Saturday, July 11, 2009


My cardio is gone. An easy 5-miler has become an ugly, painful marathon effort. (Preface: This is where I reconcile the difference between gratitude to be up and on my feet with unwillingness to accept what I've gotten back so far as definitive.)

My cardio is gone. I might as well be trying to run with 4 cigarettes hanging out of my mouth. I have never worked so hard to negotiate a simple tree root. All of the footwork, gone. A small rolling hill is a 5-story brick wall. All of the power, gone. No endurance. This is the work part. It's not like I was all that good before. But good enough to feel wistful about where I was and how I want so badly to get it back. I want to explain to other runners that I meet that this isn't me, that I'm usually not this slow or winded. Why the need to qualify myself? Lance Armstrong had to have felt this way some days when he went out on his bike after cancer. Fundamentally happy to be on the bike, but the immediate experience is painful, frustrating, and leaves everybody pissed off.

That's right, get mad.


  1. I'm with you girl! Happy to be able to move but frustrated that there is still a lot more work to be done. Fatigue is my biggest enemy now. Keep moving!

  2. It's such a bizarre feeling to will your body or limbs to move in a certain way that seems so routine, and then nothing happens. There is a void where your normal movement used to be because there is no strength or muscle to make that movement. Such a wierd sensation!

  3. I share your frustration when I try to golf. Last summer was my best season of golf and now this year I'm back to being a beginner golfer, some days it is like I'm swinging a club for the first time! It seems like my brain knows the technique but my muscles can't translate it into movement. But, since I learned it once, I figure I can learn it again. Does that make me an old dog learning old tricks?

  4. Fatigue is often the biggest problem. It is for me too.

    After a couple of minutes, my body just won't do what I want it to do.

  5. I have been diagnosed with polymyositis since October 2000 after the birth of my second child. I have taken up an interest in running and ran my first 10K in 2008 and just finished my second with grueling hills today! despite training I find that hills and long endurance is very hard for me and very frusrating because I am quite competitive do you have any tips on how to train effectively with polymyositis in order to overcome the musce fatigue factor and improve endurance?

  6. Hi Shawn,

    Congrats on the 10K! You hit the issues on the head with the words "hills" and "endurance". You can find your cruising altitude when there is a nice, straight stretch, when comes along to challenge that, it abruptly shuts you down. I have joint pain with the prednisone... I assume you're off of large doses if you're over your initial onset. I try to cross-train as much as I can... swim, ride stationary bikes, power-walking. Running workouts are for the more serious days, I rest and cross-train alot in between. I also try to strength train regularly, particularly core strength. I don't have the answers with improving strength and endurance that is affected by our PM. My advice is to follow a training plan of your choice (Runner's World is a good resource) that challenges you, and balance that with cross-training and rest. I consider it such a blessing to actually be "training" again, but I, like you, can get frustrated when I feel like I'm not as good as my potential. Tell me about your races!