Sunday, April 9, 2017

Where Did All the Endurance Go?

This week I "officially" started training for Grandma's Marathon. With only 11 weeks to go, I'm thankful I keep a pretty good training base and can just jump into the plan Becky has laid out for me. It's been a recipe for success in the past.

However, this time around, I'm a different runner. I've been struggling with my endurance and pacing the last couple of months. I'm continuing to slow down and frustrated with my reverse momentum, this week I gave myself a couple of options: drop out of the marathon--which I have never, ever done before, or try something new.

Don't think that I didn't consider pulling out of this marathon.




Right now, the only goal I have for this race is to finish. I know it's possible to run a marathon with RA and to do well. I participate in 2 very empowering Facebook groups, Runners with RA and Athletes with RA. In both those groups are some very high caliber athletes, including a few who have completed an Ironman. You may also be familiar with Iron Will Jill from her Facebook and Instagram feeds. Jill has been training for an Ironman and recently revealed that she has RA. I've been following her training closely. 

When I originally signed up for Grandma's, I had secretly hoped to make it my BQ race. Silly me. It had to be the steroids talking. I'm not taking them anymore and I won't lie to you guys. I'm really battling running long distances right now. The fatigue that I experience both from the disease and the treatment is making it really difficult to run much of anything beyond 5-6 miles, and even that is tough. My attempt at speedwork on Thursday was a joke. I did 2 1/2 miles and called it quits.


Later that day, I lunched with Marcia and we talked about my failed speedwork. Marcia mentioned heart rate training. As you know, when Marcia talks, I listen. She never tells me what to do, she just shares little tidbits of knowledge, always spot-on. The woman is a coaching genius, I swear.

So on my Saturday run, I pulled out the heart rate monitor to assess my efforts. I was stunned to see my HR at 90% while running paces of 9:30! 4 weeks ago I was running effortless 8:30-8:40 m/m. WTF? Where did my fitness go? It's like someone pulled the plug and it all leaked out of my body.

I never thought I'd wish to be back on the steroids, but there it is. The steroids I was taking for my RA flare gave me wings. No fatigue, excellent flexibility, and a giddy mood. What's bad about that? Aside from the fact that they are on the banned substance list. And that whole bone density thing.

As I posted Saturday on Instagram after yet another frustrating run:
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."~Albert Einstein

After that painful run, I decided if I was going to do this race, it was time to go back to the drawing board. On the long walk home, I did a lot of thinking. Choked back a few tears. Felt sorry for myself. My thoughts wandered to my upcoming half marathon in hilly Door County Wisconsin. Holly is coming to run with me and I am not going to ruin our weekend. I thought back to the first time I ran the Door County half marathon. It was my first ever half marathon and I had no clue what I was doing. My strategy was to walk the hills and run the rest of the race. I ended up with a 2:02, which was pretty good, considering my lack of experience and expertise.

Dumb luck, right? Or not?

So as I reminisced about that race, the light bulb went off. Why couldn't I do this kind of training, you know, run-walk intervals, for my marathon? Could I run-walk the entire 26.2? While it's never been my style to walk in a race, neither is quitting. It seems to me that changing my strategy and attempting the run/walk is the lesser of 2 evils.

When I got home I texted both Marcia and Holly with my plans and got 2 thumbs up. Holly reminded me of Pam, from Two Runners Travel, who BQ'd using the run-walk strategy. I sat down to do my research and checked out Jeff Galloway's page. His advice was geared towards beginner runners, and I didn't think that would work for me. Then I read quite a few success stories from experienced marathoners, including one by Amby Burfoot. Excited, I texted Becky and told her about my new plan, which I planned to test on my Sunday long run. She told me she liked my plan.

On Sunday, I set the Garmin for 4 minute run/1 minute walk intervals and headed out into the sunshine and wind with positive intentions and no expectations. As I ran along the bike path, I found myself looking forward to my 1 minute rest breaks. I thought to myself, this could work! At mile 4, my tummy was requesting a potty stop and fortunately, the park district put my portapotty back in its spot. At mile 5.25, I turned around and headed for home. Pacing was good at this point, as I had the wind at my back.

But at mile 7, near disaster struck. My tummy sent out a red alert and I tried to make it to the end of my run interval. Clenching, I finally had to stop and walk. I made it to the portapotty. While I was in there, someone knocked on the door. Really? Who does that? I finished up my business and when I walked out there was a guy just standing there waiting. I was a little irritated. Maybe it was because I was starting to feel pretty bad.

I picked up where I left off, but the last 3 miles were difficult. They were into the wind and I really had to push myself to run those 4 minute intervals. I was so glad to finish, and somewhat disappointed because when I checked my pacing, it was 10:01/m/m, not including the 2 potty stops. This was the slowest 10 miles I have ever run. It was 8 minutes slower than my race just 3 weeks ago where there were no potty stops, just a stop for a picture.


As I post this, I'm laying on the couch and to be honest with you, I am not feeling good--physically or mentally. I keep asking the question: where did my endurance go? Current situation=zero energy. Even going to the grocery store wipes me out. What concerns me the most is that my energy level has declined so quickly. I get it, with RA there's a lot of fatigue--some from the disease process and some from the medications. But considering that earlier in the week I was feeling so well (with the exceptions of my runs), I'm really troubled by this. I want someone to tell me, hey, Wendy, this is how it's going to be, so man up. I can do that. I'm a warrior! I'm tough! If I have to do it, I can run/walk my training and my marathon. I can accept slower times if it's temporary while we wait for me to go into remission.

I never really considered myself to be a controlling person but I do like to be in control of my health and my fitness. Right now I'm really scared. I've got no control over this thing. I'm also mad. I want to run my 5th marathon. I want to run without feeling tired. I want my life back. My life as a fit, energetic, positive, vibrant, goofy, age-defying, stereotype-busting 54-year-old woman.

Ok, RA, here's the thing: I'm not going down without a fight. You picked the wrong person to mess with. I don't know what you are up to, but I don't like it at all. Tell me what I need to do to make you back down. Don't make me wonder what will work. If eating beets will make me better, I'll eat them 3 times a day. But don't make me stop running. Let me have the one thing that has brought so much into my life. Don't make me drop out of this marathon. Don't make me suffer.

All the non-runners in my life have told me to stop running. My rheumatologist tells me to keep going. My running friends, bless their hearts, have told me to keep on going. Marcia and I spent a good part of the morning sorting through all kinds of ideas of what might be going on. I love you all and I thank all of you for sticking with me on this journey. I don't know where I'd be without all of you. But you know what?

I just want to shut up and run.

I'm linking this post up with Holly and Tricia for the Weekly Wrap as well as Ilka and Angela for the Sunday Fitness and Food linkup.



96 comments :

  1. I'm so sorry you're struggling, and I admire you so much for not giving up! Is there anything that can be done about adjusting your medication to help reduce the fatigue side effects? I think your run/walk option is a good one - may take a less of a toll on your body overall. Keeping my fingers crossed for you - you'll make it to that starting line!

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    1. I'm going to see my internist tomorrow and get some blood work done. If everything is ok, then I approach my rheumatologist. She's unwilling to alter the course of my treatment, but hey, I've got plans. And I need to do whatever it takes to get it done.

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  2. Oh Wendy. I wish I knew the proper words or had a bionic magic wand to make all of this better pronto. Although I'm not in your (running) shoes, I can appreciate your frustration. Keep your chin up & keep fighting.and know that I'll be praying for you ((hugs))

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    1. If you find that bionic magic wand, please sweep it in my direction. We've got a marathon to run!

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  3. I have heard alot of good things about the run/walk method, and the heart rate monitoring can be really telling! Im sorry this is so frustrating for you...I feel like I can hear it through your writing! I know what you mean about being willing to do anything to run, even though I don't like beats I would eat them 3x a day if that meant I could never be injured! Hang in there, you have a great support system and are so strong, so I know you will make it through this marathon!

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    1. I don't like beets either, but if I have to do it, I will!

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    2. This past year my mother was diagnosed with RA and it has put a major dent in her running. She recently started doing weekly injections that are claimed to "always" work, but we will see. I sent her a link to your blog so she can start following your journey. You are so inspiring!

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    3. Thank you so much Emily! This major dent has probably been the toughest part about the whole disease. Tell your mom to contact me privately if she has any questions.

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  4. So sorry that you are dealing with this :( I know it's hard, but don't get too down! Maybe try the run/walk intervals again for another run to see how it goes. It may go much better!

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    1. I'll race doing run/walk intervals if that's what it takes. But man, even that was hard today.

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  5. My heart bleeds for you...or is that beet juice I see? Thank you so much for this raw and honest post. I can only imagine how difficult it was to hit the 'post' button. When I first contemplated starting a running blog, I must have looked at 30 or 40 of them, and I kept going back to yours. I e-mailed you late on a Thursday evening, and you responded (in detail!) before 8:00 a.m. the following day. You have been my inspiration not just as a blogger, but also as a runner. Please do not give up on running, and don't back out of Grandma's. You can WALK a marathon at a 15 minute pace and still finish in time. So what if it takes your 5-1/2, or even 6 hours? Do it. As you have recently said, each race is a new PR. Don't kill yourself. Grandma's is your first major race since receiving your diagnosis. You are dealing with not just the physical, but also the emotional effects. Do it at a comfortable pace. You can always improve your time in future races. And I do have another thought...where are you on the menopause train? That, too, can be contributing to your fatigue. Just a thought...

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head, between the RA and menopause. But more than anything, I think it's the meds. I'm a little frustrated with my rheumatologist who keeps responding to my messages with "hang in there". No. This hanging in there is taking a huge toll on me.

      Thanks for all the support. Your confidence in me means a ton. Idk if I can walk a marathon, but it's nice to know that if I had to, it's there as a backup plan.

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  6. I really hope you get some answers, I can only imagine how frustrating this is for you!!! If it's any consolation,I did my first 3 marathons run / walking. One of those was a B.Q. I would also definitely look at monitoring your heart rate. I train all of my athletes with a combo of heart rate / pace work and heart rate training keeps you honest, especially when you have to slow things down. It will also help you monitor fatigue / recovery. If you're running long with too high a heart rate, it will take you longer to recover. Perhaps you need to give yourself more time to recover between runs?

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    1. My HR has been high, even at these slow paces. My other issue is trying to find time to recover while running 4 days/week. Marathon training is tough!

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  7. Sorry you are going through this. You will do it. It may not be your best effort but you are strong and you will set a RA PR. You just have to change your mindset. I know, easier said than done coming from someone who just had the lousiest long run and I don't have RA. I doubt myself and then remember there was a time when i couldn't run at all..

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    1. Idk how much more I can change my mindset, except to accept the slower paces. I can do that. I guess.

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  8. So here's the thing. You are one Badass-MF-er. Forgive me... but YOU ARE! This RA can go piss - off. You will beat this fatigue. I know you will. Try hard to stay out of your head and concentrate on what you're good at. ( I know that's not easy ) You WILL prevail. *hugs to you my friend!

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    1. You are so right! I was pretty excited when I was doing the run/walk intervals. I'm going to keep trying them. Now I have to figure out speedwork.

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  9. But lets look at this run/walk approach a bit more. You really haven't used this method much so wouldn't it be like any other training, you have to train yourself for it to work for you. I'm glad you've found fb groups where other runners are dealing with RA. I hope you'll stick it out Ive heard so many good things about the Galloway method and I said if I tackle another marathon I'll train this way too! Hugs to you!

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    1. I won't lie, stopping to walk every 4 minutes was kind of refreshing! The hard part for me was running out of steam towards the end. Gotta figure that out. Why is that happening?

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  10. I went to Jeff Galloway's running school and even got to meet him in Gulf Shores in January. I have been using his run/walk method ever since. I run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds. I remember telling him I was feeling fatigue which comes with my heart problem and that I had 3 children. He was so kind and told me my fatigue comes from other things besides running. I tell you, I have felt a lot better running and walking. 8 have done it at 4 races this year, my half, two 10k's and my 5k. I am even getting faster! I think you will be very successful using his method for your marathon. I hope your runs go much more smoothly for you this week! You've got this!

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    1. I've heard lots of good things about the run/walk method. It's not my ideal way to run, but right now it's better than not running at all!

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  11. I really hope you find a plan that works for you. I run walk for my bad knee and can now do more than 4.5 miles. Huge for me. My husband ran walked his one and only marathon, finished faster than his younger brother who ran the whole thing and felt better after (and the next day) He trained using Galloway's book.

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    1. I've heard so many success stories--it's really empowering!

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  12. Sorry to hear you have been having such trouble. But it is totally doable to do a marathon with run/walk intervals. My sister did both hers like that and she did just find. You just have to find an interval that works for you.

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    1. I think the 4:1 ratio will be effective.

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  13. I haven't a single word of wisdom. Like so many other posters, your supporters, your friends, your fellow runners at so many different levels of competence, my heart absolutely breaks for you. You are such a source of inspiration, every g.d. single day, not only because of your successes, of which there are so many, but also of your suffering, your pain and sorrow, your difficulties dealing with this unexpected and unwanted interference with your plans.
    No matter what, whether it's adjusting your pace, moving onto a different plan, mileage-wise, pace-wise, you are a beacon for all whose path is not what the planned or desired.
    Small comfort, I know, but hang, in there, my dear friend. You will work this out, one way or another.
    Love you to the moon and back. (Insert love emoticon here).

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    1. Thank you, my friend. I hope to make you and all my other supporters proud in June.

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  14. Oh no. So sorry you are having trouble. Hugs to you.

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  15. When my husband, who normally just runs, started running with my friend and I this year, he couldn't get over how hard it was to switch to run/walk intervals. It's a different beast. Plus, you might be running the intervals really fast right now, knowing that you have a walk break coming up? Or maybe not - I don't do HR training with my running, so I just run...and sometimes, my intervals ARE too fast for me to sustain when it's part of a long run.

    Any case, you'll get this figured out. And you'll keep running. You might be a different runner this year while you get your meds in line, but I suspect your new normal of running will end up being pretty close to your old normal.

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    1. I was surprised at how slow my running intervals were. That's when I knew that my endurance was gone. Dammit.

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  16. Hang in there, Wendy. You've got this. I KNOW you do.

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  17. I wish I had great advice for you but I don't. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Uh, and who knocks on a portal potty? It's not like that's your first choice for when distaste strikes.

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    1. That was my thought. Actually, that's what I said to the guy! The door was locked, right?

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  18. You already know how I feel about all this. I hate that this is happening to you. These medical mysteries frustrate and fascinate me. I know there's an answer. A work-around. We have to find it.

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    1. Yep. Maybe we'll uncover enough info for both of us and we'll crush our next race!

      Thank you so much for all your brainstorming today. You are the best!

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  19. Whew, I'm sorry. It's so tough when your body resists your efforts and betrays you like that without you really understanding what's going on. From a training/physical perspective, you can't lose fitness/endurance that quickly so I definitely think you still have that endurance but your body has to work much harder right now to run the distances or paces...as you saw with your high heart rate. I like the run/walk idea too but if even that is too intense there is nothing wrong with skipping the marathon. I only run a full about once/year or every two years as they take a lot out of me. Sending you hugs and hope you can determine the best steps forward!

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    1. That's my point. The decline in my endurance has been so rapid that it has to be something--my meds? My disease? Or something else?

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  20. Sorry to hear you had such a rough week and runs. My advice (which I'm sure you'll get lots of) is to listen to your body, eat well, sleep well and hopefully your running will fall in place.

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    1. I'm pretty much ignoring my body, because it keeps telling me to stop! :p

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  21. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for someone who is so strong and is a warrior to all of the sudden be in a body that won't cooperate. I wish I had some magic answer for you but all I can say is, this really sucks and I am sorry that it is so hard for you right now. Rooting for you as always

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    1. I'll take any and all roots! I appreciate your support and right now the only thing I think that would work is a magic wand...

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  22. Ugh, so sorry you are struggling. Hopefully this was just a hard week and next week will be better, but even if it's not I know you will muster through. I think run/walk is a great idea - there are women in my running group who swear by it and they are not newbies.

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    1. DNSing the last resort here. So I'm going to do whatever it takes to do this thing. Until it becomes ridiculous.

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  23. Keep trucking! I am a runner in retirement (but not for good reasons;) but would never ever tell you to stop!! However, I did recently read the book for whole30, by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig "it starts with food"; which details the writers's sister who had challenges with RA. Writer is super athletic like you... so thought I would mention it because the story about his sister with RA may be refreshing! I feel like it is nice to hear success stories!
    It paons me to hear your struggles and appreciate your honesty!! I hope you have a better days tomorrow :) ��

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    1. I think I need to pick up this book. But I don't know if I could limit my diet that much! Someone else sent me a link to the autoimmune protocol--they abbreviate it AIP, but I call it PIA--it's really restrictive. I'm weak...

      Thank you, my friend for your love and support. And I'm out of the office tomorrow, hoping to see my internist since my rheumatologist keeps telling me to hang in there. I want to find out if I'm anemic...

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  24. A lot of this post resonated with me. I was forced to give up while I went through a year of chemotherapy treatments in 2005. I started off running, then slowed my runs down, then cut their duration before eventually stopping running altogether. I don't know what to say other than I know how frustrating it is and I truly feel for you. :(

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    1. I'm worried that is the path I am on as well. Sadly, at my age it would be hard to come back! Let's see what happens.

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  25. I used run/walk for my first half, and I still use it. It's allowed me to push myself beyond what I did in high school and college, and it was a great feeling. I'd say keep playing around with the intervals to see what works best. A shorter running interval, or longer? I still play around with how long I walk, 30 seconds or a minute. It's all what I'm comfortable with, and shortening a walk break challenges me.

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    1. I felt like 4:1 was a good, doable ratio for me. We'll see how that goes over the next couple of weeks.

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  26. i'm in a similar situation as you. SLE flare here. Did retinoid therapy (off label) instead of prednisone. No energy, no endurance. Its totally screwy. Hopefully it gets better for us both.

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    1. I hope you feel better too! My friend's husband is doing retinoid therapy for leukemia. I swear, there are all kinds of uses for that stuff. The worst thing to me about all of this is that the stuff that is supposed to make us better makes us feel so crappy!

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  27. I keep you in my thoughts, always. I wish I could fix what you are going through, but unfortunately, I can't. I'm not going to tell you to "get used to it." We both know that the moment you are "used to" "it," "it" will change (sorry for all the quotation marks). I spent an entire semester incredibly frustrated. I was in a bit of a different spot that you--I would have colon/intestinal spasms while running, and that would just be the end. But I kept doing what I could, when I could.
    I'm not going to tell you that it is going to get better (though I believe that it will). What I am going to say is that you are going to figure out what you need to do to be happy and to thrive. You will figure it out.

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    1. I just didn't expect to feel worse at this point. LIght at the end of the tunnel? Not there right now.

      Thanks for all your support. I know you get it.

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  28. Ugh, I'm so sorry and this is such a tough situation BUT, I know you are not giving up without a fight and, is it possible there will just be some highs and lows and this is a low? I certainly hope so!! Whatever you end up doing with your training and racing, I'm here to support you 110%!!!!! Keep your head up!

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    1. I just want to run! Is that too much to ask?

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  29. I LOVE that you don't just give up and quit running and keep telling RA to stuff it, you really are an inspiration. Sorry this is all being so difficult, it is shocking and hard to deal with no doubt with all these changes in how you feel and running. I think you are doing amazing.

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    1. I'm glad you think so! I'm so sad and frustrated--I have had a lot of challenges in life but thanks to my health, I've always been able to deal with them. This is a whole new animal.

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  30. All the non-runners need to shut up. (I don't even care that that doesn't sound very nice!) You can totally do the run/walk and if you struggle with those intervals, adjust them back and forth as necessary. I've found with run/walk the key to having a great race is to stick to run/walk training. Sorry you're having a tough time, it truly does stink to be in this place mentally. I know you can do it and I know you will do it.

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    1. You are so right! It's so easy to tell someone to stop, isn't it? I think I can run/walk the marathon. It's not ideal but neither is DNSing.

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  31. Oh man - that is so tough. I'm sorry. I'm also back to run/walk intervals as I'm trying to get back in shape following a back injury. And my running milage per outing is a whopping 3 miles at this point...haha. Oh well. It appears my body needs a rest.

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    1. I think my body is crying for rest too. It's a struggle.

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  32. Well, obviously I am a fan of run/walk. It should actually help with fatigue -- not that it will make disease-related fatigue go away, but it will help with running fatigue.

    My advice: play around with your intervals. I don't really follow Galloway, but one of his pieces of advice was to shorten your running intervals the longer you run. I played around in the beginning a lot, and I've found 2 minutes run, 30 seconds walk works for me. It's highly individual, like most things running related.

    So why 30 seconds? I can tell you this is a very short period of time. For me, I do everything slowly -- walking, running, swimming. So 1 minute walking just slowed down my pace too much. Probably doesn't apply to you but I'm throwing it out there.

    I've also gone on to take 11 minutes off of my half time using this -- even in a hot & humid race! Of course, my next half is a trail half, so I'm pretty darn sure it will be one of my slowest halfs ever. Which is okay. I'm supposed to use it as a training run.

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    1. Thanks Judy. A lot of run/walkers have advised me to play around with the intervals and that's what I'll do. Yesterday's 4:1 seemed to be really good. I'd like to go down to 30 seconds walking but only if my body will let me. I could definitely do that on shorter runs.

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  33. Hi Wendy! I am so sorry you are so wiped! I don't think you should stop either. Running is your joy (at least when you aren't exhausted) and you need that right now. I think the run/walk thing can work. I did 1 mile run, 1 minute walk for my marathon and it helped me. I'd say give it another chance. I liked to get in more solid running time.
    But at the end of the day, remember to be kind to yourself and know this isn't your fault!

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    1. My coach wants me to do mile repeats for speedwork but right now I don't know how fast I can run that mile. It's going to be interesting.

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  34. I feel so bad for you. Unfortunately, we all have a point in our running where we have to accept certain things. I say this as someone who used to run 7 minute miles in a half marathon and now is happy with 10. Also as someone who sometimes struggles with that concept.

    I'm not trying to dismiss what RA has done to change your life, and I would certainly never suggest that you stop running. I guess I'm really saying to lighten up on yourself! You are fighting this disease, but sometimes you will win the battles and sometimes RA will win. You just keep on trying, don't be so hard on yourself.

    I thing the run walk idea is a great one. Remember that it will still be challenging. Runners hear the word walk and think easy peasy! Nope! But you are strong willed and determined. You will do this.

    (I hope I didn't sound negative. I'm sending all my positive vibes your way.)

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    1. Not negative at all. You are absolutely right. I'm just having trouble accepting this rapid decline in my fitness. Everyone tells me that it will come back, but at 54?

      Obviously, I'm not giving up without a fight. RA is certainly a tough opponent.

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  35. I'm so sorry you're having a tough time. I'm glad that you've found some support groups online to connect with that are also going through life with RA as an athlete. You are so inspiring, and I know you're not going to give up running - besides, we won't let you! There's no shame in doing run/walk intervals. With some practice, I think that it could be very beneficial and hopefully keep you in good spirits. Try not to be so discouraged. It's tough to see yourself not as strong as you used to be, but you're still able to do amazing things and that's a blessing! (Hugs)

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    1. Thanks--all this support means so much to me. Now I need to get my head around my change in how I see myself as a runner. As long as I can keep moving, that's all that matters.

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  36. I'm so sorry you've been struggling. I also want to try something new with my training as my speed has pretty much gone bye bye. This is also the first time in years I don't have any races on the horizon. I don't really know what's next for my running. Right now, I'm focusing on just enjoying it as part of my fitness routine vs. using it as training. I know this isn't what you want to do, but maybe you do just need a little break. You're endurance will go away, but it may help you body and mind reset.

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    1. Considering that my endurance is gone, I don't have much to lose by taking time off, do I? My coach wants me to stick it out. I'm going to see how things go this week and next. I'll have my answer soon enough.

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  37. Yes, just keep moving regardless of which method. I ran/walked all of my long runs before the Shamrock Shuffle and still ran a 2nd best PR. I also ran/walked Boston '13 and missed BQing there by less than a minute. No shame in run/walking. Hope you figure this all out soon! :)

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    1. I know I can do that half. The full marathon is the big question mark. If I wait to DNS, I lose the hotel room which I had to pay for. So I really have to make a decision in the next week or so. No pressure!

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  38. I would say give the Galloway method some time. I started using it in 2015 and I've done so much better in every single race and distance I've run using the Galloway method. It's amazing how much faster I've gotten. Play around with the intervals and see if they are the right ones for you. It just takes some experimentation and tweaking to get it right.

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    1. I've got time to tweak and experiment. Especially if it means I get to run this race. Thanks!

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  39. When you face a challenge, you always seem to find a way to make it work for you without simply giving up. You put up a fight which shows your inner strength. I hope in the next several days, your doctor will uncover the mystery behind your sudden lost of endurance and be able to treat it so you can resume your training without feeling frustrated. Positive vibes to you that in the end it will all work out.

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    1. And if I don't get any answers? I get my answer. It's RA. If I know what i'm dealing with, then I can deal with it.

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  40. I know you are not giving up! Just time to change it up a bit and you still have time to tweak your plan! I am thinking of you! I hope you get the answers you are looking for soon! XXOO <3

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  41. I hate that you are struggling, but remember - you are strong and I don't think "giving up" is in your vocabulary. I wish I could give you some advice to make you feel better, but since I can't, I will just say take your time figuring out how your want to proceed. Be kind to yourself. Remember that so many are rooting for you. <3

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    1. I love love love all the support I am getting from this community. It is humbling and it is amazing. <3

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  42. RA is a very hard diagnosis for such an endurance athlete like you Wendy. You have only been recently diagnosed with RA. There are so many things you need to learn about RA. I'm pretty sure in a few months you will know what makes you feel tired, what supplements and medications work, and which don't. As with all autoimmune diseases, there isn't only one fix or only one approach. It's a balancing act of many things combined. You're an intelligent woman, you will figure it out and send it into remission. You'll see!

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    1. I hope so! My rheumatologist told me I need to be patient, which is the one thing I am not!

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  43. So sorry you are struggling. The Galloway method sounds like a good idea. I hope your next runs will be better! You are amazing and strong! Keep at it!

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    1. What else can I do? Quitting isn't an option.

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  44. I don't know much about RA or how long you have been on certain medications or the type of medications even. Im wondering if your body is adjusting to them and things will get better once they reach a steady state??? Sounds like things have been pretty tough but you are still getting out there and doing what you can. That is awesome!

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    1. I keep hoping that these meds will get my symptoms under control. Until they don't. It's pretty scary. I'm hoping that it eventually, I'll see some relief. In the meantime, I just keep going.

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  45. Wendy, my heart breaks for you! Non-runners just don't get it and they never will. But we do. When the one thing that brings so much joy, satisfaction, fulfillment and confidence is taken away (or compromised) it just sucks the life right out of you. I'm praying that you will find some answers in regards to treatment and some contentment in having to alter the way you train. I, myself, have never been a fast runner and if I ever hit the 9 m/m paces I thought I was flying! That being said, I've slowed down so much from my injury and age, I think. And it just plain sucks. It's hard to be satisfied with knowing that your new "slow" speed is still faster than others "normal" speed. I tried the run/walk intervals yesterday for the first time on a short run (4 miles) and I was surprised at how good I felt when I was done. I ended up finishing a tad faster than I have been running but the difference was that I didn't feel just totally wiped out like I normally do upon finishing. I know that I don't have RA and it's a totally different animal ...but I'd say, give it another try and continue to hang in there. You are truly an inspiration to all of us following your journey...really, you are...that's not just lip service. Praying for you!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words of support and empathy. Isn't it bad enough that we have to get old?

      I won't lie, I do like the run walk intervals and I see it as totally doable. I just have to figure out the intervals that work for the long run.

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  46. You'll get through this! You are incredibly strong! 90% HR seems high, are you sure that's accurate? The run/walk intervals seem like a great idea.

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    1. 90% is high. The whole point of that statement is to emphasize how high my HR was while I was running so slow. Not good.

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  47. I applaud you for laying it all out there. I feel your frustration and am sending your a big virtual hug. Many of us (namely ME) would attempt to sugarcoat a problem. I firmly believe you will figure this out. I know you will run again and not give a single thought to your RA. Those days are coming! I'm not sure what type of HR monitor you are using, but have found the wrist based kind register a little higher than chest straps (for what it's worth). I'm be following allowing with your run/walk interval training. It's something I should explore myself. Thanks for linking, Wendy!

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    1. I have been sugarcoating this thing for a while. But it's gotten beyond anything I can hide behind. It's pretty frightening.

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