Fibromyalgia is downright cruel! Although there are many different symptoms I deal with on any given day, there are 2 that are with me all the time -- pain and intense fatigue. Most days, I have both. Some days I have one or the other but I never have days without either. Saturday when I woke up I was absolutely amazed -- there was NO pain! And I had run a 5K Friday night! I was excited! I knew Saturday would be a difficult day for me. On March 27, 2002, my sweet daddy passed away. I was prepared for a myriad of emotions as I never know from year to year exactly how it will effect me. All I know is that it will effect me. Well, I was excited because not only was it going to be a beautiful day (sunny and 70-something degrees) but I woke up with NO PAIN!!!! I decided that a run was definitely in order and a most befitting way to honor my dad on this day.
The minute I got out of bed, however, my excitement turned into tremendous disappointment. I was instantly overcome with such intense heaviness throughout my entire body, I could barely get my legs to move. I decided to get back in bed, at this point it was still very early, so I thought a bit more rest and a little nap might be in order. Now, I know how absurd a nap sounds after waking up from a good nights rest but with FM, there's no such thing as a "good nights rest." It's either a "better" nights rest than last night or some times even all out insomnia. But that's another lesson in the FM 101 text book that I'll save for another day. Well, before you know it, the entire day got away from me and I never got out of bed. I can't even begin to tell you what that does to a person. When you realize that you have literally slept thru an entire day -- and not just ANY day but a beautiful spring day in which you had something special and meaningful planned. When the tears came, they came with a vengeneance. But I reminded myself that there are things in this life that I have no control of. And sometimes, it takes "wasting" one day so that I can enjoy another.
When I woke up this morning, I felt better. Mind you, "better" simply means better than yesterday. Today, the pain is present but minimal -- YES!! Today, the fatigue is present but not intense -- YES!! The weather outside, however, is AWFUL! It's cold, damp and windy. YUCK!!!! This will only mean that when the sun goes down (what sun?) my body will stage an all out mutiny, making Monday a challenge. I'm not being pessimistic -- I'm being realistic. If I'm wrong, it will be a first but in this case, I sure hope I'm wrong. We made it to church (albeit late - it's hard to get ready on time these days) and I was so happy. It was then that I realized it was better to lose my Saturday to gain His Sunday and worship my Awesome God! My negative had a huge positive attached!
This afternoon, I headed out to run the errands that I couldn't do yesterday. I must say it felt colder and the wind was really blowing -- ugh! And then I saw it. Our cherry tree. All week long I've come and gone and never even noticed it was budding. But as I looked at it, amidst the gloomy, gray sky, it's in FULL BLOOM! When did that happen? It must have been while I was I was sleeping. It must have happened in the middle of my dark day while I was wallowing in self pity. In the midst of my storm, God reminds that in Him is life. In Him, it's a new day and a new season. This is a time not to mourn what is lost but rather a time to rejoice in what lies ahead! When I'm open to the lessons that He wants to teach me, it makes me thankful for FM. I wonder, if yesterday had not turned out like it did, would I have missed the blessing of the cherry tree today?
So, with that, I leave you with a close up view of my cherry tree in bloom...
I know, I know...I promised a race report. But, I've had a lot going on as you can see from this list:
Lately, my life has been comprised of making promises I simply can't keep. I start to write my blog and then, well, it just seems too overwhelming. I have LOTS to talk about...I have ZERO energy to write it all down. My life of late has been a roller coaster. I know, everyone's life is a roller coaster. Yes, everyone has their ups and downs but I'm at a point in my life where I'm both figuratively and literally nauseous and weary of the jerking and twisted turns that are coming so fast I can't recover from the last before the next thing comes. I seems that every positive thing in my life is immediately countered with a new symptom or a new pain in a new place.
But everyday is a new day (wow, that's deep, huh?) and since getting off the roller coaster of life is NOT an option (I'm certainly not ready to leave the amusement park yet!), I have determined that I'm going to turn around my way of thinking. Instead of thinking that every time something good happens, something bad is just around the next turn, I will embrace the negative because I know that for every bad thing that happens, something good is just around the corner. I know this is not rocket science but for me, this is a break through. I'm learning that a positive outlook is all I have. I can't rely on running any more to get me thru the dark times -- I have to instead find my courage and strength from within and let running be the result and not the source.
So, I've come to grips with the fact that some days I will live up to my GoGirlGo! persona and some days I'll just be GoneGirlGone but one thing will always be true, even on the days when I can't get out of bed, I always...
Today would have been my Dad's 78th birthday -- he passed away almost 8 years ago. It's always hard this time of year because I miss him SO much but there's also a strange comfort I get when I allow myself to stop & think of all the great memories I have and reflect on the man he was.
My dad was a runner. I know that doesn't sound very interesting in and of itself but it was where and how he loved to run that made him unique and brings a smile to my face. Dad was the maintenance man for our church, which was quite large both in number of members and square footage of the building. Dad paced out the sanctuary and knew just how many laps around equalled a mile. He would go into the sanctuary (not during worship services mind you), take off his shoes (I have always wanted to run barefoot!) and just run. With only the light that streamed through the stained glass windows, he would run and he would pray. Sometimes he'd be in there for hours but he never could seem to remember just how many laps he'd gone. He would be so intune with God that he'd forget to count the laps -- he just ran with God. Being a child and not a runner, I found this "ritual" to be quite silly and perhaps a bit irreverant. After all, he was running barefoot in the church building -- didn't our parents always say we should never run in church?!??!) Well, I'm no longer a child and I AM a runner so I must say, man, didn't he have it all figured out? Dad, I totally get it now!!!! How awesome to run free with your thoughts focussed on Almighty God as you reach out to Him in prayer. Did I mention that I totally get that now? :) He found a way to turn his love for running and his love for God into a way that drew him closer to God. But that's the way my dad was, everything he did, God was always the biggest part. Everything else was secondary.
I would give anything to run with my dad. Even if I had run with him as a child, I don't think I would have grasped the totality of what that would mean. Often when I run, I think of my dad and sometimes I even imagine he's right beside me. Especially when the distance is hard, it's my dad I think of. In my head, he escorted me across the finish line of the Little Rock marathon in 2008. Silly, huh?
While these are silly images I have conjured in my head to keep my dad's memory with me there is one thing that I can rely on. One day, when my life on earth is done, if the Lord find me faithful, I will get to run barefoot with my Dad in the presence of Almighty God! WOW!!! I can hardly wait!!!!!!!
Several months ago, Mark finally caved into my constant begging a.k.a. nagging to run the St. Jude Half Marathon with me. Here we are at the start line, btw. Anyway, ever since I started running some 3 and 1/2 years ago, it has been my desire to cross the finish line with him, holding hands and raising them high in the air -- the perfect finish line photo. Well, today, I ran, er walked, er limped 13.1 miles with Mark by my side and we even posed for our finish line photo just as I had pictured it in my head.
It would have been a picture perfect race as well if only my knee would have held out longer. Sadly, it decided my race was OVER at mile 8 and then gave up altogether around 11. Now, mind you, I was not well trained for this race. The last 14 weeks have been difficult. I wasn't able to get my 10 miler in nor was I able to get in any weekly runs for most of the training period. I would have advised anyone else to "sit this one out" but not only was my husband signing up to run but we both committed ourselves to running it as St. Jude Heroes and raise money for the precious children who are being treated there. How could I possibly drop out? So I showed up at the start line and wondered what this day would bring. The 1st 5-6 miles were AWESOME!!! Although we walked alot when we ran, we ran fairly strong and averaged 13:30-14:00 minute miles. At 6, I began having a few nagging pains in various places but I pushed thru ok. More walking than running between 6 and 11 and then things began to deteriorate rapidly. Sometime after the 11 mile marker, my knee began throbbing and I couldn't put my full weight on my left leg as a result. Then the calf cramps hit the right leg and I was practically immobile. At that point, I didn't think I could make it to the finish but who drops out at 11.5 when you're that close to the finish? Mark grabbed my hand and was literally dragging me along while I winced in pain and begged him to let me quit.
When we saw the gates of AutoZone park, we began to jog. At the moment we entered the gates, BAM, calve cramps in BOTH LEGS! I came to a dead stop and the tears began to flow freely, knee still throbbing all the while. The volunteer at the gate says to me, "we've taken 2 runners out of here on stretchers. You're NOT going to be #3. YOU CAN DO IT!!" For some strange reason, I believed her and Mark & I headed to the finish, hand in hand. I was limping but I was going to make it. The photographer snapped our picture with our clasped hands in the air and we were smiling. As soon as we passed her, my calves cramped again just in time to see a 2nd photographer who captured me crying out to Mark that I was about to fall and him looking over at me. Oh well, at least we got one good finish line photo -- or should I say hope. Once past the finish line, one of the medical personnel asked me if I was ok and before I could answer, saw just what the problem was and began helping me work out the cramps. This process, I must say, is as painful if not more so than the cramps themselves. But his torture worked and I was on my way to THE MEDAL! Boy, did I earn that thing today!
So while this was by far my slowest, most painful half marathon EVER, I am as proud of this one as I am of my marathon finishes. I proved to myself that I can do anything if I possess enough desire and determination (and maybe a little bit of insanity) and Mark and I did this together! And we did it for the kids at St. Jude! I truly felt like a hero today.
Now it's time for some much needed rest and recovery because you know me...
Today I did 6 miles in downtown Memphis. Running by the river always cheers me up and today, I especially needed some cheer. This has been a particularly bad week for me. When I showed up for today's 6 miles, I fully expected to do 6 laps around the St. Jude campus, figuring I'd be lucky if I could even do half the distance. But my two teammates wouldn't hear of it. Morris would be running ahead of me and Lenore would be walking behind me -- I was literally book ended by the two of them. When I made it back to campus, I was in a lot of pain and was determined to call it quits at 5.39 miles. Morris would have nothing of that. He cheered me on and encouraged me not only to get to the 6 mile mark, but to add a lap around campus for a total of 6.39 miles. So tonite, even though I am quite sore and can barely walk, I feel like I really accomplished something today. Now, I just hope I can recover in time for our 10 miler next Saturday.
It has been difficult for me to accept my limitations of late and I have a hard time not looking out too far into the future. I don't have to determine today that my marathon days are over. I don't have to determine today that my half-marathon days are over. Today, I had 6 miles to cover. Today, I determined (with the help of my friends) that I could not only do it, but I could go just a little bit farther. Today, that's good enough for me because I...