Saturday, January 23, 2016

Who Knew?

So I did my first ever trail race this morning. It was a 4-miler but more like 4.33. It was really cold like 27 and stayed at that temp the whole race even though I warmed up quite a bit. I think about mile 3 I could feel my toes again. Lol. I did trip a couple of times, but I only fell once - minor scraped up knee but no biggie.

I think I'll try to find some more trail races - but I am pretty sore right now so I might take that back when I try to roll out of bed in the morning. My heart rate ran a little higher than usual, but not dangerous. I'm sure it's because my diet has been a little loose - I'll be tightening it back up starting tomorrow for sure. I figured some of it was from pushing it a little harder since running trails is a little more work - but lots of fun for sure.

This race was part of the "Oklahoma State Games." What I didn't know is if you medal in your AG you automatically qualify to take part in the Games of America in 2017. I thought that was really cool since i don't usually "qualify" for anything.  I'm looking in to doing them  but we shall see.

I've done a lot of thinking  since the cardiologist appointment on Monday. I've been wearing the support socks all the time and they seem to really help keep the swelling down in my ankles. I think that's probably good.

I had a low mileage week this week, but my goals for this coming week are to get back on my diet - lots more veggies for sure. I also need to drink more water I think I've been a little dehydrated lately. These are just a couple of things I need to really work on. I'm also working on trying to get more sleep - even though it really bothers me to spend more than 6 hours in bed, I think I have to admit I need more.

So today was another win for me and I feel like I conquered a new frontier. Honestly, my biggest challenge when I start feeling better is to stay inside my strict guidelines. After seeing the cardiologist earlier this week and he suggested "more exercise" I was excited. But I have really been tired this week, and pretty lax on working out. Now it's time to settle down and follow all the "rules" again even though I have been doing better. It's like this fine balance between not overdoing - but doing. Pushing - but not pushing.

Overall, I am very happy where I am right now. I think I'm making progress and learning to push - but not push too much. And learning when and how to rest... it can be frustrating to keep track of everything. I just have to remind myself that it's necessary to be very conscientious about all of it and listening to my body at the same time. For now - I'm still up and running - have signed up for 3 half marathons this spring and might add another trail race in there in April... we shall see. All I know is I'm managing symptoms right now (but I can do better) and ...

Every Step's A Victory!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cardiologist Update

So I guess I'm just going to have to get used to going to cardiologists and doctors. My primary care sent me to a cardiologist at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital. I think I like this guy (as much as I can like docs). He was very kind, and looked me in the eye when he was talking with me and I liked that.

Of course I gave them my standard "abnormal but not bad" EKG. I also explained about my meds and how the other doc wouldn't call me back. He told me not to trust a doctor who didn't call you back. (I was surprised.) He said it's an integrity issue and it sends the signal that they don't care when they don't call you back. I agreed. At the end of the appointment - he gave me a gentle hug and promised to take good care of me. That was nice I thought. (Even though I'm not too keen on "being taken care of.")

My blood pressure was great- didn't even mention taking meds for that. I have to say that's a HUGE win. I believe the drastic changes to my diet have been beneficial in that arena. I still have to take the diuretic though - and the aspirin. I did try to talk the nurse into erasing the "CHF" diagnosis. She wouldn't play.

He asked me if I needed to exercise more. I said, "I'm training for a marathon and have signed up for 3 half marathons this spring, do you want me to do more?" He laughed and said"no" and to keep up the good work... now THAT I liked. I also found out the nurse and some of the other office staff are doing the relay at the OKC Memorial - that was very cool too.

My ankles are a constant reminder of how important it is for me to pay attention and take care. He asked if I wear support socks and I told him I do when I'm running. He wants me to wear them "all the time." Not sure how I feel about that. If I eat right and keep my feet up through the day they are not that bad.... I'll clarify with him at my next appointment.

I do have to do two more tests, scheduled in February and they are doing all the blood work again. I get these tests done the last week in Feb. Then I'll go back for another appointment with him the first week of March. He says he wants me to take some anti-anxiety meds. Not sure how I feel about that either. I know I'm kinda high strung - I will see. He says it can help keep the chest pains at bay. I told him since there's no blockage I am not really worried about that... he doesn't argue well - we'll have to work on that. lol

So overall I was really happy with this cardiologist. I love it that there was no hint of discouraging me from keeping up my current regimen. I also like it that the office staff are training for the OKC Memorial. I have two half marathons before that one though. I did only sign up for the half at OKC - if I can increase my miles safely by then I can switch to the full - if not - I'll continue adding miles slowly and sign up for a full this fall as long as it goes well - as it has been.

I'm really learning to listen to this ole body; and I'm seeing the value in it. When I pay attention and stay on top of the symptoms - I get to run more - run faster and run stronger. This is a far cry from where I was two years ago at this time. It's certainly been a difficult battle, but one I am finally able to say I'm winning - one step at a time.

Every Step's A Victory!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

So I was able to sustain a 46 day running streak. On one hand I was sad to end it; and on the other was a bit of relief. I had started with a few symptoms so yesterday I felt like it was better to stop rather than my body stopping me down the road. I think it worked because today I was able to get outside for a couple of very nice miles and I felt fine. But it's time to rest....I think.

I learned a few things during this run streak - the longest one I've ever done. I learned if I take it easy I can do a lot more than I thought. And that I have learned to listen to my body - but that's not enough. Not only is it important to listen to what your body is telling you - it's equally as important to respect what it is telling you. That's actually more difficult than listening...but not only is it do-able; it also means there'll be more running days ahead.

One thing that's really surprised me over the last few weeks is that I've felt so good. But I've also taken it really easy and didn't take chances by pushing it. Last year was crazy and after the initial diagnosis I had tons of crazy - crazy thoughts as I worked through processing this new information. I drove my running friends crazy too - quite literally. I finally left the group I had been involved in for three years because I felt like I had gotten on their nerves so much. So I'm running solo once again; and it's okay. Not best - but okay.

Another thing this run streak helped me accomplish is encouragement. I am actually planning on another marathon now and I never thought that would be in my thoughts again! I have a half next month and hopefully another half in March. Then I will either do a half or a full for the OKC in April. We will see. I'm okay if I need to plan the full for later this fall - and I have my eye on a couple I'd like to do too. It's all about making the wisest choice from where I am today and then moving toward that goal.

Speaking of goals I've set a few for myself this year and they include - but are not limited to:

  • Run another marathon
  • Run 1000 miles 
  • Do more Cross Training
  • Learn how to fuel my run right
Over the year I'll probably share more details about each of those goals - that'll keep me focused on them. But for right now I'm just happy to have been upright and still moving ever since I got out of the hospital in October. I am trying to make an appointment with a new cardiologist - hopefully he'll be on board with my running and I won't need to make too many changes. But hey - we gotta be adaptable in order to keep doing what we wanna do, right?

I did run a NYD 5K and did pretty good I thought. I felt real good and that's really important! Next up on my schedule is a 4-mile trail run. Which reminds me of a change I've made this year. Some of my local running buddies are doing both the Winter Series and the 8-mile trail run. Usually, since they are doing the 8-miler I'd switch to that one - and I wouldn't miss the local winter series. But I'm actually okay with only doing the 4-miler at the trail run - hey - it's the smarter decision since it's my first ever trail race; and I'm quite alright with sitting out the winter series and setting my sites on some bigger - and new races this year. 

Maybe this series of health events has helped me mature as a runner and a person. That's really what is all about anyway I think. I should be challenged to change, right? As I am changing and growing as a person - every step is a move in the right direction - and every step is one more than I've taken before. What's your latest challenge and how are you tackling it?

Every Step's A Victory