The morning test is first. In the kitchen I hold the eyedropper half a foot above my mouth. Sometimes my hand shakes so much it’s hard to get the drops in. I’m aiming for under my tongue. On good days the drops land four in a row right at the base of my lingual frenulum. On bad days I steady my right hand with my left and the drops end up somewhere in my mouth. I take Vitamin D most days. Sometimes I take a multi vitamin and fish oil, but often I forget.
I don’t take medication, haven’t ever tried medication. For my MS. Maybe one day I will, but there are enough things in my life I can refine before trying drugs. I can cut out dairy, or my food sensitivities (sesame, almonds, honey... some unexpected ones), eliminating anything that might cause inflammation or a reaction. Food is my drug. Sleep, meditation. My cocktail of drugs. I chase meditation with food, food with sleep. Hit me. This, before I start sticking needles in my arm.
Sometimes when you’re running there’s a strength with which the wind seems to resist you, and this perception is as accurate a gauge as the stopwatch and your body’s advance across the ground, for how fast you’re running. The wind whistles past. Objects close are bigger than objects far, but not in the usual way, not in the linear way. By some trick related to speed, some fraction and refraction of light, close objects are sharp and defined, and far objects are far objects are far objects are distorted and leave contrails.
But one week into the new year I’m slow. My energy is good. My mechanics feel good. When I run I feel as though I am running as fast as ever. The wind hits my face, my ears, makes a sound like a station you don’t get. This is normal. It is good. Then I check my split and it’s not good.
I’ve been using the Garmin 620 watch for the past three weeks. It keeps track of your best performances. It takes your best, say, 5km split during any run and records it. This could be between the 12.37 to the 17.37 kilometer marks of a long run, and the watch will catch it. In 2014, these are my best times:
1km: 2’59” 1 mile: 4’48” 5km: 17’41” 10km: 39’28” Half Marathon: I haven’t run 21.1km straight, this year.
And it learns you, and as it learns you its V02 max predictor becomes more accurate. It converts my during-run heart rates to an estimated V02 max, then plugs this value into a race predictor chart. Here are my watch’s race predictions:
5km: 15’05” 10km: 31’22” Half marathon: 1h09’10”
Which are producible. Eerily accurate, given it’s coming from a machine on my wrist and I’m running mostly cityscape and hilly trails. If I raced a half marathon right now, 1:09:10 is about what I think I could run, and on a windless night at the track I bet I could get that 10km time.