async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: October 2019

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Second Opinion: How Do I Know Which Way to Go?

Disclaimer: This post is not intended to give medical advice, but to share my personal experience. You should always consult your medical provider for any concerns regarding your health. In addition, I am pro-vaccine and am not advocating for anyone to avoid a vaccine based on my experience.

Last February, I developed a rheumatoid arthritis (RA) flare that never seemed to end. Initially, I wasn't sure what was going on but my endurance was suddenly gone. Poof! It was as if I never had run a step in my life. My heart would beat into the red zone if I moved any faster than a walk. I was experiencing an uptick in joint pain and such severe fatigue that I could barely climb a flight of stairs without having to stop to catch my breath. Running became such a challenge that even the run/walk intervals I had used successfully in the past weren't helping me.

Was it the weather? Or something else? As the symptoms continued, I thought about everything that could have caused this flare. Then the light bulb went off. I had received a shingles vaccine week earlier-- could that have triggered an immune response that fueled my disease? Upon the advice of my rheumatologist, I held my dose of Humira the week before and after receiving the vaccine so that my immune system would properly respond to the vaccine. The day after I received the vaccine, I developed a fever and body aches. I figured it was just a typical vaccine reaction. I initially felt better but after a week or so found myself in a full-blown disease flare.

Unfortunately, this flare lasted for months. A course of steroids would tamp down my symptoms, but as soon as I stopped them, the flare would fire up again.

A long time runner, I have always used my runs to measure my health. I might wake up in the morning and feel bad, but if I have a run scheduled and it goes well, I know that I'm well enough to go to work and proceed with my day. I think most runners are in tune with their bodies and can read their symptoms pretty well. As a nurse practitioner, I joke that I have enough medical knowledge to be dangerous. The bottom line is that I have the ability to figure out what is happening with me.
If you have been reading my blog for some time, you know that I struggled with running and other endurance workouts for most of this year. I dropped down to the 5k in many of my planned races as well as DNSing races that didn't have a shorter distance as an option. It was disheartening as well as discouraging. In August, I wrote a post titled "Can I Even Call Myself a Runner". I was really depressed and frustrated. I thought I might not be able to run anymore.

My rheumatologist downplayed my symptoms. Among the other things she told me, she said that since my inflammatory markers were normal, my symptoms weren't due to an RA flare. Frustrated with her response to my concerns, I decided to seek a second opinion. Even though there was a 6 month wait for a new patient appointment with the rheumatologist I wanted to see, I was willing to wait. I knew that the flare would take time to resolve and that there was nothing magical to make it go away. I just wanted to find a provider who would listen to me.



Sunday, October 27, 2019

Catching Up

I may have missed last week's recap, but I have the perfect excuse. My sister and I took our annual sister trip--this year was #8-- to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. We had a great time even in spite of spending a day with Tropical Storm Nestor. We shopped. We ate some amazing food. We laughed. We made memories.

And yes, I ran on the beach.

I don't normally like to run on the beach, but I couldn't say no to this stretch of wide, flat, and packed sand. People ride bikes on this beach! It's probably arguable but the beach on Hilton Head is one of the most perfect beaches I've visited.

Here are some of the highlights from the past 2 weeks of workouts.



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Scary Runfessions

It's scary how quickly the days pass by! It's also scary to think Christmas is only 61 days away! Thank goodness for running and all the stress relief that it brings to my life. I'm also grateful for the monthly runfessional, hosted by Marcia's Healthy Slice. As always, I have a few scary runfessions because that's how I roll. But the penance is painless and I can start November with clean soles. Although I'm loathe to say goodbye to the sand in my shoes...



Thursday, October 17, 2019

14 Things You'll See When Spectating a Marathon

Last Sunday, I spectated the Chicago Marathon with Marcia at in the Bloggers' Press Box at mile 13.5. Even if you're not a runner or you've never run a marathon, watching a marathon is an exciting experience! We were tracking a list of our running friends but only saw one. I actually got dizzy scanning the throngs of runners as they went by. We were there for 4 hours and saw every group of runners from the elites to the back of the packers.

There was a lot to take in! Even though we didn't see our runners, we still saw a lot! A marathon is so much more than just running.



Intensity
The elites were focused, eyes on the road ahead, not acknowledging cheers from the crowds.

Joy
Many of the runners in the middle of the pack were running with smiles on their faces, waving to spectators cheering them on.

Tears
We saw runners, walking with their heads down and tears streaming down their faces. Injury? Disappointment? Been there, done that.

Inspiration
The Achilles runners leading the disabled runners. Oh.my.heart.

Source

Chafing
One woman was walking sideways, alternating from side to side, trying not to let her thighs touch.

Limping
There were runners hobbling, stopping and starting, favoring one extremity. From our vantage point at mile 13.5, they had a long way to go to the finish line. Would they make it?

Costumes
Not as many as you'd think! Lots of superheroes. We also saw a king! And Forest Gump.

Run Forest, Run!

Cramping
Runners were stopping to stretch their calves on the curb. One actually laid down on the sidewalk to stretch out his legs. I heard comments from several runners that the cold wind was making them cramp up.

Misplaced runners
Participants wearing bibs that didn't match up with the runners around them. Corral K running up towards the front with the B corral runners? Corral C in the back of the pack? How does this happen?

Random objects
A banana tossed to the side of the road by a runner landed at our feet. Gel packs everywhere. Items of clothing littered the street.

Clothing
In spite of the chilly temperatures and strong wind, there were a lot of runners in tanks and shorts. Brrrr! I was dressed in my down coat with a hat and gloves.

Patriotism
The international runners wear the colors of their homeland with the name of their countries on their shirts.

source
Safety 
Homeland security officers walked behind us, guns strapped to their waists, while local police manned the intersections. Helicopters were buzzing overhead.

Support 
Family members on the sidelines, awaiting their runners. The runners spotting their loved ones, dashing over to the curb for hugs and then back on the course.

Renee did find us in the bloggers' press box!
The marathon is such an exciting and inspiring event! But did the experience of spectating the Chicago Marathon make me want to run another one? Such a tough question! Put it this way: would I like to run Chicago again? Yes. Could I run Chicago again? Probably not. At this point, I can't envision committing the time to the training nor the physical toll that it would take on my body. I'm content to spectate. I'll see you all next year!

Have you ever spectated a marathon? Tell me something you saw!


Spectating the Chicago Marathon gave me all the feels! /via @oldrunningmom @chimarathon #runchat #running #chicagomarathon

I'm linking up with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.






Sunday, October 13, 2019

I Haven't Got Time for the Pain

Carly Simon sang it back in the 70s. Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins updated it and is forever immortalized on a meme.  I tweaked it to fit my week. I had a rheumatoid arthritis flare this week. Fortunately, the flare was brief. Because I don't have time for pain!

It's been a busy week! Let's get right to it.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Could How You Tie Your Laces Be the Secret to Winning Races?

Disclaimer: I received 3 pairs of Lock Laces Original™ in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are mine.

You're probably thinking what the hell, Wendy? I know how to lace and tie my shoes. But I bet you didn't know that the way you tie your shoes can make a difference in how they feel on your feet and ultimately how you run.



Sunday, October 6, 2019

5 Reasons You Should Tabata

I was first introduced to Tabata many years ago during a computrainer class. I was pumping away on my mom bike, trying to keep up with the triathletes on their fancy bikes, when a strange image projected on the screen. "Tabata", my friend Sandy said, in an ominous tone. What the what?

Twenty seconds all out, 10 seconds rest. Repeat for a total of 8. With that, I learned to love and hate Tabata. There have been many Tabata workouts since. Do you Tabata? Should you? What will Tabata do for you?



Friday, October 4, 2019

Coffee Talk

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

What's new? Let's catch up over coffee! I'm drinking my usual--Folgers--with GLG Collagen and a splash of half and half. Don't judge. I'm heading up to Madison this weekend to watch my Badger play rugby and I hope to come home with some Colectivo.



Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Race Recap: Backpack Buddies 5k Run

On my recent trip to Alabama, my friend Holly suggested we run a 5k. After all, we are runners, right? The race just happened to be on my birthday. I was a little worried about the waterskiing we did the night before as well as the infamous southern heat, and maybe the wine we drank, but reminded myself that this was just for fun.