Tag Archives: running

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!

Prednisone and Heartburn

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As you may remember, after my last appointment, I was excited to go back to using Enbrel and I was “awarded” Voltran Gel for my knees. I still need to do a recap on how the Voltran Gel is working out and I know it’s been a bit since my last my post, but we’ve been super busy. We just moved into our first house! Very exciting- what was more exciting is that we hired movers which was just awesome. It was so nice to not have to move big bulky furniture, especially in light of the serious pain that I’ve been in lately. As I also mentioned in my previous post, my doctor said that if things weren’t significantly better this past week he was going to put me back on a short course of Prednisone.

He called to check in and then told me he was calling in a prescription. Cool- I haven’t had any bad experiences with prednisone yet and it seemed to work really well, so let’s do it! Well, let me tell you, I’m through two days now and m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. The heartburn is unbearable! Yesterday especially it came and went almost every 5 minutes– just a really sharp pain and so much discomfort. I was really upset about it and thought it may prevent me from running my 5K today (it didn’t!). Anyway, after a nice conversation and a recommendation from my mom (Thanks, mom!) I picked up some Prilosec and the drugstore. It’s a 14-day course of taking one pill a day. I will say I am feeling less heartburn today and since it’s the third day of Prednisone, I’m taking fewer pills, so hopefully everything will work out just fine! Crisis averted!

In other news, Andrew and I ran the Love the Run You’re With 5K this morning! It felt like such an accomplishment to cross that finish line holding hands with the love of my life! What’s even more exciting is that we had been doing training runs at about 15:00min/miles which we knew we could go faster than but didn’t want to push because we’re trying to train for a half marathon, but we busted our behinds and ended up with a sub-12 minute/mile pace. 37:05! Next stop: Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Pasadena!!!

The Best Money You’ll Ever Spend

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You hear it a lot with diet fads and exercising enthusiasts. You see it posted in shoe stores and in advertisements for shoe pads. The best money you’ll ever spend is on a good pair of shoes. Well, I couldn’t agree more. This time, I’m putting it on my “realizaversment” of AS. The pamphlets and the books say that exercising is good for folks who have AS and that it can help with the pain management. As many people with auto-immune diseases can echo– umm, ok smart pants… but, if you’re in a ton of pain and your back and neck are stiff and your SI (aka butt) feels like there is a knife in it, how are you supposed to exercise?

My answer. You make yourself. That’s the best way I can put it. Perhaps my motivator is a race of some sort. I’m signed up for a half marathon in February and a 5-day bike ride in the summer. I’m not going to lie, I’m scared shit-less (pardon the language) of how my back and SI will feel before/during/after these races, but I forced myself to go to the gym to exercise and I did it over and over and I’m continuing to do it. And you know what? For that 30-45-60 minutes that I spend working out, my back and SI don’t hurt. It’s amazing. And you know what? Rather than spending my time focusing on blisters or the way the shoe was rubbing my little toe or how my arches hurt, I enjoyed my work outs. How? By coughing up some dough to get fitted for a good pair of running shoes. The folks at the running store actually watched me run and they commented on my gait and found me a pair of shoes that work really well. And that my friends, is the best money that I’ll ever spend because when I wear them and i go to the gym or go outside and exercise- for those 30-45-60 minutes I feel minimal pain. And I’ll take that.

Those shoes and perserverance is how I ran a 5K this past weekend. Now I feel invincible.

 

In other news, Andrew’s sister-in-law, Mariah, whom I’ve mentioned previously on my blog awarded me with the Liebster Blog Award! Mariah, if you don’t remember, has RA. She is now preggers and off Enbrel and the drugs. You can find her over at From This Point. Forward. As stolen from her blog post:

A Liebster is: “sweetheart, beloved person, darling adj. dear, darling; beloved, liked very much; affectionate, loving adj. favorite, preferred above others; liked or loved above others.”

So here are the rules of this award:
  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
  2. Link back to the Blogger (or Bloggers) who awarded you.
  3. Answer the following questions, down below.
  4. Pass the award out and recognize other Bloggers letting them know that you love them.
So, as mentioned previously, a HUGE thanks to Mariah Z-Leach over at From this Point. Forward., who was diagnosed with RA and hasn’t let it stop her… and now she’s an expecting mom (can’t wait for the baby shower!)
Ok. On to the questions:
Favorite color: Orange and Hot Pink. Just perfect.

Favorite animal: Besides my pup, Franklin and my bearded dragon, Roxy… Penguins or Manatees :0)

Favorite number: 2. It’s way ahead of most and has the motivation to work to improve.

Favorite drink: Iced green tea or Gin and Tonic

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. I use twitter occasionally but Facebook is more fun.

Passion? The environment, cooking, running, biking, and living life to it’s absolute fullest. Oh and doing what someone says I can’t just to see the expression on their face.

Getting or giving presents? I love giving presents.

Favorite day: Flag day. Andrew and I picked it is as our anniversary and on our drive home from our first trip away together we found it was flag day…
Favorite flower: Snap dragons. Always loved them and their names.
The rules are unclear on how many folks to give this award out to, so I’m just going to award it to a few choice folks who I think our rock stars.
My first award goes to Jess over at Just Call Me Janks. She’s a 20-something Baltimorean who blogs about life in her 20s. She recently got engaged to one of my all-time bestest friends from college, Jason Ader. She has a great blog about life and I think you’ll all enjoy it!
My next award goes to The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis. This blog/website is a great project that showcases the stories of folks who are suffering from AS. It has some very insightful information and it really helps inform folks of what people with AS go through day in and day out!
Lastly, I’m giving an award to Kelly Christal Johnston over at Hurting but Hopeful. She has an extensive blog on family life with AS and the aches and pains and bumps in the road. She is a very strong woman who keeps a positive attitude!

 

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.

My First Month of Ankylosing Spondylitis

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A month ago, I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis. It’s amazing how much your life can change in the blink of an eye. One day I was recovering from what I thought was some stupid injury I got from pushing getting back into running too hard and the next day I was diagnosed with an incurable auto-immune disease. I went from RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) to injections, pills, creams, and sprays. I went from “just take a week off” to this is how it’s going to be forever- we will work to find a way to manage the pain. Amazing. Just completely unreal. I went from I can do anything to you may not be able to do everything. Well, I’m sorry but I just won’t take that for an answer.

I am unique. I am individualistic, I love with passion, I work with desire, and I have an insatiable need to try new things, explore the world, and live my life as an adventure. I refuse to let AS define me. It may be a part of me, but it will only make me stronger and more motivated to prove to it who really is the boss.

I may need to give myself refrigerated injections once a week that sting like hell. I may need to carry three bottles of pills around in my purse at all times, and I may need to be armed with Benadryl spray and hand sanitizer, but so what? You may see them as weights dragging me down and holding me back but I see them as a way to get through the day the way I want to get through it- with vigor and vengeance.

On December 3, I will be walking the Jingle Bell 5K with my one of my best high school friends and a bunch of other Arthritis Foundation supporters. You can donate to or join our team here.

Next February, I will be running. Yes, I said running, the Pasadena Half Marathon. It begins and ends at the Rose Bowl- that imaginary place on the west coast that I grew up watching football games and parades near as a kid in Pennsylvania. In February 2012, I will be running 13.1 miles. It’s not too late to sign up here!

Next May, I will be biking from New York City to the capital in Washington, DC. It will be 300 miles over 5 days, camping and biking as part of the Climate Ride. I will be supporting environmental causes and bike safety. Help me raise enough to cover my expenses here or join Team SFS!

And that’s just the beginning. I look forward to sharing with you the trials and tribulations of Ankylosing Spondylitis as I take the world by storm. Living my life, the way I want to live it rather than the way AS tells me I should live it. I will not let AS define me.

Jingle Bell 5K and a Hell of a Great Friend

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Last year, Andrew and I decided to run the Jingle Bell 5K in Baltimore, MD.

The event, in which you tie jingle bells to your shoes was developed as a way to raise awareness and funds for the Arthritis Foundation. Last year, we signed up because it sounded fun and because Andrew’s sister-in-law, Mariah, has Rheumatoid Arthritis and we wanted to support her. With the help of a few friends, we raised about $200 or so, dawned our greatest holiday costumes (we went as trees), my friend, Rachel and her boyfriend went as elves, and ran the Jingle Bell 5K in Baltimore, MD. We had a fantastic time and couldn’t wait to do it again this year.

Well, obviously a lot has happened in the past few weeks and I have to admit, my thoughts about the Jingle Bell 5K were there but in the back of my mind. I thought, well, my Rheumy told me I can’t run and Andrew has to have surgery. Maybe we’ll just take a year off and do it next year. That’s where, my aforementioned friend (and one of my bests from High School) showed up. She emailed me asking if we were going to do it again, stating that she was ready to. Her email rejuvenated me and I thought, well, if I can’t run, I’ll walk. At least I’m doing something. Plus, it’s for a great cause. I expected, as last year, for a handful of folks (maybe 4 of us) to sign up. Well, here it is, still 1.5 months out and we have 10 people signed up for our team, “And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.” Not only that, but the team has raised $825 so far! And all because of Miss. Rachel Worthington.

So, while I may not be able to run this year, I will walk my heart out and when I figure out a treatment that works and keeps the AS at bay, you bet your butt I’ll be back on the start line and running. So this is a MASSIVE shout out and a heartfelt thank you to Rachel for pulling this together and re-motivating me to get out there and do something.

So, for those of you reading this, I encourage you to get out there and sign up for your area’s Jingle Bell 5K. It’s not just about running or walking or tying bells to your shoes, it’s about people coming together for a few hours to show Arthritis who is boss, to stare it in the face and say, today, I win. So get out there and walk or run or hop, skip, or jump. Or donate a few dollars to “And a Partridge in a Pear Tree” (Arlington, VA) or Team Z (Denver, CO).

Team And a Partridge in a Pear Tree  (we’re currently in 3rd place for teams)

Team Z  (Look under Team Rank for Team Z, currently in 3rd place)

Thanks again, Rachel, for being one hell of a friend! :0)