This month I started a new challenge. I’ve been a runner since my twin daughters were young. I originally did it to cope with post-partum depression. I was definitely NOT a runner prior to having my twins and if we are being completely honest, I never could have dreamed of being a runner all those years ago. But today, I am a runner. And this month, I started training for my first half marathon. Plenty of people have tackled a race of this length before. I’m not saying I’m any more special than them. But I have fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia and My Dreams
I’ve lived in chronic pain for nearly 10 years and felt first trimester pregnancy exhaustion daily for much of the last several seasons. I want to write about this journey because it is really important to me. And maybe, just maybe you have or know somebody with fibro, too, and I can inspire them. We don’t deserve to be miserable.
Before even attempting to train, I got my life in order. I got my disease under control, in remission. I worked with an incredible doctor to go over a huge panel of blood tests to determine what vitamins and nutrients I was deficient in. We also ordered a blood test called the ALCAT test that showed how my body reacts to over 200 different foods. The results were astounding and I quickly began cutting foods, adding supplements and getting the very basic core of my health in line. I wanted to run a half marathon in October 2014 but by the summer before, it was very clear my body was in no shape to attempt it. I was under a lot of stress and completely hit rock bottom. I never signed up for that race, nor did I even get a chance to start training for it. I was miserable. I am not anymore.
Once I felt good, I started working out the details: what race to run, what the weather could potentially be like, what the terrain is like, how long I’ll need to prepare, etc. Even though I had trained for and ran 10k races before, I knew I needed a beginner’s running plan. I am starting over, completely. I planned a race for the spring time when temperatures will hopefully be cooler but not freezing. And mostly importantly, I feel, I created a space to do my training.
Bitter cold temps are VERY hard on my body. Training outside if the temperature is below 40 is out of the question. (I live in the Midwest, the temperature has been averaging about 22 so far in 2015!) I knew that training in the winter time would only work if everything was right here for me. (My husband and I had every intention of using our basement as a home gym anyway.) With everything in place, my training schedule hanging on the fridge and my motivation high, I was ready to go.
The last step for this training is focusing on self-care. When my alarm is set for 6 a.m. to get up and run 3 miles, I don’t play any games. I head to bed at 9:30 the night before. I make sure I am cashing in on every hour of sleep I can, with 7 hours being the bare minimum my body needs to truly rest and heal, 8 being ideal. I take my rest days seriously and don’t just rest from exercise but try to keep the day in general a slower pace. I use my Spoonk acupressure mat. I take Epsom salt baths. I practice relaxing yoga. I meditate. I read. I do a lot of things to keep my mind feeling strong so it can support the amount of strength I’m asking from my body. Do not for a second think that a diagnosis of fibromyalgia means you can’t do the things you dream of. Take my half marathon and apply it to any dream you have, step by step, grow toward it. And have some fun along the way.
What goals have you set with fibromyalgia? What motivated you to keep going?
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