Thursday, August 28, 2008

Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon Post Post Mortem

Now here comes the more suprising part - the morning after.

I go into each race prepared for a day long of pain that comes the next morning. There was never a time i didn't have a full day spent in bed after a long race.

Within 2 hrs after the race, I got a massage, which enabled me to walk again. I simply walked into the door limping and walked out skipping. I was still quite tired, so I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking a lot of water, eating a lot of vegetables and proteins and took a nice long nap late in the afternoon. At dinner, I had a big steak to treat myself (i was thinking to myself protein, iron and fat recovery).

Around 5am the next morning I woke up with some disturbing pain in my usual right hip and upper thigh, so I got up and got some ice to strap around the inflammed areas. After stretching a little more I fell asleep again for another couple of hours. I was sore all over, but it wasn't as bad - it just felt like I had a good work out. I was tired, but my friend who raced with me who doesn't have fibromyalgia was also tired. I was *naturally* tired.

When I finally got up around 8am to start the day, I paused. I paused to check if this was for real - this meaning any other day! My shoulders weren't burning, my ankles were sore from the race but not burning as if they were being ground by sandpaper as in my usual flare-ups. My head was clear, I was smiling. My friend Shirley was amazed too. I felt like a whole new chapter of my life was opening up. I was still in disbelief, but I wanted to make sure I sustained that feeling so I kept drinking a lot of water and drinking my protein drinks and made sure I took my vitamins.

That afternoon, we left Santa Barbara and went to the Camarillo outlet mall and spent about an hour and a half there. I even drove and I was feeling fine. Amazing!

Since then, I worked late many nights (including Sunday night when I returned from Santa Barbara), managing to sleep maybe about 5 hours a day for 3 days. I was worried that my body would breakdown. But besides being really tired yesterday, I actually did VERY well. I just lived through a miracle, i think. I cannot believe to this day how well i have been feeling since the race. But i'm LOVING it.

I thought about what could have brought about this change. Here are my thoughts:
1. I have been eating healthy consistently over the past 7-8 months.

2. I have been taking vitamins, antioxidant and omega-3 supplements religiously.

3. Before a workout (and before the race) I drank FRS to help my body recover faster post-workout.

4. After a workout (and after the race) I took extra protein in my body through shakes or bars (ProEnergy protein powder, Think Thin bars) throughout the day, to give my muscles better ability to recover.

5. I stretched religiously before and after workouts (and the race).

6. I rested as much as I could when I had the time, even it cost me my social life.

These six principles, coupled with my efforts to remain stress-free and positive no matter WHAT happens, I believe have truly helped me build the endurance and strength to recover FASTER and BETTER compared to even a year ago. It is unbelievable still, but I really do believe that consistency paid off. One day at a time...240 days later, my body turned around. If there is such a thing as *remission* in fibromyalgia, I would like to say that I am in it.

Of course all of these milestones don't come without help from others. I would like to thank the following people in my life that got me through the tough times and helped me improve my mind and body (in no specific order):

- Dr. Chyung at 3 Angels Health: my acupuncturist who cared with her heart, not just her needles. You sure are an Angel!

- Edwin at Phase IV/Forster Physical Therapy: physical therapist and trainer who got me through both physical therapy and strength training (and more training to come), who understood my passion and mission to get back into training.

- Dianna Linden, my genius, compassionate and AMAZING sports massage therapist and friend: she was instrumental in enabling my muscles to get looser and therefore stronger. it is because of her that my muscles were able to recover as fast as it did after a quick little massage post-race. It was because of her i became more aware of my body, my muscles and also my mindset.

- Shirley, my dear friend: thank you for encouraging me through every single race. Thank you for being there for me at the finish line. Thank you for being the energetic force in my life.

- Frank, my good friend: thank you for listening to my dreams and encouraging me to pursue them. I must have tired you out with all my ranting about doing this and doing that and achieving this and achieving that, etc etc...but you never got tired of it (at least you didn't show). Somehow you understood, and continue to understand. So THANK YOU.

I guess the point of it all is that... there is hope. If we try hard enough, if we keep thinking of ways to improve our days, if we just don't give up, before we know it we will find ourselves where we have always wanted to be. Please, please, if you are suffering now, please look, SEE ahead, where you are running, happy, smiling and much less in pain much less frequently...and just keep doing the right thing. Our body reacts to what we give it, so just keep giving the good things. It will thank you back, in due time.

My heart is full of joy and my eyes are full of tears as I'm writing this, as I keep replaying the past...4-5 years of change. I just finished watching Obama's speech about his dream and the change that is in our own hands. I think about my dream and the change in my life that was hiding inside my own two hands (and for so many years I thought it was in everybody else's hands but mine!!!!). I am overwhelmed a bit at times, but thankful, and I am determined to move forward to keep proving to those who are still doubtful, to go out there and go for your first walk around the block, to sit up and stretch your arms and legs way out to loosen up those tight muscles, and to believe that your life can be better. It just HAS to be.

p.s. Ms. Anonymous who left me a beautiful note last night, THANK YOU, and keep running your race! Your races are by no means short and you know it.


anne said...

This is such a happy post - congratulations!

Reading of your success gives me such HOPE. Hearing about how hard you've worked to get where you are gives me PERSPECTIVE. It's not supposed to be easy, but that's what makes it so worthwhile! :)

Ilana Laps said...

hi there. i am in the process of being diagnosed with FMS. it is very early, maybe two months since the pain started. my attitude is that i will beat it, and by starting early, i won't sink into the deep suffering that most people seem to go through. what do you think? does early diagnosis and a proactive approach (exercise, attitude, adjustment) help my outlook, or will i be sinking inevitably as the onset kicks in?

Mei-Ling Siu-Caldera said...

Hi Minnie,

This is very inspiring and congratulations on your achievements.
I just wanted to share that I am a nutritionist and have been trying to help my husband who has had fibromyalgia for over 15 years with different nutritional/natural supplements.
Lately, we came across a supplement that enhances your adult stem cell release from the bone marrow. Within a week he could feel the difference in his energy level and his physical activity improved significantly. He enjoys running but could only run for 1-1.5 miles and finish extremely fatigued. As his energy level and sense of well being improved he has been able to increase his running. It has been about 2 months now, and he is now running up to 5.5 miles and feels very good afterwards. He comments that he could run even more, but the time limitations at the gym forces him to stop. His recovery from a hamstring and skin injury while teaching karate has been also incredible...he recovered within a week.