Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

That's what it feels like around here. I would like to say that I have been remaining positive and not letting it get me down, but that just isn't the truth.
Shortly after the last two races I ran, my knee started bugging me. I just couldn't run anymore. I self-prescribed some physical therapy, which I swear was as if I was asking to be given some freaking morphine. The physical therapist asked me about my schedule. I told him I was running 4 days a week, hiking one day and working out with a physical trainer another day. He said that was too much. It didn't feel like too much. It just felt like I was hanging out with my friends.

I got into that place that always spells trouble for me. I think, "Other people can do it, why can't I?"

I was off for three weeks. Here's the low down of those weeks.

Week 1: Pissed off at my body for not being able to do what I want it to do. So I abused it in the form of eating and drinking crap. What I got in return, 2 lbs.

Week 2: Pity party. Why can't I? It's not fair. I am going to do it anyway. Oh crud, that hurts. Yadda, yadda, yadda. (I hate that I go there, but it's the truth.) What I got in return, 3 more lbs. and a half day in bed.

Week 3: Crap! You are about to blow it. Let's get this train moving in the right direction. Enter the all-powerful and amazing elliptical machine! I had a great workout and realized this was only temporary. My PT banned me from running one more week. I made it 6 days but I had already signed up for a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot. I figured I would run it and walk if I needed to. I was able to run most of the time and only added around 3 minutes to my best time. Not horrible considering the three weeks off.

I went back to my training group on Saturday and one of the trainers was wonderful enough to sacrifice half of his run to run with me. He helped me realize that walking was not a sign of weakness and when I was struggling we walked together. I was able to run/walk 6 miles that day.

The past weekend I became a bit more disciplined about it and finished 8 miles. (I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute.) That only puts me a week or so behind the rest of the group.

Someday I will get to the point where I can do what so many other people can do. It's just going to take a little longer for me to get there. Some days I am ok with that, other days it irritates the crap out of me. Luckily today is a day I am ok with it.

Racing and Training

Great news, I got a new PR at my race a few weekends back! For all you speedy runners, it will seem painfully slow, but I am super proud. 39:00 on the dot. I was hoping to get 37:30, but I am happy with the time. It is over 6 minutes off last year's time, so can I really complain?

The following weekend I did the Komen run with my hubby. My family was there walking, so we ran and then walked back to where they were. My goal for this race was to start slow and not let the excitement of the day make me run faster than 13:00 a mile. I want to finish my half-marathon in January strong, so I am thinking early pacing will be key. Yep that didn't happen. The Runkeeper lady voice kept telling me I was going faster than that. *Sigh* I'll just have to sign up for another race to practice! :-)

Training has been going well. I am sticking pretty closely to my Phoenix Fit training. Some weeks I have to do my long runs with my hubby instead of the club which is kind of a bummer. But it's usually because I get to watch my daughter race in her cross country meets. That is a good thing, so it all balances out.

This past Saturday morning's run was 6 miles at South Mountain. Yup, hills. I was so nervous all week long. I even bit my fingernails. A bad habit I hadn't done in years!

The elevation gain was 550 ft total. The hills were pretty rolling and at one point, I am pretty sure I was running backwards! But I finished the workout in 1:24:01. That was 2:39 faster than the previous week's 6 mile run that only had an total elevation gain of 203 ft. So I call that a win.

Even more impressive is that I was running late on Saturday morning and forgot to take my medication. I am not going to lie, I panicked a bit when I realized this. Once I got running though, I was fine. I took it when I got home because Lyrica is one of those medicines you aren't supposed to skip.

Getting Ready for a Run

This weekend I will be running in a 5K race. It is the same race that I ran last year as my first 5K. My time last year was 45:29. Since then, I have run a 5K in 39:16. So my goal is 37:30.

I have so many emotions. I am excited about the prospect of setting a new PR. I am scared about not doing better than last year's time. I am nervous about my body behaving properly. I am anxious because right after my run, I have to jump in my car and drive to my daughter's cross country race 1/2 way across town.

I am trying to calm myself down but nothing is working. I added some new music to my running playlist. I have been hydrating up. I am eating only healthy foods. My clothes are washed. My shoes are broken in.

I keep telling my brain I am ready, but for some reason my stomach is not getting the message.

Neither are my shaking legs.


New Shoes

I bit the bullet and bought my new shoes this weekend. I know the recommendations for buying new shoes is based on mileage, but who keeps track? Even though I kind of keep track, I know my numbers are skewed because they are based on tiny runners under 150 lbs. I've had these shoes since March. Yikes!

I went to my local specialty running store: Runner's Den. We made it just in time and I was afraid we'd be rushed since it was 30 minutes to closing. But the gentleman who helped us was amazing! He confirmed what I thought. My shoes were toast and may legs were wobbling all over the place. Now I know where all that knee pain was coming from.

I thought I could get away from a non-stability shoe. (Stability shoe is one that keeps your feet from wobbling all over the place to help you strike the ground flat.) But he smiled kindly at me and said, no you need the stability.
My New Shoe
Sunday was the first time I ran with them. I was reminded of when Forrest Gump saw Lt. Dan at his wedding.

Forrest: You got new legs. New legs!

That is what it felt like. I was able to run a full 4 miles. Holy cow, that is the farthest I have ever run.

I know new shoes when running are just another expense. But I can really attest to the fact that it makes a huge difference.

Getting My Runs In

My schedule preparing for this race is pretty easy. We do our long runs on Saturday morning and maintenance runs through the week. Right now it's three times a week for about 30 minutes a pop. Easy right?

It seems like it would be a no-brainer. However, in reality, it is proving harder than I thought.

I used to run indoors at the community center where I took my first running class. Even though the track is lined in Nike Grind, lately it's been killing my knees. I have been taking to the great outdoors.

For those of you in more temperate climates, you are thinking "What's the problem?" I don't live in a temperate climate for 9 months out of the year. I live in the scorching desert. Which means runs have to happen early in the morning or after dark. Early in the morning is my preferred time, but I don't like running alone before 6:00 AM. Night is equally difficult because of my kids sports.


I have been taking to the treadmill. Probably not the most taxing workout, but it doesn't have the sharp turns and jarring surface. This makes the knees happy. j

Treadmills do have one horrible feature: the clock. Ugg, I hate knowing how long I have been working out. I like it to be a nice surprise that it's over. Today I will take a towel to drape over the clock. And hopefully something good will be on TBS.

I haven't skipped any runs yet. Hopefully the treadmill will keep me going long enough to get to cooler temperatures.

Do I Love Running?

Today I had a doctor's appointment with my rheumatologist. I used to dread going to see her because it seemed like she always wanted to focus on my flare-ups and I had already lived through them. I didn't want to rehash them. Now that flare-ups are few and far between (knock on wood) or very mild, I see now that she just uses that as a gauge to see how I am doing.

She first asked if I was flaring because of the weather. Arizona is generally really dry and hot. During this time of the year, it is humid and hot. Normally that causes issues, but I kind of cocked my head and thought, "Hmm, actually, no I am not." She was really happy to hear that I was doing well.

She then asked about the new dry mouth medicine. Busted! I fessed up that I hadn't used it. I promised her I'd use it before next appointment.

I asked her if knee issues were common among her other runners with Sjogren's. She said that normally knee issues are due to wear and tear vs. Sjogren's related. Then she said, "There are better exercise options like swimming that won't put that wear and tear on your knees, but I am not going to ask you to stop doing what you love."

I was dumbfounded. Just yesterday I told someone how much I hated running. I confessed that I only do it because most contact sports are out of the question for me and my arm. It didn't realize until it was about to be taken away from me that I really do love it.

Hopefully the knee x-ray will show no signs of damage and I can continue to run. Because I now know that I love it.

Tuesday Tunes - #thatPower (I'm Alive) or How Justin Bieber got on my running playlist...

Song: #thatPOWER
Artist: featuring Justin Bieber
Album: #willpower
BPM: 128

Perhaps it's because I had a death in the family, or that I am extremely grateful to not be in constant pain but this song really was working for me last night. The constant reassurance that "I can fly" and that "I'm alive" really pushed me through a rather boring indoor track run. And anytime I hear the phrase "Whatever doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger" always gets me moving.  

Even if you aren't loving on the Biebs, give this song a try.

Remembering the Beginning

This Saturday marked my return to running after being sick. The schedule had 3 miles and I ran those 3 miles. Not fast. Not pretty. Not glorious. Just done.

While I was running, I was thinking about being sick and running. I would have never imagined I would ever be a runner. 

I started running about 14 months ago. I joined a Couch to 5K group at the community center. It wasn't my first attempt. I had tried a few months earlier on my own with my husband as my coach. Big mistake. My husband is very competitive and he didn't quite get the mindset of "I can't" and how to convince someone they could. I also injured myself by not doing any stretching. (Yes, even running for 30 seconds at a time you need to stretch. Who knew?)

I joined a group. When I joined the group, they had been together for a few months. Most of the ladies had already "graduated" to running a full 30 minutes at a time. I was content just using my RunKeeper app, sharing space and listening to music.

Each week I was supposed to move up my time. Each week I explained to my coach that I just needed one more week. I know part of it was fear but I also knew that I needed to pace myself. A program that was supposed to take 9 weeks, took me a total of 18 weeks. Our sessions at the community center were 6 weeks. What took most people 1 1/2 sessions took me 3. I didn't care. I was running. 

I have said before, it was about 3 months before the burning in my chest went away. I kept asking the other participants if this was normal. It wasn't. At least for people with normal immune systems. For people with Sjogren's Syndrome it's pretty normal. Even for someone like Venus Williams.

There were some other accommodations I had to make. I skipped any form of speed training for the first year. I made sure I was uber-hydrated. What does that mean? I drank (and continue to drink) about a gallon of water a day. I also cut back my sugar intake to 2 T a day.  

After reflecting on being sick, I realized I was going too hard lately. I was working out with a trainer twice a week and running three times a week. For most of you, that wouldn't be a big deal, but for me, it's too much. At first I was sad that I have to cut back. Remembering the beginning helped me realized that I am not cutting back at all. I am just doing what's right for me and my body.


Has me sidelined this week. I used get really mad when I had to rest during illness. I admit that was my first reaction, but now I realize that my body needs the time to heal.

I even read a million running message boards to see if I "could" run with bronchitis. The internets came back with a resounding no.

From what I understand, if the cold/flu is in your head only then it's ok to run. Below the neck means rest. That's easy to remember!

Tomorrow I will go walk instead of run my 3 miles. It's ok because there were so many days in my life where I never even thought that was possible.

Tuesday Tunes - Can't Hold Us

Song: Can't Hold Us
Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Album: The Heist
BPM: 146

You are going to think I have a think for white rappers, but the love of this song has nothing to do with the genre and or his skin color. It has everything to do with the words. 

First he welcomes you buy saying, "Let's Go!" I think that is every runner's mantra. As soon as the beat starts and those words drop, my pace picks up. It helps that the BPM is higher than most of the songs on my list. 

Then the line "Looking for a better way to get up out of bed" speaks so directly to me and my struggle with fibro. There have been so many days that getting out of bed was hell. Until I could stumble around and get some ibuprofen in me or later Lyrica, the pain was horrible. This song reminds me that I need to keep moving so that I have that better way to get out of bed.

The next line that always makes me smile is "I grew up, really wanted gold fronts, but that what you get when Wu Tang raised you." I have no idea why this makes me smile, but it does. Maybe the reference to the teeth? No matter how much pain I am in, that line plays, I am smiling. 

I don't really associate this song with a particular race or moment, but it really does just make me go a little faster and smile. Try it!

Allergy Medication and Running

Don't mix.

Saturday's run was very slow because 5 minutes into it I felt like my throat was sandpaper. Lesson learned.

On a positive note, I had a wonderful Phoenix Fit team member serenade me with some Army Cadences. Definitely made it more enjoyable.

Two new rules for running:
1) Never take allergy/cold medicine
2) Run with someone who was in the Army.

Do you have any great tidbits of wisdom to share?

Pushing Past Fear

Like most people with Fibro, I live in constant fear. I am afraid to hurt myself, to push myself to far, and especially of living through the next flare. (A flare is when everything pain receptor in your body seems to be in overdrive.)

I read an article in Runner's World about mental blocks. (Sorry, can't find it online.) One section talked about running through pain. Now for those of us with Fibro, we are experts at that; smiling through the elementary school play when you just want to be home in bed or going out for date night when you really want to just sit on the couch.

However, when it came to running, I was so afraid to run through the pain. Any twinge, discomfort or irritation I would slow down, walk or stop. I didn't want to injure myself and end up sick.

I had been wondering why I haven't been able to push myself and go faster. Now I knew was all me. Me and my scaredy cat brain.

I tried something different on my last run. When my knee started protesting that we were running, I said to myself, "Keep running for two laps. If it gets worse then we'll reassess." Guess what? It went away! I didn't even feel anything after that. I just started singing along to my music and my 25 minutes were over in no time.

I got a bit braver. On Tuesday and Thursday nights, I train with a group of ladies in a very caring trainer's garage she so lovingly calls, The Dungeon. She is familiar with fibro and knows about my weird arm, so she tailors the work outs to my ability. Thursday I told her to push me. Push me beyond what she would normally think I could handle. And she did.

I sweated. I cursed. I kept my heart rate above 150. More importantly, I survived.

I woke up in the morning terrified. I didn't want to call in sick to work. But, I didn't feel any pain. I felt strong.

Lesson for the day: You are stronger than you think you are.

Solitary Run

The indoor track I normally run on was scheduled to be closed yesterday. I was sad because I was going to have to drive 10 extra miles to go to my back up track. On a school/work night, that is never fun. Luckily, I got word from a fellow Sole Sister that the track was indeed open. Happy Day!

I got to the track hot and sweaty. The AC went out on my car and it was 107 yesterday! I climbed the stairs to the track and started in. There was only one other runner on the track and I didn't recognize her.

I started thinking about me being there alone. I probably would have never been there even 4 months ago alone. When I would run alone, I found that I was so worried about what everyone thought of me that I could never find a groove. I would take walk breaks every 5 minutes or so.

Last night was different.

I was there for me. I felt strong. I was thinking about some of the new friends I made on a private group on Facebook for people who are fighting fibromyalgia. Their stories inspired me when I started getting tired. I reflected on how lucky I am that the medicine I take allows me to get stronger and healthier.

Before I knew it, time was up. My head was clear and I felt good that I ran the whole time, sang a few songs, and could breathe.

Sometimes you need that time alone to remember how lucky you are.

What do you think about during solitary moments?

Tuesday Tunes - I Got A Feeling

Song: I Got A Feeling
Artist: The Black Eyed Peas
Album: The E.N.D
BPM: 91

This song always motivates me. Not because Oprah staged that massive flash mob. This song is special because this was played quite a bit when I did the Dirty Girl Run in 2012. Two ladies from the office asked me to join them. After lots of doubt, I signed up. 

We met early on a fall morning. I was so nervous about running with people from work. I had only been running for 5 months and wasn't sure I could keep up with a Cross Fitter and a Yoga guru. (You know who you are ladies!) 

We got to the start waiting for our group to be called. As we waited this song played, and played, and then played again. Finally we decided to start early and we were off. The first obstacle was a large inflatable. I did it! That gave me the confidence to keep going. I climbed over walls and under mud cargo nets. Sure I got tangled up and may have slightly hyperventilated when I climbed the huge cargo net mountain, but I did it and didn't get hurt.

Sometimes just not hurting yourself is a win. 

Years of Pain - Diagnosis Part 2

Every person with fibromyalgia has the story like this. Mine is not unique, other than it happened to me.

After my hand surgeries, my doctor and I looked for the reason why I hurt so much and was tired all the time. He ran every test imaginable. Chalked the fatigue up to motherhood and sent me to specialists.

I saw ear, nose and throat specialists for my headaches. I saw orthopedists to try to solve the hip pain. Chiropractors for back pain. A massage therapist found a mass in my back. I had it surgically removed thinking it would resolve the pain issue. It didn't. My salivary gland became infected and I landed in the hospital for a week on a morphine drip because the pain was so bad. I passed a kidney stone. The pain was so intolerable I often times had to hold back vomit. The stone was a weird shape and got stuck. Another surgery.

I kept going back to the family doctor and he ordered a more detailed blood analysis. Vials and vials of blood later, he found something weird; an antibody that wasn't supposed to be elevated. He sent me to a rheumatologist.

The rheumatologist told me about Sjogren's Syndrome. The antibody that was elevated was something that people with this syndrome often had. It is a autoimmune disorder where my body attacks moisture producing glands. That explained the salivary gland infection and the dry skin and eyes I was prone to.

I became a walking encyclopedia entry for Sjogren's. After supporting the Sjogren's Syndrom Foundation, I received an invitation to participate in a study about pain and Sjogren's. I realized in answering all those questions that I was not living a good quality of life.

I brought the survey in to my next rheumatology appointment. I showed him my answers. He asked me to sit on the exam table with my back to him. He touched a particular point on my back with minimal pressure. I practically jumped off the table and had to refrain from punching him. Holy crap it hurt! He did the same in a few more spots and had the same results.

He showed me in a non-sensitive spot the amount of pressure he applied. It was so minimal, so why did it hurt so bad. He explained that people with fibromyalgia are sensitive in certain spots where nerves meet up. He handed me a pamphlet and a prescription.

While I was happy with knowing, I did not like the diagnosis.  I had know people with fibromyalgia who had basically taken to their bed. I did not want that life.

The medicine was a godsend. Soon I was able to go out more with the family. Then I was able to start getting my house back in order. Then the desire to exercise came. It took some experimenting, Learning that I couldn't do what I could do before or else end up too tired to make dinner. Oftentimes I would give up. It was so hard to figure it out, maybe I should just be happy with the weight gain from the medicine and embrace my new body.

In the spring of 2012, my brother-in-law lost a battle with stomach cancer. He was a former secret service and ATF agent. I heard stories at his memorial about how he would chase down the bad guys while undergoing chemotherapy. I realized I was not living life to my fullest and it was unfair of me to waste my life when he no longer could.

I joined a class at the local community center: Couch to 5K. I became a runner.

Missing a Run

I missed a run today. I have a twinge of pain in my lower back that I know is being caused by some tight hamstrings. For normal runners, a nice easy run would probably work it all out.

Running with fibromyalgia isn't normal though. You never know if pushing yourself will be just what you need to get over it. Or if pushing it will land you in bed for three days.

I play it safe.

And then I feel guilty. I feel like I am shortchanging myself. Giving myself the easy way out.

It's been a year since I started running. Missing a run always makes me feel this way. I wish it didn't. But since I have started running I have only had one time where I pushed too hard and ended up in bed. (Knock on wood.)

Do you feel bad when you miss a run? How do deal with the guilt?

My Road to Diagnosis - Pt. 1

I fell off a table. My type A personality would not allow the balloons for my son's 6th birthday to be tangled up in the chandelier. My nurse sister was "resting her eyes" on the couch on the other side of the half wall when I climbed up on the pedestal dining table. The table had a tablecloth on it, so I promptly slid and fell off. I placed my right hand down to stop my fall. My kids rushed over to see how I was doing. I asked my sister to bring me an ice pack because my wrist hurt. She was getting it out and asked if I was ok. I lifted my left hand off my right wrist and saw the odd angle. I said, "Uh, you should grab your purse instead, I think I broke it." She came over and asked to see it. I showed it to her and she freaked out.

I calmly told her where my purse was and she frantically grabbed shoes and purses. I have seen her wake up from a dead sleep and treat head wounds on the side of a road after I witnessed a horrible accident, so when she was freaking out about my arm I thought to myself, "Oh crap it must be bad." Later she admitted it was just that it was because it was me.

As we walked out the door, my sister-in-law arrived so we left the kids with her and hopped in the car. Half way through the short 6 mile ride, the shock wore off. Oh my goodness, it hurt. We walked into the emergency room, showed the triage nurse my arm and she took us right back. The pain became intolerable and I started crying. I had never experienced anything so horrible. The nurse brought me a shot for pain. The doctor came in and I wasn't really coherent. I just remember him saying something about surgery. At this point, I was out.

I woke up and the pain was still there and it brought friends. It felt like my whole body was on fire. My sister and husband were next to me. I told my sister it hurt. The doctor came in a few minutes later all smiles. He explained what he had done. I couldn't make out the words he was saying through the pain; external fixation, radial bone, open wound. I croaked out, "It really hurts." His super consoling words, "Really? My other patients don't hurt this much." He wanted to release me and I said, "I can't go home, it hurts too much."

He walked out and my sister followed. What I overhead was, "I've known her all my life and I am a nurse... She has never complained of pain like this... She is not lying." I was admitted and moved. (Thank Sis!)

The next two years were a blur. Hand drills to remove things from my arm, pain, more surgery, pain medication, graduate school, layoffs, and more pain. After everything healed, I ended up with an arm that is not attached to my wrist, no job and pain.

Why does this matter? Oftentimes fibromyalgia has a triggering event. I believe this was my trigger. It happened 10 years ago and things haven't been the same.

Next up...Getting the diagnosis.

Mock Me All You'd Like

Today I was laughed at. I was running along a fairly large street and some guys leaned their head out and shouted something at me and started laughing. I guess I didn't look like a runner or I was going too slow, but something in their tiny lizard brains made them shout at me and laugh.

It stung for all of 45 seconds. Then I remembered how far I had come. I know where I am going and it's ok. My heroes in life have all been mocked, so I am in good company.

They don't know where I started, so to see me running so slow must have registered in their brain as something that needed mocking. On the flip side, I don't know the struggles that led them to be the type of jerks who lean out windows and mock people. It's not right, but whatever. It doesn't hurt me. I still ran my 2.25 miles and I won't remember them when I get that finishers medal.

What are your thoughts? Should I have shouted back, flipped them off or taken their truck number down and reported them to their employer? (All three crossed my mind at some point in that 45 seconds.)

Tuesday Tunes - Lose Yourself

Last night when I was trying to squeeze in my 25 minutes, my favorite song came up in my iTunes playlist. I thought, hmm, I should share the music I listen to while I run. I'll also include the BPM so you can see if it will work in your running. Not sure how the two correlate? Read this article to learn more. Curious about the BPM of your favorite song? I use this website.

Song: Lose Yourself
Artist: Eminem
Album: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture 8 Mile
BPM: 86

I am not a rap fan. I am definitely not an Eminem fan. But this song will forever be in my running playlist. Why? Because this was the first time it happened for me. I got my first runner's high during this song.

It was about 3 months into my Couch to 5K class at the community center. I had attended a Good Form Running class that recommended getting my cadence a bit higher. I chose this song because my goal was 160 at the time so I was choosing songs that were either half 160 or near that. Half I figured I could double it up and near that I could keep pace. I saw this listed somewhere as a great song to run to, so I gave it a shot.

I liked the lyrics mostly at first. I had felt all of the fear and anxiety about trying to run that he describes in the song about trying to make it in the music industry. I felt that if I could lose myself in the music, I too could be victorious. I listened to that song for 3 weeks on my playlist. I was still plagued with struggling for breath while I ran. (Three months and I was still struggling folks. I tell you it is a slow journey for us with fibromyalgia.)

Then it happened. I was running past the small gym at my community center that is right off the track. The lyric "there's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti" played and all of a sudden I could breathe easy. My legs felt like they could run for years. I probably had the goofiest smile on my face. Stupid as it sounds, I felt like Eminem himself was cheering me on.

Then the fire alarm went off. I didn't want the feeling to end so I went outside to run. It was cool and I wasn't used to the chill in the air and I lost the feeling. By then it was ok, because I felt like "the world is mine for the taking."

Remembering a Bad Race

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and was approached by a young guy who asked me, "Which one did you do?" He was pointing at the random race shirt I had thrown on before heading out. I looked down at the shirt and it took me a minute to figure out which one it was. As I stammered incoherently for a minute, I finally remembered which race it was.

It was the crappy one.

I hadn't done that many races at that point, only about 4 or so. But this one stood out in my mind because I really wanted to do well. It was a 5K done with my running group, Sole Sisters. We had done a race in the fall and now we were doing a spring race to see our progress.

I excitedly rode in with my group mates. We started and I was off. I was keeping a good pace, weaving through the starting line traffic. I hit the main road, and to my dismay, it was uphill. At this point, I had only been running for about 8 months. After 9 years of inactivity, an uphill climb is hard.

But I went; up and up. I reached the turn-around point and headed down the next road. It was uphill too. Seriously, who makes a course like this? I looked down at my iPhone app to see how badly I was doing and I realized I somehow paused it, so I had no clue.

I pressed on. I turned a corner and there was another uphill. I started walking. The negative thoughts popped into my head. "You're not a runner. What made you think you could do this?"

Then, the guy in the motorized wheelchair passed me. I gave up. I let myself believe that I could not do it.

My official time for that race 41.38. Below my first race time of 45.29, but I still counted it as a failure...until I met that guy in the produce department.

I finally answered his question and told him I did the 5K. He was so excited to share that that was his first 10K race ever. We bonded over how hard the course was. (We live in Arizona and it's flat around here and most races don't have hills like that.) We parted ways and I smiled to myself. I had just bonded with another runner. He didn't see all my various ailments. He didn't care about my time. He just wanted to share his story and know that someone else had difficulty climbing that hill.

Starting Line

Today was the first day of my half marathon training with Phoenix Fit. It was not the beginning of my running journey. That happened a year ago when I decided I was ready to get out of bed for good. But that story will have to wait for another day.

Today's run was listed on the schedule as one mile. I hadn't been running regularly over the summer but one mile was a distance I could easily do. Nonetheless, I was scared. I am quite shy and meeting a bunch of people at 6AM is generally not my favorite thing to do. But I was scared for another reason. By training with such a large group, the old competitive me was wondering how much slower I was going to be than everyone else. I was scared that I wouldn't look like everyone else. Would people spot the sickie amongst them?

I woke up at 4:00 AM. Way too early. I knew it was nerves but I couldn't fall back asleep. I got up and got dressed and left. It's quite far and so I made it just in time. There was a 35 minute orientation. I couldn't focus. I was so worried about the run I couldn't focus. I did hear the warning about not falling into the canal. I giggled to myself. That sounded like something I would probably do.

Finally the time came. We walked across the street and did some stretching. We started off. I started off well. I had some Macklemore on the headphones and it felt good to be running. I was keeping up with the larger group! Holy cow, I was doing it!

Then something happened about 5 minutes in. I lost my breath. I do this when I get nervous. I knew I had to slow down, but I didn't want to. I saw the turn around ahead and wanted to at least make it that far. One of the coaches was there to cheer us on. He saw that I was turning around and he said, "Great time." I kept running. I saw that there were only 3 runners ahead of me. Unfortunately that realization came with SERIOUS breathing issues. I started walking.

Then I remembered.

I remembered laying in bed too tired and in pain.

I remembered an old friend from high school with fibromyalgia who is going through a rough patch lately.

So I started running again. For both of us.