Friday, July 27, 2007
I plan on working with the organization in every way possible - not only with regards to my racing efforts to raise Fibromyalgia awareness, but to reach out to those who would like to talk about their experiences with this illness. We shared a lot of visions and ideas going forward - and i cannot wait to work on each and every one of them with this great institution.
They have been kind enough to invite me to a global-level media and advocacy training conference in Washington, DC this August, to which I gladly agreed to attend. I will learn how to speak with the media about Fibromyalgia intellectually and correctly (all the fun medical terms, etc.), and learn how to deal with the media in general. I think it would be a great learning experience for me. I didn't expect this level of support and enthusiasm from them - I am so excited about the future!
There is a lot of useful information about FMS on http://www.fmaware.org/. I recommend that you read through it...if you are a patient or a family member, or a friend of someone with FMS, it's almost essential that you read it....they are still building out some sections but this site is set out to be the most comprehensive information and community source. This organization is constantly growing and they have a lot of amazing plans in the future to raise FMS awareness and give patients and their families education and hope. I am just honored to be a part of this.
I will keep you posted on all of this as we go forward....
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Perhaps it was the fact that all the stressful events at work calmed down for the time being and all the pent up tension was being released. Perhaps also was the fact that i have been dealing with some of personal annoyances (people-related) that just got me irritated and stressed out. Perhaps all the long rides have been catching up on me. I have no idea what the real reason is. But then again, for us Fibro patients, we never know what the real reasons are for anything.
I passed out that night pretty early, slept more than 8 hours, only to wake up in the morning (after waking like 4 times during the night) with a pretty strong sensation of shoulder/neck tightness and pain. Now, I haven't had Fibro flareups like this in a WHILE. I'm talking almost a year. It scared the living daylights out of me because my immediate mental response was "my training season is over." Well, i caught myself in my own negative thoughts and shook my head. I was trying to get up, but also realizing that my ankles were achy, and felt hot - not literally hot, but it felt like they were burning. That was another sensation i haven't felt in a while to that degree. It was frustrating.
I had an acupuncture appointment later that morning, fortunately. So instead of going to work first i waited for some of the symptoms to dissipate until i had to leave for my appointment. It wasn't easy. During this time, my mind kept going in and out of negativity and the worst scenarios - my biggest concern was, of course, "did i do myself harm by training? Should i stop?" But it was too early to tell. i could still have the same flare ups without the workouts - and i used to! So I didn't believe in my thoughts - and just got up, dragged myself into the shower (usually helps with pain) and started getting ready for my appointment.
The rest of the day was rough. rough, rough rough. I did have an important meeting that afternoon at work so i had to show up - Acupuncture helped my pain, but i was still feeling so worn out.
I sat in front of my computer, and when i was not working, I was just going through my thoughts and checking out my mind - what have i been thinking lately? Am i being positive? Am i tired (mentally)? What is going on that's causing me the stress, if not the physical stress?
Most of the time, this kind of mental inventory check i find extremely helpful. I was kinda sorta meditating to take any discouraging, annoying or negative thoughts out of my head - no matter what they were or how justified i thought they were. I really believe that 70% or so of my flareups come from my mind - something in my mind triggers the pain switches. I needed to flat out the ripples in my mind...take it easy at work, be happy, be positive, don't stress and just get work done... i kept telling myself.
Towards the end of the day, i was better. I still had to rest the rest of the evening, but I was far better than i was in the morning. Improvement was all i was hoping for.
This morning (Saturday) - i had to forego my long bike ride and went swimming instead. 1,400 meters. slow and steady, over about 46 minutes, including some substantial rests between laps. I was not about pushing myself today. I felt good in the water, and i was happy that i wasn't feeling that head-blurriness i was feeling last week.
Right now I'm just relaxing after cleaning up the house, running some errands and talking to some people. I am happy that i'm back on track, about 90%. Ankles are still a bit achy, but i am just massaging them now. I'm taking my Greenergy, Overdrive tablets and a new herbal powder that my acupuncturist gave me for Fibro. Tomorrow is a long day, hosting a friend's baby shower, so I have to save some energy for myself. It is rather funny that i have to save energy for running errands, but during tough times energy management is everything. This is all a part of living well, despite my limits.
I will not let this incident get to me. I'm going to keep fighting with my mind. I'm going to keep experimenting, I'm going to be smart about this.
Hopefully in two weeks I will find out more about how my training is making me feel. I am sure it will be for the better, overall.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Usually Sundays are my swimming days, but I guess if I plan on riding this much every Saturday I might have to move my swim days to a weeknight.
Day 2 after 7/7 (Sat) ride – I had all these plans after a 25-mile bike ride (bbq party, meeting friends the next day, walking around in the hot weather in downtown LA, etc)…and starting Sunday evening I started feeling tired and felt strong chest pains, ones I haven’t had in years. That was strange. My shoulders and ankles were achy (but not as severe as the first years, still – which is a GREAT sign), and overall I was really worn out and the chest pain and headaches made me feel pretty grim, especially Monday morning. I was so upset at myself for overextending myself post-workout. I need to rest up – not just sleeping enough, but I have limit my activity level and just chill out. So after Saturday, I didn’t work out Sunday, Monday AND Tuesday…which made my heart rate go all over the place when I attempted to run Wednesday morning. Oh well. And I have been busy so I didn’t even have dinner the night before I went running. These are the little mishaps that I should not repeat. I can’t help certain circumstances (being busy) but I could have helped myself from feeling overexerted after the long ride. I tend to ride my adrenaline-high for a little too long. :-)
Sunday, July 8, 2007
**(once again, these are based on my personal experiences…please consult your doctor before you engage in any kind of physical activities.)**
Not all training and racing experiences are rosy, and not all of them are successful. I am not completely free from flare-ups. But they have been less frequent and less severe. However, when I do push myself out of excitement from training, I can feel the quick change in my body – and not in a good way.
Here are some of the examples of my symptoms (besides the usual flare-ups) when I inadvertently overexert myself:
1. Blurriness of the vision: just last week, I went swimming the day after a considerably strong/long run. I hadn’t run that long in a while and I had tried some sprints during the run. I could have (and should have) rested the next day, but out of my eagerness I went swimming. 20 minutes or so during the swim, my vision went blurry and I felt out of balance, kind of numb to my senses. I went on for another lap or two, then as my head started feeling heavier, I got out, and went up on the sun deck and took a 15 minute nap. I drank an FRS Plus mix-drink and went home and rested. That was a close call.
2. Short spurts of tingling in the arm or wrists
3. Cramping in the foot – they say cramping comes from dehydration, lack of potassium, etc. For someone who is always conscientious of hydrating myself with electrolyte drinks, it happens way too often for me. I’m not sure if that comes from Fibro, but I have a feeling that something is not so normal.
4. Headache the next morning: it is almost like a head congestion – it feels like there is a big cloud over my head. No ibuprofen or coffee or anything would clear it – just time.
Training two days in a row has always been risky for me – now I do either every other day, or after a long day of training, I give myself two days of rest. Even when I think I have the energy to go for a short run or a swim, I just tell myself it’s not worth the risk.
Also, every time I start training for a new season, I take about two months to slowly build up my base. When others are picking up on their pace and start increasing their training level, I just need to focus on my pace, and not get discouraged by the feeling of falling behind. If I think where I was merely 3 years ago, I don’t mind where I am right now. :-)
Monday, July 2, 2007
Despite my fear of the hip pain coming back, I decided to go slowly and finish the race….I envisioned myself getting magically healed after this race, for some strange reason. I wanted to declare the end of my injuries and pain through this race. I went with my gut feeling…took my time, just enjoyed being back in the racing world. I think I was the slowest I’ve ever been, due to the very minimal level of training (this time it was because of my injury, not blaming on my illness), and just being cautious overall – but I really didn’t care. I finished!!! It felt great, or even better because this was my first completed race in 10 months, after having to fold because of a flare-up on race day morning in October.
Not only that – what I declared and envisioned came true. While my hip and back were tight from the hilly rides and run (just not used to the running), I felt NO PAIN. It was almost strange how I didn’t feel any pain at all, because the joint pain was still there the day before.
Believe in your mind. Believe how your mind works, how it can make you or break you. I am a believer now. It is the most amazing thing.
If I can do this, you can do MORE. I am still in disbelief sometimes that I am a triathlete. Slow or fast, short or long distance, once you cross the finish line of a triathlon race, you ARE a triathlete, and NOBODY can take that away from you. Every day, it is the memory of those moments, that joy in my heart, that helps me get up and get moving. On bad days, I think about that moment and promise myself that I’ll do it again soon. It keeps me healthy – both mind and body.
Ok, I admit, this is not a fun part to read. However, I think going through some injuries taught me a lot about managing fibromyalgia, as most of my injuries were related to joint impingement (shoulder) or muscle tightness leading to severe inflammation of the joints (hip).
Starting in October 2006 until June 2007, I suffered a shoulder injury and a hip injury. I am still going to physical therapy for my hip injury, which will hopefully end soon. However, I also learned that my injury could have been prevented had I known how to stretch more diligently and get massages regularly. As a fibromyalgia patient, I should have been wise enough to know this. If our muscles are more prone to tightening up, then I was supposed to stretch more and massage more. I almost quit the whole training thing because of this – and I am so grateful that I didn’t give up.
It was a hard recovery, which required a lot of patience and effort. But I learned so much about my body. I had to find a system to manage myself better… before and after training, stretch, stretch and stretch. Massage the tightest areas – hips, shoulders, neck, after training. Sit in a hot bath. REST UP.
There are some responsibilities that follow when it comes to training for activities like this – it requires extra effort, but it is so worth it. You will tell yourself that every time you finish another race. :-)
Lake San Antonio, CA
Another year, another race. Earlier this year, I decided to take on the challenge of what's known to be one of the most challenging courses in the country. What makes it so tough? HILLS, both on the bike and the run courses. As I still cringe from the pain in my legs and back and a very very upset stomach as I write this, I also find a reason to smile at the fact that I have another completed triathlon under my belt.
For those interested, please continue to read on …
Bib number 7845. One of 256 in Women's 30-34 age group. One of over 2,600 participants. Ready. Set. Go.
Swim – 1500 meters, just short of 1 mile. The water is my friend. Not when it's in my eyes.
Ok, this year I really focused on improving my swimming skills – both in terms of technique and speed. I was more prepared than any other year. At the sound of the start horn, I slipped to the side of the pack and let the fast ones go, and then followed.
I started swimming slowly, to get a steady heart rate going in…that didn't last that long as I started hyperventilating after realizing my goggles were leaking. And for some reason the goggles just refused to say on right… that ordeal repeated about 3 times and every time I had to stop and adjust my goggles - which by the way, gave me no problems whatsoever during the entire training season - I was frustrated and discouraged, and even tempted to just throw in the towel. I wanted to stop and just say to myself, "hey my goggles were leaking and my contacts were bothering me, what's the point of continuing?" but I kept on, since quitting was really NOT an option at that point. On the final turnaround to return to the shoreline, I swam as fast as I could. No more goggle drama, no hyperventilating. I get out of the water. 48 minutes. Not bad! Last year I swam for 1 hr and 2 minutes, thanks to the leg cramps. This year, despite the 6-8 minutes of downtime I managed to finish much faster. I was psyched.
Transition 1: Out of the wetsuit, and on to the bike
When I got out of the water, as it usually happens I was a little dizzy and felt disoriented. As I entered the transition area (this is where I get changed to go to the next stage), I had no idea where I was going. There are about 2,600 bikes out there and i was totally confused. I ended up totally passing my area, so had to turn around and go back (at least a full 2 minutes wasted!) to finally change out of the wetsuit. Wow, that was just so frustrating.
Bike – 40 kilometers, 26 miles. Holy Hills!
Wildflower is well known for its hilly bike rides. Even the event website warns us that it's "extremely hilly." I knew it was going to be tough going in, so there were no surprises. The very unfortunate part of it, though, was the beginning – so I'm on the bike, dizzy from the swim, kind of hungry and tired already…as you start pedaling you get hit immediately by a mile-long steep hill. This hill goes up 800 feet + over just short of a mile… Even an atheist would cry for God on this hill and really want one to exist. It was hard to keep my bike going straight, as it was going all over the place, left and right, as I started losing speed at the tip of the hill. UUUGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!! Soooooo darn hard!!!!! Finally, after all the huffing and puffing and using profanity to release the anger (sorry, mom! But it was a tough hill), I started heading downhill. But not for too long.
Long, agonizing and painful story short, there were about 4 more similar hills in the course – long, steep, never ending hills that just makes you want to just stop and call for aid. All I could remember was to breathe, really move my legs in full motion, pushing down, pulling up….and NOT look forward. Looking forward made me anxious to get over the hills, making me impatient and sometimes hyperventilate…I just looked down to my pedals, and just kept going, pushing and pushing….and was happy to find myself downhill again when I was done pushing through the uphills.
I learned a great deal on the hills, just thinking about life as well (trust me, there is plenty to think about over 3- 4 hours of just battling with yourself) – if you are going through tough times, you can't be thinking about the end, because you just don't know when or how it will end.
All we can do is just do our best in the moment, with the hope that it will be over. next thing you know, once you past your worst point you'll start enjoying the results of your hard work!
The last hill down, which was the first hill up, was AWESOME – I didn't even have to pedal, as I was going 25-34 miles per hour straight downhill. Got off the bike, and started walking to the transition area again.
2 hours 11 minutes. No comment (sigh!).
Transition 2: nothing unusual. Extremely tired, can't feel my legs. Changed into running shoes. Refilled my camel back with gatorade.
Run: 10 kilometers, 6.2 miles. More hills!
Let me just put it this way: Whoever planned this course is a mean, mean, mean person. About 3-4 miles in (after a couple of rolling hills already in the mix), there was a 0.5 mile-or-so long uphill that really looked like a wall from far away. at the sight of that uphill, I just started laughing so hard out of disbelief. Other racers started gasping at it too. we were all just so tired and in so much pain we had nothing else to do but just laugh, and walk instead of running (yes, i was in the slow group, but i did hear that even the faster people just had to walk on that one). Thankfully, near the tip of the hill there were 3 kids standing with a water hose asking "you want to be hosed?" One of the rare moments in your life where you say "YES, I want to be HOSED." Did I mention it was 85 degrees and scorching sunny?
About 3-4 rolling hills later, finally we're on our descent to the transition area…that big arse hill from the bike ride, but just going downhill. I was pretty relieved that it was all "down hill" from there (once again, rare moments where "it's all downhill from here" translates to a good thing), but as I started running down the steep hill, I could really feel the pain in my legs, ankles and hips. At some point the pain was so severe that I could just feel tears welling up in my eyes! However, the tears made me stronger for some reason. I was soooooooo determined to finish this crazy race.
Towards the finish line...
At the sight of the transition area, I started to speed up a little, solely out of the will to be done with it. I could see the crowd, and I could hear them cheering us on. It was so awesome and encouraging to hear people scream "good job, you're almost there!" Finally, I see the finish line….and I hear the announcer talking about… me, yes, me!!!! "7845, we have Sangmin Minnie Lee, from Playa Del Rey, wearing the LA Tri Club jersey….and….she….finishes…!!!!" I lifted my arms and wore that one last smile (or could have been the only smile) as I crossed the finish line. I also knew that there were cameramen taking pictures at the finish line. Never forget that.
1 hr 28 minutes for the run portion. Had i actually run the entire course, it would have been much shorter….
Volunteers gave me an ice cold wet towel at the end, which was like the best gift ever at that moment. Woooo!!!! I'm done! All the anguish, frustration, temptation to quit, complaints and regret ("why the heck am I doing this?") went away that very moment, and all I could think was that I'll be more prepared the next time around.
It's all about the finish, it's all about fighting it through and being DONE with it! It's all the more worthwhile when the fighting is harder!!! I really think triathlons are a microcosm of life itself. Don't quit, don't get discouraged, don't just tell yourself that it's hopeless just because there is something tough along the road - just deal with it, believe in good things, and just keep pushing through doing your utmost best!
Total time, including transitions and other stats: 4 hours and 38 minutes. Rank: some really high number...basically, there were only about 70+ people behind me, heh heh! Total calories burned: 3,251. Total calories taken: about 800 (fig bars, power gels and Gatorade). Average heart rate: 158 (~80% of my maximum heart rate…I know, it's a bit too high) Total sunburned spots: 4. Regrets: none.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
As previously mentioned (or in the **Living with Fibro – the first 2 years** section), I literally rolled into a world I had never thought I’d enter – the world of multisport endurance races.
It must have been not so soon after I was diagnosed with Fibro – I still didn’t know much about it and I really didn’t know how training for a triathlon for 5 months would affect me. In January 2003, I volunteered to race and fundraise for the Team in Training program as part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I basically, all other reasons aside, did it to 1. Join my boyfriend at the time to celebrate his 2nd year remission, and 2. to get into kick-arse shape.
Little did I know that this event was going to change my life…eventually.
RACE 1: Maui King’s Trail Triathlon (Olympic distance: 0.9 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run). June 2003
At first, I followed the training program that was offered to all participants – a 6-day/week training regime. Not knowing what my body could handle or not, I went by the program. A couple of weeks in, I got sick, with aches and pains but also with some flu-like symptoms. I asked around and many people in the program were getting sick, because everybody was starting to exercise a lot and started to flush out the toxins in their systems (or that’s what they say..not sure if there is true medical evidence). So I didn’t think much of it, and dealt with it, thinking it’s just part of the deal that comes with training.
However, as most of the people progressed with their training, I didn't. I was very frequently ill, and they were no longer the cold or the flu. I was hurting and I was tired. I would have two good training days, which led to 5-days of pain and struggle for recovery. That’s when I started doing more research online about Fibro…and of course, I read how detrimental excessive physical exertion can be for fibro patients. Oops!
At that point, I was already about 2 months or so into my training, and I had done most of my fundraising. I really didn’t want to give up, given the fact that my friends and family have been supporting me. I started training about 3-4 days a week instead (I was forced to, naturally)…and definitely less than what the training plan suggested. Pacing myself and staying alert of my body condition helped me from the frequent flare-ups. I trained as much I could without getting terribly ill (still had days of suffering every so often), promising myself that I’d at least start the race and see what happens.
Long story short…I finished in 4.5 hrs. I really didn’t think I could ever finish – but something in me kept pushing. I walked many miles, and I even walked my bike up a couple of hills. Most of the people finished in 2.5 hrs-3.5 hr time. I obviously was one of the slowest. But when you cross that finish line, it really doesn’t matter…I became a triathlete that instant.
While I truly enjoyed finishing the race, the unanticipated and uneducated struggle I went through hindered me from training again after that race. I thought to myself that I was done with it for now.
RACE #2 - Maui King’s Trail Triathlon (Olympic distance: 0.9 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run) – AGAIN! June 2005
I had taken a year hiatus from any kind of training. I did some swimming and running very sporadically, until I finally decided to try the triathlon thing again. I don’t clearly remember why I signed up again, but I think it was because I was way too miserable so I needed a change in life. I was miserable because my fibromyalgia symptoms got worse, and I was dealing with work and life issues while I was trying to deal with my health. Stress was adding to my symptoms.
This time, I decided from the beginning to lay low and just go easy. However, I recall how I was giving myself an excuse to be lazy…blaming on the fibro to train less when I could have pushed my hard a little more. I was shy to join in on group training rides because I knew I was slow. I was pretty much training alone. Obviously, that was not as fun and it didn’t help me with the motivation. However, I really wanted to feel the joy of crossing the finish line again, so I just did the minimum training I thought was required to finish a race.
I finished the race, I felt great, but I felt like I could have done more. I was feeling like I was really letting fibro cut into my life … it was almost as if I wanted to fight it, but I let it become my excuse if I felt too scared to challenge myself. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?
RACE #3 – Wildflower Triathlon. (Olympic distance: 0.9 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run) – May 2006
This was the hardest race I’ve ever done – to date. I recall training a bit harder than the year before, because I knew how hard the race course was supposed to be. Wildflower is known to be one of the hilliest courses in the country. I was still partially mentally victimized to fibro, but I started having more and more of this desire to keep doing these races despite my illness. After the toughest 4-5 hrs of my physical experience in my whole entire life, when I finally crossed the finish line, I felt so good that I immediately promised myself that I will do this as long as my health allowed me to. I’m including my post-race journal from that race, for those who are interested (in separate section)
OTHER RACES, OR NOT SO…
Not all races I registered for after then had such a happy ending. For two of the sprint distance races (half-mile swim, 13 mile bike, 3 mile run), I couldn’t start because I was having one of my flare-ups. I mis-managed my energy level the day before the race – I either worked out too much OR I didn’t give myself enough time to rest and sleep well. For normal people, racing requires great level of attention on energy management, nutrition and rest…so imagine for people like me, we have to be extra careful. I learned from my lessons to think smart, not push myself but just be positive and stay hopeful before a race.
After some mishaps, I managed to do a couple of more sprint-distance races in the 2006 season, until my body met another challenge…INJURIES.
--PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT IN ANY WAY WRITTEN TO ACT AS MEDICAL ADVICE – THIS IS ONLY TO SHARE WITH YOU WHAT HAS BEEN WORKING FOR ME. WE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT SYMPTOMS SO DIFFERENT TREATMENTS MAY OR MAY NOT WORK FOR DIFFERENT PEOPLE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISIONS.--
1. Acupuncture - I don’t think acupuncture necessarily heals “fibromyalgia,” but what it helps is the relief of muscle tightness. I have huge knots on my neck and shoulders, and they have subsided a lot through acupuncture. When my symptoms are bad and I’m in a lot of pain, I go twice a week for about two weeks. After that, I usually try to go once every other week as maintenance.
2. Massage – if you are active, massage is KEY. Normal people who work out regularly need massages to help muscle recovery, so people like us who have muscle tension issues must do even more. Definitely once a month, at least.
3. Supplements – I used to not believe in supplements. Now I’m finally a believer. Here are some of the things I take regularly (and making it a habit took me MONTHS). I think multivitamins and Greenergy have been the most important so far.
a. Multivitamins (2x /day, with a meal)
b. Glucosamine – helps with joint pain. 3x/day with meal.
c. FRS plus – www.frsplus.com I cannot emphasize how much this stuff has helped me with maintaining my energy level, stay focused on tough days at work, and just feeling good overall. Please read about it, and try a sample order.
d. Greenergy (from www.EnergyFirst.com) - the best “green” drink out there. One scoop of this mix contains 5 servings of our daily required vegetable intake. I take 2-3 scoops a day throughout the day.
e. Ginko pills (2x/day) – it says it helps with blood flow. It’s been helping with my muscle tightness problems, because I have been told by my acupuncturist that prolonged muscle tightness comes from lack of blood flow. Apparently we’re not supposed to take more than a certain amount of ginko per day. So I only take whatever my brand directs me to take – no more than that.
4. Sleep! - funny I say sleep is a treatment, but sleep is very important to me. I need my 7-8 hours a day. Once my sleep pattern is broken, it’s very hard to recover. Be selfish and try to keep your sleep schedule.
5. Eat healthy – I have stopped drinking alcoholic beverages. If I drink wine once in a while (because I love wine very much), I immediately feel that lousy, tired pull from the bottom of the earth. But at least I know what I’m up against when I choose to drink it. While I do indulge in steak and fries once in a while, I definitely eat them less frequently. Fresh vegetables, fruit, fish and chicken, legumes are my most frequented food list. I never used to believe in it – but we are what we eat. I still LOVE my sweets and I usually have my desserts after dinner. However, after a couple of bites, I am happy with my fill. Controlling the amount of sugar in my body has helped me feel healthier.
6. Exercise smart! – need I say more (i will have a dedication section about this one topic alone!)
7. Manage your stress level.
8. Be happy. Happiness is a choice! (i will have a section about this too, in the near future)
It took me a while – almost 2 years – to learn how to live with Fibro. When I said “how to live,” I mean “how to live well.” The first two years, I have to say, was just letting the illness just invade my life and make me miserable. I was living with it, but I was getting killed by it. Actually, let me rephrase - I was letting it kill me.
I was sick every other week, I couldn’t keep my social commitments, I was missing work quite often, I was spending more time in bed on my muscle relaxers than I did up and living like a normal human being. I accepted it as my “fate.” Needless to say, I was more depressed and negative than EVER.
In the midst of it, I had this crazy idea to join my boyfriend back then to do an Olympic-distance triathlon (0.9 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) to fundraise for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. He survived cancer and we were celebrating 2 years of his remission. I committed to train and fundraise just thinking that it would get me to shape. I think that’s when my life started to change. (it gets fun after this!)