Sarah running a race on a countryside road

My running and MS journey

I took up running after starting a new job and being persuaded to join the work running group. A year later I had my first relapse - double vision.

It resolved quickly, so when my "urgent" neurology referral came through two months later, I cancelled the appointment. My second relapse - this time optic neuritis - happened six months later in December 2013.

My first 10k and my first MRI scan

In January 2014 I had my first MRI scan and in May I ran my first 10k. A few weeks later I received my MRI result. The doctor told me I had lesions on my brain. He asked me a lot of questions like "do you get pins and needles? Do you have any symptoms when you exercise or have a hot bath?". When I said no to all of them he asked "are you sure?" and said "this is VERY serious". I went home and burst into tears.

A week after that I ran my first half marathon and I was sure I had pins and needles the whole way and that my vision was going blurry. I was equally sure my symptoms were psychosomatic.

Pins and needles and double vision

In February 2017, in the thick of training for the London marathon, I woke up one day with pins and needles in both feet. Over the following couple of weeks the feeling spread up my legs to just under my knees.

I knew it wasn't psychosomatic this time but I kept running. I could still feel my feet under this extra layer of feeling, and I noticed I always felt better after a long run. The pins and needles subsided.

Then a few days before London I woke up with double vision. I could see about a metre in front of me clearly and everything beyond that split. Mentally, the race was really tough and I pushed myself much harder than I had in November. But I learned so much about how I want to experience running and racing in the future. Me and London Marathon have unfinished business.

A diagnosis of relapsing remitting MS

I was finally diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in November 2017. I started treatment (Tecfidera) in January this year. I did my first ultramarathon in May - a 50k in South Wales. I also did the Tranylvania 30k, my first mountain "skyrace". I had to pull out a couple of races this year with extreme fatigue.

But on the whole I think running has helped me to fend off fatigue. It's been great mental training too - those days where I've had to talk myself into getting out of bed to go for a training run have given me the mental tools to get myself out of bed and off to work.