Posts Tagged Running

‘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 or Bust: I’m raising money for autoimmune disease research

We did the Vegas half marathon in 2011, and now we’re going to run the Barcelona full to raise money for autoimmune disease awareness & research. Care to donate to our cause?

For some reason, I really struggled with the concept of asking people to donate money for a cause I care about.

Why? Because it makes me feel extremely vulnerable. Because only a handful of people know that I have RA. Because asking for money makes me feel obnoxious.

But, I put all that aside and decided to set up a donation page to give my marathon a purpose: raise money for autoimmune disease research.

I chose to donate the money to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, because they are not focused on just one autoimmune disease. Since these crazy, mysterious diseases seem so connected, this appealed to me.

I know you all already do your part by raising awareness of autoimmune diseases, but please consider donating if you can:

http://www.razoo.com/story/Barcelona-Or-Bust-Running-For-Autoimmune-Diseases

P.S. Have you told everyone in your life about your disease or are you keeping it a secret? As I’m weighing the pros and cons of sharing the donate link on Facebook, I’m wondering how other people have handled this…

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Monday Morning Motivation

The last couple weeks have been tough. I moved into a new condo and, very ambitiously repainted the whole thing and did all the moving myself. This of course led to long days and nights and completely messed up my schedule.

Not only was I exhausted from the grind of repetitive paint strokes and heavy lifting, when my schedule gets off, a bizarre sort of insomnia sets in. I’m exhausted, but I can’t fall asleep. I’m in bed, but my mind is wide awake and I’m hyper aware of every ache and pain in my body.

Needless to say, my workout schedule got off track. This only led to my sleep schedule going further down the late night rabbit hole, leading to more pain.

So late last week, I decided I had to reset. I forced myself to get up Wednesday morning to run, despite being up until about 2am reading to try to turn my brain off. Than, Thursday, I made myself wake up to lift some weights. I took the weekend off to do a lot of apartment rearranging and resting, and this morning, I’m proud to say I woke up before my alarm feeling well rested.

Hopefully this means my schedule is finally reset and I can go back to less insomnia and less pain.

For those of you out there stuck in a routine that’s not working for you, my advice is simple: break the cycle. I know, I know, WAY easier said than done. But I didn’t say it wasn’t going to suck, or that you had to be graceful. The point is just to bust out of your rut in anyway available to you. Sometimes baby steps only take you so far, sometimes it takes a leap (or, if your feet hurt, one giant, gentle step :).

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Woe is My Feet

No, these aren’t my feet. I wish they were. These feet look happy and pain free.

The last couple days were rough. Once again, my feet were hurting and I was consumed by thoughts of “oh my God, the drugs aren’t working” and “it’s because I’m down to only four methotrexate per week (and Enbrel).” Or, maybe it was just the normal ebbs and flows of life with RA. But of course my mind doesn’t like that thought either. That thought means it might be like this forever.

So with my feet hurting, two days ago I thought wisely that I should not wear flipflops, which let my feet swell, but aren’t supportive for the painful pad of the foot. Of course heels were out of the question and tennis shoes would just throw my outfit too far off (I’ll sacrifice a little bit of style, but I just can’t go that far). I opted instead for my expensive, less-than-flattering, mary-jane-style shoes with nearly-orthopedic inserts, lots of support, and an adjustable velcro strap to counter swelling.

My feet walked me to work relatively happy. By lunchtime, they were so swollen, no amount of loosening that little velcro strap was going to help. I spent the next few hours barefoot (probably didn’t thrill my coworkers). I forced my feet into the shoes and found myself a ride home – no way was I gonna walk if I could help it.

I ended my night with my aching, painful, and now blistered feet in a cold foot bath. It helped a little.

Cue the next day. Guess what, I woke up with hurting feet. They were back to that point where rising up on my toes, even a little, is pretty excruciating. Flipflops were out, my expensive RAD shoes were out, tennis shoes were…out (sorry! I’m just not ready to bring tennis shoes into my work outfits yet!). I felt pretty good about another option: boots with no heel and inserts that would give my feet padding and allow them to swell. Yes, the weather was unseasonably hot for June, but I could sport boots with a dress and make the look work. The great style/pain compromise settled, I happily set out on my short walk to work.

Immediate pain, which of course pained me in another way: it was a painful reminder of how badly my feet hurt in these shoes in my pre-diagnosis days. Only a few hours later, I could feel my feet swell to the edges of the boots. That was another rest my feet kinda night.

And then there’s today. I wake up expecting pain, but I feel fine. Overjoyed, I lace up my tennies (to workout, not to go to work!) and go for a run. It’s a little shaky, but I’m feeling so much better, it’s powerful. My feet are feeling good, so I opt for my greek sandals with plenty of padding on the sole. Mostly pain free all day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining since today is a great day for my feet, but the pain rollercoaster of RA is physically and mentally exhausting. There’s just no predicting when a flare will hit or how bad it will be. And there’s no science to why it gets better, at least no science that I’ve figured out.

As my rheumy says, you’ll drive yourself crazy wondering what causes what. I guess it’s best to just take care of myself as well as I can – plenty of sleep, minimize stress, keep at my high fruit, veggie and omega-3, no dairy and gluten diet, and appreciate the good days. At least, that’s what I’m doing today.

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Visit to the Rheumy and the Enbrel Chronicles

First of all, I want to say that I love my rheumy. He is always optimistic about my improvements and the possibilities of getting better. As he assured me during our last visit, “You’re probably 80 percent improved since the first time I saw you, but I promise you will get much better from where you are today.”

Hearing him say how far I’ve come is a great reminder to appreciate your victories instead of focusing on what still isn’t perfect. So I had a small celebration for the realization that it’s been more than a month since I’ve had severe morning stiffness – woohoo!

I’ve made progress, but I have a ways to go. It sucks that I was in the middle of a mild flare when I saw him (still am), which is effecting my feet, wrists, energy and digestive system (or is that the meds, ugh). It made it all the more frightening when he said I have to go down to four methotrexate pills per week from six because the results of my liver function panel weren’t good. I just hope that going down on the meds don’t make my symptoms worse.

I asked him if my current flare might be related to the 10K I ran over Memorial Day weekend, to which he replied, “You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out what causes what with this disease.” True, and I know that I’m guilty of this.

I explained that pre-diagnosis I was planning on training for a marathon in 2013, so I was worried that running wasn’t good for my body. He encouraged me not to give up that goal, which I love him for. So I guess despite the pain (it usually hurts after, not during running) and fears of making it worse, I’ll keep the goal and see how my training goes.

I also asked him about a weird blood burning sensation I’d had in my arms, especially near my elbows. That one stumped him a bit, but he said it wasn’t a concern unless it was happening frequently. If the symptoms are frequent, one concern is that the Enbrel is causing some sort of neurological side effect (great…). I haven’t had it since then, so I guess I’ll follow the “don’t worry” advice.

One more thing of note, I must of hit a blood vessel or vein giving myself my Enbrel shot last night because it bled, a lot. Eww. Aside from being gross (I’m a total wimp when it comes to these things), it’s fine. It barely even bruised compared to some of my less bloody shots, so go figure.

My takeaway from all this is to try to worry less and really, really try to not let RA rule my life, choices, or mood. Easier said than done, but that’s what I’ll try to do.

 

EDIT: Just want to add that during my first run after this doctor visit I choked on a bug – it just flew down my throat, gross! And so, another lesson (channel Stewie – What did you learn?): a) don’t run with your mouth open, and b) don’t run at dusk. Let’s hope this isn’t a bad omen for my training, haha.

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