Race Day, The Shamrock 8k

Shamrock results

On Saturday, March 15, 2014, at 9:15 am, I crossed the finish line for the Shamrock 8k, 2 minutes and 11 seconds under my goal time!! I’ll be honest, I have no idea how I actually managed it. The race started at 7:45 am, and I was only running on about 4 hours of sleep… I am amazed that I finished it at all, let alone under my goal time. I spent about the first 2 miles of the race cursing myself for being out there in the first place and wondering why on earth I ever thought this was a good idea. Seriously. Thankfully, around mile 2, I finally found my stride and was able to put my butt in gear. I may have been hating myself initially, but I am so glad that I was stubborn enough to push through to the finish.  Even after all of the training I put myself through, this was one tough run.

Would I do it again? Hell yes! As a matter of fact, I’m already considering my next venture into insanity: The Wicked 10k, where I’ll get to run down the boardwalk dressed as a giraffe. I’ve got until the end of October to create the perfect giraffe running outfit and get myself ready to actually run 6 miles… I’m not fully committed to this one yet, but the urge to do it gets stronger every time I say the phrase “running down the board walk dressed as a giraffe”, so chances are good that I’ll end up doing it. Hopefully, I’ll be running with the BFF for this one, but even if she doesn’t run with me, she’ll be dressed up in a matching giraffe costume, since it was mostly her idea… 🙂  Don’t worry, there will be pictures!

I know it sounds like I’m treating this lightly, but for me, running these races is no joke. It has been getting easier, but most days, every single step is still a fight, both mentally and physically. I’m not running because I feel good, I’m running in order to feel good. I know that as soon as I stop moving, the fibro wins, but there are some days where even that knowledge isn’t enough to keep me going; on those days, it’s the support of my loved ones that keeps me going.  Thank you guys for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. Extra special thanks to Aaron for getting up at 6am and dragging my whining carcass out of bed and down to the starting line, knowing you would be at the finish line is what kept me moving forward.

 

Shamrock finish

 

Advertisements

Fighting fibro with fire

This weekend, I will be running, (or attempting to, anyway), in my second race, the Shamrock 8k. My last race was a 5k, so this one will be a bit harder. I was so excited about this race up until a few weeks ago, when I came down with a rather nasty cold that lasted for 2 solid weeks. Prior to the cold, I was able to complete 8k in just under 55 minutes, which thrilled me because my original goal was to finish in under 60.

Unfortunately, that cold has set me back considerably. I did a practice run Saturday afternoon and I came in at 68 minutes, which was a struggle to achieve. Considering that I have three days left before the race, there’s just no way I’m going to be able to improve on that time.

Am I disappointed? Yes, I am extremely disappointed. Did I spend entirely too much time freaking out about my run time? Yeah, I did. However, while I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself, I realized that even if I don’t finish the race with the time I had hoped, at least I’ll finish it. A year ago, I couldn’t have even dreamed of walking 5 miles, let alone running a 5 mile race. Even if it takes me 90 minutes, it’s a massive improvement over where I was 12 months ago.

So, with that thought in mind, Saturday morning, I will be getting up bright and super early (for me at least), and I’m going to give this thing everything I’ve got. I don’t care about placing or prizes, I’m not doing this to impress anyone; I’m doing this for me, to remind myself that I am stronger than I think I am. For me, running this race is just one more way to fight fibro with fire.

For a friend

If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that to live is to fight. Each of us has their own private battle to fight and most of us silently carry on that fight every single day. The primary reason that I started writing this blog was to break that silence. I needed to get out of my own head; I honestly didn’t care if anyone else ever read my story, I just needed to get it out there.

I quickly discovered that my words were not just reaching other people, but were actually helping them as well. Through comments and e-mails, I have learned that I am not alone in my struggle and that by breaking my silence, I have inspired others to seek help or make changes in their own lives. Sometimes, simply knowing that you’re not alone in your fight makes it easier to bear.

On that note, there are a few more walls that I would like to begin breaking down. My hope is that sharing this part of my journey will help others see their own paths more clearly.

Since I started writing this blog, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the effects exercise and weight loss have had on my battle with fibromyalgia. This blog was never meant to be about the weight loss itself, but about how losing the weight helped my condition. I have no intentions of changing that, however, a recent conversation with a very dear friend has made it obvious to me that I have left out some details that are important to my story.

I have been overweight my entire life. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I was constantly teased and ridiculed about my weight. I hid my self consciousness behind a wall of books, which did nothing to help the problem. When I was diagnosed with poly cystic ovarian syndrome, at the age of 16, my doctor told me it was due to my being overweight and that it was possible I might be in the early stages of type 2 diabetes. In the course of an afternoon, my weight went from a minor inconvenience to a major issue.

My parents did everything they could to help me. My mother somehow managed to show her concern about my weight without ever once making me feel embarrassed about it, (which is a truly amazing feat when dealing with a teenager). We went to nutrition counseling, the whole family went to the gym together, we started riding bikes together… Nothing helped.

I ended up going to an endocrinologist who prescribed a variety of prescriptions to help control my insulin levels, but he seemed more concerned that I would develop “abnormal facial hair” than anything else. I guess his choices in drugs helped, as I never did develop the mustache he always asked about.

My weight stayed basically the same until I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. What my rheumatologist failed to mention when he began prescribing medication to treat the fibro was that nearly every drug they used at the time had a side effect of weight gain. I gained about 60 pounds over the course of a year, putting me more than 100 pounds over what is considered a “healthy” weight for my frame. Suddenly my endocrinologist started using words like “morbidly obese” and prescribing actual weight loss drugs.

The weight loss drugs had very little impact on my weight. I was at a loss. I tried Weight Watchers, diet supplements, going to the gym and various other diet plans, all to no avail. To be honest, I just sort of gave up. By making changes in my eating habits, I was able to beat the insulin resistance and eventually my endocrinologist actually said “unless you’re interested in weight loss surgery, there’s nothing else I can do for you”.

I left the doctor’s office that day feeling angry and completely hopeless. I was already battling fibromyalgia and I felt like I was doing everything I could to lose weight. Looking back on it now, I can see that while I was trying to lose the weight, my heart just wasn’t in it. I was trying to lose weight because everyone was telling me I needed to, not because it was what I wanted. I’m not saying that I wanted to be fat, I didn’t, but I wasn’t ready to put forth the amount of effort required to do anything about it.

Skip ahead about a year or so, to 2007. I finally found a combination of medicines to help me manage the symptoms without putting on extra pounds. In fact, the new meds actually helped me drop around 35 pounds, but only because they literally killed my appetite. In truth, it got to the point that I had to be reminded to eat. There were several occasions where I nearly fainted from not eating, simply because I was never hungry. It took some time, but I did eventually get things ironed out so that I could manage my symptoms without inadvertently starving myself.

Through sheer luck, I managed to keep my weight stable over the next few years, even after the fibro forced me to stop working altogether. In early 2012, my husband and I decided we’d had enough of being overweight and went on a joint diet. If I’m completely honest, I only started the diet in an effort to support him; I had already resigned myself to being overweight and firmly believed that there was nothing I could do about it.

We changed our eating habits by monitoring portion sizes, choosing healthy alternatives to junk food and counting our calorie intake. We tried to become more active, but that was where I fell off the wagon. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was also battling depression, which kept me from being the partner I should have been. Over the next 4 months or so, I lost a grand total of 15 pounds; not bad, considering I was in full blown slug mode. At this point, I hit one of those plateaus dreaded by all dieters, and I just didn’t have the energy to cross it. Thankfully, due to our diet changes, I was able to keep the weight off.

Fast forward to my very first blog post in May 2013: I finally found the drive I needed to pull myself out of slug mode.

I truly wish I could explain how it happened. All I can say is that something in my head shifted and suddenly I just knew that I could become a better me. I woke up one morning and simply decided that I was going to change things. I decided to lose weight in order to feel better, not because someone else told me I needed to or because I wanted to look good in a swim suit.

For me, that was the key. I needed to consciously decide that it was what *I* wanted. Once I did that, the determination, the will, to make it happen was just there. I didn’t have to struggle to get started, I just did it. Yes, some days are harder than others and some days I have to fight to keep going, but I know in my heart that I’m doing it for me, and that is what gives me the strength to carry on.

For those of you out there who are struggling to lose weight, take a second to think about why you’re doing it. Are you doing it to please someone else or is it what YOU want? The mind is a powerful thing, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you decide to do it.

20140306-133804.jpg

Blog Stats

  • 5,434 hits