Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Running with Auto Immune Disease

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” – Arthur Blank

I have been bitten by the running bug.  I think that it is pretty official that I am now a runner.  I never thought that I would be able to say that.  I was talking with a runner friend of mine, Becky, this past weekend and as we were talking a number of things she said have just stuck with me.  I have been chewing on her words and really reflecting about myself. 

We had began talking about how I had been bitten by the running bug and she mentioned how awesome it is when people, for whatever reason, begin running and it become such an important part of their lives.  I immediately agreed.  Something that started, for me, as just trying to get back into decent shape has turned into more than a hobby.  Running is apart of me.  I analyzed myself a bit and I believe that I have taken running, grabbing onto it because it is a small way for me to take back control over my heath.  Much of my health life is out of my control.  I never know when I will have another Lupus or Crohn's flare.  I never know, with my repressed immune system, when a small injury will turn into a bad infection or a cold into a terrible upper respiratory infection.  I have minimal control over these health issues.  Lately, however, I have felt strong.  Healthy.  Hopeful.  Running has given me back those things that I had lost along the way these past 11 years.

I am not a fast runner.  I am actually rather slow.  I am okay with that though!  I probably will never run faster than a 10 minute mile.  That just sounded like I actually run a 10 minute mile.  I don't, by quite a bit.  I will never say never but I just don't think that running fast is in the cards for me.  Accepting this has been a process.  While now I am okay with my turtle pace I have often been sensitive about how slow I was compared to my other runner friends.  It took a lot of self reflection for me to get that running is personal.  I am doing it for me and need to only look at myself and not others.  My pace and distance our MY goals.  What is that saying?  Comparison is the thief of joy.  Truth that I need to remember.

While I was talking to Becky I mentioned how there really is no information out there about someone like me running or any type of regular exercise.  Most information is vague and the message boards are generally filled with people who are flaring and can't even imagine walking around the block.  Everything that I am doing for my training is trial and error.  I told Becky that I had been keeping a journal about my training.  I wanted to be able to look back on my journey to this half marathon.  She encouraged me to maybe blog about it.  That maybe there are others out there like me looking for information and encouragement.  I have been thinking about this a lot.  I think that I will begin blogging about my running.  Not only would it give others a better understanding of my journey but it is possible that there is another 30-something mom with auto immune issues out there looking for some encouragement or at least wants to see what someone else has done.  The reality is that I don't just go out and run.  I have a running schedule that is firmly in place due to my medications.   I can't just run on a Tuesday instead of a Monday.  I take my chemo medication on Monday night so I am shot all day Tuesday.  I have to do a long run either on a Sunday or a Monday because of the chemo.  My body is too tired to bust out 9, 10 or 11 miles until a lot of the chemo has worked out of my body.  I have to have a day of rest in between each run or work out.  I need to stay hydrated more than other runners.  The amount of medication in my body and how easily I tire means that I need to be eating well and drinking properly.  Eating and drinking well are both issues that all runners are mindful of but I especially need to be. 

All that being said, I can no longer imagine my life with out running.  It is apart of who I am now and I am so grateful.  Being able to run is a gift and I am not going to waste it.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In the swing of school

It has been almost a month since Dawson and Emma began school and I think that we are officially in the swing of the new school year.  We have all gotten into the routine of getting up and around in the morning and outside in time for the bus.  The kids seem to really enjoy riding the bus this year.  Dan and I love it because it saves a lot gas money and an hour out of my day that I was spending taking kids to and from school.  They have assigned seats on the bus and Dawson lucked out and is sitting next to a boy in his class.  Emma, of course, can make friends with anyone and she is usually ready to go in the morning 15 minutes before it is actually time to go wait outside.  The bus ride is just extra time for her to socialize!

Dawson has been busy with football this fall.  Dan and I have tried to keep the kids in one activity per child to cut back on all the busy nights and running around.  I was worried that Dawson would be upset when we told him he had to choose between football or soccer but he didn't even hesitate.  Football it was.  Dan has been able to help out coaching the football team that is made up of 1st and 2nd grade boys.  Dawson has had a blast at the practices and then at his first game this past Saturday.  Dawson is such an intense player.  He wants to do everything just like his coaches tell him too.  He get frustrated and is a little hard on himself when things don't go as he planned.  He missed a pass on Saturday and you could just see his frustration.  Dawson has never played flag football before so it wasn't until the end of the game that he really was able to get the hang of pulling off the flag as the boy runs by.  When he finally pulled his first flag he growled in triumph and threw the flag on the ground.  It was pretty funny and I chuckled with another mom that we might have to talk to Dawson about excessive celebration.  Dawson did pick up the flag after he threw it and handed it back to the boy nicely.  He was just all pumped up about his small victory.

Here is Coach Dan on the sidelines.

Dawson getting ready to line up on defense.

While we have been keeping busy with Dawson and football Emma has been patiently waiting for dance to start.  She finally had her first dance class last night.  She was so excited to go.  As soon as she got off the bus she put on her dance leotard and asked me if it was time to go yet.  I think that this will be another activity that will be right up Emma's alley.  She gets to be creative through dance and gets to be social with lots of other little girls her age.  Emma will not be doing anymore sports this year since she chose to do dance, trying to keep with the one activity at a time.  This is probably just as well because this summer she said the tball was for LOSERS while holding a big L on her forehead.  Yeah, tball was not for Emma.

The kids have also started going to Wednesday night church.  Emma calls it church school and is always all excited to go.  Dawson was not as excited because he is similar to me and likes a lot of down time after a busy day of school.  However, Dan and I really want to make these church youth activities a priority for our family.  The church also provides a meal for the families at a small cost before the Wednesday night activities.  I think that I will be taking them up on this.  With the kids getting off the bus at 4:15pm and church starting at 6pm it can get hard for this momma to get all three kiddos settled and dinner when Dan is gone. 

Aubrey this past month has really had a hard time adjusting to the new daily schedule.  She does not like being left behind and has become clingy and rather whiny.  She is also fully into the 2's stage!  Dan tells me that she is acting similar to how Emma did at this age.  Honestly, I don't remember.  I think that I may have blocked Emma's terrible 2's stage from my memory.  I know that Aubrey and I will pull through though.  MOPS starts soon and I hope that she will be excited to go off to her own "school".  I am trying to have fun with her at home and really selling the fact that it is just Aubrey and Mommy time.  I think that it is all about the spin factor.  No, Aubrey didn't get left behind.  Aubrey gets to spend all day playing with Mommy!

Aubrey all cuddly on the couch after the kids have left for school.