I was told that if I had chronic pain or fibromyalgia, or CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) etc then I should definitely not do hard exercise. I have been so incredibly ok with this advice that I just decided that exercise was not that important. I was wrong. What they also told me is that it was essential that I get moving and continue in a regular exercise program to keep myself as good as I could be. I have been told many times to keep up with exercise programs that were low impact but strength building. Swimming, walking and yoga were exercise regimes of choice.
Laying in bed a few months back, I figured I should probably do something drastic to get me out of these drastically awful circumstances. Yes, I would go against the “soft” exercise program like swimming, walking, or yoga and go headlong into the world of running. I always hated it, had seen healthy people doing it and put two and two together. I should do exactly as they don’t recommend and specifically what I hate to do and… RUN!
I figured I may as well do what I could do to make this actually happen and that’s what I’m going to tell you now. It took a few steps and trial and error along the way, but I came up with some strategies I will go on to use in life.
1. I gave myself a really rewarding goal. I was going to run in a 5 km run/walk. I was going to RUN the entire way!! My goal was the 5 km. The destination was the reward. Canmore, Alberta!! The mountains. How much more motivating could that get? Running in the mountains. Join me at my humor blog to see how that really went when I got there.
2. I made sure that the equipment I was using to run was good enough for me not to be bothered by discomfort. With fibro my whole body is sensitive to extra pain/discomfort. I affirmed my shoes were good to go, that my clothes were light and easy dry and that chafing was at a minimum. Jogging in my cotton shorts that rode up every step I took was a no-go. Running in a raincoat that didn’t breathe was not helping. I went and found what I could within my budget to make sure I was as comfortable as possible during the excruciating thing called training.
3. I found a program that works and used my son’s iPod that would help me in the training program. I downloaded the Couch to 5km program. It was great to have the program tell me when to walk/jog rather than me having to keep track on my watch. As the program progressed it was helpful to see what I had accomplished. I moved through the weeks very slowly at first, making sure I could do what they were “asking” before moving on. Week three kicked my butt but I made sure I could run the interval that it was scheduled for before I moved on. I also downloaded MapMyRun which is a GPS program that showed the pace I was at, how far I had gone etc. It was all helpful in seeing how I was doing and how I was improving. Very encouraging!!
4. I celebrated my improvements and forgave myself for the “bad” days. I had a group of people I could call or send an email and receive encouragement from right away. I told myself I would not let the failure mentality bring me down as it had so often in years past.I used to beat myself up inside when I didn’t do it (Any physical discipline that was hard) at the level I should so then I would quit. I determined NOT TO QUIT! If I had a bad day I would get back at ‘er.
5. I prayed and acknowledged that only God could do this in me and through me. I prayed that HE would get the credit for any good that came out of this. He was the one who led and directed me in this. He gave me the dream. The dream of the impossible, for it truly felt impossible in the beginning when I couldn’t even walk 3 km.
6. I DID it!! Even though I found out the race would be at an elevation higher than I was used to and that my body would most likely react to that in some way, I decided that all the training wouldn’t let me down. Not only that, my determination and God’s strength would keep me going. I did it, even though I had a migraine of horrible proportions that week and couldn’t train even once. I kept on going, knowing that it would be an accomplishment to do the 5 km even if I had to walk, though I was determined not to.
In the end, my time was terrible. I was not in a race though. Even if it was a “race” I was not racing against people, I was racing to beat my own fears and doubts into submission. I ran to overcome all the lies that told me that I couldn’t do it, for so many reasons. I did it to show God’s mercy and grace and love toward this one little gal from the prairies. He did it! He did it through me! A broken and weak vessel.
I set myself up to succeed as much as I could, but God gave me what I needed in the end. He gave me the pep talk in the rain. HE whispered “You can do this…you can run a little further…you can stop listening to your legs screaming and listen to me.”
We ran it together and together we will stay forever. It’s cool to think what could be next with God and I. It’s a wonder! It was a miracle!
Disclaimer: I would advise that if you suffer from Fibro, CFS, arthritis or any other debilitating and deteriorating disease that you consult your Dr. I did. He thought I was crazy but that it was good. When you find something you want to do then do it, and do it safely. I wanted to make sure I didn’t injure myself while running and learning how to do it. Please do learn how to do whatever exercise safely for your condition and take it slowly. You will improve in time. I have been sick a long time so don’t expect myself to change very fast. I still have a long ways to go and have set a goal to work toward slowly.