We are not alone

I have decided to start republishing posts from some of the blogs I read when I’m not posting my own writing. Not because I’m being lazy or I’ve run out of things to say, but because I find that one of the things that helps me the most is knowing that I am not alone in dealing with chronic illness. Having fibromyalgia or any chronic condition isolates us. We don’t want to bother others with our troubles and before long, we’re all alone in our own little bubbles of misery. I think it’s important to take the time to hear what others have to say and I am often pleasantly surprised when I do. It’s comforting to me to know that I am not the only one suffering from certain symptoms or feelings. I hope that by sharing some of what I find will bring comfort to others as well. 

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Looking up

I know that my last couple of posts have been downers. It really has been a rough summer, but it’s not all bad! I put a lot of effort into finding the good in a situation, so I wanted to take some time to talk about some of the good things that have happened over the last few months. 

For starters, I got engaged!! This happened back in May, so I’m more than a little late in announcing it, but it’s definitely been the highlight of my summer. As awful as this summer has been, there is one definite positive to come out of it: I have absolutely no doubts about the man I’m marrying. We’ve been through a lot since we got engaged and it’s only made us stronger. Even if the road gets rough, I know that he will be right there beside me every step of the way. I know that if I stumble, he’ll be there and when I regain my wings, he’ll soar right along with me. If there is a better feeling in this world, I haven’t found it. The wedding is set for early November and I could not be more excited. 

Of course I couldnt’t leave out the ring!

I’m also excited to get back on my feet. Yesterday, I got the official clearance from my doctors to get back to normal. (Yay!) It’s going to be a long road and I know it won’t be easy, but it’s nice to feel like I have at least a modicum of control back. I may be a house cat/couch potato by nature, but I’ve managed to change some of those tendencies and it’s been incredibly difficult to be forced into doing nothing. 

I’m looking forward to the challenge of getting myself moving again and I hope to have more good news to report soon! 

The light at the end of the tunnel

Saying it’s been a rough summer is a bit of an understatement. 

Several times, I started writing posts about what I was going through, but I could never get the words out. I’ve never been very good at expressing my struggles; the worse they get, the more withdrawn I become. That’s why I began writing this blog in the first place, it’s one way of dealing with life’s hurdles without the added stress of actually talking to someone.

Unfortunately, even writing out my thoughts is often difficult for me. I have no problem writing about happy, positive topics, but when it comes to pain or stress, I just feel like I’m whining. I know that there are others out there struggling with worse situations than my own and it just feels silly to sit here and whine about my problems, even when I know it will help me in the end. Which brings us to this current post, I guess I’ve hit my limit of what I can actually carry because now, the words are boiling over in my head, so here goes… 

I’ve been dealing with my own chronic illness for my entire adult life. I know how to live with it and I’ve (mostly) finally figured out how to ask for help when I need it. No big deal. It is what it is. Unfortunately, this summer I got a crash course in the monumental difference between living with a chronic illness and loving someone with a chronic illness. I may have said it’s harder to love a sick person than it is to be the sick person, but until now, I had no actual experience on which to base that observation. I can now say with absolute certainty that it’s true.  

I have no problem being the patient. I’m a great patient, (assuming you’re a doctor who doesn’t mind a million well informed questions). I do my own research before the appointment, I generally know exactly what kind of treatment I’m looking for and I’m usually fully aware of any side effects/complications involved. Unfortunately, none of this is very useful when you are not the patient. 

My fiancée has been dealing with his own chronic illness for about a year now, but over the last few months it’s been getting progressively worse and he’s had to resort to some more aggressive methods of treatment. I do what I can when we go to his appointments, but the doctors rarely want to hear from me. 

The worst part, however is having to sit idly by while he’s in misery. The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life so far is watch him being hooked up to an IV for treatment. I knew he was sick, but until that moment, the severity of his illness hadn’t really hit me. He has to go to an infusion center every few weeks or so and seeing him in there with the other patients, (many of whom are receiving treatments for things like cancer), is heart wrenching. The first time we went in, I thought I was going to burst into tears. I know that his particular illness isn’t life threatening and I know that it is treatable, but knowing that there’s nothing I can do to help only adds to my everyday anxiety.  

That was all at the start of the summer. Between the added emotional stress, taking care of my fiancée and my own existing issues, I haven’t been able to keep up with my routine. If I’m honest, I stopped working out (regularly) at the end of May, due in part to feeling under the weather myself. Much of my summer was spent taking care of my fiancée, (while trying not to smother him with attention). I made a few sporadic attempts to get back into the habit of workibg out or at least walking daily, but those were brought to a complete halt earlier this month due to serious complications with my own health. 

I’m on the mend now, but this last month brought some very difficult decisions and more pain, both physical and emotional than I have ever experienced. I am not exaggerating when I say I now know what my own personal Hell would be; I’ve experienced it at the hands of doctors and nurses under the guise of “treatment”. Before these last few weeks, I was confident that I was familiar with pain. I was wrong. What I previously believed to be a “10”, (aka, the worst pain imaginable), is now only about a “3” on my scale. I laid there, on that table and the only thing I could do was endure it; there was no way to stop it, I couldn’t even move. All I could do was lay there, screaming inside my head, silently praying for it to be over. 

I think the worst part of this whole experience is that I was not expecting that level of pain. I knew that there would be some pain involved in my treatment, but I was led to believe that it would be minimal. Too late, I learned that I had been mislead, whether or not that was intentional on the part of my doctor, I cannot say. I only know that on top of the physical pain I felt during the procedure, I am left with a seething rage as well as a feeling of complete and utter violation. 

I know I’m being rather vague, but at the moment, it’s the best I can muster. I’m just not ready to delve into the details; I still have too much left to sort through before I can process it enough to make it comprehensible. 

I spent the last 2 years training myself to channel all of my stress, pain, anger, etc. into my workouts only to have that outlet unexpectedly taken away from me. I’m not confined to bedrest, but I’m not allowed to do much either. It’s a strange and very unpleasant sensation, not knowing what to do with yourself. Once, I would have turned to art, but there’s just too much pain and emotion to wade through. It’s as though I’m full to the brim and there’s just no way to channel it into any one thing. If I could run, I could burn enough of it off to make it more manageable, but at the moment, even walking is difficult. 

I’ve screamed, cried and raged, but still, I’m overwhelmed. I can feel the black hole of depression pulling at me, drawing me in; it’s taking all of my energy at this point to keep myself from sinking. Two years ago, when I first started writing this blog, I was in much the same state, except I had actually fallen into that hole and hit the bottom. My life was falling to pieces; I was alone, in pain and had no idea how to handle any of it.

I may be in pain now, but I am not alone. That knowledge is truly the only thing that keeps me going. Not only do I have my amazing fiancée, I have my family and I have those of you reading these words. Even if only one other person out there reads this, it is enough to remind me that I am not alone and that is the true source of light at the end of the tunnel.

Pain and guilt

Lately, I’m rediscovering just how insidious pain really is. If there ever was a double edged sword, it’s name was pain. Living with pain is one thing. I find it far easier to manage my day to day issues when I’m on my own. Loving with pain, however is a whole new form of anguish. 

Part of the problem is that pain is completely subjective; you can never fully understand someone else’s pain and no one will ever understand yours. If I’m on my own, I don’t worry about that. My pain is my own and I don’t feel the need to share it with anyone else. The truth, however, is that I am rarely on my own. I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have nearly always been surrounded by people who love me. They want to understand what I’m going through or how I feel and that’s where things get messy for me. There is no way to share your pain without inflicting it on others, which is why I generally keep it to myself. It makes me feel guilty to watch my loved ones suffer under the weight of my pain. They can’t physically feel it, but I’ve found that describing it in detail is often enough to cause emotional pain in someone else. 

I don’t mind keeping my pain inside, I’m used to it; most of the time sharing it just makes it feel worse. Sometimes though, some very rare times, the only thing I want is for someone to understand; someone to share the burden when it just gets to be too heavy to carry on my own. 

Every now and then I run into an instance that forces me to reevaluate the very scale by which I measure pain. Something happens that makes me realize what I thought was a 10 (aka the worst pain you could imagine), was a joke. Those events leave echoes that eat away at me for hours, days or even weeks after the pain itself is gone. 

Then, I have a choice: 

A) I can suffer in silence and make everyone around me miserable 

or 

B) I can choose to let someone in, sob my way through a generally graphic, horrifying description of my agony, thus sharing the burden. 

At first glance, it’s a no-brainer. Obviously, I should choose B, if that really helps. And yet… If I choose B, yes, my mind is eased a bit, as far as the physical pain is concerned. Then comes the backlash. I’ve just unloaded my physical trauma onto someone I love and now I have to watch them struggle under the weight of this new knowledge. They now have new concerns about me or my wellbeing, they empathize with me and now they’re stuck with the image of my suffering in their heads. In the end, the guilt I feel over dumping that burden on someone else makes me feel even worse. 

I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty about it, I know that that’s exactly what a support system is for, but I can’t help it. If I had my way, none of my loved ones would ever suffer. I can’t stand the thought of being the cause of their suffering and I hate feeling like I’ve just heaped a whole new load of worry on their plates. 

Right now, you’re probably thinking that I should consider counseling. Believe me, I have. I’ve been to many different therapists who specialize in pain management, they’ve all been extremely wonderful. My problem is that I’m never able to really open up. Even after seeing the same person for months, by the time I get to their office, I’ve mentally tidied up all my issues into nice, neat little packages and when I talk about them, it’s as though I’m discussing the weather. More than one therapist has outright told me that they don’t know how to help me because they can’t get a read on how I feel about any of what I tell them. It’s not intentional on my part, it’s just that I have trouble connecting with people and if you’re outside my little circle, it’s incredibly difficult for me to let you in.

The upside, (which I’ve been realizing as I type this), is that writing it down and putting it out here helps. Sometimes, you just need to be heard, even if what you actually say doesn’t directly relate to the issue you’re dealing with. 

“16 Things People With Chronic Pain Wanna Tell You”

Thank you to Dianna Labrien for writing this article on LifeHack.org!! I have simply reposted Dianna’s entire article, but the original article can be found here

  
It’s not just in our head. The pain is there and always would be even if there is no apparent reason for it. Our pain is real and will not just go away after we take some pills for a week or two. It would always be there and we have learned to live with it. Here are 16 more things we wish you knew about us!

1. We Don’t Make a Mountain out a of Molehill

You think you can imagine our pain? Now multiply that amount by 10. No matter how sympathetic you are, studies have proved that people tend to underestimate other people’s pain. Chronic pain by default is hard to imagine unless you have experienced it in your life. It’s invisible, but it is always there. We urge health care not out of hypochondria or the need for attention, but because of our severe physical state.

2. We Need to Balance Actions Carefully

We use the Spoon Theory: We have a limited amount of spoons each day we could use for different actions. Getting up, getting dressed, taking a shower, driving, walking, picking up the phone — each action requires us to use one of our precious spoons. On good days, we finish with a few spoons left, so we can do something fun. On bad days, we borrow spoons from the next day and need extra recovery afterwards. So if we suddenly cancel our plans with you or tell we can’t do it now — it’s just because we ran out of spoons today. Try to understand this.
3. We Struggle to Find a Good Doctor

Sadly, a lot of health care pros lack knowledge in pain management because it is rarely part of their training. We often visit numerous specialists before receiving a proper diagnosis and wait months to years to see a real pain specialist for treatment. Doctors often fall victim to the cognitive error of underestimating another’s pain and a small number of doctors are willing to take the legal risks involved in prescribing powerful pain pills.

Same goes with the nurses. Finding a good one who can really understand and help us relieve the pain is hard! Luckily, there are some online schools like Sacred Heart University that are training future nurse leaders to overcome these issues in the future and provide better care for patients.
While you may think it’s crazy, we’re willing to travel further to find a good nurse with this kind of training and rave about it when we find one.

4. We Are Not Lazy

Remember the limited amount of spoons we have? Now add the fact that it takes twice as much effort for us to complete even simple things. We try harder than other folks, yet we still manage to accomplish less.
5. We Try to Look Our Best
“But you don’t look sick” is one of the most common phrases you hear if you have invisible disease. Well yes, we try to look our best even on bad days when our body explodes from pain. We dress up carefully to cover up our bruises or swelling, take painkillers at the optimal time, and rest before going out. We would love to pass as normal as much as possible! Even if we feel pain, we would keep it to ourselves until the moment we step into our apartment and just collapse.
6. We Don’t Ignore You

Sometimes our pain occupies too much space in our brains and we simply cannot focus on anything else. Pain can be very distracting and mentally draining, so please forgive us when we can’t give all the attention to you.

7. We Know Our Illness Won’t Go Away

It’s always there. We can’t escape. And yes, we have researched all the possible options. If there was a cure, we would know about it!

8. We Are Not Drug Seekers

Sadly, we need to explain that both to the doctors and folks around. We don’t want drugs. We want anything to make the pain go away even for a little while. So yes, sometimes our treatment requires taking opioids or medical marijuana. We treat those just like any other remedy. And no, we are not particularly fond of the side effects either.
In fact, as the Cleveland Clinic explains: Addiction appears to be distinctly uncommon in patients without a prior history of addiction. Addiction is a psychological phenomenon that isn’t caused by chemical components of the drugs and typically requires a setting different from the one we have. We take our drugs under supervision and come back home to the loving family unlike the street-users.
9. We Don’t Always Know How to Manage Our Pain
Just because we have been dealing with it for ages doesn’t mean we always know how to tame it. Sometimes, we have very bad days when no previous routines help. We just close our eyes and wish those would pass faster.
10. We Get Super Active on Good Days

Physically feeling good is just about the most exciting feeling we can have! We can do our chores normally, go on a day trip, meet with a bunch of people at a time, and even think of running a marathon. On a good day we are super active and excited with everything, trying to get as much done as possible!
11. We Don’t Want You to Stop Inviting Us Out
No matter how many times we have said “no” we still want to be part of the gang and go out when we really can do it.
12. We Don’t Have a Job for a Reason
Again, we are not lazy. It’s just that we often lack spoons to work on the top of our other activities and daily chores. Besides, most employees refuse to take staff for a few hours per week and tolerate the fact that we can leave at the middle of the day if our pain gets unbearable.

On the bright side though, thanks to technology we can work from home in our own pace, doing various jobs online, selling stuff on eBay or Etsy, learn everything we need from self-help and nursing to design or coding online. If we don’t have a regular job, it doesn’t mean we can accomplish nothing in life. Multiple sclerosis did not stop Vanessa Heywood from creating an award-winning music company!

13. We Don’t Want Sympathy, We Want Acceptance
Instead of making that “I’m so sorry for you” sad face, treat us like equals. It’s not that you should completely ignore our condition, but show us you are ok with it and ready to make small adjustments for us.
14. We Don’t Want Your Medical Advice
Believe me, we have heard enough already and feel frustrated, as they don’t work. Thanks for the thought, but let’s just talk of something else. My disease does not define me. I know a lot of other interesting things, I would love to discuss with you instead.
15. We Need to Know You Are Here for Us
No matter how self-sufficient and independent we try to appear, sometimes we just need you to be here with us and hold our hand on a bad day.
16. We Appreciate You and Everything You Do for Us
You should never forget that. We are eternally grateful for supporting us and making us feel loved!

Featured photo credit: carianoff via flickr.com

the semicolon project

Depression and anxiety are no strangers to me. I’ve found that they often go hand in hand with chronic illness, but it’s easy to forget that they can be crippling all on their own. I appreciate how open and honest this post is, we need more discussions like this, now more than ever.

hpwritesblogs

FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

View original post 1,331 more words

What makes a peron “real”?

I need a moment to vent. 

I am sick and tired of seeing these “real women/men have…”, posts. Have we forgotten that there is beauty in diversity? Think for a moment how boring the world would be if we all looked exactly the same. Arguing over what we as individuals perceive as “beautiful” is as pointless as arguing over whether or not a person likes the flavor of strawberries. If you don’t like strawberries, fine! That just leaves more for me, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you’re “wrong” for not liking strawberries or that simply by not liking strawberries you’re “shaming” those of us that do. 

I understand that the media has totally warped the public perception of beauty. Practically every image that we see on TV or in magazines has been photoshopped within an inch of its life. The people we see in advertisements, etc. are not “real” people; they are, at best, artistic interpretations of “real” people. This is a problem because it makes us criticize ourselves. We hold ourselves up to these “perfect” images and find ourselves lacking. We’re too fat, too thin, our teeth aren’t perfectly straight or we have too many freckles… The list is endless. My point is, out in the real world, no one can ever match up to these digitally enhanced images of “perfection”. No one. Not even the models that were in the original photograph. 

Imagine being that model: you go in for a photo shoot and it goes really well. Then the ad comes out and the pictures look nothing like you! They’ve taken 10lbs off of your frame, scrubbed away your laugh lines and your freckles, whitened your teeth… How must that feel to know that you, even with professional make up, hair and costumes weren’t good enough to make the final cut? 
The problem here is not with people as individuals, it’s with the media. So why is it that we attack each other? Instead of banding together to demand changes from the media, we sit at home and attack other individuals. Every single day I see posts on my Facebook feed about how some random person is “body shaming” one shape or another.
So what if Susie has been working really hard to lose weight? She isn’t doing it to offend you, she’s doing it for herself. She has every right to proclaim how thrilled she is to have finally reached her goal weight. Just because she makes a big deal about it does not mean that she is making an attempt to shame anyone else. Yet, here it is, plastered across my newsfeed because Katie got offended by Susie’s weight loss and felt the need to accuse Susie of “fat shaming”. Suddenly, total strangers are rallying against Susie and everyone is upset because she was proud of the changes she worked so hard to achieve and wanted to share her accomplishment. 
Why is this ok? Even if Susie is a celebrity of some sort, why are we attacking her? Did she say “only people who look like this are beautiful”? Even if she posted her before picture and made a comment about how awful she looked, that’s her personal opinion, about her own body. Having her own opinion makes her “real” in my book, no matter what shape or size she is; if she is happy with herself, who am I to tell her she’s wrong?
I whole heartedly agree that need to promote the idea that there is beauty in every shape, size and color, but attacking individual people because their personal view on beauty is not the way to do it. “Real” people have their own thoughts and their own feelings; have we forgotten that there is beauty in this as well? 

Allow me to (re)introduce myself

It has been two years since I first decided to turn my life around and start writing about my journey. Looking back now, I can honestly, (and proudly), say that I am not the same person that I was two years ago. Since fighting fibromyalgia is an ongoing battle and I intend to keep chronicling my fight, I thought it would be appropriate to reintroduce myself to those of you who have wandered into my little corner of the web. 

My name is Christina and the most important thing you should know about me is that I am happy. I don’t just mean with my life or the people in it, I am happy with myself. For the last two years, I have been actively creating my own happiness, by seeking out the things that make me feel good and eliminating those that don’t. For me, happiness isn’t in my bank account or my jeans size, it’s in what I do each day. 
I am a runner. I am neither the fastest nor the slowest and I don’t run for miles at a time, but I run by choice. More importantly, I love it. Running has taught me how to listen to my body, I know when to slow down and I know when I can speed up. I have learned that having a bad run every now and then is a good thing; it allows me to truly appreciate the great runs. When things get stressful, I lace up my sneakers and I just go. Instead of punishing myself by wallowing in stress, I punish the pavement beneath my feet and I am free, even if it’s only for a few minutes. 
I am an artist, with a creative streak that refuses to be denied. I paint, draw, crochet and in case of emergency, (or boredom), sing weird little songs about my cats and house plants. 
I am also a teacher, although I don’t have a herd of students or a classroom to call my own. Instead, I have the privilege of working with two wonderful children for a few days a week in their home. I suppose that some might call me a “babysitter” or a “nanny”, but when was the last time you met a babysitter that enjoyed finger-painting or understood what a “teachable moment” was? Several year ago, I had given up on being able to ever put my passion and experience to good use, but I discovered my own path that allows me to continue teaching and interacting with children without putting my sanity at risk. 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that my life is all puppy dogs and cupcakes, (actually, there aren’t nearly enough cupcakes, for my tastes). I still have bad, (and really bad), days and I still get grumpy. I am still completely capable of being a hot tempered bitch, the difference is that I have learned how to manage it a bit better. Exercise gives me a proper outlet for both the pain and the rage. It also helps me fight the crippling depression that often follows a flare up and it allows me to clear my head, which is very useful for stressful situations. 
On the bad days, I have to fight against myself to keep moving, but if I have learned anything over the last few years, it’s that the clouds always pass. 

“I regret that workout”

Said no one, ever. 
You might regret your choice of exercise, but when all is said and done, you will never regret the workout itself. Believe me, I know that sometimes, it’s hard to get up and get moving. There’s always at least one day a week where I feel like I literally cannot do anything; if it’s not from pain, it’s from simply being exhausted. Those days suck and on those days the absolute last thing I want to do is any form of exercise, (even though I know that in the end I’ll feel better for it). 
Today was one of those days. It’s spring time, which means that the world outside looks like some kind of demented yellow snow globe. There is pollen EVERYWHERE and I am allergic to basically all of it. Thankfully, I’m not as bad off as some people, but it’s enough to make me sniffle, sneeze, cough, wheeze and generally miserable for at least a few weeks. Add that on top of the fibro issues and it can be a real mess, which is where I was earlier today. I didn’t sleep well because I was too busy blowing my nose, so as you can imagine, moving around was not high on my list of “wants” today. 
Somehow, I managed to convince myself to put my workout clothes on. I could have easily walked around the neighborhood, but I know myself well enough to know that if I stayed close to the house, I wouldn’t get very far before giving up. Instead, I forced myself into the car and drove up to a nearby park. Once I got there, it was far easier to put one foot in front of the other; what else was I going to do? 
No, it wasn’t my most stellar performance, but the important thing is that I made it happen. Yes, I did spend the first half of my walk cursing myself as an idiot for “dragging my sorry ass out into this pollen riddled hell hole”, (I was really grumpy), but as I finished the last leg of my route, I started to feel awesome. I checked my Fitbit and saw that I had made my step goal for the day and I actually cheered out loud. By the time I made it back to my pollen encrusted car, I felt fabulous and not just from exercise induced endorphins; I was proud of myself for doing it. What could have been a really cruddy day turned into a victory day; not because my situation changed, but because I chose to make it a victory. There is always a choice, you just have to remember to make it. 

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! 
  

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