Archive for category Running/Marathon

Magical Thinking: The Lure of New Shoes, Sore Throat Elixirs & Marathons

Magical Thinking #1: I will find the perfect shoe

Let’s start with my favorite magical thinking first: somewhere out there, exists a perfect shoe for us RAers.

I know I’m lying to myself with this one, but the quest is never ending. I love shoes, so, even with the blisters and sore feet pads, it’s a pretty fun quest to be on.

I have two new shoes to test out in the upcoming months: Faux Fur-Lined Tom’s & Yoga Sling Sanuks. The box was waiting on my doorstep as I came home from work today and I seriously did a happy dance. Shoes! 🙂

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So far they’re both very comfortable. I’m bringing both on an upcoming trip, so I’ll let you know how they hold up.

Magical Thinking #2: I can gargle my sore throat away

Way less fun is my sore throat that refuses to subside. It started last Friday and has progressively gotten worse, not better. Despite heaps of vitamin C, garlic, immune boosters, salt water gargling, and my ACV elixir. I was on the fence about whether to skip my Enbrel and methotrexate this week, because both are immune suppressants. My RA symptoms have definitely been more active recently, so I begrudgingly skipped the drugs. Sure enough, today they’re flaring a bit again. So much ugh, only new shoes could cheer me up (see above, yay!).

The surprisingly not awful, throat-soothing, but in no way a cure, ACV elixir recipe:

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  • A generous splash of organic apple cider vinegar
  • A dash of cayenne pepper
  • A dash of ground giner
  • A heap of honey
  • A squeeze of lemon
  • Enough hot water to mix it up and make it palatable

Magical Thinking #3: I’m ready to start training for another marathon

It’s counter intuitive, I know. I’m sick, my RA symptoms are flaring, I just bought two new pairs of shoes and they have nothing to do with running…. But there’s something about being stuck on the couch that makes me brainstorm big goals. I’ve mapped out a 10k in May, a half marathon in July, and marathon in October.

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We’ll see. The timing may change and the races may change, but I’m motivated to push myself to train for something, despite (or maybe because of) the pain!

 

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Mountains Move Me: Conquering RA fatigue and depression by celebrating times of strength

On the top of Mt. Belford, a Colorado 14er. The day included 6,000 feet of elevation gain and more than 9 miles of high altitude hiking.

On the top of Mt. Belford, a Colorado 14er. The day included 6,000 feet of elevation gain and more than 9 miles of high altitude hiking.

The hardest thing for people to understand about RA is the ebbs and flows of fatigue and pain symptoms. One moment, I can be so tired I’m unable to move from the couch, every step met with sharp pain or a dull internal throb. The next, I’m hiking a 14er or doing a high altitude half marathon. I don’t blame people for being confused.

But here’s what mountains and marathons mean to me:

When I have a flare, I get depressed. Yes, I know logically that physical symptoms have nothing to do with my mental state and that I am separate from my symptoms. But not feeling like yourself or being able to do what you want to do is depressing.

I think the symptom that gets to me the most is fatigue. The all-encompassing heaviness makes me apathetic, which leads to many hours on the couch in front of the TV, which makes me depressed, which makes me more fatigued, which makes me more depressed, and on, and on. I think you get the picture.

So on days I feel good, like really good, I am jubilant. Unstoppable.

Sign me up for a 4:30am wake up call to climb three 14,000 foot mountains in one day. Upgrade me from that 10K to a half marathon.

Give me a challenge, I want to take on the world. I want to celebrate my body and all of its strength, power and agility.

ESPECIALLY because I know all too well what it feels like to have that strength, power and agility seep away. Because of that, I embrace the good and celebrate it when it comes around.

As I told my parents, I’ll take the achy, sore muscles and satisfactory tiredness of a strenuous workout over RA pain and fatigue ANY DAY. In fact, the feeling of sore muscles makes me happy because it reminds me how strong my body is.

Sometimes pushing myself like this means I “pay for it” with more symptoms later. I used to try to regulate my exertion because of that. But I’m realizing that’s not me. I’d rather go big when I can and rest when I need to than live a more regulated life (with seemingly as many random flares) somewhere in the safe zone.

Now I know I’m quite lucky to be able to climb mountains and run races. For many with RA, this is not at all a possibility. But I hope that within any limitations you have, you are able to celebrate the good days with your own version of a mountain, acknowledging all that your body still does for you.

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At Run the Rockies in Frisco, CO, I was feeling so good I decided to go for the half marathon instead of the 10K. It was a slow, hilly run, but I felt so damn good crossing that finish line.

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Bon Anniversaire

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As my birthday creeps closer (tomorrow!), I realized I totally missed another anniversary: the end of two years with my RAD diagnosis.

My first year RAD anniversary was a really big deal to me. Probably because I’d set an unrealistic expectation that one year was long enough to “beat” RA into remission, get off drugs, be pain free, and run a marathon.

One year later, I was only able to accomplish one of those goals: I successfully (though not pain free) ran my first marathon.

By the time my first year anniversary approached, I already realized that “curing” a chronic disease (read: no cure) in one year was pretty unrealistic. As was getting off drugs that were keeping my disease at bay and my pain under control (usually).

My one-year anniversary marked many things for me. I accomplished the huge, scary goal of running a marathon in the face of a huge, scary diagnosis. I also found a bit of respect and acceptance for my disease.

My second anniversary of my diagnosis came and went un-celebrated. I think this speaks to the enormous thing I’ve learned in the last year: you are not your disease, so allow yourself to forget about it as much as possible.

This year has been full of ups and downs, so obviously forgetting about my RA hasn’t always been in the cards. During a flare when you’re in pain, while dealing with methotrexate side effects, or visiting your doctor more than your best friend, or while giving yourself shots, or dragging yourself in for blood tests, it’s pretty impossible to forget your disease.

BUT, in the in between times, I’ve gotten a lot better about letting go. I’ve taken on old hobbies again. I’ve relaxed my diet a bit. I really feel I’ve gotten pieces of my old life back.

So, even though I’m a month late for my anniversary, I think that’s something worth celebrating.

There’s other things worth toasting to too – I’ve successfully moved from 10 methotrexate pills per week to 6, I’ve gotten WAY better at giving myself shots, my liver tests have been stellar despite a bit of wine indulgence, spring is coming and my circulation is already improving, and I’m feeling really good and mainly pain free.

I know it’s odd to acknowledge the anniversaries of a diagnosis you didn’t want or ask for, but I hope your anniversaries bring something to celebrate too.

Cheers. 🙂

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‘Tis the Season to Plan Races

I have running on the brain.

This is probably not the best thing to be thinking about, as I promised myself that due to last year’s Chilblains, this year, I would take a break from running in the cold. Well, guess what, it’s January and it’s cold, but I want to run! And no, the treadmill just doesn’t cut it for me.

The weather was nice this weekend, so I went for a gorgeous run on the mesa. The only problem is that there were still puddles and a bit of snow coverage.

Running along the Mesa

A gorgeous weekend run has me inspired.

Anyway, I think that run, combined with two days of skiing prior and one day of wearing my favorite, not-so-comfy boots post-run (But they’re vintage!! How can I say no to them when they stare at me from the closet that way?) was the perfect Chilblains trifecta. Sure enough, my toes are painful, swollen, itchy, red and purple. 😦

It hasn’t stopped me from wanting to run however, it’s just getting me dreaming of warm runs and destination races. And in my daydreaming, I am imagining crossing the finish line on my second marathon. This time sub 4:30.

I’ve been looking, and the Medoc Marathon sounds like a blast. A run through French vineyards with wine and cheese served at water stops? Mais oui, s’il vous plait.

Marathon du Medoc

Marathon du Medoc

Is anyone else planning a big race for 2014? Has anyone done the Medoc? And most of all, anyone out there a runner with bad circulation and/or Chilblains who has advice that doesn’t involve the treadmill? Merci beaucoup!

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NYTimes: Ask Well: Is Jogging Bad for Older People?

NYTimes: Ask Well: Is Jogging Bad for Older People?
http://nyti.ms/KGHitw

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Beyond Words

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At the Barcelona Marathon. As a fellow runner, as a human, my thoughts go out to those affected by the Boston Marathon blasts.

I’m sporting my Barcelona marathon tee in support of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the running community in general.

I watched the tragedy unfold yesterday and was absolutely speechless, horrified, and angry.

Who would do this? Why? And why are they so cowardly, they haven’t come forward to claim responsibility yet? What did they hope to gain if it wasn’t credit for the attacks?

Don’t they realize that runners will not be terrorized. If I’ve learned anything in my year training for my first marathon, it’s that RUNNERS’ SPIRITS WILL NOT BE BROKEN.

We run to defeat all odds and expectations. We run to stay free. We run.

For those who died or lost limbs, my thoughts are with you. This is such a terrible tragedy. You have the support of the running community. An international community of people who will not give up.

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Barcelona Marathon Success!

Barcelona Marathon Success!

I just got back from my mega trip to run the Barcelona marathon! I’m very proud to say that thanks to you guys, I raised $555 for autoimmune disease research and awareness (http://www.razoo.com/story/Barcelona-Or-Bust-Running-For-Autoimmune-Diseases). That’s $55 more than my goal!!!

I’m also proud to say I MADE IT! I’m not going to lie. It was very hard. My body was aching, my feet were screaming, my legs were shaking and my time wasn’t great, but this pic is me crossing the finish line! 🙂

Here’s my breakdown (obviously, I was slowing down at the end):
10 km time: 01:02:39
1/2 Marathon time: 02:17:40
30 km time: 03:23:27
42 km time: 04:54:30

I’m not sure there’s another marathon in my future, but I am so proud of this one. I’m also happy to report that my body recovered quickly. I was able to go see a FCBarcelona football game that night, do yoga the next day, and thoroughly enjoy the rest of my trip (more on that in another post).

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