Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Took the leap!

I did NOT want to run today. This phrase if going through my head much too often lately! Fortunately, I knew once I got going I would get over it so I hitched up the dog and off we went. My Garmin died again, (maybe time for a new battery,) so I don't have good stats, but I know I went a touch over 2 miles based on a familiar route.

As soon as I got home, (and out of the shower,) I signed up for the Jingle Bell Run.

I'm so nervous! I took a big leap and started a team for the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell Run! It looks like tons of fun and I hope I can get a good team going. Most of the people I'm hitting up to be runners are the military in my husband's office, hehehehe. They can't tell me they aren't up to a 5K!

I've put a link on my blog page and hope to reach my donation goal. I have no idea if it will be easy or if I will fall way short, but I have to start somewhere! I will follow the progress of the group here on my blog. I hope it goes well!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

bike day

The shins splints from Saturday's hike told me it was a bike day! I didn't bike hard, but I did stay on over an hour so I'm happy. Tomorrow I hit the pavement no matter how tired I am. I never get to bed at a decent hour on Orchestra night, but I have to stop letting it get in my way.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Nolan stroll

Yesterday we went out to my favorite running trail. I'm nowhere near ready for a 5 mile trail run so we took the puppy and walked. I really look forward to running this trail again, it is definitely the run I look forward to the most. There are many runners, walkers and dogs no matter what time of year it is.
Since last night was a late one at the symphony, I decided to take a rest day today, (well, other than giving the dog a bath :-) Friday I got in a good 2 miles, so depending on how I feel in the morning, I will either put in an hour on the bike, or go to 2 1/2 miles with my run.
2 miles sounds so pitiful as a run. I want my 7 mile runs back, but I know if I push too fast, I'll never get there! I'm keeping it in perspective though. Thanks to Clare's blog, http://musclesandra.blogspot.com/ , I know 2 miles is still enough to make me a runner :-) Thanks Clare!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Go get your inspiration!

"You can't wait for inspiration; you have to go after it with a club."
Jack London

To me, the greatest compliment someone can pay me is to say I inspired them.

When I started getting serious about running, I got involved in the About.com running forum. Everyone there has these cool race shots for their avatars and I didn't want to be left out so after my first 5K, I proudly put up my running avatar. However, I was a little worried about having this picture when I visited my more regular haunt, the About.com arthritis, forum because I didn't want to rub how well I was doing in the faces of those that were in a bad patch. The fact that I also wanted to let people know that there is life after RA won out. I really felt called to tell people that despite a frightening diagnosis like RA, you can still be healthier, and stronger than ever before.

Recently, I got one of those rare and wonderful compliments. One of the ladies on my arthritis forum told me that my avatar had inspired her to take up running. After many years of battling RA, including being wheel chair bound for a time, she had decided to take control of her health. Through better nutrition, exercise, and determination, she started loosing weight and getting fit, and good health began to return. She told me she would have never thought of running if it hadn't been for my race picture. Wow, what a great feeling! But I know I can't take any credit for her achievements, she went after her inspiration, with the club of determination, to improve her life. She has quickly become and much fast runner than me, despite being a decade older, (you would never know it to look at her,) and 2 decades more experienced with RA, pulling a sub 30 5K that I have only dreamt of!! She has become MY hero!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Macbeth does murder sleep.....

"...Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleeve of care,
The death of each day's life, sore labour's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast." Macbeth Act II, Scene II

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. I love to sleep, it is one of my favorite past times. To curl up in comfortable warmth and drift off into lovely dreams while forgetting about the troubles of the day; it is an escape as much as it is rejuvenating. It powers us, allows our muscles to rebuild and wake up stronger, and it washes away the hurts of yesterday.

When you can't sleep, it becomes a nightmare, robbing you of logical though, emotional control, and good health. For several days I was missing this important ingredient in life. I hadn't slept well in nearly a week and it was intensifying my RA. Fortunately, I finally broke the cycle last night and got a great night's sleep. I woke up early, refreshed and ready to take on the day. I ran 2 miles, did all my stretches and sit-ups, and got a long list of to-do's crossed off!

It is absolutely amazing what one night of sound sleep can do for you, mentally and physically!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

One more day

What a yucky day. I had to be at the body shop for an estimate for the damage done in last week's car accident, then we had Viola this afternoon, and I'm still not caught up on sleep since we got home late from Orchestra last night. However, I did mange to force myself onto the bike for about 40 minutes. I wanted to run today, but I woke up with a lot of pain in my hips and decided a non-weight bearing day was in order.

The new medication is beginning to work, but it didn't quite last 2 whole weeks so I'm really looking forward to giving myself my shot tomorrow. I got over giving myself shots a lot time ago when I was giving myself 3 a week, (2 Enbrel, 1 methotrexate,) and it is way easier than driving an hour each way to spend 4 hours in a cancer treatment center getting an I.V. infusion like I did for 5 months this year. I'm really hoping I feel good in the morning and can get in a run, but until I get the next shot I will probably need to be satisfied with easier workouts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Running tired

I don't know how people travel and compete running. We went for a short camping trip this weekend and I didn't sleep well at all. This is what I'm blaming my lousy run on. I think I ran over 2 miles, but I'm not really sure because I forgot to charge my Garmin and it died on me 1/2 mile into the run. Fortunately I had made note of my start time and based my run on that.

I love running in camp grounds. Everyone waves hello and I get to look at all the amazing motor homes and trailers. They are so high tech with all the pop out parts! This camp ground was on the small side though so each time I passed my husband, (who was fishing,) I'd ask him the time and groan because it had only been about 3 minutes since the last time I passed him. I did eventually run for over 30 minutes, but I was so tired it felt like an hour.

Eventually I settled down with my fishing pole and caught one tiny fish, who was less surprised than I was. I like to fly fish and when I went for the back cast, a fish came flying out of the water, LOL. I'm not sure if I hooked him or snagged him, but it was my best catch all weekend so I'm counting it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

2 for 2

Although I love to run when it is overcast, I can't ignore the beauty of a picture perfect day. Today was definitely one of those days!!

For the first 2 miles we walked with friends and an older dog that was teaching Lucy how to behave and follow Mom off leash. Then we bid good-bye, sent the puppy inside to rest, and I took off for my run.
The walk had been a leisurely social pace so I went ahead and ran a full 2 miles. The first mile felt great, but at about the one mile mark my feet started feeling like they had weights hanging off of them. I considered cutting the run short, but decided to go just a bit farther.
I'm so glad I did because the heavy feeling lifted and I comfortably ran the second mile. Not until the last tenth did my heart rate finally go up, signaling I had hit the end of my stamina, but I went ahead and pushed for the last bit and then walked a cool down back to the house.

As I struggle to get back to last year's fitness level, I'm constantly reminding myself of how far I have come, even with only today's level of progress. Walking and running reminded me of when my RA first blazed from my head to my toes. I had a 3 year old at the time, an age where they still take many tumbles, so it helps to be quick on your feet.
I had taken a few quick steps to catch a falling toddler many times, but suddenly, taking three quick steps sent pain up both legs like electric shocks. I was stunned! I eventually learned to work around it, but it was about 2 years before making the same quick movements ceased to catch my attention. I did a lot of walking during those years, but I didn't run unless it was a dire emergency, and even then I only ran until I realized what I was doing.

To follow a 2 mile walk with a 2 mile run is a precious gift.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Health is wasted on the healthy

I managed to get on the bike for over 1/2 hour, woo-hoo 300 calories down!

The biggest couch potatoes I know are marvelously healthy people in their 30's and 40's. Nothing is wrong with them, so why exercise, right? The most fit people I know have the health problems. And there you have it, the healthy people look at the fit people and say, "see all the things wrong with them, that is because they, fill in the blank" with run, ski, play sports, rock climb, bike, whatever.

When I was in my teens and 20's I was a complete flake about exercise. Sure, I would have loved to be in better shape, thinner, stronger, but I just didn't have time. Then the other shoe dropped. At the age of 32, following 18 months of symptoms, I was told I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. O M G !!!!! So I promptly hit the Internet and learned everything I could. Guess what, at the end of every lesson about RA was the admonishment to exercise.

"Exercise?!? You have to be kidding!" That is what went though my head every day. The thought of exercising, when you can't lift your arms over your head or make it though the day without naps, seems utterly ludicrous. You start with range of motion exercises. Simple movements designed to preserve what little ability to move you have left, and if you are lucky and get on good drugs, you might even increase it in small increments. Many days my husband or kids had to help me. I couldn't raise my arm above my head, but if I relaxed, someone else could without causing me pain. Eventually I was able to do it on my own again.

That began my journey. You see, people who are healthy can go right on ignoring their bodies, but people who have faced their own mortality have to get moving or die. I know runners who have had injuries, heart attacks, cancer, you name it. Of course, the fastest runners are those fortunate enough to have embraced good health and taken it too the limits, but the most dedicated runners are the ones limping around the track and talking to themselves, "come on body, just a few more steps............................................."

We will all meet again in 20 years and guess what, those couch potatoes will no long be the healthy ones!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One foot in front of the other.....

It was a perfect day for running, about 75 degrees, overcast and slightly raining with a slight breeze, LOVE IT!!!

I hadn't slept worth a darn from all yesterday's adrenaline and I stayed up WAY too late, so the last thing I wanted to do was go for a run. Not being in a good running mood is probably why I tried to run with my only hydration being two cups of coffee, heavy on the skim, or why when my van wasn't actually unlocked, like I thought, I failed to go back in the house to get the keys so I could get a water bottle. So my run was lousy and it was all my own fault.

I took the puppy with me for the first mile. Yes I know, you aren't supposed to run with a puppy, but she was either frolicking next to me or towing me down the street so I'm sure I didn't over tire her. When I passed the house and handed her leash off to my daughter, it was all she could do to hang on to the now energized puppy that was not happy I was continuing on without her!

I managed to keep running for another half mile, but then had to take a break. I did get a few more minute of running in the last almost mile home, (I covered 2.4 in all,) but it was only half hearted.

Tomorrow is back on the bike...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some days are better than others

On the bike again today. I'm getting stronger, pedaling faster, keeping my heart rate up longer, all that is good.

Rest of the day sucked though. A bank teller tried to rip off my teenager. She deposited cash on Thursday and today the teller was saying she transposed numbers and my teen deposited $90 less than the statement, WHA?? Thank goodness for security tapes! I hope the bank teller gets major Karma whiplash for trying to rip off a kid! I'm pretty sure she will at least loose her job.
Then we got rear ended this evening. Not real bad, not major damage, but enough to make us late to orchestra and spoil the evening. The dude was looking at an accident and not the traffic in front of him, darn rubberneckers (wow, spell check says it is a real word!) So now I get to play with insurance tomorrow, fun.

Tomorrow I hit the pavement, even if I mostly walk I'm getting out there. The weather should be good, the dog needs the exercise, my running shoes are getting impatient...............

To Blog or Not to Blog

Originally posted yesterday on a different blog spot:

Okay, so I'm getting some pestering to start a blog. I figure no one could possibly be interested in my lame story. I mean really, who am I? A house wife with an incurable disease that thinks she is a runner, LOL.

Diseased runner, I guess that is the one I'm supposed to talk about, but then I would have to confess to the days that I skip my workout, feel too unmotivated to get off my duff, or just don't work towards my goal for no reason at all.

The disease if Rheumatoid Arthritis, go ahead, Google it if I haven't already told you more than you wanted to know :-) I can handle pain, a lot of pain, that is why I was able to take up running at 38. I started last year only able to run about 100 yards before wanting to puke. I worked,

then I worked harder,

and after 7 months I could run 7 miles!! I was over the moon!

Then the bad stuff hit. Major surgery, insurance changes, medication changes, instability, and finally canceling my scheduled half marathon. I had paid and everything. I was going to run, walk, or crawl the length of the Marine Corps Historic Half, but I never made it to the start line.
I ran last month after a steroid shot suppressed my RA for 3 glorious weeks and got back to 3 miles. Then I crashed again. Now I'm back to an hour on the stationary bike, thanks to more steroids, and hoping to have the energy to run this week.

So that is what this blog is about. Struggling, fighting, and hopefully winning. No, I don't expect to actually win a race, but my goal is to run a half marathon...13.1 miles.... If I can do that, I win, RA looses.