Tag Archives: Running

Running with Pain

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Mo...

English: Female Jogger on Coleman Avenue in Morro Bay, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gasping, shuffling, puffing and looking at my watch to see that only a few seconds had passed since I had last checked, I kept jogging badly until the one minute mark hit. Walking with a slight limp, I gratefully hoarded air into my lungs and cringed when I saw that I only had three minutes left to walk before my next minute of jogging.

These were the first few weeks, that felt like years, of my foray into the world of jogging. I had made the commitment to “run” in a 5km  in September and I had only four months to prepare. The snow had just cleared off of the road and I pushed myself out the door, mentally kicking and screaming. Pain and fatigue had pushed me into such a tight corner that I desperately fought back by training for a run. Never, ever in my life had I imagined myself in such a spot.

The Couch to 5K program typically takes 9 weeks to complete. I took all four months. I still have a week left in the “program” before I technically complete it. I have nine days until I run the race.

I didn’t realize how mental the game of running is until I came to a point where the program pushed me to run eight minutes. I was pretty sure I couldn’t do it. Then again, I thought to myself, I had just run five minutes consecutively a few days before. Eight minutes were not even double that so I think I can do this. My brain changed during that run. When I wanted to quit, I told myself “I can do this …it’s only 3 minutes more”. As I ran, I avoided looking at the time. When I finally did, I realized that I had already done five minutes. Surely I could do three more! I dragged my feet on the ground, hardly able to lift them, but lift them I did. After that, it got easier to convince myself that I could do it! It was a miracle, really. If I couldn’t do the full-time I just kept trying, week after week, until my body said “YES!!”

With Fibro/Chronic Fatigue/arthritis, I couldn’t do it some days even if my mind was saying I wanted to. There were a few days I just couldn’t. I decided that even if I just walked or got out a bit, that was better than nothing. If I really couldn’t even get out of the door I let myself off for the day and knew I’d get back at it when I could. I let myself go from the guilt I usually place on myself when I “fail”. I determined that God was at work and I would be a willing vessel, so to speak. I would not quit this time.

The miracle of movement and energy has been overwhelming this summer. As time and training has passed I have been so thankful that my energy levels have gone way up. That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days anymore, but  I am able to do much more than I could just six months ago. I feel like I have a long way to go, but looking back it’s been  a hike already.

I have had incredible support throughout this summer with my attempts at running. My dear man, bless his heart, thought that I should do something besides running when I told him what I was going to do. After seeing me get out the door and make some progress he changed his tune and expressed that he was impressed with how I was coming along. My mom, sweet lady that she is, thought I should do something less dramatic when I told her I was going to do this crazy thing called running. She, as well as my dad, became my biggest encourager as well. The list goes on with the people who have cheered me on and it has kept me going. God works through the words of his people, I tell ya! I don’t know if I have ever felt that kind of support before. I consider many of my friends and family encouraging but in this difficult task I didn’t know I needed the words of support until I had people express them to me.

In a little over a week the official “run” will be over. I have thought about what I will do to keep up the momentum and not fall back on old habits. I only know how easy it is to hibernate and not move at all during the winter months. I have formulated some ideas to keep me going. I may just surprise myself again. You never know.

How about you? What are you going to do to keep moving this winter? I live nowhere near a gym or exercise facility. I never have liked exercising in my home but know I will have to do something. How about you give me some ideas?

Next time, I’m going to give away the secrets I found out that worked to help me be successful in training while living with chronic pain.

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I’m not dead and I can prove it

I am doing something I thought I’d die happy never doing. Jogging. I know I posted about it before but it’s seriously a big deal around these parts. Family members don’t believe it. Friends are skeptical. Kids are puzzled.

How did this strange thing come about?

About a year and a half ago, I started having migraines, then I started having anxiety symptoms that were uncontrollable, after that I had what I thought was strokes or MS. To top it all off, I was pretty certain I was going to die. I’m not talking the type of thinking that hypochondriacs do. I’m talking about all these weird symptoms that were coming out of nowhere and smacking me down. Lumps in my breast area really freaked me (and the ER physician) out. Fatigue punched me in the face and pain became a constant presence that I wanted to hurt back. If I could have kicked pain’s sorry butt I would have.

The good news is that I’m not dead from breast cancer, I’m not suffering from MS, and my fatigue, while still ever-present, is not hanging from every limb like an overgrown fungus. I am alive!!

There were so many moments with God this last year that I can’t recount every one to tell you how amazing they were. Some of those moments were rending the air with curses. The pain got so intense for so long I secretly wanted to die. If you’ve ever had the kind of pain that is so endless that you would cut off the limb or body part and throw it out the nearest window just to be done with it, then you know what I’m talking about. That kind of pain and tiredness can drive one into depression, which is where I ended up eventually.

The other times with my sweet Jesus were times of healing. When the Dr. felt lumps under my arm instead of diagnosing me with a stomach ulcer I freaked a little.. I felt the lumps, felt the other strange symptoms and knew that if I did have cancer it would probably be the end for me. At that point, I didn’t think there was much to lose by starting to exercise and get closer to my Lord. I know, that sounds so stupid. I wanted to make my last months, if that was truly what was happening, good ones. Physical exercise would help me if I was either dying or not. I plugged my iPod in and got on the elliptical.  This song came on and my heart came undone. God ministered to me in those minutes.

Hold My Heart (Tenth Avenue North)

How long must I pray
Must I pray to You
How long must I wait
Must I wait for You
How long till I see Your face
See You shining through

I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You turn to me

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

I’ve been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye
But if there’s no other way
I’m done asking why

‘Cause I’m on my knees
Begging You to notice me
I’m on my knees
Father, will You run to me, yeah

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart

So many questions without answers
Your promises remain
I can’t see but I’ll take my chances
To hear you call my name
To hear you call my name

One tear in the driving rain
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart
One life, that’s all I am
Right now I can barely stand
If You’re everything You say You are
Would You come close and hold my heart
Hold my heart
Could You hold my heart
Hold my heart

I had previously felt like one tear in the driving rain. One voice in a sea of pain. I had felt like I was one insignificant little girl who didn’t have the attention of the Maker of the Stars. At that moment I knew. I knew He loved me. He saw me. He cared. He cared about my anxious heart. He knew I could barely stand. I knew he would hold my heart and heal it. It became my prayer.

“Jesus hold my heart.”

That was the beginning. I’ve posted about how I asked God to deal with my anxiety if it was something I could do, or confess or whatever. I wanted that physical feeling of anxiety to be GONE. I’ll go into how that has been a burden that has been lifted in a bit.

Through prayer and many hours wondering how I could make some steps toward healing, I decided that I would try to jog this spring. Inspiration has come in a few different ways. My cousin’s daughter, Lindsay, who has suffered with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and had achieved an amazing feat. She had run a 5 Km. I have also been inspired by someone who has no arms or legs but has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to millions. If Nick Vujicic can touch the world, minus all of his appendages, surely a small town gal like me could at the very least be healed enough to shine light to my family and possibly to my community. Even if I were to stay in pain to the degree that I was, would I allow God to use those “good days” to reach others? The bad days are impossible to do much but exist. Still…Would I try the impossible?

I started looking at possible ways to train to run a 5 Km. I found Couch to 5K and thought it was doable. I got excited about it and even found an app that would make it easier.

I began seeing a psychologist as a part of my healing. She said something so key, so healing that it made a difference in major ways. She told me that she hears “I feel like the anxiety is a physical thing.” from a lot of women over 40 years of age. This lifted a huge weight of anxiety I had about the anxiety. She also encouraged me to do the little I can do every day. She told me that she does just five minutes every day. She said that if she only does 5 minutes it was better than nothing. I thought to myself, I can do just 5 minutes too! Something is better than NOTHING!

I thought to myself, “how do I make it so that I can succeed?” My brain messages were changing course. God was showing me that the impossible is possible. So, how do I make sure I don’t injure myself with this new exercise with all the health issues I have going on? I have had this problem before. I go all gung-ho and take myself out with a too-high karate kick to the sky or a too bendy bend. Take it slow. The Couch to 5K seemed pretty slow and realistic. So that’s what I did.

The messages I play in my head now are “With God all things are possible.” and “I can do the hard thing.” When I feel like giving up I figure out a way to make myself successful and consider setbacks only setbacks and do not think of them as monumental failures and that I should quit.

It’s almost like a switch has gone on inside me. I had nowhere to go…I was at the bottom. I knew it would be painful to start moving my body but really, I was already in pain.

I am going to do this thing I formerly and daily hated. That’s right, I may have decided that I like jogging. Don’t quote me on that yet. I like that I’m feeling better. I am still finding severe times of fatigue and pain, but not every day like a weighted blanket is covering me. Now, I have more “Go get ’em.” days as opposed to the “I will lay down and try to will my pain away.” I am so thankful to the Maker of the Stars that he has given me the will and the hope and the STRENGTH to Keep on going when my mind and body say stop.

Pshaw! It’s only a 5K….why get so excited?

Some of you can run laps around what I’ve done in my life, as far as exercise goes. In fact, if you could do laps around what I’ve done in my life, you would have to do a few extra just to get your heart rate up. You may think “Why in the world is she making such a big deal out of a piddly 5K?” and I would ask you “Why not? It’s a big freaking deal!!” I mean freaking, as in, I’m still freaking out that I’m actually doing it.

This is a person dedicated to the ideals of slothism. Yes, I made that up. I formed a club too, but then I was too lazy to actually see if anyone wanted to join. So it was just me.

No, really, I wasn’t lazy. Well, before kids? Maybe. After four kids in five years, I have no idea what lazy is but it sounds delicious!

If I dove into the topic of how distracted I can get I’d start a whole new topic in the middle of it (actually, probably five) and then you’d be all confused. I won’t confuse you so I’ll just say that when I start something a lot of things can get me off track and then I forget what I’m doing and….what was I talking about?

I don’t want to get distracted and forget I’m doing this jogging thing so I have to commit myself to a goal and that goal is to do a 5 Km run/walk (but I’m jogging, just to be different) in the mountains. Mountains motivate me because I don’t get to see them very often. I love mountains…see? I’m distracted already!

With fibro, I have to really keep my expectations realistic. In fact, my own husband and my MOTHER both told me I probably shouldn’t do this thing called jogging because I would probably hurt myself. My own MOTHER!! She doubts….and it hurts (not really, Ma, just pulling your knickers). They both, as if they were reading from the same script, said I should probably do something else…maybe walking. Well, ok, but I walk every day inside and outside and it is so slow and boring. Why not take it up a notch and jog at a walking speed?

They both pretty much begged me to rethink  this craziness I had fallen into. Really, am I that pathetic? Ahem…

YIKERS!

So, I promised them that I was pretty much jogging/walking and yes, I would stretch before and after and, for PETE’s sake I am only doing 5 km, not a marathon and I will probably come in last with the walkers anyways. I didn’t say that I was totally going to smoke those 5 Km walkers because that would worry them more. I think they internally cheered that I hadn’t committed that $35 registration yet…but I am sooooo going to do it, next week.

Now, I’m telling a secret, because I usually don’t talk about my private convo’s with my man, but my he did say that “We have to live with what happens to you, you know.” That statement pretty much galvanized my determination and I vowed that this would make me better, not wheelchair-bound. If my family has to live with me and with whatever may happen, by cracky, this thing is going to have a turn for the awesome!

It was sobering when he said that, and so I also committed to doing this smart. I am quite certain you can’t get any slower than I am at a jogging pace. I am realistic in that if I feel like crud in a massive way, I’ll walk that walk. I’ll try not to get all crazy-marathon-woman…like I would *snort*

Did I tell you my sister…my SISTER! She called me and said “I read something about you jogging and um, well, uh….” I filled in her thoughts “You thought I was joking around?” Cough cough “Um, well, yah….are you?”

It hurts, people. It hurts.

OR…

That’s how miraculous this thing is. The people that know me the best are afraid that I’ll crash and burn training to walk/jog a 5 Km. Maybe they should join me? then it wouldn’t be so CRAZY…so Loco….so “What are you DOING???” Huh? *wink wink* How about it?

It’s only a 5 Km, so I think I’ll be ok. I know you love me, but really, turn that skepticism into cheers and we’ll get along just fine!

Did I forget to mention I’m running a marathon next year?

No?

Well, that would just be mean to lie to you like that.