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It started as an ordinary physical therapy appointment. A little stretching. A little "does THIS hurt?" And then my PT suggested I take it easy on the running for a while.

"You can run, but maybe just a few miles at conversation pace," she explained.


"Conversation pace" means below 80% of my max heart rate. "Conversation pace" is like the leisurely jogs I would take in the Before Times, when I wasn't trying to hold back the progression of his %$^% disease.

I tried to explain that sometimes I do elliptical and cycling, but running is the only exercise that consistently keeps my heart rate up in the range it needs for the exercise to be neuro-protective.

But suddenly I could not get the words out because tears were burning my eyes and squeezing my throat. Whaaaa? Suddenly, my physical pain, my logical concerns, and my emotions were whirling in a tornado that made it impossible for me to speak calmly. I thanked my PT with a tight-lipped, faky smile and got the hell out of there before the twister touched down and blew me away.

There's a saying in another fellowship I belong to, "if it's hysterical, it's historical."

Meaning, this blast of painful energy was coming from my past --as the lonely kid who was hopeless at sports, got picked last for teams, couldn't run-throw-do cartwheels whatever.

I was experiencing my present reality through the lens of the story I tell myself--that I'm "not good at exercise," so there's no point in even trying.

It was hard for me to discuss my exercise plan in a rational, adult way, when the voice of that lonely 8-year old was wailing in my ear.

Throw in the PD anxiety and the PD depression that makes life so fun these days, and I was lucky to be able to walk, let alone run.

After giving myself some time to process the experience, I could see where the story I was telling myself was preventing me from re-writing my own story today.

My story today? Okay, I'm gonna force myself to write this because I STILL don't really believe it. But here goes: I am a strong, focused woman who belongs to a community of fierce Parkinson's warriors, who encourage and empower me to fight back with exercise.

With that in mind, I'm making an appointment for a doctor to actually pinpoint the cause of my pain (maybe it's not what the PT thinks) and I will continue to exercise as intensely and intelligently as I can.

I'm telling this story because I hope you can relate. Have you ever found yourself "overreacting" to something, then realized it had pushed your buttons in some emotional way?

I'd love to say that this revelation cleared my mind completely but I still find myself listening to those old stories about myself. I'm pretty sure that mindfulness exercises will help.

If I can just get past thinking I'm not doing them properly!

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