Race day!! Shamrock 8k 2015

Over the weekend, I ran in the Shamrock 8k for the second time! I wish I could find a way to explain how much fun these events actually are without using scary words like “run” or “race”. It sounds intimidating, (and it can be), but once you’re there and actually moving, it’s a LOT of fun. There are people from all walks of life, every shape and size imaginable and they all share the same goal: crossing the finish line.  Everyone is excited, people are dressed up in crazy costumes and total strangers are cheering you on. Honestly, most of these races feel more like giant block parties where everyone just happens to be moving rather quickly. 

I always spend the first mile or two of a race questioning my sanity and cursing myself, (this time was no different!), but by the time I cross the finish line, I feel incredible. No matter how hard the run was or how much pain I’m in, at the end, I feel invincible simply because I did it. 

Once upon a time, a doctor told me that I could “probably have a mostly normal life”, and to be honest, he didn’t even seem to believe that when he was saying it. Before I had even turned 20, I was being told that I would spend the rest of my life in misery; that the best I could ever hope for was temporary relief and the possibility of a mostly normal life. Every time I went in to the doctor’s office, I had nurses and receptionists saying “but you’re so young!”, as though my entire life was already over. The worst part is, I believed them. I took their words as gospel and I believed that my life was going to be a living hell until the day I died. That would have been my reality, had I not realized one simple truth: the only one who could save me was myself. Disease or no, my happiness is and has always been in my own two hands. I realized that the only way to escape the hell I was living in was to fight. 
I choose to fight by putting one foot in front of the other. Every time I run in a race and cross that finish line, I win. It doesn’t matter that I will never be the fastest person there; the only thing that matters is that I fought my way through to the end. This time, my opponent was an 8k course along the Virginia Beach Boardwalk, my goal was to finish it in under 01:10:00. Last year, I completed this same race in 01:07:49; this year, I was a little bit slower, coming in at 01:08:09. I admit, I am a little bit bummed that I didn’t beat last year’s time, but that’s ok, there is always a next time! 

Acupuncture and shamrocks

Hooray for warmer weather! As much as I love snow, I’m really glad that it’s gone. It’s nice to be able to get out for a walk without having to put on 27 layers of clothing. Winter is hard for me because the cold hurts. I find it very difficult to stay active when it’s cold and dreary, which means it’s considerably harder for me to find relief from the pain caused by the cold. Staying active is the only sure fire method that works for me, but I still continue to look for other alternatives. If you’ve read my other posts, you’ll know that I’ve tried a wide variety of approaches to find pain relief and have had little success with most of them. Up until this point, the only thing I haven’t tried was acupuncture; however, I have finally decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. 

Honestly, to say that I am skeptical about this treatment is an understatement. It was all I could do to not roll my eyes when the acupuncturist I’m seeing gave me her spiel about how much better I would feel. The important thing is, I am willing to try. So far, I’ve had two sessions and I can’t say that I’ve noticed any change in my pain. What I can tell you is that after each session, I feel energized. Not just immediately after, either. After my first treatment, I noticed an increase in my energy for several days. I had my second treatment yesterday afternoon and I am definitely still feeling it. It’s not pain relief, but there’s definitely something happening, so I’m willing to keep at it. If I’m really lucky, this energy boost will last until Saturday and get me through the Shamrock 8k. Fingers crossed! 
Speaking of the Shamrock, I’ve got to say that I’m a little nervous about it. Like I said earlier, winter is a tough season for me, and I didn’t get to spend the time preparing for this race like I had planned. I had the same problem last year, so maybe this just isn’t the best race race for me. I’m still shooting to complete the 4.9 mile course in an hour and 10 minutes, which is the same goal I set for myself last year. My final time last year was 01:07:49, I’m honestly not sure I can beat or even repeat that, but I am darn sure going to give it my best shot! After my human pin cushion session yesterday, I went for a trial “run”, (which wasn’t a run at all, just a fast walk), and I managed to make it in just under 01:12. Not bad, considering that I didn’t push myself to the max; if the race was happening at 3pm, I’d be set. Unfortunately, it starts at about 8am… Let’s just say that I am not a morning person. 
Something else interesting happened while I was out on my walk yesterday. I found this: 

A “lucky” four leaf clover and on St. Patrick’s day, no less! Perhaps if I carry it with me on Saturday, it’ll bring me some luck? 

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll be sure to check in after the race!