and all. But - I was so wrong! After the 5K race was all done, consulting with the head race-walk judge right there on what exactly I had done wrong, Michael Roth gave me a “3-minute clinic” on exactly what I did to get disqualified. I had no idea! After that little lesson, I went and got 3rd place in the 1,500 meters that afternoon. And, DIDN’T get DQ-ed!!! Yay! The judge even congratulated me afterwards for learning fast. All I know is that I wasn’t too motivated in embarrassing myself again.
I do rather miss the running sometimes. It was a lot faster than race walking. And, the chances of getting DQed are there with race walking - but not with running. The stress of maintaining proper technique AND trying to go fast at the same time are rather hard for me. My legs and brain still have occasional issues talking to each other. Especially on my right side. Sometimes my right leg just won’t do what I want it to. But, I am so ever thankful to God for allowing me enough healing that I am 1) back on my feet again, and 2) able to do competition in track!
I still have Chiari issues getting in the way of 100% fun, though. Because my Chiari “brain-squish” wasn’t diagnosed for 10+ years, I do have permanent brain stem-spinal cord damage. That means for me, every 4th day, all my old Chiari symptoms - paralysis, brain-deadness, pain, etc… returns for 24 hours. It’s so freaky weird. For those 24 hours, I am a virtual zombie. Can’t do anything but lie on the couch and be a vegetable. Then… voila… once those 24 hours passes, I return to ‘normal.’ It’s during the following 3 days that I can race- walk as fast as I want.
That means, I have to make sure I find a race that will fall on any one of the 3 normal days. And, that’s why in 2017, I missed NC’s State Senior Games track meet - because they moved the track meet up a week, and the meet fell directly on one of my 'Crash" days. Even though I had qualified for the state meet (In NC, there are apparently so many senior folks, we have to qualify for the Fall state meet at the county level in the Spring.) I couldn’t compete at state because I was a vegetable on that day. Grrrrrr. Chiari’s got one up on me that day.
So, instead I entered the State level Senior Games in another state! I found out I could do that! Senior Games are not that strict. You can jump states if you want (except for Tennessee and NC. Those are two ‘closed’ states. Hmmm.) So, in October, I jumped over to Utah . The Huntsman World Sr. Games track meet covered 3-days - so no matter what, I would be normal for 2 of those days! It was so fun! I entered the 1,500 meters and got a silver medal! (10:42.45) There were some world class - former US Olympians in the race who smoked me by minutes… but it was a learning experience. I have to constantly chastise myself for comparing myself with such world class athletes. They have not had to deal with constant Chiaris - and, they are just wonderfully talented athletes! I have to remind myself that I am so blessed just to be able to WALK again! And, if I can walk fast - that’s extra kudos! (The competitive spirit wants to always rev up and demand prizes
I’d love to hear where your running exploits have taken you. Any road races? Are you in a part of the country where they even offer a plethora of road races? (I’m in the South - which is not an athletic culture. The entire road infrastructure does NOT cater to runner/walker/ bicycle training. Downright dangerous, even! Can’t believe how many times I’ve nearly been run-over. And, it’s hard to find race walk events except via the Senior Games venue)
Sorry I got verbose. It’s the morning - and my brain is spunky in the morning. 'specially after a mug of coffee! (I hated coffee before decompression surgery. Then, after surgery, I LOVED coffee. What’s with that?!?!)