Tuesday, February 18, 2014
It has been nearly eight months since I posted a blog. Holy moses, that's a long time, especially for someone who once had a log-in streak of about 330 days. I've never really gotten back to running regularly, but I have really good reasons. I swear I do. I was reasonably active during the summer, but still having a lot of pain in one of my wrists from the autoimmune/arthritis disorder thingy I've got going on. I finally thought to myself, "Self, maybe this localized pain means there's something more going on than just the disease." The disease is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis which generally affects your entire body, not just one joint.
Anyway, a whole bunch of trips to the orthopedist later, I decided to get surgery on my wrist in early October. Despite the MRI and me telling him I was in gob-loads of pain everyday (yes, that is the technical term), he was still really surprised by the amount of damage he found. He started calling me "sweetie" right after the surgery, not because he's a sexist jerk or anything, but I think because he felt really sorry for me. I'm only 34 for goodness sakes. It was damage caused by the rheumatoid arthritis, but the arthritis itself wasn't actually flaring at the time. The surgery was followed by four weeks of a cast and then a couple of months of gentle rehabilitation and I'm finally somewhere near normal. TOTALLY worth it.
About two weeks after the surgery I got pregnant. Hurray! Totally excited, totally planned. Totally happy I got the surgery when I did since they can't use general anesthesia on pregnant women. I'm due about July 20 with a little girl. I'm loving being pregnant. My husband (oh yeah, I also got re-married in November) and I are doing this one time and one time only, so I'm making the most of it. The worst time is when I'm in between appointments and totally paranoid that something is wrong with my baby. I have no reason to think that really. I'm not high risk, in spite of my health problems. My husband is of "advanced paternal age" but not much is known about the effect of older dads on fetal health and what is known makes it seem as though it's not as critical as maternal age.
Anyway, between the surgery and the pregnancy, my active, healthy lifestyle has been a bit derailed. I haven't been running regularly since late summer, so I shouldn't start a new program now, at 18 weeks pregnant. I miss running so much though.
But, I have a plan! I'm going to work out 3-4 times/week during pregnancy, focusing on cardio activities that strengthen my lower body and core but are low impact, like the elliptical and bike. I'll have the baby and take whatever recovery time and steps I need to take. When I get cleared to exercise again, I'll start a walk/jog program and build from there with the goal of running the Denver Rock n' Roll Half Marathon in October of 2015.
I can totally do this. I've made super long-range plans before for marathons and stuff that I've followed through on. I'm totally overwhelmed with all the things that go on with pending motherhood and all the things I'm supposed to buy, but I did get a BOB stroller (the ultimate jogging stroller) when it was on sale a month ago on Amazon. So yeah, at the very least, Emma (my little girl) will have a stroller, even if I forget the diapers.
Crazy things might happen that could derail my plan. And of course my daughter will be the priority in my life. But my husband is supportive and I have access to the fitness resources (hello SparkPeople, my somewhat forgotten friend!) I need, so I know I can do this. It'll be interesting to utilize SparkPeople over the next few months for purposes other than weight loss. It really is about being healthy as I gain pregnancy weight and making sure I'm doing what I can to provide Emma a healthy start to life.
Me, being happy and all knocked up at 18 weeks:
The jogging stroller. The one item I've managed to sort through the mental clutter of pregnancy to purchase:
My little dog Max after his eye surgery a couple months ago. No worries, he's all better now, but he looked so pathetic it was really pretty funny. He looks like he lost a bar brawl.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Okay, so I am officially a runner that doesn't run. I've started getting back into it after getting my arthritis under control and I was all signed up and mostly trained for a sprint triathlon this Saturday.
Then, I was out walking my dog a couple weeks ago and he started to poop for the second time! I know, I know - you are probably wondering how on earth this relates to my not running. It was like this: I had just gotten home from work so I was still wearing my red Dansko clogs when I took Max for his walk. I had only been carrying one poop bag with me that I used about 500 feet earlier when he pooped the first time. So he starts going the second time (honestly, the dog is 17 pounds - he probably lost a tenth of his body weight on that walk) and I didn't have a bag. I live in an apartment complex and try to model good dog owner behavior so I didn't want to leave this pile of poop just sitting there. Of course, the closest bag stand is all the over on the other side of the field. So, I run over to the bags in my red Dansko clogs and on my sprint back to snag the poop and dispose of it like a good dog-owner, I tripped and rolled my right ankle so badly that I landed on the side of my foot. Ugh. I could barely walk all weekend and even now I haven't started running again. I can swim and bike just fine, but I'm a little nervous about running too soon and messing things up even worse, especially after all the arthritis issues.
I thought I was going to have to just ditch the triathlon all together. I emailed the race director today telling her I would have to drop out and asking about a refund (which I figured there wasn't (I was right) but it never hurts to ask). She did say that I could turn myself into a relay team though.
So, I've managed to persuade/bully my little sister into being my running legs for me Saturday morning! It's quite ironic as running is my real love and I just started the biking and swimming so I could do triathlons instead of distance running because of the arthritis. My sister Kate is a trooper, the race is in her hometown and I've promised to buy her breakfast and clean her kitchen afterwards.
All it means is that I'm a runner not running in a race that I'm still participating in.
But, I did take away some valuable lessons:
1. Dansko clogs were not made for running, at least not the red ones.
2. There is no reason to run to get a bag for dog poop. Walking is fine. It's not like anybody is going to steal it before you get back.
3. A privilege of being an older sister is that, on occasion, you get to bully your younger sister into something.
4. It never hurts to ask (unless, of course, you ask someone to punch you in the nose - that would probably hurt).
5. I didn't want to have to explain to Dani that while I was fully expecting her to complete her triathlon in a couple of weeks, I was going to bail because I was dumb enough to run in red Dansko clogs to get poop faster.
6. Small dogs can poop like big dogs sometimes.
Speaking of dogs, my dog Max, sleeping peacefully in the photo below, will never know how much trouble he has caused.
Friday, May 31, 2013
The road back to health and fitness is harder than the first time I did this. When I first started losing weight and getting healthy seven years ago (seven years on SparkPeople! Wow!), it was this amazing rush. I stayed in calorie range (pretty much), exercised regularly, saw steady weight loss for six months and rapid improvement in my running abilities. And I loved it and stuck with it for years. I loved running. Challenging myself to longer distances, faster times, new terrain, etc. And the beginning wasn't easy at all. I remember the first time I jogged a whole mile without stopping. I swear I had more pride than someone who has just climbed Everest.
And then I got sick (how every blog seems to go these days...life was great...and then I got sick). Horrible,horrible arthritis. I could hardly walk to the bathroom, let alone run a mile, let alone run the marathon I had just run a few months prior. At night, I would finally get to the bathroom and turn the shower on as hot as possible (after physically picking my legs up with my hands in order to get over the side of the tub) and turn the bathroom into a sauna. I would then lie down on the floor and sleep on the bathroom floor many nights. I remember calling into work at 3am on more than one occasion from the bathroom floor and leaving messages for my boss saying that I would be coming in late because I could hardly move and was running a fever of 104.
I was able to ride my stationary bike sometimes during the day, so that helped keep my cardiovascular fitness up, but with running, if you don't use it, you lose it.
I finally got diagnosed and put on an assortment of fun medications. After two years, I have finally, finally, finally been able to start running regularly again. And it is hard. It's hard because my body is just getting back into it. It's hard because I remember how I used to be and get discouraged because I am nowhere close to that fast or being able to run that long now. I max out at 10 miles per week these days. When I got sick, I could go on a 10 mile run just because I felt like it. I went five miles the other day and my pace was slower than it was for the entire hilly, trail marathon I did in 2010. I do all the inner pep talk - "hey, it's great you're running! Look! You can actually do this! You didn't give up! Keep with it and it'll get better like it did the first time you started running! Be patient. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
But it's just hard. Because I know what I used to be capable of. I used to be able to do a sub 2 hour half marathon. I used to be able to do full marathons. I used to be able to do 5K and 10K races whenever I wanted and not have to undergo this huge training schedule for them. And it's not just that I can't do it right now. It's that I don't know if I ever will be able to again.
So yes, I suppose I should be grateful that I'm able to run at all. And honestly, I am. But the road back is much, much harder for me than the road there.
This is my dog Max, staring pensively into the distance.
Friday, April 12, 2013
I went running yesterday. I cry pretty much every time I run these days because I am so stinkin' happy that I can actually do it. That only took me two years to bounce back from a sudden onset of what is essentially chronic rheumatoid arthritis. It's better than crying because I am so sad that I can't run, which has happened off and on for the last two years. Crap. I could barely walk sometimes. Those are the only times in my adult life that I remember crying myself to sleep.
It has been a long two years. I have been running a little bit here and there the last couple of months since I moved to Colorado, but it has been really hard. Just so much work and not much fun. Not that light, free feeling I would get when I was running regularly before I got sick.
But, I jumped in my way-back time machine and remembered that in 2006, when I started really running for the first time in my life, that the first month or so was hard and painful but I just had to suck it up and trust that it would get better. So, this time I found the Spark Your Way to a 5K run program for experienced runners. Yesterday I was on Week 3, Day 2 and it finally felt good. So good. Like I remember it feeling.
I read a few of my old Spark blogs where I celebrated just being able to run a whole mile without stopping and reminded myself that for right now, it is enough to be out there trying. I do not need to run non-stop, I do not need to run a marathon, I just need to be out there running, listening to my body, challenging myself, but not making myself miserable. The fact that I am out there at all is more than enough. More than many people ever thought I would do again, including myself.
I am doing a sprint triathlon in August, which will be way fun. Taking some swimming lessons now, going out on bike rides, and of course, doing my personal favorite, running. I don't even say that I am going to "try" to do a triathlon. I have proven to myself time and time again that I can succeed in those things that I decide to do be it something big like quitting smoking, running a marathon, or getting my master's degree, or something small, like getting this blog finished. So I'm not going to insult myself by saying, "I'm going to try", or "I hope that I can do it", because honestly, it is a reasonable goal and if I stick with my program and follow through, I will do it. I'm not even going to put in the parenthetical statement "barring any major illnesses," because you know what, I have a major illness and it hasn't stopped me, just delayed me and altered my course a little bit.
But for today, it is more than enough that I am here and that I not only can run, but that I am actually doing it. It is enough.
This is my dog Max. I imagine that he is cheering me on in this picture, but in reality he is probably just yawning.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
I don't believe in "finding motivation." When people ask, "how do I get motivated?" I never know quite how to answer because honestly, I don't really believe in motivation. At the end of the day you just have to get up off your butt and move. Or resolve to stop (for things like smoking) and then (this is the key) follow through on it. It does not matter why you do it, at some point you just have to do it and stop with the excuses.
There are certainly hurdles: not enough time, physical limitations, you've had a bad day, it's the holidays, etc. But it doesn't really matter if you have all of those excuses or none of those excuses. The world doesn't say "oh, okay, well I understand that you have three kids you're chasing around so I'll ignore that bag of gummy worms you just ate" or "I understand that you're in a lot of pain and on drugs that slow your metabolism, so I'm going to make sure you don't lose your fitness gains even if you lay in bed for the next month." Wouldn't it be nice if that was the way it worked? There would definitely be more justice in it. But it doesn't happen like that.
Is it fair? Probably not. It doesn't matter. It is just the way it is. Christmas calories still count. They count for the 23-year-old woman with a high metabolism and no children and they count for the 43-year-old woman with a thyroid problem and 4 kids. They may count differently, but just because we think that cosmically, it should all balance out and "be fair," it doesn't mean that's reality.
So I think that when people say they can't find motivation or they're just not motivated, what they really mean is that they haven't accepted their world as it is. Once you accept your limitations and hurdles (kids, chronic pain, the holidays, whatever), then you can look for ways beyond them. My way of getting past my hurdles is most likely different than yours. There is no one-size fits-all answer.
But at the end of the day, if you want to see results, regardless of the reasons, regardless of the excuses, regardless of your limitations, you really just need to get off your derriere and take action.
My dog Max, who has more cosmic justice than he knows what to with:
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