It’s ironic, but having lived with Parkinson’s for 5 years, I’m arguably healthier now than I’ve ever been! The first three or so years of my diagnosis were tough and I didn’t deal or cope with them very well. After all, who expects to be diagnosed with a long term, incurable condition at 29? But then I got involved with Move4Parkinson’s and started talking and educating myself about PD. Consequently, I decided to make some changes in my life and the one big change was to embrace M4P’s five elements programme to lead a healthier life.
So, little by little, I started eating healthier, I went back exercising and got into mindfulness and meditation. This, combined with knowing what the PD meds were doing to my body gave me a better understanding of how PD affected me personally. That was just over 14 months ago and in 2 weeks time, I will run my first ever 10K race.
I ran my first 5K race last November so this year, I thought why not try a 10K. I started training about 8 weeks ago and it’s been tough, especially in the last 3 weeks with our sub tropical temperatures. So, I’ve had to adapt my training schedule by running early mornings or late evenings to keep out of the sun. I have a running partner John, who’s a great support for me and between us, we motivate each other to keep running. Although, my training is going well and I feel good, running with PD has its complications. Usually, when I start I’m a little unsteady on my feet and the act of running doesn’t feel natural. But after a few minutes, I get into it as my muscles start to loosen up. PD affects only the right side of my body, and because of this I have a tendency to drag my right foot when I walk. I also have this problem when I run in that I run with my feet very close together, so if I don’t lift my right foot high enough, it usually hits off my inside left ankle, which sometimes causes me to trip over. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often and I haven’t fallen, but it’s just one of those little nuisances that having PD creates. That’s why it’s great to have John to run with, as he keeps an eye out for me.
While I’ve never been a huge fan of running, I’m starting now to enjoy my runs with John and certainly having a goal to work towards is great motivation to keep running. I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that between my healthy eating and regular running, I feel great, both physically and emotionally. And when I feel great, I sometimes forget I have Parkinson’s. So, getting diagnosed with Parkinson’s which I perceived as negatively affecting my life has lead me on a journey that ironically has turned out to be a lot more positive than I ever imagined.
Because of that, I’m looking forward to the race on the 5th August, although I’m silently hoping that the temperature will have dropped a little as the race starts at 10.30am. Either way, I’ll have a hat, sun cream and lots of water on standby and be ready to run!
Andrew Curran is running the Dun Laoghaire Bay 10k on the 5th of August in aid of Move4Parkinson’s, his fundraising page can be found here
About the Author:
Andrew Curran Diagnosed with PD in 2008 at the ripe old age of 29, Andrew is from Meath, but lives and works in Dublin. He spent 6 years on and off travelling around the world, the highlight being an 8 month trip in 2010 where he circumnavigated the globe without flying. Leading a more settled, routine life now, Andrew has learned to accept PD and work with it, which allows him to enjoy life one day at a time.