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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 31 - Brief update

I will post in greater detail when I'm feeling better, but this past week was not my best. Honestly, I did not get a single thing done that was on my to do list. Not one thing. No exercise. No cleaning. No race planning. Nothing. Having the flu and the resulting lupus flare-up was just to exhausting and painful.

But I'm feeling better--not 100%, but well enough to fake it! I go to see the rheumatologist February 22 to get new medicine. I can't wait! I really want to feel human again. Also, I'm really tired of this butterfly rash. Today, it was really prominent. I tried to take photos of it, but with the lighting and the flash, they didn't turn out too well. But I'll post them when I'm feeling better.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sunday, Jan 24

On Sunday, I was feeling a bit more mobile and did not yet realize that I had the flu. And after feeling trapped for three days, I decided that I was going to get in my 7 mile run. I know this was not a smart idea, but I needed to move. I’m happiest when I’m out moving—walking, running, dancing—I don’t care, as long as I’m moving. I get so tired of being in too much pain to move!

My husband decided to join me on this run, and, at first, it the run went pretty well. Up until mile 4, we were averaging 9 min/miles. But a little after mile 4, the pain hit. My joints stiffened with incredible speed. I felt my knees stiffen, then buckle under me. I winced with pain and caught my balance before I face-planted on the path. I was really glad my husband had just passed me and missed my painful moment. But after that, I couldn’t run with any speed. We ended up completing only 6 miles in total—spending the last two miles walking and jogging. We completed our last two miles at a 16 min/mile pace—we were very, very slow. I felt really bad for my husband since he stayed and finished with me even though I slowed him down. I’m very lucky to have someone so supportive!

Monday, Jan 18 – Saturday, Jan 23

Last week was horrible. I’m not complaining--just stating the truth. It was, in fact, horrible. I only got in one good run, and battled the flu for the rest of the week (and the beginning of the next week).

Monday: After the 5k, I had Monday scheduled as a rest day. Even though I did not run the 5k, but walked it, I decided to follow my schedule and rest. My body felt a bit off, and I thought I could use the rest.

Tuesday: I misread my schedule. Although I only had a 4 mile run, I thought I had a 5 mile run. Since my dear husband was busy with school work, I bundled up, put on my reflective gear, and hit the road. I felt sluggish and achy, but still managed to complete the 5 miles with a 10 min/mile pace. Not too bad. After the run, I lifted weights to make up for resting on Monday. I went to bed early—exhausted from my exercises.

Wednesday: We hired a new employee at work, so I got up early to head to be at the office by 8:30 a.m. I was supposed to train the new girl, but our internet was down. Then, our legal software, TimeMatters, shut down. We spent half the day getting the internet back up and running. After that, I spent 2-1/2 hours on the phone with tech support for TimeMatters. I was already feeling physically exhausted, but such an unproductive day left me feeling emotionally exhausted as well. I was so tired when I got home that I just climbed into bed and did not leave the warm covers if I didn’t have to. Needless to say, my 3.5 mile run did not happen.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: When I woke up Thursday, I could not move. I was immobilized by the pain in my joints. As humiliating as it was, I had to have my husband help me to the toilet. I just couldn’t get there on my own. My husband came home early from school to keep an eye on me, bringing me medicine and water. He turned the heated mattress pad on our bed up so the heat would help my aching joints, but nothing helped. I was a prisoner in my own body. I ended up missing work both Thursday and Friday. I stayed in bed all day Saturday as well.

But even though I was in considerable pain, I still felt lucky. My wonderful husband took such good care of me. He sat and watched tv shows on with me. He lay next to me and held me as I cried. He brought me Papa John’s breadsticks in bed. What more could a girl ask for?!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sunday, Jan 17: Cross training

Goal: Cross-train for 60 minutes
Actual: Low impact steps for 120 minutes

Since I have nothing interesting to say about my workout, I'm posting pics from the Frozen Buns Run!

Steven pre-race:

Awesome refueling table!

One of many ice sculptures:

Walkin' with the Dead Bear sculpture:

You can stand under my umbrella:

Saturday, Jan 16: 5k race

Goal: 3.1 mile run
Actual: 3.1 mile walk

When you have lupus, the last thing you want to do is try to strengthen your immune system. Although it isn’t ideal, it’s much better to have a weakened immune system attacking your body’s cells and systems than to have a strong immune system attacking your body. Therefore, in cold and flu season, I don’t take Airborne and garlic tablets to keep my immune system strong. And, inevitably, when someone around me gets a cold, I get one too. Unfortunately, my counterpart at work caught a cold, and despite all of the precautions she took (she kept cleaning the phones, keyboards, and door knobs), I managed to catch a cold.

With a cold, I have even less energy than normal. So, I’ve been taking Dayquil and sublingual Vitamin B to feel better and more energetic. The Dayquil definitely helps with the headache, congestion, and coughing. But the downside to taking Dayquil is that I can’t run when I take it. Two of the ingredients in Dayquil can be dehydrating, and if you add running to that, that can be a problem. Especially for someone like me whose lupus might be attacking the kidneys.

Because I had a cold, and because I took Dayquil, I didn’t get to run in the Frozen Bun Run. But I consulted with my medical expert (my mother), and she said I could walk it if I took extra care to stay hydrated. This is exactly what I did. I drank A LOT of water before the race, had two cups during the race, and had two cups at the post-race refueling station.

Walking a race is not nearly as much fun as running it. Especially since I didn’t have my running partner next to me (I told him to go ahead and run it). But I kept a good, steady pace and finished in just over 39 minutes. I can’t really complain about walking a 13 min/mile! I was surprised that I finished before some of the runners!

The Frozen Bun Run was connected with the Annual Ice Festival on Delmar. After the run, my husband and I walked down Delmar to admire all of the ice sculptures. Some were so intricately designed—they were amazing. With the decent walking time, the ice sculptures, and the delicious food at the refueling tent, I had an awesome time despite not being able to run!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday, Jan 14: 4 mile run

Goal: 4 mile run
Actual: 4.25 mile run

I really wanted my husband to run with me tonight, but his car appointment took too long. At 8:50 p.m., I went ahead and ran without him. Now that he’s back in town, I feel more comfortable running at night by myself. I called him as I was leaving to run, and left him a map of my planned run on (I LOVE for mapping my runs!)

Because of the cold temperatures we’ve been having lately, my joints have been a bit inflamed. During my run, I was hurting. My fingers felt like they were expanding in my gloves. My knees felt like all the intricate pieces of the joint were scraping against each other. So, I turned on my iPod and tried to focus on the music. (Note: I kept the volume low so I could hear any noises in my surrounding area. Also, I ran in a safe area around campus and was unofficially escorted by a campus police car.) I’m sure I looked ridiculous since I was adjusting my gait to prevent more pain, and singing aloud with running playlist. But singing got through the pain! I completed my run with a slow 11 min/mile pace, but I completed it! Yay!

Wednesday, Jan 13: 2 mile run

Goal: 2 mile run
Actual: 2.25 mile run

Sometimes I get a little scared running by myself when my husband is out of town. (He was in California for a few days.) I end up carrying mace on one hip, pepper spray on the other hip. I carry my cell phone in case something happens and I need to call 911. I also wear reflective gear and a flashing light. I probably go a little overboard with the safety, but I can get a little panicked when I run by myself at night.

Wednesday was one of those panicky nights. It took a lot of mental coaxing for me to convince myself that I was just going for a two mile run and would be just fine. But I finally stepped foot outside, and got into my rhythm—my very, very slow rhythm.

Since I was a little paranoid, I did not turn on my iPod. (You can’t hear attackers as well when you’re blasting tunes in your ears!) Instead, I ran with my thoughts. I reflected on how I was feeling (in pain) and how I wanted to feel (strong again). I came to the decision that I’m going to try to keep the most positive attitude that I can—even on days when the pain is almost unbearable. In a few years, I’m going to look back and see lupus as nothing more than a minor setback that I overcame.

Tuesday, Jan 12: 4 mile run

Goal: 4 mile run
Actual: 4.57 mile run

Because of my lupus, I try not to avoid direct sunlight as much as possible. (The UV waves in sunlight can cause lupus to flare, triggering inflammation and the development of the every-so-lovely facial rashes.) Lately, I’ve just been running at night, or slathering on the sunscreen and running when it’s freezing cold and overcast. But Tuesday was a bright, sunny day. And the only free time I had on Tuesday was at 10:00 a.m. So I layered on the sunscreens, donned a hat and protective sunglasses, and went running in bright sunlight for the first time in a long while. It was so beautiful. I really miss running in broad daylight. Everything just glistens under the radiant glow of the sun. Things just look and feel happier. I felt happier.

Monday, Jan 11: Strength training and yoga

Goal = Strength training and yoga
Actual = strength training and stretching; no yoga

I completed the same basic strength training exercises that I’ve mentioned in previous entries. I was feeling very weak, so I lowered some of the weight. I only used 5 lb weights for a lot of the arm exercises. It can be frustrating, but sometimes I have to make adjustments to accommodate my joints.

Sunday, Jan 10: 6 mile run

Goal = 6 mile run
Actual = no run; 120 minutes of free step

I didn't run on Sunday. I was so worn out from our trip, and I didn't want to weaken my body further by running in the freezing cold temperatures. But I didn't want to just laze the day away. So I did two hours of free stepping on the wii fit. It wasn’t as good as a long run, but I was already tired and hurting, so I didn’t want to chance it by running.

January 2 through January 9: Vacation in Texas

My husband and I flew to Texas to have a late Christmas celebration with our families. So, life got in the way of training. And I had so much fun seeing our families, that I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For the most part, I’m glad that I spent more time with friends and family, and less time training. But part of me is disappointed. I had a lot training goals for this week that I did not complete. My plans for the week were as follows:

Saturday: cross train for 40 minutes
Sunday: 5 mile run
Monday: Strength training and yoga
Tuesday: 4 mile run
Wednesday: 2 mile run with sprints
Thursday: 4 mile run and strength training
Friday: rest day
Saturday: cross train for 40 minutes

The only cross training I got in on both Saturdays involved racing around the airport while wheeling luggage.

On Sunday, I missed my run, but I did have a lovely time at church with my parents. I tried to make up for Sunday by completing a 5 mile run on Monday—I ran to the bakery, picked up a cinnamon croissant for my husband, and ran back to my parents’ house.

Tuesday morning, we drove from Houston to Fort Worth to see my husband’s parents. After a long drive, greasy lunch, and filling dinner, I didn’t have the energy or the will to run or strength train. Wednesday morning, I got dressed and ready to run, walked outside, felt the freezing cold wind on my face, and went right back inside. In lieu of running, did 100 flights of stairs (1600 steps) inside my husband’s father’s house.

On Thursday, we drove from my husband’s mother’s house in Fort Worth to Austin to visit his grandparents. When we arrived in Austin, it was time to watch the UT – Alabama game, which lasted a lot longer than I expected. So, I was too tired to go run by the time the game was over. I went straight to bed.

Friday we drove back to the Houston area from Austin. We basically made a large triangle across part of Texas! It was a long and extended road trip!

To sum things up, I had a wonderfully exhausting week filled with excuses as to why I couldn’t go run. But these excuses let me spend more time with family and friends, which was time that I enjoyed and cherished.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Friday, Jan 1: Rest day

Happy New Year’s Day!

Today was a rest day, and rest is exactly what I’ve done. Even though I only had two sips of Champagne last night, I barely made it past midnight. I went to bed at about 12:10 a.m., and fell right to sleep. I did not wake up from my much needed rest until 12:00 p.m., when my husband woke me up because we were supposed to go on a New Year’s Day hike. But I was too tired to go, so we canceled. Then, I stayed in bed for another two hours before getting up to run some errands. Luckily, my husband was driving because I managed to fall asleep in the car. When we got home at 5:30, I was so tired that I had to take a nap. I didn’t wake up until 9:00 p.m. And even as I type this, I still haven’t made it out from under the covers. I’m just too physically exhausted to move too much.

I have a lot of chores to do before we fly home tomorrow, and I am blessed to have a wonderful husband who has picked up my slack. He even cooked dinner for me, and is currently cleaning the kitchen. I’m happy that he’s so willing to help out. But I’m feeling both guilty and frustrated—guilty because I don’t feel like I’m pulling my weight today; frustrated because I want more energy. I hope I can round up some more energy for and during our trip! I want to spend as much time as possible with our families—not sleeping the time away!

Thursday, Dec 31: 3 mile run

I worked New Year’s Eve to make up for the time I’m taking off next week when my husband and I fly home to see our parents. (We leave tomorrow! Yay!) I was the only one in the office, so I got a lot done. But I started to get restless at about 11:30 a.m. Therefore, at noon, I locked the office up and went for a run. (Since I was the only one at the office, and we weren’t expecting any clients, I wore comfy running clothes to work.)

It started snowing the moment I stepped foot outside. It wasn’t too cold outside, but it was still snowing those large, wet flakes that stick to your eyelashes until they melt and drip into your eyes. Even so, it was a pleasant run. It was much hillier than the area that I usually run in, so my pace was a little slow (10:32 min/mile). But I felt good after the run, and my joints weren’t hurting as bad as they normally do.

Wednesday, Dec 30: 2 mile run

It was another one of those days where it physically hurts to get out of bed. Every movement hurt. I can’t tell you how many extra aspirin I took today (I prefer aspirin to the Mobic and other joint medicines). I feel like I’m making excuses, but with the pain I was in, I opted to not go outside for a run. Instead, I ran in circles in the basement—three minutes running clockwise, three minutes running counterclockwise, and so on. I did this for 30 minutes straight, so I think (and hope) that I ran over two miles. I know running such tight turns slowed me down a little bit, but surely it didn’t increase my pace to a 15 min/mile mile!

I know running in the basement might sound like the easy way out—especially when other people were out braving the elements. But, in all honesty, it wasn’t easy for me. I really do not like our basement. It’s that stereotypical old-scary-movie basement. It’s not well lit, and our land lord left the door of his storage/woodworking area open. I let my imagination run wild, and kept envisioning someone hiding in the storage area, able to see me, while I was blind to him. Of course, I was too terrified to approach the door to close it. Yes, I am 31 years old. Yes, I still let my imagination run away from me sometimes.

Tuesday, Dec 29: 3 mile run

I was bad on Tuesday. I did not run three miles—or any mileage—Tuesday. I worked late even though I was still feeling sick and tired. Then, my husband and I went to a Dine Out on a Dime dinner at Mai Lee’s, which was filling and fabulous. By the time we go home, if was very dark and cold, and I was full of coconut and lemongrass curry.

After my wonderful meal was somewhat digested, I tried to make up for my laziness by doing an hour of free stepping on the wii Fit. I know it doesn’t help me improve my endurance the way running does, but at least I did something somewhat active.