async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Fighting the Good Fight

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Fighting the Good Fight

This week seemed to be a turning point for me with both running and my disease. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am battling the worst flare of rheumatoid arthritis since my diagnosis 2 1/2 years ago. You may be tired of hearing about it. Trust me, I'm tired of dealing with it. As a runner, I'd love nothing more than to share victories than the string of struggles I've been experiencing for the past couple of months. I am frustrated and there are days when I think I should just walk away. I know that would be wrong and because I'm stubborn, I keep trying.

You never know what's around the next corner. So you just keep on fighting. Adjusting the game plan. That's what warriors do.



My efforts seem to be paying off because this week, I had a pair of decent runs. Monday's run, however, was not one of them. Monday's run sucked. Monday is when I hit rock bottom. I ran 1.25 miles and I stopped because I thought I was going to pass out. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I felt sick. This was not at a fast pace, either. I was so discouraged. I wasn't surprised that the run felt so bad--I redlined at Saturday's 5k--but I was surprised that I felt so bad so early into the run. I wasn't even pushing my pace. I kind of felt numb inside and lost, angry and sad, and I needed some time to process this.

Did you know that fatigue is a bigger problem for people with RA than joint pain? I didn't either until I was diagnosed. Learning on the job, so to speak. I thought I knew all about being tired. come on, I'm a mom! I'm a nurse! But fatigue is a whole other animal.


After Monday's run fail, I walked home and plopped down on the couch to watch the Boston Marathon, feeling inspired and depressed all at the same time. But wasn't the men's' finish exciting? I don't think I've ever seen a near photo finish at a marathon! Poor Desisa!

By Wednesday, I was ready to run again. Determined to run the 4 miles without walk breaks that I originally set out to do on Monday, I took it easy and the first 3 miles felt good. The last mile was tough because I wanted to run with consistent splits and not slow down. I am certain that I started the run too fast, but I finished the 4 miles without stopping. Yes! On Saturday, I woke up really early and I got out to run with the sunrise. I surprised myself with 5 easy paced miles. I only stopped to take a picture. This run felt good. I felt as if I could go further, but I didn't want to overdo it. You know that was hard for me!

That last mile got me....
I was a little nervous about CrossFit. While I didn't want to skip my strength session with Sammy Jo, I decided not to do bootcamp this week. The workout was 3 AMRAPS and I was concerned about ramping up my symptoms again. Sammy Jo and I talked at length about this. We talked about "scaling" my workouts according to how I'm feeling. She also instructed me to stay positive. For my strength workout that day, instead of the front squats she had planned, she had me focus on smaller muscle groups that needed some lovin'. The smaller muscles are also important to reach my goal of the strict pull-up. She didn't go easy on me though, having me do a push-pull workout of the "perfect push-up" and assisted pull-ups. It felt great and I left with a smile on my face and no regrets about skipping bootcamp.

The "perfect" pushup means your belly can't touch the bar
After both Wednesday's and Saturday's runs, I recovered with some Yoga with Adriene. Did you know yoga reduces inflammation? It's science! I haven't been as good about doing yoga lately. Shame on me. That's going to change.

King dancer at sunrise
I know I've got some fight left in me. Saturday's run proved to me that my legs still want to fly. RA is putting up a strong counterattack but this warrior isn't ready to surrender. I've got a defense plan that includes more yoga, more rest, an anti-inflammatory diet (more on that on Tuesday), and the myriad of supplements purported to have anti-inflammatory properties. Oh, and my medications.

Let's do this.

Fighting the good fight. RA can't win. Run on /via @oldrunningmom @curearthritis #runchat #rheumatoidarthritis

How was your week? Spring is finally here! Here's to some good runs.

I'm linking up with Kim and Deborah for the Weekly Rundown.

48 comments :

  1. Ah, the perfect push up. I still need to do a lot of work. Who knew that I had been doing them wrong all of these years??? I am doing a banded push up now to get my elbows at the right position and stay on my toes instead of my knees. Such a work in progress! Keep pushing warrior!!!!!

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    1. I can't even do more than 5 imperfect pushups--so imagine the challenge of the perfect pushup!

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  2. I for one am not tired of hearing about your RA - it's very interesting to see how it affects you and how you work around it (esp because as you know I have a friend here with it). I'm so pleased you got those two great runs in and yay yoga, too. I can't do a proper push up at all but I'm not pushing that: it's something to look at once my big races are over. I have to learn I can't do everything and the advice on my blog comments last week was spot on!

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    1. Thank you so much for your support, my friend! I am in a FB group called Runners with Rheumatoid Arthritis and we have quite a few members from the UK. The treatment plan is very different than here, as you can imagine.

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  3. I didn't know fatigue was one of the symptoms of RA - always just associate it with joint pain. I'm going to get my hubby to read a couple of your blog posts - he has been struggling with injuries for the last couple of years and is so frustrated that he is thinking of quitting running altogether. But he has done it for 25 years so he is really conflicted. I think he needs to adjust the game plan as you say.

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    1. I feel him. Even though it's for a different reason, when the way you do things isn't working any more, it is definitely time to reevaluate and change it up.

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  4. I did not know that yoga reduces inflammation but maybe that's why I feel better when I do it regularly. After pushing yourself so hard on your 5K perhaps you just need more rest after runs like that. Glad that your week got better.

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    1. The things I've learned on my RA journey! That yoga reduces inflammation was a valuable piece of information. I'm back on the mat and much more often!

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  5. I'm so sorry that you have been struggling so much lately. RA really sucks!! I hope that the changes you are going to make will help! I am all for trying anything!! I'm still doing my anti-inflammatory supplements too because I still have some "feeling" of inflammation in my foot/ toes. Maybe it's in my head? Maybe I'm just not 100% healed? Well, can't hurt anyway. What I don't need I'll just pee out right? :D

    interested in the dietary changes too.

    I'm so glad you have a trainer that listens to you and adjusts so that you can still smash goals. That's so important!!

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    1. Learning to adjust my training and my goals is a work in progress. I'm that person who doesn't accept limits. Now I have no choice.

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  6. A few good runs, perfect push-ups, and a game plan sound like great weapons for fighting back! I know you will figure out how to beat RA the best you possibly can.

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  7. Hey Wendy! This was my best workout week in a LONG TIME! I got in 6 solid workouts (2 Barre classes, 2 spin classes, a HIIT workout, and a Core class)! I finally found the right mix of workouts I can do that are close enough to running to get my heart rate up and a good sweat on without my needing to ice my knee and walk down the steps sideways! Here's to finding what works and being grateful for those good workouts!

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  8. It’s funny, as I was reading your post I was thinking that it sounds like you have to go with the flow — throw out the training plan if your body is objecting to it. Push it when it doesn’t complain. I’m not saying that’s easy, mind you — but just like what Sammy Jo is doing for you in CrossFit.

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    1. You know it's easier said than done! But yep, I'm learning to slow down...

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  9. Tough love alert: When I or anyone I coach redlines a 5k, there is NO JUDGING the next run a couple of days later. Of course it's going to feel like shit. The body is still recovering and I'm talking about people who do not have RA. Honestly I think you're putting so much pressure on yourself and your expectations are not always realistic. I think you're doing amazing things, but you have to cut your body some slack and let it recover. It is telling you what it needs. All that said, I'm glad you're feeling better! xoxo

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    1. When Marcia speaks, I listen! Always. No matter what the message. Love you so much my friend! <3

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  10. Although I wasn't a super dedicated yoga gal before, I have REALLY been slacking in recent months. My races have been going well, but I know yoga would make things even better for recovery. I just gotta make the commitment .....

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    1. There's no reason not to! Check out Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube. She makes it fun.

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  11. I didn't know that fatigue was one of the more common things that people with RA have to deal with. I can't imagine how frustrating that must be for you :( Although Monday's run was tough, I'm proud of you for coming back strong later on in the week! You could have let Monday's run discourage you but you didn't and you should be so proud of yourself for that!

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    1. I figured Monday's run was tough because of my race on Sunday. Never underestimate the power of a 5k!

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  12. You are a warrior. Of course yoga has anti-inflammatory benefits. What can't it do? Keep on fighting and giving it your all.

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  13. Thinking of you and hoping you can figure out the best way to manage the RA symptoms and still be as active as you'd like to be! Glad you had some good runs and hmm...I bet I'm doing imperfect pushups myself...:)

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    1. Like Marcia said, I need to slow down and not push so hard. That is a work in progress. This has been a really challenging time for me! But glad to be back out there.

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  14. You are one tough warrior. I didn't know that fatigue is a bigger side effect of RA - I asked my dad and he agreed. I also didn't know that about yoga - is it because it calms the body, flushes out the system, or something else?

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    1. Inflammation produces compounds in the body and in the study, yoga was shown to reduce those compounds in certain individuals. I'm all about anything that makes me feel better!

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  15. Sending you hugs! I am always amazed at everything you do.

    Oh and that "perfect" pushup? Simply wow!

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  16. Ah, Wendy. As much as I love to see you fighting and coming back I really hate to see you struggling. I'm so glad you're feeling better. You're so effing tough RA should hide its head and run away!

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  17. I'm so sorry you've been struggling. Never think you're talking about it too much - it's a part of your journey and we are all here to support you as you go! That's what makes this community so great...we can rejoice with someone when they are at a high and support another at their low. I'm glad the week got a little better for you! Keep up the amazing work, you are truly an inspiration!

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    1. You are too kind! I'd much rather be the supporter than the supportee, but I do appreciate it!

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  18. Yay for the good runs this week! And that's interesting about yoga having anti-inflammatory properties. I hadn't heard that but I do know that I feel better when I keep yoga as part of my routine.

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  19. To me it seems like you are doing better than most people who do not have RA.

    We are always hard on ourselves and we compare to what it used to be like. Just like getting older.

    I don't have RA and I rarely run a mile without stopping and I don't care if I do stop and walk.

    But that's me. Ii ran yesterday with 2 friends who do intervals - it was amazing so much easier. I may be a convert.

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    1. I'm going to mix it up a bit with some slow longish distances and some intervals. I have to find a new sweet spot!

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  20. Those RA symptoms sound so frustrating! I'm glad you are able to get quite a bit of activity outside of running. I've never tried any crossfit classes or moves, but I feel like my hamstrings would not be a fan. What a great workout it is!

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    1. Don't count your hamstrings out! I think you'd be surprised about CrossFit.

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  21. I think of you when I am struggling on a hard run (Peter's Canyon 10k) and make myself push through. I've said it before, but you are such an inspiration. I have a friend with RA so I know about the fatigue. It sucks any way you look at it! Keep the positive attitude, you have a lot of cyber support!

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    1. You are too kind! I'm trying to figure out this fatigue thing. Thank you so much for the support. <3

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  22. Hell yes you can do it!! I love a warrior with a plan...and a passion. Obviously I'm not living with RA and a horrible flare but I had a very horrible run last week that left me crying in my driveway so I feel you!!! Also I sent you an exciting note on FB messenger :-)

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    1. Haha! I have this mental image of you crying in the driveway and so I know you feel me! May 16 is going to be our day! <3

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  23. Glad to read about your turnaround. You are one tough cookie! The men's finish of Boston was amazing! I can't even imagine sprinting after running for 26 miles.

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    1. Right? OMG, all I wanted to do was get across the finish line!

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  24. Hoping for nothing but good things for you with the warm weather finally here. Hopefully things will settle down but either way, I know you will fight and come out on top!

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    1. I'm feeling better, but I have yet to figure out this fatigue thing. Hoping to be back to form soon.

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