Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Happy 1 Year Run-iversary to Me!

Looking back it is hard to believe that I have been running for one year as of today.

One year ago, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I had lost 53 out of the 80 pounds that I had gained during my pregnancy with my daughter but I still felt like crap.  I had mystery stomach pains, I suffered from an average of 2 migraines a month and the arthritis in my neck was constantly inflamed. I was suffering.

To make matters worse, my doctor administrated a C-Reactive Protein Test to check for levels of inflammation in my blood.  It came back positive,  My body was stressed and we needed to find out why.  After running a battery of tests including checking me from Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis and ulcers he finally referred me to a Doctor of Functional Medicine who later diagnosed me with Leaky Gut.

I was scared.

I've suffered from severe stomach pains since my early 20's and possibly even earlier.  I saw two gastroenterologists who diagnosed me with IBS, but not what was causing it.  I was relieved to finally get some medical care that might give me answers, but I wasn't sure I was ready to hear them.

My huge list of food sensitivities. 
Leaky Gut, if left untreated, can open you up to a whole host of diseases like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.  That was a road I didn't want to go down.  It was a awhile before I met with a nutritionist who tested me for food sensitivities, turns out I have a lot.  Who is allergic to broccoli?  This girl is!  Myy PCP finally did some standard allergy tests.  Hey, who knew I was allergic to nuts?  Glad to find this out at 38 years of age!

In the meantime, it was time to do something.  I had worked out at least 5 times a week for about 12 years before having my daughter.  I loved the elliptical and even threw in some weights when I was feeling it.  I was missing getting my heart rate up and just moving.  I had to do something, I told myself.

I turned to running.

I hated running.  Did I mention that?

I have a lifelong professed hatred of running.  Everybody knew I didn't run.  I joked that the zombies would just eat me.

But my neighbor had a rickety old treadmill that she said I could use so I found myself the cheapest sports bra, but on my old pre-baby gym clothes and got on the damn thing.

I set the pace at about a 15 minute mile and told myself to just run for 10 minutes.  Once I hit that goal and I was feeling pretty good, I figured what the hell and told myself I could stop at one mile.

I completely shocked myself when I had done it!  Never before had I run a mile without stopping.  I didn't care that I was slower than molasses.  I felt great, I was sweaty and it was glorious!

The best part?  I got back on that damn treadmill the next day and ran continuously for 25 minutes.  And the next day I woke up EARLY to put 10 minutes in on it.

I stunned myself by how good I felt and that if I ran at my own pace I could in fact do it.

It wasn't long before Sunday became my long run day.  Ah, the good ol' days when my long runs were just 3.1 miles (5K).  It took me 45 minutes and it was the hardest thing I had ever physically done but I kept plugging away at it.
About a 45 pound difference. 

After about 2 months, I ran my first 5K and stunned myself again by finishing and never walking.  I also took about 12 minutes off my finish time from what I had been doing at home.
Here I am a year later training for my second half marathon.  In just one year I have lost 20 pounds, cut my inflammation down to almost nothing and I've run in 12 races including my half marathon and a 10 miler.  My 5K PR is now a 27:36 down from 33:29 during that first race I ever ran.  That's a 6 minute difference after 9 months of training.  Not too shabby for this almost 40 year old!

My best piece of advice for new runners is to go at your own pace.  I used to think the only way to run was to go full throttle, but I'd just be burnt out a quarter mile in and give up.  Start slow and work your way up.

Who knows?  You just might like it.