Ready to Run

So we meet again, blog readers (if I still have any). It’s an unwritten rule that when someone who has spent a lot of time writing about weight loss goes MIA, that means they’ve gained weight. I hate to be the one who reinforces that belief, but alas, it is the case. It’s been a couple of months since I “woke up” about my weight, and yet here I am, not any lighter. If anything, I’m a few pounds heavier, teetering right at the brink of 200 pounds.  I honestly never thought I’d see numbers in the 190s again, and yet I’ve spent a good part of the year there.

However, I’m not going to continue in this way. On Monday, I took a step that I think will help get me back on the path to health. I registered for the St. Jude Half Marathon!

St. Jude

I have been toying with the idea of running another half this year and was originally thinking about doing the The Middle Half in Murfreesboro in October. However, my running has been pretty inconsistent so far this year (with the exception of the last month or so), and I just didn’t feel like I had enough time to train properly for an October race when I haven’t built up my mileage much yet. Then when I saw that registration for the St. Jude half was still open, I was ecstatic and knew that I had to register immediately because the race sells out every year. I am so excited that I was able to register, and I can’t wait to run this race. I’ve heard from multiple people that it’s a really great race, and I love that it benefits St. Jude.

Today is National Running Day, and I had planned to get up and run this morning to celebrate the day. However, Charlotte woke up early this morning, and I decided to take her in the stroller. This meant that I did no running because the jogging stroller and I really aren’t running buddies. I was a little bummed about not running today, even though I realize National Running Day is just a made-up holiday, but around 9 p.m. tonight I decided I could at least get a mile in, and I would try to see how fast I could complete it. I hopped on the treadmill and warmed up at 3.5 mph until I hit 0.2 miles, and then I started to run at 5.0 mph. After 1 minute, I bumped it up to 5.2, then to 5.4 a minute after that. I then realized there would be no way I could maintain that increase every minute, so I then started increasing it by .1 mph every minute. I stopped at 6.0 mph (a 10-minute mile), and then I started going back down my .1 mph. I ended my mile at 5.8 mph and finished my mile in 10:39, which is over a minute faster than any other mile I’ve run this year! I was a hot, sweaty mess at the end of my workout, but I reached my goal!

Happy feet

Happy feet

Photographic proof of my workout

Blurry photographic proof of my workout

I am going to try and blog periodically about my training for the half, so please follow along and definitely let me know if you too will be running the race! And if you’re interested in donating money to St. Jude, you can visit my fundraising page here:

Music for Your Monday: "Eye on It" by Tobymac

Let’s pretend that I’m still running, shall we? If I were still running and had an upcoming race, this week’s Music for Your Monday song would definitely make my playlist. “Eye on It” by TobyMac is the perfect running song: infectious, with a steady, uptempo beat. I like to think it helped me achieve my 5k PR back in October. If you run or do other exercise, what songs help motivate you?

Missing: My Running Mojo

Once upon a time, I was a runner.

After years of living a sedentary lifestyle, in 2008 I started exercising, and in 2009, I began running, something I never thought I would do. I started with the Couch to 5k program, ran in my first 5k race, and I was hooked. While I didn’t always love the act of running itself (let’s face it, it’s HARD), I loved how I felt after finishing a run, and I loved the calorie burn that running provided. From the beginning of my running journey, however, I struggled to gain momentum and find my groove. I would run very consistently for months then either get burned out or get bored. I got in a rut of only running short distances, which prompted me to train for a half marathon that I then decided not to run. After that experience, I took a couple months off from running, and just as I was getting back into a routine, I got pregnant. I ran sporadically for the first trimester and even a little bit in the second before deciding to stick to walking, as running just felt uncomfortable.

After I had Charlotte, I couldn’t WAIT to get back into running but struggled to find time to workout when Charlotte was a newborn (and for months after that).  I did finally manage to finish Couch to 5k again and ran a 4miler on my 30th birthday that October, but then my running fell off until the new year, when I decided to try yet again to complete a half marathon. Training for a half the second time around was really a wonderful experience. I enjoyed my runs a lot more and felt confident and ready to meet my goal. I finally crossed that half marathon finish line in March 2012 and felt on top of the world. Still, after the race I floundered a bit since I had no real goal to reach for, and my running was rather inconsistent through the summer months. I still managed to run a few races, though, and when fall rolled around, I started to find my running groove again. I set a new 5k PR and came within SECONDS of finishing in under 30 minutes, and a few days after that I ran 4 miles for the first time in months. I was looking forward to the cooler months ahead and thinking about running the Andrew Jackson Half again and maybe even running another half in the latter part of 2013.

Then I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and my running came to a complete halt. For weeks I was so sick that running was impossible and yet I couldn’t wait to get back to it. Then, slowly, I started to regain my energy. I was discouraged by the thought of having to start all over with my running and discouraged by the fact that my doctor strongly advised against my doing any more half marathons, but I rang in the new year by running a mile without stopping. I thought I was back on track.

The truth is, though, that the run on January 1 is the only mile I have run nonstop since the year began. Last week I could barely run for four minutes straight on the treadmill. I am so frustrated that I have lost all my endurance, and while I know part of it couldn’t be helped because I was sick for a solid two months, if I had been more consistent with my running after that first mile, I wouldn’t have lost all of my running base. I truly am back at the beginning again. I don’t want to go through Couch to 5k for what seems like the 100th time, but I think I need to. I just can’t go out and run a 5k tomorrow, and that kills me.

Not only have I lost my endurance, I have also lost my speed. Before I got sick, I was finally getting faster at races and getting so close to meeting my goal of a sub-30:00 5k, and now I am back to running a 12-minute mile.  There is nothing wrong with a 12:00 minute mile except for the fact that I have been there and done that and am ready to move on.

I can’t move on, though, if I don’t get up and MOVE. It’s time to stop whining and start running! I may be starting over, but at least I know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I will get my mojo back!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I better get to bed so I can get up and hit the treadmill. 🙂

The New Normal

I have struggled with what to write on here since getting diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, but more that I don’t know how to focus my thoughts. I’m a bit all over the place these days, so the blog may a bit all over the place as well. I haven’t been sure of how much I should share about my condition, but let’s be real, I’ve never been one to hold much back on the blog, so I’ll probably be chronicling a lot of this new normal that I am still adjusting to.

The good news is, I am feeling much better. Though all of my symptoms have not resolved (and by symptoms I basically mean diarrhea), I have a healthy appetite, and I have more energy. I also have been sleeping a lot better (except for last night) thanks to a new sleeping pill, which is a blessing (the steroid I am taking comes with some delightful side effects, one of which seems to be insomnia). I still feel physically weak and have occasional bouts of dizziness, but I have come a long way from the days where I felt as though I couldn’t even get out of the bed. I am hoping to start getting in some light forms of exercise soon, maybe this week if I can find the time. I certainly don’t think I’ll be running any races any time soon, but I am longing to get back to running. I miss it so much.

Speaking of running, my GI doctor told me at my last appointment that he would advise against me running any more half marathons because it could aggravate my condition. I was very disappointed when he told me this because I had planned to try and run two half marathons, but I can still try and run shorter distances, so that is what I will do. After all, I still have to chase after my goal of getting a sub-30:00 5k time!

Thursday of this week is a big day for me. Since I have a fairly severe case of ulcerative colitis and have not responded to the steroids as well as the doctor would have liked (I should have been off them by now), I am going to be on some medication for the long term. There are two main drugs that my doctor recommended–Remicade and Humira. Remicade is administered through an IV once every 8 weeks, and Humira is a shot that I would give myself every 2 weeks. After researching and praying and talking with the doctor, I’ve decided to go with Humira. I don’t love the idea of giving myself shots, but I do like that I can do it at home and not have to go anywhere. The side effects and risks of both drugs are very similar, and if I do not respond well to the Humira, I imagine the doctor will put me on Remicade next. On Thursday I will go to the doctor and be trained on how to give the injections. The first round is 4 shots, so I am glad that the nurse will be helping me with those because it’s kind of daunting to think of doing so many at one time. After 15 days, I will give myself 2 injections, and then every 15 days after that I will only give myself 1 injection. After about a month of this, I should be a pro, right?! The goal of the medication is to put me in remission, and I pray that it happens sooner rather than later, but at this point I don’t really know what to expect.

At times I have been overwhelmed when I think about the fact that I will have this condition for the rest of my life, but I have had to stop myself from thinking that way. The truth is, all I am given is today, and that is a gift. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow or the next day, or the day after that. God has my life in His ever capable, trustworthy hands, and none of this has come as a surprise to Him. He is using this whole experience to draw me closer to Him, and I can honestly say that the past several weeks have left me feeling more in love with Jesus than ever before. I am so, so grateful for my life.