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I am a Goal Digger - How I hit my biggest GOAL of 2018

Sunday, September 16, 2018

If you have not read my "I am a Goal Digger - 18 for 2018 blog please read that post first, it lists many of my Goals and explains my rare disorder that makes exercise dangerous for me. Yes exercise can kill me. I set my BIGGEST goal for 2018 in January. To give a little background on my health when I was making my 18 for 2018 goals. I was still working to recover from a surgery and from my worst Interstitial Cystitis flare yet. You can read about Interstitial Cystitis in the next 2 paragraphs or skip past them. I decided to include a little of my IC story because September is IC awareness month. Sparkpeople is the first social media type site I have posted my IC story on. For years I suffered with IC symptoms:bladder pain, urgency, frequency and more. IC can be hard to diagnose, a previous Urologist had not been able to see scientific signs of the disease in my bladder. So I had a long list of IC symptoms but no diagnosis. In January I so wanted to feel better to get my fitness level get my body into a healthier state. After a few more months of Dr. appointments, a new Urologist, and tests I got the official diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis. It was tough to hear the official news, knowing for certain that I will have to live with this chronic illness for life. But I am a Goal Digger, I wanted to find a way to heal my body and work back up to my previous fitness level. I had to try. How did I do it? The first part of my plan was to get my inflamed bladder feeling better. During a flare the pain can get so severe exercising is impossible, even walking is painful. Against my Urologists advice, I went crazy hard core on my diet. For me diet plays a huge role in symptoms, what I eat/drink, meds, vitamins/supplements (what I put into my body) can trigger IC flares and symptoms. Many healthy foods can make me sick with symptoms. Foods high in acid or histamine were out, these foods inflame my bladder. I decided an elimination diet was the thing to try first. It is a long list of foods I need to avoid. The worst foods/beverages are coffee, tea, almost all fruit juice, tomatoes, soda, dairy, chocolate, citrus and many other fruits, certain veggies, vinegar, many condiments, processed foods, artificial sweeteners, and more. It really limits what I can eat and drink. A diet like this often not maintainable which is one reason more than one Doctor advised that I should not restrict my diet so much. I also try reintroducing foods back into my diet to see if they cause IC symptoms or a full flare. I started to gain a just a few lbs (but still stayed the same dress size) I noticed I was eating more sugar because of all the foods I could not have. I love chocolate but it can bring on terrible pain/symptoms so I started eating vanilla cookies or some other dessert. It took a few months but my bladder symptoms improved. I went from a painful bladder on a daily basis (plus many other bothersome symptoms) to very little pain to days of no pain at all. I could feel a big improvement, my bladder was acting more like a normal bladder not an inflamed/painful bladder. I still had some flares but they were not as severe as early in the year. The diet was working for me. This 18 mile day of hiking/walking, it was the largest amount of miles I have hiked since my first Fitbit in 2013. I likely hiked more miles on the all-day hikes I used to do before the rare disorder that forever changed exercise for me 9 years ago. Saturday 9/15/18 was the day I planned to attempt my 18 miles of hiking/walking trails. In Southern Colorado we still had hot summer weather in the 90's. I set out for my first planned hike of the morning, I was hiking alone. It was my riskiest trail, mountain and rocks on one side, a steep cliff on the other. This trail you hike in, turn around and hike back out the way you came in. There are no trails you can get off onto. Cell service is spotty to no service at all in sections. About halfway in I encountered a hiker and a rattlesnake. The hiker decided to wait and pass when he thought there was enough distance between him and the snake. I watched this at a distance. This rattlesnake made me want to QUIT on the spot. I had set this huge goal, I was not even sure my fitness level was up to 18 miles. Was this snake a bad sign/omen? It could be crazy dangerous to proceed with this hike especially alone. But the Goal Digger side came out, I did not want to turn around at the halfway in mark, this was my 1st planned hike of the day. I continued to the end and turned back. The next hikers I encountered gave me the bad news that the rattlesnake was still on the trail, it had not moved off the trail. They were kind enough to give me the last known location not far ahead of me. Just as I am entering the spot the hikers mentioned I encountered another hiker, a military wife and mother with her toddler in trail/jogging stroller. She was freaked about the rattlesnake, as was I. Past this spot was the way off the trail. We decided to hike the rest of the way out together. Amazingly that rattlesnake moved off the trail. I drove to the next trailhead. This was a trail system, with different trail options to choose from. On hike 2 I could tell the 90's heat was getting to me and that I had to break if I wanted to exercise safely. My plan was 3 hikes total to hit the miles. My last personal best day was just over 17 miles and it took 3 hikes to accomplish. But I was struggling on hike 3. I could tell the heat was really getting to me. If I wanted to go for the 18 miles I must stop for another rest period and hit the trails for hike 4. I had 5 miles left to go! Hike 4 felt long, yet I was hiking at the fastest pace I could. Based on my pace I was cutting it very close but I should hit 5 miles just before dark. Goal! I hit just over 18 miles of hiking, and I hiked almost all the miles alone. I hit my BIGGEST goal of 2018!
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