Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A few More Victorious Steps

I've decided that my latest mantra is every step a victory because with each step I take running I am declaring a victory over congestive heart failure. That in no way implies that I am throwing caution to the wind (not that I wouldn't love to do that!) but that every step I take I can cherish as one more that keeps me ahead of the game.

I hadn't run since the half on Sunday partly because I have been sore this time and partly because I didn't want to take a chance at overdoing it. One of the things I have planned into my marathon training is taking days off. Days following long runs and even harder runs I'll have scheduled off. I think this is necessary in order to protect myself from overdoing and getting myself in a bind again.

So today I went out to grab a couple of easy miles and I did pretty good I think. I didn't try to go fast or hard, just enjoyed the sunshine on my skin and the fresh air in my face. The park behind my house is the perfect place to run as it is exactly a mile from my door, through the park and back.

For right now I think I have my head on straight. I'm feeling a LOT better, have more energy and I'm getting a lot more done in my busy life in general. I'm a freelance writer by trade and have been through a slump and work is now picking back up. More importantly, my physical slump seems to be over too so I'm actually turning out more work. It's a wonderful feeling to feel like I can actually go out and get clients again and meet deadlines. On days like today I realize how long I've felt badly and how great it is to feel good!

That means that I have to protect myself. That's the whole reason behind only getting in 2 miles today. I want to continue to function - and I've got lots to do.

On diet - I've been slightly off for a few days. I haven't blown it totally but I have let up a little bit. So today I threw away the cookies that were here. Did you know they have about 50mg of sodium each? Is that crazy? It's really not possible to eat prepared foods and stay within strict sodium guidelines. However, I have started learning first to eat without adding salt - and I'm enjoying it. That's actually really important. It's essential that our meals really satisfy us and if we don't enjoy the flavor or the dish, then we are not satisfied. What's the point?

So I did splurge with a little cheese and some chips - okay so it was nachos. But I'm back on the straight and narrow. I have no intention of messing this thing up! I think I can say that I am.....

Dedicated to the journey where each step is a victory!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

16th Half Marathon in the Books!

It started out pretty- but by the end I was rethinking why I even run to begin with! lol This was a very unusual race for me. First of all I started out great - had no breathlessness or any of the normal-for-everyone warm up feelings of yuck. Before I knew it, I was at the first mile marker and my Nike app told me I'd done it in just over 11 minutes. I was shocked because I thought I was running at a comfortable pace.

For the first 7 miles it was a picture perfect race. I was holding strong and at the 7 mile marker I was at less than an hour and a half. That's nearly monumental for me. Then by mile 8 -close to 9 it all went away. My body decided I'd gone too far too fast and it began to revolt. I decided to push it since I was still in line for a half PR. I know... it was a very bad idea.

For the first 6 miles I was under 13 minutes except for mile 3 which was a 13:06. I ended up with a 13:19 minute mile average - which all things considered is not too bad.

I had a weird emotional breakdown at one point. I heard the drums from a distance but thought I'd be okay. I came up on a drumline that was playing some cadences. It's the first time I'd seen a drumline live since my son was seriously injured in an automobile accident. We had watched videos from time to time to help stimulate him, but I hadn't seen one live. He was a drummer before he suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008. I am his caregiver - he is not able to do anything for himself, let alone play the drums. It caught me off guard and I crumbled up and cried for a bit... then decided he is the reason I started running to begin with - so I ran away as fast as I could.

After I finished I had several indications that I had pushed it too hard. A lot of times I have chest pains after I exercise, not while I am exercising. I had LOTS of pains and felt horrible for a long time. I'm sure I overdid it and will need to rest for the next 3 days or so to catch back up.

What did I learn? Even if I "feel okay" it's not okay to push it period. I cannot take that chance anymore. From now on in training and in racing will monitor my speed more closely to ensure I am staying under certain limits. I think I need to buy a garmin to do that! All I needed was an excuse! lol

As I embark on full marathon training this little "wake up" race was probably good for me. It reminds me that I have to take it a little easier. I will add miles slowly - even though that chaps me! AND I'm going to remember to add speedwork in slowly and with discretion as well.

But for today - I won again. This is my third half marathon this year - post CHF diagnosis. Even though I didn't do it right today - I kicked its butt one more time and the medal is hanging on my wall to prove it. I haven't been real smart the last week or so; but I will make necessary changes as I proceed. But I still recognize that every step is a victory and with each step I continue to win.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Lesson Learned...I Hope

Okay - so I have to suck it up and admit that I overdid it yesterday. I actually made several mistakes that I have to correct going forward. I know I should not have run 3 days in a row and even if running 3 days in a row was okay - I shouldn't have gone for 6 and a half miles. Live and learn.

I've been doing a lot of research about congestive heart failure and one of the signs of overdoing it is actually how you feel the next day. Well, I could tell yesterday afternoon I had OD'd on running. I did recoup pretty good though. However, today has been horrible. I am basically exhibiting all those  dreaded symptoms of CHF. I'm out of breath, have lots of chest pains and feel exhausted. I don't think I realized how much better I've been feeling overall; but it all comes back to me now for sure.

With this new information I have a few things to work on. First of all, I need to get a solid marathon training plan instead of just flying by the seat of my pants. I will find or develop one that sets running goals that are reasonable for me. I'm thinking about adapting a 3-run a week plan where I do a short run, a medium length run and a long run each week. But that makes me really mad. I just want to run when I want to run and feel good about it. Ugh!

But I do know that if I want to run - and feel okay doing it I am going to have to set some limits as frustrating as that is. I don't do well with rules in case you hadn't noticed. Time to suck it up and move forward with this new information though.

My training plan should have 3 runs a week for starters, and I still have taekwondo twice a week as well. I'm thinking about how to incorporate some gentle biking and some strength training in there too. I actually haven't given up on the idea of the Spartan Races either. I think if  I start small enough and build up gradually I can do it. I guess it will be next year's goal for now though.

Anyway - I see the error of my ways and am picking myself up - dusting myself off and moving forward. I don't include quit or can't  in my vocabulary. Time to adjust and keep moving - no matter how slowly I have to go. Today is a forced rest day - time to recoup and re-hydrate.  I have my sites set on Sunday's half and that helps me be good. Besides the fact that I have no

I'm going to prove that I can run a marathon with congestive heart failure. I just have to learn to be good first. I got this!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Can I Just Pretend?

I've actually had a couple of decent runs the last couple of days. Yesterday I did a 5-miler on the treadmill and did really good. I even took off for a little "run" for about 4 minutes or so toward the end. Good thing is - I didn't die! lol The true test though is the next day. If I am more out-of-breath and tired the next day I know I did too much. Well up until a little while ago I've had a really good day. I even got in a couple miles outside early this afternoon. Then I totally stressed out over some other things and the bottom fell out!

I wish I could just pretend that I"m not having to deal with all this congestive heart failure stuff. I don't want to take medicine to live and I want to eat comfort foods when I want them! I'm tired. It seems like running looks just like the rest of my life - I work my butt off and never get anywhere. I want to just throw it all to the wind and go for a real run without worrying about getting dizzy, how high my heart rate goes up, and about passing out along the way. I'm just tired of dealing with it all on top of everything else. I just want to be like everyone else. I want to plan a 9 or 10-miler and lace up my shoes and hit the road. I want to look at fall full marathons and get excited about the training rather than having all the questions about how my heart is going to hold up and if it's going to be too much stress on my body or not. I don't have to be the best I just want to be....

I want to pretend I don't have CHF, hypertension, and water weight. I want to pretend my son doesn't have a brain injury too. Can I pretend I have a real job and can afford to do the races I want. I want to pretend that I have the money to travel and see the world and run races all around. Can I pretend that I don't feel winded just from getting up from my chair and going to the kitchen for a bottle of water?

But pretend is not real. There's a lot on my plate and it's not just my own health issues. I can't even begin to pretend I'm equipped to deal with it at all. I'm tired and I'm cranky; but the truth is I just have to suck it up one more time and put one foot in front of the other. For now, I have to quit thinking about where I am today and concentrate on where I want to be tomorrow. That means I have to do the tough runs right along with the great ones. I have to slow down some days and take off other days and run the days I can. I have to take these stupid pills every single day and watch everything that goes into my mouth. Period. There really isn't any other way to deal with this condition except to do it right. And that's not easy for me - even in a pretend world! lol

As frustrated as I am with life right now I am resolved to make it. I'm concentrating on making it through the best I can. It may look ugly - but that's when you find out who your real friends are for sure. I'm actually feeling pretty good today and have quite a bit of energy which is really good after pushing it harder yesterday. I will learn my limits and I will figure out when, where and how to train and how to push my body properly without causing it more harm. It's not even CHF that's eating my lunch today it's all these other things that life throws at me. It's just that the CHF thing is on top of a whole lot of other things and I'm tired.

Tonight I will just do what my friend's hoodie says: Suck it up buttercup!  And get through this evening so I can see what tomorrow brings - maybe it will be better - maybe it will be worse. Maybe I won't wake up tonight in the middle of the night all out of breath and feeling my heart beat out of my chest. That would be a nice treat! But if I do - I will still face tomorrow with resolve. I'm going to do this thing right - I will not lose it and blow it with "comfort foods" tonight. I'll fight off the cravings and be ahead instead of behind when I wake up tomorrow.....repeat 10 times. lol

Thanks for listening to my self pep-talk!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

One Foot in Front of the Other

What a frustrating week this has been! On one hand it was good since the cardiologist okayed marathon training. But my body has been saying "no" ever since! I really wish this could just go away. Someone told me one time to wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up faster. Well, I'm guessing that this is not going to disappear so I'll have to learn how to deal with it.

I hate feeling like my runs are a fight to take every step and every breath. My runs and workouts this week felt like I had a boa around my chest compressing my lungs; and it felt like I was dragging an elephant behind me. Some days I had chest pains to go along with it - or even worse in my opinion is chest pains after finishing a good workout.

Today I felt a lot better. Who knows what is actually going on with my body to make me feel horrible or good? Today's 3+ miles was pretty good and I wore my PEAR sports heart monitor to watch my heart rate. I started my higher dose of medication last night and I've taken the diuretics for a few days now so I just want to watch it all real closely to make sure it's all good.

My heart rate actually did excellent. I did a half mile warm up where I walked a lot and got going. Then I wore the monitor for another 2.8 miles. My heart seemed to go ahead and elevate to about 103-107 which is low really - but beta blockers are supposed to keep it from jumping too high. That's actually why the cardiologist raised the dosage so it wouldn't jump up. I've seen it jump scarily high during a race before so this was good! It also came right back down when I would switch to walking. I held a pretty good 3:1 interval run for quite some time. I'm pretty happy with that. Why can't every day be this good?

So what's the plan from here? A week where I feel really bad like this has a tendency to set me back a bit. I'm not sure how I will handle the next bout, but for now I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I'm still going to set up a marathon plan as if I didn't have to deal with the extra baggage congestive heart failure brings to the table. Pretty sure I'll do a mileage plan now. That allows me to be more flexible inside the plan. For instance, if my goal mileage for the day is 3-5 miles or even 10-12, I can do the miles with whatever my body gives me that day. I can use  run:walk intervals until I cover the miles.

One thing I've been thinking about is that I feel better overall if I do something every day. So this week I'm going to try it. I want to at least walk a mile a day this week. I can ride my stationary bike, walk or run everyday; and do some sort of strength training 3 or 4 days too. Next Sunday is the OKC Memorial Marathon (I'm doing the half) so I want to take it easy too. It is a true challenge to try and get my miles in without overdoing it. We'll see how well I can do this going forward -because I have no intentions of stopping - one foot in front of the other - one day at a time. Second marathon I will conquer you!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kinda Frustrating Really

So today I had one of the worst days I've had in awhile. I actually haven't felt really good all week long. I was excited to get out and get a run in since it was my first "official" run to begin my marathon training even though I haven't settled on a good plan yet. I'm still looking and tweaking to see what's going to work best. That's okay since I planned on starting after I finish the OKC half here in another week or so. I'm thinking I have a little time yet to decide.

I did get in 3 miles this morning - well it was early afternoon really. It was a little warm but the clouds made it bearable for the most part. I just felt so sluggish. My chest was really uncomfortable but by about mile 1.5 I started feeling better. I still didn't push it much because I really don't  want to overdo it. I know that causes the biggest setbacks in training and in how I feel. Actually, I'm not real sure why I don't feel real good now. I've been mostly good with my diet although I had relaxed for a day or so and enjoyed some girl scout cookies. I think that was bad. I returned to a very strict diet today and in some ways I think I am better.

I did have a bad night last night. My heart woke me up at 3 in the morning. I can't explain it - it's just like it is beating hard or something. So tonight I'm trying my regular dose of meds - didn't get the higher dose filled yet anyway. We'll see if that makes a difference. I have to try the larger dose for 2 weeks. Guess I'll try it later.

Tonight I also went to taekwondo. I try to keep my miles low on the days I know I have TKD. That wasn't difficult to do since I didn't feel all that good today. Tonight in class I felt horrible. My chest is just so tight. I actually had to stop doing burpees. It's not like I do them all that well anyway - but I really didn't feel good and was too out of breath for me. So I stopped at 15 buddy burpees instead of 25. I hate that... I want to feel good enough to keep up with my classes. It was a rough one - haven't had a rough one like that in awhile.

Even though it was a tough day I think I staying in my boundaries and pushed as much as possible. I know it is important to keep pushing but equally important to not overdo it. While running today I was thinking about when I started running and how many things I've learned along the way. Today I worked on breathing correctly - somehow those basics are forgotten (or ignored) along the way sometimes. Another thing I was thinking about was how my whole body has to slow down to accommodate my heart at this point. Just because it's not working as efficiently as it's supposed to my whole body is affected.It takes the whole body participating whether I'm jogging along nicely or just trying to catch my breath as I creep along. I don't leave even one little part at home and come back for it later. lol

So many times I think of myself as so super independent - but in reality I'm like my body - I need a lot of people to get this thing done. None of us are really self-sufficient even though we like to think we are. We can do only so much but we need so many other parts to get along. So I will take it easy and wait for my heart to catch up! But today I got in a 3 mile run and an hour of taekwondo. I will beat this thing - the right way! And I'll try to not get so frustrated -- it doesn't really help me feel any know?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

It's a Go!

I had my cardiologist appointment this morning. Of course the number one thing on my list of questions was to ask if he would "okay" me to start training for a full marathon. He started out by explaining my condition to me - he's really good about that. He also asked how I'd been doing. I told him I have good days and bad days but that I was watching my sodium intake and my blood pressure has been real good at home. I also told him it had inched up over the last couple of days and since it was slightly elevated while there he is going to up my meds a little. He said this is partly because I want to step up my training. He doesn't want my heart rate going out the roof while training.

He also gave me some very specific directions. He told me to go slow. And he said I have to take it easy as I proceed but that I can continue training. Doc also said that I need to be especially careful about overdoing it; basically - don't.  So...this is pretty much verbatim what my primary care has told me already.  I can proceed with marathon training - but cautiously and carefully.

I was sort of expecting him to tell me no actually. I had my emotions all ready for the fight and everything! lol. But he went right along with it but gave me the warnings and directions for proceeding. On one hand, I'm really excited! On the other hand, it makes me nervous and as usual tons of questions start lining up in my head. They start something like this:

  • Do I have what it takes to do another marathon?
  • How am I going to train with these up and down days?
  • How in the world am I going to make and keep a training calendar?
  • Am I crazy for even thinking I can do a marathon with congestive heart failure?
  • Is it going to be too hard on my body?
  • How do you take it easy and do marathon training at the same time?
  • Can I push it sometimes?
And that's just the beginning.  At the same time I have all these ideas and plans running around in my head. I'm committed to doing this thing and doing it right. (And I have a whole group of running buddies that are watching and helping to keep me honest! lol) Here are some of the things I am moving toward:

  • Eating right- period. Low sodium and clean.
  • Starting out easy and not going overboard.
  • Setting up a schedule that is going to work for me.
  • Remember to be flexible and make allowances for my body.
  • Listening to my body - period.

I hope you are up for the ride because I am sure it's going to be full of lots of ups and downs. I'm going to whine and complain - a lot. But I will also share my joys and triumphs. Today was a no-go day as I had a lot of chest discomfort and stress. I also haven't slept the last couple of nights - that should change here in the next 15 minutes or so! I started my double dose of meds tonight and start a new med in the morning. I hope to have it together by tomorrow. Let's get this party started! I hope you are going to ride along with me...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Today's Race Re-Cap

Today I finished my 113th race and my 15th race at the 10K distance. It's funny now that I have finished a couple of half marathons (okay 15 to be exact - 2 post CHF diagnosis) I think of a 10K and a 5K as a "just" race. It's "just a 5K" or today it was "just a 10K." Even with all my questions about how I'm going to feel it's like I know I will finish, period. I may be dragging my sorry, tired old butt across the finish line at midnight - but the question isn't "am I going to finish?"

Something that happened during the race today caught me off guard. I was running/walking about mile 4.5 or so and a group of teenage cheerleaders were trying to cheer everyone on. They said, "you can do it!" and I was like, "Of course I can do it. Why would I be out here if I didn't think I could do it." I was sort of surprised by my matter-of-factness. Of course I didn't say that out loud because I knew they were just trying to help us along and I probably looked pretty pathetic to them even though I felt pretty good for me.

Today's race was another win over congestive heart failure. It was not an easy run, and I didn't feel the greatest at all, but I finished and that's what matters. When I woke up this morning I had gained a few pounds. I'm supposed to weigh in every morning and if it's over 2 pounds I know I am overdoing the salt. Well, yesterday I had a little too much cheese which probably put me over my sodium limit. I know - I need to write it down and keep better track - later.

Anyway, let's just say I had gained quite a bit over the 2-3 pound mark just in a day. I knew this was a signal for me to really go easy and maybe even walk this one. Sure enough for the first mile I felt like I was swimming a hundred miles deep - it was horrible. I had some mild chest pain and so because it was also nearly 80 degrees at race start I took it really easy. I know what kind of chest pains mean I should stop and what kind mean I can go but I can't go out hard. These were mild and stopped when I would walk so I was not in danger -but I wanted to make sure and keep it that way.

About a mile and a half in though I caught a little bit of energy and I rode it as much as I could. I really walked a lot still but it was mostly because it was too hot to be running!  Part of me was frustrated because I didn't have the wonderful feeling run like I did for the half marathon a couple weeks back - but part of me was just glad to be able to deal with the mild discomfort and keep moving.

This was a fun race for me even though I didn't set any new PRs. I chose to not listen to music and to listen to the race instead. There were several live bands around the course - almost like a half or a full. They made it really fun. I kidded with spectators, talked to other racers, laughed and cut-up all along the way. I listened to my own breathing and footsteps. It became more of an experience than just a run. I think I like that. And of course most importantly for me I kept thinking all along the way every step is a victory. With each step no matter how slow or how fast they came - I was winning over CHF. It's another win in the books for me today!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Will it Ever End?

My head is going about 900 miles an hour! That may or may not be an exaggeration. I have a 10k tomorrow afternoon but with the last year's events and the latest diagnosis my head starts running long before the race. I have all these questions like Will I be okay this time? or Will I have a rough day tomorrow or a good day? What will I do if I'm having an issue? How much will I need to walk?

These are all on top of the "normal" questions runners have prior to races. You know, like figuring out what to eat when and sorting through all our regular pre-race rituals. This race is an afternoon race so that by itself has its own dynamic. One second I feel prepared for anything and the next I do not. I worry that I've overdone it - then worry that I didn't train enough. - Just normal racing stuff!

Add all the health issues on top of the normal stuff and my mind is a mess. lol!

I have actually done well this week with my eating and I think I have finally adjusted my thinking along with my habits. I don't have a taste for salt and other than craving that burger earlier this week I haven't had crazy cravings for salt or junk foods. I have my friends and family trained now - and since they care for me they are careful about what they bring me now. I've made all sorts of cool foods this week - all with no added salt. I kinda got tired of chili beans and Spanish rice. I've added some meat dishes in and as long as I stay clear of the cheese I do well. One day I had too much cheese (I know it has about 170 mg of sodium per ounce) and the next morning I had gained a couple pounds.

That's one of the things I've learned - to weigh myself every morning. It lets me know how well my body is handling water content and salt. Too much salt and I gain weight - otherwise I stay about the same or lose. I've actually lost 10 pounds since I started really watching the salt. I also watch my ankles since they tend to swell. That's one thing that has me worrying about tomorrow too. It's supposed to be about 79 tomorrow afternoon. I know heat is difficult - I just have to remember to adjust for the heat too. It seems like I am having to adjust to a lot of things. But I'm determined to win.

I don't know if it will get any easier to plan for running and races or not - but I'm not inclined to give up. I have to "run the race that is set before me." That I intend to do for sure. We will see what tomorrow's race brings - I'll work with whatever my body has to give me.

This week I go back to the cardiologist - I am hoping he will okay my marathon training goals. I know it's really going to be touch-and-go. It's not like a "normal" runner who can decide to start marathon training and just pick an appropriate plan and get started. Every day can bring a setback. That messes with my head as well as my body. I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing and I'm ready to move forward with the plan. Got my fingers crossed the doc will approve.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Extra Mile

This morning's run started out to be one of the most frustrating I've ever endured. First, I didn't do any type of exercise yesterday because I just didn't feel well. I really hate to admit it but it looks like days after good long runs are going to be off days. I've noticed that pattern already. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a good long run; it just means I have to adjust my mind set to taking the day after off to allow my body time to recoup properly. That's what I did yesterday - it was rather forced on me - but I did take the day off.

So this morning I got up thinking I still didn't feel good but I wanted to get a couple of mile in at least. I still need to build my base miles for marathon training. Once I got on the treadmill I realized it was not a good idea! I felt so sluggish. My motto is to use what my body gives me to reach my goals each day and I wanted to hit at least 2 miles today. I always start out slowly anyway but felt exceptionally slow today. I struggled through a mile - got off and did some push-ups, tricep dips and mountain climbers. Then I hopped back on the treadmill to get the second mile.

It was horrible. I had several issues. I know I'm supposed to stop when I get dizzy or too out of breath. But today I just slowed down to a walk for quite a while. Then I bumped it back up to finish out the mile. My body was only giving me a 14 minute mile to work with today so I just stayed there. I didn't try to push it at all. I can remember 10 minute miles, but I have to push those out of my mind and work with what I have in the present. That's the only way to get to the future!

So I start chugging along at 4.3 miles an hour.... turtle pace. I cross my second mile but I was feeling pretty good so I just kept going. I ended up lightly jogging over a mile and finished out a total of 3 miles for the morning. It was a slow mile - but I jogged the whole thing! That's a win!

I'm going to enjoy that extra mile all day long! It's my way of waving my fist in the air and saying "take that CHF!" I will win this fight. It might be slow going - but I will win.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Re-Setting Limits

Even though my cardiologist appointment isn't until next week I have shifted my head to marathon training. I know I said I wasn't going to start until after the OKC half later this month, but I couldn't wait. Besides it gives me a little time to see how I'm going to handle it. My running buddies are not going to back me until I get the "okay" from my cardiologist next week - but I'm sure he's going to okay it.

I've learned so much over the last few weeks - about running, training, congestive heart failure, food consumption and myself. Today I had 6 miles scheduled according to the training plan I'm trying out right now. I'm not sure it's going to work for me but I'm checking it out. So I did 3 miles early this morning on the treadmill. It felt great! I had to stop though because I had quite a bit to get done. So then once my son's aide got here I went outside (in the heat) to do another 2-3 miles. I really did well so I ended up doing 4. It was too hot by the time I did the last mile. I will take water with me next time!

As I was running - and enjoying having a good running day, I did a lot of thinking. Today my body gave me a lot to work with. I felt like I could push it a little bit, but I chose not to. That's really hard for me since I am the type to always  push the limits; every limit. I stay in trouble a lot because I am always pushing limits. But I didn't push today. I just took what my body gave me and tried to use it to the max. There can be a tricky balance that is hard to achieve between overdoing it and doing as much as you reasonably can.

I worked with a pastor one time who had this saying: Do what you can with what you've got. I am learning to apply this little piece of wisdom to my running. I have to learn how to do what I can every single run with whatever my body gives me that day. That may mean an average of a 12 min. mile on one day and walking an 15-18 min mile the next. Frustrating? Oh yeah! But it's an adjustment I have to be willing to make if I want to continue training and running.

So far CHF isn't stopping me- it is making me think. And it is making me be smarter in my exercising and running. I'm just stubborn enough to never give up...but I am also slightly apprehensive about my appointment next week. It's not that it will really change anything, really. I just don't want to have to fight off what the cardiologist might say about training because I will continue to the extent my body lets me. Today was a good day. Not only will I enjoy the good days- I'll use them as fuel on those days I have to pull back because I'm not doing as well. Forward motion continues.

Trying to Refocus Already?

I took a look at my training calendar last night and was totally disgusted with myself. I'm doing some things right but my running is really behind schedule. I've done some form of exercise almost every single day. Now that might be riding my bike, strength training, or just yoga. But for the last couple of months working out has been an almost daily thing and that's good, I think.

But what I saw was that I haven't been getting the miles I need in. Specifically the last three weeks I have had very low miles. That makes me mad. I start to feel that I am not dedicated to the run, I'm a slacker, or I'm falling so far behind I am not going to be able to train for a full marathon. I have to fight those thoughts off and refocus.

Before I start beating myself up too much, I want to take a look at what I've done well. First off, I've been eating right. If you don't count the chocolate. My focus has been on reducing sodium intake and learning how to cook without adding any salt. My taste buds are starting to adjust and I don't have as strong of a need for extra salt. Well, on everything but eggs. I have changed my breakfast totally because I just can't eat my scrambled eggs without salting them! Other than that - I've pretty much adjusted and don't crave or desire salt or salty foods.

My blood pressure has been great when I've taken it. I'm still on my meds (I only take one medication and an aspirin a day.) and I've had no episodes. Actually, it's been a long time since I have had any problems. Well, except for a little bit of fatigue. I have to watch that. With this being said, I have also been concentrating on how I exercise. I'm trying to learn how to give it my best and not overdo it. It's quite the mental game because I am a type A - over achiever. If I don't wear myself out trying I think I haven't given enough effort. But...I'm learning to hold back and spread it out. This allows me to continue to exercise on a daily basis, take it easy and stay in shape without overdoing it.

So I am eating right, taking my meds and exercising smarter. But I'm not running enough. I only had 8 miles last week!! What's that? nothing...

Today I am planning a good run. Hopefully, it will happen outside - that's a lot more enjoyable and productive for my emotional health than the treadmill. I have a 10K coming up this Sunday so I don't want to overdo it before then either. My next half marathon is the last Sunday of this month - the OKC Memorial. I love that race!

A thousand questions crowd my mind when I start thinking about a race. But for today- I will push them out of the way and make it my goal to get in a good 6 to 8 miles at least. I really think I am up for starting 2-a-days. As long as I am smart with it - listen to my body (a huge key) and make adjustments where necessary I think I'll be okay.

Oh - I have the cardiologist appointment this month too...I'm a little apprehensive about that one. I have tons of questions (nothing new, right?) and I am afraid of his answers. But I will deal with it when it comes and I have a lot of ammo ready - since I am learning to manage CHF. Sometimes it feels like it's this dark cloud hanging over my head - I have to deal with it and fight off thoughts every single day. But I'm living with it not just putting up with it. And I'm learning to run with it  not away from it. I got this!