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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, Dec 28: Strength training and stretching/yoga

My husband has learned that when I don't feel well, I eat ramen or order Papa John's breadsticks. Last night, it was a Papa John’s breadsticks sort of night. (We are out of ramen.) I don’t know what it is about these breadsticks, but they are comfort encased in a pillowy layer of dough. But I digress.

Yesterday, I called in sick to work. This is the third day this month that I’ve had to call in. I’m very lucky because the partners at the firm that I work for are extremely kind and understanding. Even so, I don’t want to be the sickly employee. I want them to know they can rely on me, not question if I’ll be too sick or weak to come in. It’s quite irritating when my body and my mind want two different things—my body wants to rest, while I want to be active. Yesterday, I had to listen to my body. My glands were so swollen and my body so achy—I pretty much stayed in bed all day.

Needless to say, I didn’t do the strength training that I had planned. This isn’t to say I didn’t try. I tried. I got through two sets of lateral and forward raises with two pound weights and was exhausted. I tried to push past the exhaustion and did ten tricep raises before throwing in the towel. I was spent. Pathetic. Sometimes this body really frustrates me. I see my husband--he can stay up late, get up early, and has plenty of energy--I’m jealous. I want to have that energy level, too!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Sunday, Dec 27: 5 mile run

I knew it was snowing well before my husband woke up, looked out the window, and exclaimed, like an excited child, “It’s snowing again!” I could feel it in my fingers, and in my hip joints. I was very reluctant to leave the warmth of the electric mattress pad. I wanted to stay toasty all day.

But, like every Sunday, we had a long run to accomplish. We needed to get in a good 5 mile run today. So, I wrapped myself up in layers of clothing, and around 3:00 p.m., Steven and I headed out for our run. First, we ran to Schnucks so I could drop off some prescriptions—including a refill for my plaquenil for lupus. Then we ran back to the entrance of the park, and ran in the park for about 3.6 miles. (The roundtrip Schnucks run was 1.43 miles).

Today, Steven reminded me of a Runner’s World article that I read last night. In his article, “A Few Rules to Run By,” Mark Remy states, “…Done properly, running is fun. Even when you do it improperly, running is still inherently, liberatingly fun. If you doubt this, just spend a few minutes watching a child or a dog in any wide open space. Their glee is instinctual and undeniable.” I could just see Steven’s delight as he sped past me, not worrying one bit about the slippery ice underfoot. Today, Steven was what I wanted to be. Today, his running was liberating.

I was too busy aching, and too conscious of the slick surface under me, to fully enjoy my run. In fact, I kept thinking about how relieved I was that I forgot my watch. I couldn’t focus on the time, but instead had to focus on the run itself. Had I brought my watch, I’m sure I would be sorely disappointed in myself.

It’s disappointing to see myself change from a runner to more of a walker. I know in the spring, after it warms up a bit, I will be running stronger. But right now, I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed. On the other hand, it’s so exhilarating seeing Steven transform into a distance runner. I’m so excited and feel so blessed to be a part of his training for his first half marathon!

Saturday, Dec 26: Cross training

Does shopping the day-after-Christmas sales count as cross training? If so, I got in 5 to 6 hours. If not, then I didn't do anything for cross training.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday, Dec 25: rest day

It was a lovely white Christmas--but not too much white! I needed to drop off some library books, so Steven and I walked through the park to the library drop off and back. It was 25 degrees, so I was wearing insulated pants, snow boots, my parka, and two pairs of gloves. I stayed pretty toasty, even in the biting wind.

Going straight to and from the library is a three mile trip. By walking around the park, we added at least an extra mile. It was a fun and flurry-filled four mile hike.

At about 7 p.m., Steven and I decided to go ice skating in the park. Nothing says winter quite like an outdoor skating rink in the snow! We skated for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, with a couple of breaks. It was really cold, but we had a blast! I hope everyone else had as wonderful of a Christmas as we did!

Thursday, Dec 24: 3 mile run

For the second day in a row, I decided not to run. I was just too physically exhausted. Instead of running, I went to bed early and slept for almost 18 hours. I think I might have a nasty little cold virus giving me some grief!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, Dec 23: 2 mile run

I did not do my two mile run. I wasn't feeling well, and decided to take a quick nap before running. Well, that quick nap turned into an eleven hour deep sleep. I'm a little disappointed in myself. But I realize I need to focus on what comes next--and not what did or did not happen.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday, Dec 22: Strength training

Since we ran last night, I decided to switch up my schedule a bit. A three mile run was on the schedule for tonight, but I didn't get to do any strength training last night. Therefore, I switched my Monday and Tuesday workout. Tomorrow my schedule will be back on track.

Lupus: sores and shirts

I’ve been really stressed lately, which is not good for my lupus. And with the cold weather, I’ve been getting more sores on my face—mostly in, under, and around my nose and mouth. I’m a little embarrassed about how I look in the photos, but I wanted to honestly share my full experience while training for these races. Therefore, I’m posting these photos. The first one shows the sores that are currently under my nose and around my mouth. The second one is from a year and a half ago—I just stumbled upon it and was shocked at the sore under my right nostril. I look like I’ve been punched in the nose!

On a more positive note, Steven bought me a singlet for Christmas. I’ve used freezer paper and paint to make it my “running for a cure” shirt. Because of the thin, wicking fabric of the singlet, the paint bled a little. But I still like it. And if anyone is close enough to notice the bleeding, then they are standing way too close :-)




Monday, Dec 21: Big River Running Store run

The Big River Running Store hosted a run tonight to view Christmas lights. It wasn’t a race—just a running gathering. There were two run choices: a 5.1 mile run or a 2.9 mile run. Since Monday is supposed to be a run-free day for me (it’s strength training and stretching day), and since I’m not sure how I would have handled the 5.1 mile run, we decided to run the 2.9 mile route. It was an easy route with a really easy pace. And it took us down a road that the residents’ have dubbed “Candy Cane Lane.” It’s one of those streets where the residents take pride in their over-the-top Christmas decorations. Unfortunately, I do not have steady hands, so I am horrible at night photography. I did not get any good shots of Candy Cane Lane. In fact, most of my pictures from the night are blurry.

When we made it back to the store, there were trays of cookies, thermoses of coffee and cocoa, Gatorade, eggnog, pumpkin spice milk, and chocolate mint milk waiting for us. As I am whenever there are free sweets, I was in absolute Heaven. One lady even laughed as I took a photo of the cookie trays. But then she followed my lead and did the same thing!

Tonight, I was warm enough that I didn’t really hurt much more than usual. However, when we got home, I crashed for four hours. I just started to feel horrible all over, and climbed into bed. I was only planning on resting a bit, but my resting turned into a very long nap. Now I’m catching up on what I was supposed to do when we got home.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, Dec 20: 4 mile run

At about 3:00 p.m., when it was still only 29 degrees, my husband and I hit the park for a four mile run. I have had a very difficult weekend, emotionally and physically. Therefore, I did not do as well as I would have liked. I kept coughing during our run, and my lungs felt like they were on fire. I had to stop periodically to catch my breath.

Timewise, we had an okay run. We averaged 9:04 for the first three miles. The fourth mile took us 11:12 because I kept having to stop to cough and breathe.

On a more positive note, with our layering, we both stayed nice and toasty warm--even when it started to snow a little! I think we'll be wearing similar layers tomorrow when we go for a 2.9 mile Christmas light viewing run with a local running group. There's cocoa and coffee after the run tomorrow, so it should be wonderful! Let's hope I can get rid of this cough and congestion before then.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I wasn't feeling 100% on Saturday, so I did not do the 30 minutes of cross-training that was on my schedule. I feel kind of bad about not doing it, but it was a rough weekend for me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, Dec 18: Rest day

Today, I rested. And after a very emotional and draining Thursday night, I needed the rest.

Despite how diligently I have been about taking my medicine, and despite my excessive slathering of Aquaphor on my face, I am still getting sores on my face. That's one of the less attractive sides of lupus--all of the disgusting sores around the mouth and nose. (The lupus foundation has a pretty good page about how lupus can affect the skin.)

I took some photos of my face, and will share and post them once I get up the nerve to do so. I'm still really bothered by how these lupus sores make me look, so I will feel very vulnerable posting the pictures.

Thursday, Dec 17: 3 mile run

I was supposed to do some strength training today, but did not do so because we were very busy. But I did get to do my three mile run. And, much to my surprise, Steven decided to run with me. He hasn’t been taking very good care of himself lately—he was stressed about finals and ICE week—so it did not surprise me that he needed to walk more often than I did. Even so, I was still so excited to have him by my side. It had been so long since we’d had time to do something together where it was just the two of us—so I loved it! But it’s funny to see how different we are when we run.

Running makes me happy. It makes me feel like I am conquering something—like I’m strong, lean, and powerful. Also, it gives me a chance to enjoy the sights around me. So I often smile and laugh when I run. The longer I am able to run, the more I smile. Steven, on the other hand, seems to get more serious as he run. You can tell when he’s frustrated with his speed—the disappointment furrows itself in his brow. He looks so serious and stern with his lips pressed hard together and fists clenched tight and he struggles to keep his pace. It amuses me because the amount of pride I feel for him when he runs with me far outweighs the amount of disappointment he feels. I love how he doesn’t want to hinder my workout. I love how he fights to keep going, even when his legs feel like lead. I’m just amazed by his discipline and will, and wish he were just as amazed and proud of himself as I am.

It was a lovely 3.22 mile run, and we ran it in a less than 31 minutes—we barely ran a sub 10 minute mile. But we did it! And it was amazing. And I didn’t need to stop and walk—I just did so to support Steven. I could have gone a bit longer and a bit faster, but I think that was because I felt fueled by his support. I think that without Steven there to share this run with me, I would have struggled.*

*I am posting this a bit late because I didn’t have time to type my handwritten notes on Thursday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday: 2 mile run

I really didn't want to run today. Not because I was feeling any more pain than normal, but because I had a rough and hectic day at work. All I really wanted to do when I got home was curl up in a ball on the sofa and drown the stress of my day in some ice cream.

But I made a promise to do 50 races in 50 places, and I truly mean to keep my promise. And since my scheduled run for today was a nice and short one, I managed to convince myself to put on my running gear and go.

I'm still not thrilled with my time, but I am a little bit happier with tonight's time than I was on Sunday or yesterday. Tonight I ran a 9:31 minute mile. Not great, but not too horrible. That makes me hopeful that I will soon feel well enough to run a 7 or 8 minute mile :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday: 3 mile run in the cold

I worked all day, so I had to run when I got home from work. By the time I got home, let Lady out, and mapped my 3 mile route, it was dark and 23 degrees outside. Twenty-three degrees! I don’t think I have ever run outside in such cold! So, before I left for my run, I dressed even more warmly than I had on Sunday. I wore an extra pair of pants over my running tights, an extra jacket over my fleece jacket, and a pair of hiking socks over my powersox running socks. Even so, I was freezing. Even with two pairs of gloves on, my fingers were so cold that I could feel the tightness overtaking my joints. Every step was painful. But my time tonight was better than Sunday’s time. For my 3.22 mile run, I averaged 11:31 minute miles. This would be an incredibly slow pace for someone whose joints don’t seize up in the cold, but I’m proud that I was faster tonight despite the lower outside temperatures. Tonight, I’m feeling optimistic—lupus can’t stand in the way of my goals!

I didn’t realize this until after I completed my run, but despite the pain, I never once considered quitting. I think this is partly because I was pumped about receiving my volunteer packet from the local chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America! I’ve signed up to be an advocate and a speaker, and I’m very excited about this.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday: Strength training and stretching

My long runs are generally on Sundays, because that is usually the day that races occur. Granted, right now my Sunday runs aren’t exactly “long.” Even so, my training schedule during the week is fairly light. My schedule for this week isn’t too strenuous:

Monday: Strength training and stretching/yoga

Tuesday: 3 mile easy run

Wednesday: 2 mile run with hills

Thursday: 3 mile easy run and strength training

Friday: Rest!

Saturday: 30 minutes of cross-training

Sunday: 4 mile run

I haven’t worked out with weights in a while, so today’s strength-training has been a little hit-or-miss. I’m trying a large number of exercises to see which ones hurt my joints the most. The ones that work my muscles well without putting too much pressure on my already stiff and sore joints will be the ones that I work on. After it gets warmer this spring, I will retry some of the exercises that hurt my joints to see if there is any improvement.

As far as strength-training is concerned, I’ve really let myself go. Just a few months ago, I was much stronger than I am now. But now that I do not work at a gym, I don’t have access to the weights that I did back in Dallas and I’ve slacked off a lot. Getting strong again will take a lot of effort, but will be worth it. I only own 8 lb, 5 lb, and 3 lb weights, which are perfect right now. But soon I might have an excuse to go buy a new set of heavier weights :-)

Today’s workout:

Upper body: Not necessarily in this order
Tricep dips – 3 sets of 12 reps
French press - 10 lb – 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep kick-back – 5 lbs – 3 sets of 15 reps
Tricep lifts – 8 lbs – 3 sets of 15 reps
Preacher’s curls – 8 lbs each – 3 sets by 15 reps
Concentrated Curls – 8 lbs each – 3 sets by 15 reps
Crazy 8s – 10 lbs total – 2 sets of 36
Shoulder presses – 5 lbs each – 3 sets 15 reps
Referees – 3 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Lateral raises – 3 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Front raises – 3 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Chest presses – 16 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Chest flyes – 10 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Bench presses – 16 lbs – 3 sets 15 reps
Girly Push-ups - 20 (I'm so weak!)
One arm rows – 8 lbs – 3 sets of 15 reps
Resistance band rows – blue band – 3 sets of 15 reps

Lower body:
Calf raises – 3 sets of 25 reps
Wall sits – 1 minute holds, 3 times
Plie squats – 3 sets of 25 reps
Leg curls – 14 lbs – 3 sets of 15 reps
Hip adduction – 3 sets of 25 reps
Hip abduction – 3 sets of 25 reps
Genie sits – 2 sets of 12 reps (these put a lot of pressure on my knees and really started to hurt)

Core: A mix of supermans, bird-dogs, crunches, bicycles, planks, bridges, and sit-ups

Stretching/yoga: 30 minutes

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13: 4 mile run

In my cold-weater gear, minus my hat and gloves.

I was absent from work on both Thursday and Friday because I’ve been sick. I was running a fever and lost my voice. Therefore, it was probably not my smartest idea to go running today. But I sometimes feel out of control with my lupus, and I needed to show my body that I am, in fact, in control. Sometimes a little bit of a mind-over-matter attitude is important.

Even so, I found it really difficult to get motivated. The cold weather disagrees with my lupus, and makes my joints ache. And the warm electric mattress pad kept beckoning me to come back to bed and rest my stiff joints. I managed to crawl out from under my toasty covers, and change into running gear.

It’s kind of amusing that getting ready for a cold-weather run takes 5 times as long as gearing up for a warm-weather run. By the time I was ready to leave the house, I was wearing my running tights and four different tops. All of my exposed skin had a thick and greasy layer of Aquaphor to prevent chapping. I know I look a bit ridiculous when I run in the cold, but I want to keep my joints as warm as possible, and I don’t want any of those lovely lupus-induced facial ulcers that I tend to get. So, a little preventative maintenance goes a long way.

To warm my body up a bit, I ran very small laps around the basement for four minutes before heading outside to brave the elements. At 42 degrees, it was very cold to this former Texan. And, as I said earlier, the colder I am, the more pain I’m in. Therefore, I ran very slowly—so frustratingly and painfully slow! I used Jeff Galloway’s 4:1 split method (four minutes running then one minute walking), which is what he recommends for a 9 minute mile pace. Well, the 4:1 did not give my cold and slow body a 9 minute mile—it was more like a 14 minute mile. When my mother goes walking, she has a faster pace than I did today. Before I got sick and started hurting so much, I was a lot faster. Days like today can be a bit discouraging. I have to remind myself to look at the glass as half-full. I have to remind myself that I was only scheduled for a 4 mile workout, but I went 4.29 miles! And, as my rheumatologist told me, sticking with my running plans will help me feel better physically and psychologically!

Friday, December 11, 2009


Thanks to those who have read this blog. But I'm ending it now--well, I'm ending the domestic goddess part. All of my recipes are going on my examiner page. And all of my sewing projects are going to get posted on and facebook.

I'm switching gears and using this to keep myself motivated about running 50 races in 50 places to raise lupus awareness. I will keep the old posts, but all of my new posts will be about how lupus is treating me, and how training is going :)