My good mood last Friday carried right through my 13-mile run. Everything synced up–my mood, the weather, my lungs and my legs…it felt great, and I coasted right through with an easy 10:17 average pace and little or no soreness afterward.
This week’s schedule is fairly easy to start, with 5-mile runs yesterday, today and tomorrow, but then Hal Higdon lowers the boom with a killer 19-mile run on Friday.
My 18-miler was such a disaster…I’ve barely recovered from the mental and physical nightmare. I still have flashbacks of me wanting to beat down that sweet old lady shoveling her driveway. It’s like ‘Nam.
Still, if I’m going to run 26.2, I have to run 19 (genius thinking, I know!), so there’s no avoiding it. I wish I still lived in Switzerland and could do the run there. Talk about eye candy! The running I did there was the most memorable of my life. I could easily get lost in my runs…couldn’t you?
To be there again and run 19 miles through those beautiful villages would be a dream. Alas, I am here in the Midwest and will just have to run through the neighborhoods.
The weather is supposed to be around 70 degrees that day, which will be quite a jump from the cold temps I have been running in these past few weeks–too much of a jump, perhaps. I can’t wait to break out the tank and the ol’ compression shorts, but I am fairly certain that I will have to make some pit stops at the house for more water and G2 in order to deal with the heat.
I am hoping that the coming spring and warmer temperatures will bring some relief for TiffeeG. The cold is so painful for people with arthritis, and it is pure hell for AS sufferers. When my sister gets cold, it’s like it opens up a direct path and lets the pain burrow deeper into her joints.
She described the pain of AS to me recently as “floating,” and that makes perfect sense to me. It’s always there attacking her body, and it never leaves the sacroiliac area (the hallmark of the disease), but it floats around and causes terrible pain in different areas at different times. Though the cortisone shots in the back of her neck helped back in the fall, the inflammation is coming back to that area now. She can feel it moving back into her neck and shoulders, and even her jaw. On top of the degenerative disc disease that’s already present in her neck, when the AS settles in there it’s almost unbearable.
That’s the pain that sent her to the emergency room in the fall–finally seeking more help when the pain reached a 9/10. That’s the face I saw, before she saw me and tried to cover it up, curled up in a bed in the back of the ER. It was a look I’ll never forget, and it was a look of pure pain and despair. I still remember that look sometimes when I run. It inspires me to do more with my health, to try and appreciate it more and use it for a purpose beyond my own silly ego-inflating goals.
I got a marvelous shout-out from an AS sufferer, Joyce, who writes a terrific blog on AS, including weekly updates on AS in the news (here). I appreciated the mention, but then felt bad that AS sufferers might come check out my blog and see me blathering on about how much my 18-mile run “hurt” and how my foot is on ice! I’m worried that it sounds so silly to someone who is in chronic pain. I often feel that way for my sister too, who listens to me ramble on about my running while wrapped in a heated shawl with her Vicodin and Ambien on tap just to be able to sleep through the night.
It’s a difficult balance. Still, the journey to a marathon is a story for any runner, and I hope that by sharing my story with you (my incontinence pad cut me! I thought my hydration belt was an attacker and I started flailing and kicking at myself on a crowded street!), you will be entertained.
If you don’t have AS, I hope that I will convince you to read up on it so that you are aware of the signs and symptoms. And if you suffer from AS and stumble across this blog, then I hope that you know that I pray for you along with my sister every night. I hope to raise as much money as I can for the Spondylitis Association of America before my run next month. I hope you might read some of my silly stories and thoughts on running and know that I am thinking of you and praying for better health and days ahead.
I’m off for a quick 5-miler. Bring it on!