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.