Category Archives: Training

I’m an AS Kicker. Seriously.

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Hello there. Life is good today. It’s Friday.

Wow, so much has been going on! I am happy to say that my stress is at an all time low currently. While this will most likely change in the near future, I’ll take it when I can get it. I have now been back on Enbrel for 5 weeks and I have finished my second  short-course of Prednisone. So much to update you on… let’s see…

1. This past weekend, Andrew and I ran the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. It was Andrew’s first. It was awesome. It was in Pasadena, California and we had an amazing time with amazing weather. Just perfect! I have definitely decided that running reduces my stress levels immensely. I plan to continue doing it. It also helps that running temporarily reduces my AS symptoms.

2. We finally got our new kitchen set-up. This makes me happy because we can cook and we have been and it’s been delicious and awesome! Next step- the rest of the house!

3. Voltaren Gel– it seems to actually work. My knees are still not 100% but the gel does seem to be helping my knee pain a lot. I will continue using it for sure… plus! No cortisone injections!

4. Enbrel– while my pain is not gone, my fatigue has vastly improved over the past 5 weeks. For instance, it is now 2:30 in the afternoon and I am still awake… and all I had was a large green tea today (in the caffeine department). 5 weeks ago at this time I would have had 2 caffeinated sodas, 3 cups of coffee, and a cup of iced tea and I’d still be falling asleep. I am thanking Enbrel for these things.

5. Prednisone– it did seem to help with the pain and kind of jump start the Enbrel working. As you may remember, I was having terrrrrrrrible heart burn. As a result, I went on a 14 day course of Prilosec which I have just about finished up. It has worked wonderfully and my heart burn has died way down. thanks, Prilosec!

6. We signed up for our CSA again! I am super excited— I love going out to the farm and getting fresh produce and cutting fresh herbs. I see lots of food blogging in my future!

7. Finally, we found someone to take over the lease on our apartment— so no more double rent paying!!!! Such a good feeling! This took a TON of stress off of both Andrew and I.

Yes, life is good right now. Calculus is still there and still needs tending. Hopefully after we unpack this weekend I can buckle down and get it done. It’s about time!

Feeling Awesome by Work Out and Crappy by Anything Else

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  Say hello to work out Meghan. Running (well, “running” but it’s not walking, so who cares how many miles per hour it is?) with the breeze blowing through my hair, one foot after the other, busting out an uphill gain (Ok, so it’s only 50 feet, who cares?) while I’m doing a little dance move with my hands to Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.” Perfect. Seamless. True, legs are a little sore, calves still haven’t completely adjusted to the new vibram five fingers or the torturous cold air 4 mile jog that I am putting it through. Yes, my knees are a little rickety and at a time or two I slide ever so gracefully on a small patch of black ice. Yes I am absolutely covered in sweat from head to foot because for some unknown reason, I perspire 1000000000% more than the average human being.  Yes, my earbuds slide out every few minutes because apparently my ear holes aren’t properly formed for the latest Sony bud covers. Yes, my spandex pants are a little too tight, thus accentuating parts of me that I’d like a little more toned. Yes, I’m breathing through my mouth, gently wiping slobber out of the corners of my mouth and off my cheeks. Yes, I MAY EVEN BE mouthing or heaven help us, SINGING OUT LOUD to the song on my shuffle. But, don’t I look happy? I am in my element. I am doing it. I have AS and I’m out of shape and I’m running. And I like it. I even got Andrew out there running with me and putting up with my crazy routes. My butt feels NO pain. Take that SI joints, I have found a way to mute you. Take it! My lower back feels like I have brand new vertebrae of flexible steel. I don’t know if it’s possible, but just imagine it is. My muscles are relaxed and I feel like I could fly.

That’s work out Meghan. Now meet Meghan at any second of the day when she is not working out.

Meghan is broken. Meghan is in pain. Meghan is exhausted. Meghan is ready to throw in the towel. Imagine your neck and back and butt being steam rolled, spat on, and steam rolled again. That is Meghan on no Enbrel and not in work out mode. It could be an hour after working out, it could be in the morning before working out, it could be on a “rest” day. This Meghan is evil. She feels like crap, she is groggy. She feels like she has been up for 5 days straight. She wants a vacation.

 

How is it possible to be both Meghans? I’m not sure myself, but trust me, I know it is! I don’t get it. It exhausts me to start thinking about it (not currently working out). I try to figure out how I can feel so wonderful exerting energy that quite frankly, I don’t even know that I have in me. Yesterday, I did NOT want to get up. I knew we were supposed to run 4 miles and I wanted to run 4 miles but I didn’t want to get up. I hit snooze a couple times. Andrew got up and got ready and then came back into the bedroom. It took everything I had in me to get out of bed. Once I was outside, I felt a little more awake but really sore. I remember thinking to myself, there’s no way I’m going to be able to run 4 miles. But you know what? I did… and I’m not sure how- but I do know that during those 4 miles I felt invincible. So I guess my question is, is it possible to work out all day? Because if I could, I would. If that’s the only way to get relief, I am. in.

Next Monday, I have an appointment with my Rheumy (FINALLY!). I’m really hoping that he gives me the go-ahead to get back on Enbrel. Please cross your fingers– I think if I can go back on, I will start to feel 1000000% better!

 

Hey AS, I just kicked your butt!

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That’s right, folks! This morning I kicked AS right in the keester. I ran not 0.5, not 1.0, but 2.0 miles. Not a run-walk, a run. Well, a run as fast as I can run which is more of a jog, but really, I don’t care. I wasn’t walking. I am continuing to deal with not being on Enbrel although I am VERY ready to be back on it. As I mentioned previously, I show up at the gym hurting and then as I work out and loosen up, the pain gets better somehow. It’s like magic (except in my knees which have really been bugging me lately but that’s a story for another day).

I feel good throughout the workout and that adrenaline… you just can’t beat it. When I started running this morning I thought, oh I’ll just run a mile. Then I got to a mile and said, oh I’ll just run a mile and a quarter and so on and so forth, until I got to two miles. Now, as I mentioned, I may not make it to running a full 13 by the time of our half marathon, but I will do my absolute best to run as much of it as I can so that the next one, I will run straight-through.

Now, I am hurting more (it’s about 6 hours after the workout). My back and SIs are stiff, my knees and ankles have given up, and I smell like sweat, but still I couldn’t be happier. Today, I kicked AS for two miles. I’ll take it.

Today I Ran a Half Mile

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Yes, you read correctly. Today, I ran one half mile. No, it’s not as glorious as a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or heaven forbid, a full marathon, but it was progress and I’ll take it. At my one month mark of being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, I proclaimed that I will be running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon next February in Pasadena, CA. Well, I have to start somewhere and today, that start was one half a mile.

For those of you who have ever completed a marathon, first off props to you- it is a great feeling to be in that special group of 26.2-ers. Someday, perhaps I will get back there again. Regardless, remember that feeling you get around oh mile 21? That oh my god, I am literally dieing there is no way I can put my left foot in front of my right foot again- every muscle is tearing and my bones are gone feeling? Well, that is what I had during my one half mile sojourn today. Now, don’t get me wrong, part of that is due to the fact that I haven’t trained in months. The other part of course, is my near and dear friend, AS. But such is life.

Tonight I lay in my bed with aching wrists, ankles, knees, hips, heels and a lower back. My body feels like I was accosted by a group of people with baseball bats. I voiced to Andrew that I hate the feeling of feeling like crap and I feel so frustrated sometimes and just like my body is completely giving up on life. And yet, as I sit here typing this post, I can’t help but smile knowing that today, not only did I get to go on a 7 mile walk with the love of my life and our bestest dog, Franklin, but I actually ran (ok, jogged, whatever) a half a mile.

I am well on my way. Today was a great Fall day and I wouldn’t have changed it for anything.

World Arthritis Day is Coming…

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So I was over on Mariah Z-Leach’s blog, From This Point. Forward. earlier today and she had posted a fun fact about the Empire State building and World Arthritis Day; it appears as though the Empire State Building will be lighting up in blue on October 12th in support of World Arthritis Day! How cool is that? Anyway, seeing the fun fact made me look up what else was going on for Arthritis Day. There are a lot of cool projects and programs going on, and I found out that there is a huge supporting of Arthritis in Europe; they the European League actually has a huge map of all of the arthritis events going on (users can self-add events too). It’s over here.

Anyway, the theme for this year is Move to Improve. I like it. a lot. I’ve found a great deal of information on exercising with different types of arthritis and which types of sports are good/bad. The European League’s activity of the month is cycling, which makes me happy because I’m trying to get more into cycling in preparation for our Climate Ride next May! Cycling is supposed to be a great activity because it’s easier on the hips and knees then say, running (although now that I think about from a different perspective, in what way is running actually a good impact on your body… except for being a cardio-workout).

Ok, I guess that sounded a bit bitter, I really do love running and I think it’s great for you, despite what my past 5 or 6 doctors and orthopedists and physical therapists have told me. The combination of ankle surgery in 2009 and this continuing pain in my butt (literally), along with a host of other issues, have prevented me from getting back into running at the level that I would like to be. I was trying to think of questions to ask my Rheumy this week and honestly, my number one question is whether or not I can pick up running again… I just miss it. a lot. From what I’ve gathered online, there are certain medications that are not good to take if you have AS and are running because they further restrict your lung capacity which is apparently an issue with AS by itself. So, we’ll see what the outcome is…

Anyway, back to World Arthritis Day. There are a bunch of things going on, but the two that are pretty cool that everyone (arthritees and non-arthritees alike) should participate in are:

1. Massage Envy! Who doesn’t love massages? Get a massage and they’ll donate $10 to the Arthritis Foundation! Easy and relaxing :0)

2. Jingle Bell 5K for Arthritis: You can run or walk! It’s only 5k or 3.1 miles. It’s a great, fast, and enjoyable distance and it’s a ton of fun. We did it last year in Baltimore, MD. Andrew and I dressed up like Christmas trees. Everyone gets decked out in costumes and has a great time. If you sign up for it on October 12th, and you’re one of the first 1,000, you’ll get a free present, too! So go on and sign up; I know I will be!

18.51 Miles; Brunch with Friends and Solar Decathlon

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Today was just epic. It’s been so long since we’ve trained for anything, let alone biked more than say, 6 or 7 miles together. Today we blew it out of the water! 18.51 miles roundtrip and we got in a nice little tour of DC too. Even though the weather was forcasted to be rainy and cold, we decided that we would still bike because we’ve made enough excuses about not working out :0). So, we packed up our bags with ponchos and wallets and cameras and hopped on our bikes. Our first stop was by Eastern Market. We met up with two of Andrew’s Cornell friends, Stephanie and Kelsey, and Stephanie’s husband, Nick. Kelsey just moved down to DC for work and Stephanie and Nick were in town to celebrate their 1 year anniversary! Our ride to Eastern Market wasn’t too bad; the weather was chilly but there was only a light rain so no need for heat-intensive ponchos. We road through four mile run park, on mount vernon trail, and over 14th Street Bridge where we saw runners in the Woodrow Wilson Half Marathon completed a portion of their race. Just as we hit the other side of the bridge (and landed ourselves in DC) a massive perfect rainbow appeared and just framed the bridge perfectly. Not a shabby way to start the day.

We met up with the crew at Ted’s Bulletin (near Eastern Market). If you’ve never been, I suggest you try it out; delicious brunch and friendly waitstaff. The menus are designed like old black and white newspapers and there’s a big screen tv that was playing, The Three Stooges on it for the duration of our meal. Oh, by the way, we found some bike racks right out front! I ended up with my traditional veggie omelet, and Andrew got a breakfast platter that came with a homemade pop tart! No really, they have a whole slew of pop tart types; Andrew’s was filled with Apple Butter. After breakfast, we said goodbye to friends and headed off down Pennsylvania and along the National Mall to the Solar Decathlon.

Welcome to the Solar Decathlon! It’s basically a competition each year  to build energy efficient homes; a lot of schools participate and there usually a few international entries as well. This year, Maryland was the overall winner. There are a whole bunch of awards categories, however; some based on architectural appeal, some on people’s choice, some on market appeal. Historically the Solar Decathlon has been on the main part of the mall, but this year it moved down near to where the new MLK monument was put in. The one nice thing about an energy efficiency competition? Ample bike parking… they had TONS of bike racks!

We spent a good deal of time walking around and checking out the different homes that were there and talking with some of the students about their designs. We also got to see one of Andrew’s brothers friends from college (and he was at their Wedding this past May)! He was out from a school in California; one of two master construction leads on their home. It was a pretty far out design. It sounds like they did really well in some categories and not so well in categories like market appeal. Try to figure out why…

I like to call it the squishy house :0). The idea is “outsulation.” Basically, rather than the usual design of putting insulation between wood boards to create the walls, they created the walls and then wrapped the whole house in the insulation… it’s actually a pretty cool concept and honestly, this was the warmest house we went inside! The inside was super cool; the top part, where you see the glass, is where the bedroom was located, then the kitchen table actually cranked out and into place or could crank back and be put away to help manage space. Then the lower portion of the house was the living room. Some of their Engineers on crew also hooked up their Xbox Kinect so that it could learn to recognize your human movement and you could point to the different lights to turn them on or off. Awesome. The house also came complete with a deck on the back :0). What house is complete without a deck, afterall? Oh, and solar panels on top. Turns out the supplier of the solar panels also bought this house to use as a demonstration house. Not too shabby.

After spending some time walking around the Decathlon, we headed back to our apartment in Virginia. The ride back was a little slower than the ride out but it felt sooo good when we pulled our bikes into the parking garage under our building. We’ve been all smiles since… just a fantastically wonderful day.

We topped it off with homemade burgers from our farmshare beef, some smashed twice baked potatoes, and corn on the cob. We even packed lunches tonight… instead of waiting until tomorrow. Starting this week off on the right foot!

What did you do this weekend?