Saturday, February 20, 2010

Finally getting back on the Bike

This week, I started 45-60 minute interval training on the bike, in order to get a start on my bike training for the season. My goal this year is to ride on the big chain most of the time, and really gain some speed, by 3-4 mph. I tried to maintain a 80+rpm on the big chain for 6 minutes during my high intensity interval, which was pretty tough, and i could feel my legs! But I definitely feel right now that the interval training will help me be a better cyclist.

Today, however, I have to say my neck and shoulders are really feeling it (cycling can really stiffen the neck and shoulder area, as you can imagine), and the intensity of the workouts had me a bit knocked down today. it is bit frustrating, but i don't feel as bad for some reason. I do have a feeling that I will be able to get up early tomorrow for a 4-mile run and then 5 trips up the Santa Monica stairs (great glute and cardiovascular workout!). Let's just hope I can do it!

Just had a healthy pasta and salad dinner - with chicken, artichokes, olives, avocados, zucchini, fresh basil and baby spinach. It was delicious!

I'm struggling with trying to figure out why i'm having rather frequent flare-ups lately, but i also know that this happens in cycles...when i am having irregular sleep, get frequently stressed out and also after a prolonged period of intense workouts. So i have all the reasons to be feeling fatigued, but at the same time I know i have to do a better job sleeping more regularly. I kinda broke my steady cycle. I need to be more disciplined.

Today is one of those days I had to just accept that sometimes I have to just rest and do nothing no matter how frustrating it is, while still dreaming about training again very soon. There are so many things I want to do (and I NEED to do) in my mind, and i'm so when I'm physically limited to do them, I tend to get very angry and down on myself. I mean...why should i let it get to me, i have to react less strongly to my unfavorable symptoms, so that i can get out of it faster. This week was tough, after last weekend's strong flareups, because I really let myself fall into the trap of feeling awful for my condition. Sometimes I feel so small and useless, in the face of all the responsibilities I have and the duties I must complete every day. I feel the world closing in on me, and I want to shut down from everything and everyone....I become a totally different person. And i hate it. It takes a couple of days to snap out of that emotional trap, but I really need to work on not letting myself fall so hard like that to begin with! What an emotional turmoil, which totally is unimaginable when I'm not feeling that way! Fibromyalgia is so complex in that sense - there is the physical side, and then there is the mental and emotional side that can really overwhelm us and in effect worsen the pain we're feeling.

I know I am a healthy, happy and loving person. I also need to believe better that I am a good person, I work hard and that I deserve to be loved - healthy and weak. My self-imposed pressure to be perfect...can be my worst enemy. Accept myself. Accept EVERYTHING about myself...that might just be the most important thing for me to do in order to be strong against Fibromyalgia.

Life goes on, I have another half marathon 3/27, then have Escape to Alcatraz Triathlon on 5/2. I have to start swimming again soon! Lots to do, Lots to brave... please wish me luck! I need to stay focused and determined to keep training no matter what happens.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We get what we give away - Smile at all times!

This morning, I was hurting quite a bit. I was aching from my fingers to my toes, with sharp pains in my shoulder blades. I felt like my joints were on fire.

Even a couple of years ago, in these kind of tough days, I used to shut down immediately and get all somber (sometimes we can't help it, but...), quietly hoping and expecting that my partner would give me pity and sympathy and be next to me. That, in turn made my partner shy away from my symptoms and keep his distance because it wasn't like he could do anything to make me feel better. My negative mood and attitude acted as a repellent, and nothing else. What i realized recently, as i looked back, was that my somber attitude and the passive/aggressive expectations for "support" was exactly what made my relationships not work at the end (among other things, of course).

The last couple of years of my life, as things turned for the positive and I have learned a thing or two about taking care of myself, I distinctly started to remember my childhood. My mother has had her battles with her health - she always used her lack of health to draw our attention and demanded so much care and sympathy, and later it got so bad to a point where we were always guilted into doing things for her as she pleaded with her health, even when she wasn't as sick. Eventually, I got tired of it all and i just shut down on her every time she started blaming me for being a bad daughter because i didn't meet her expectations. I was on my way to being that same person, and that was the last thing i wanted to be to anyone! NO WAY.

The fact is, flare ups are both physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. Naturally, we want someone to understand what we're going through and make us feel better. Another fact is, however, that after a flare-up there is always relief, and I've been through it many times. People in our lives, unless they have it themselves, have no idea what it feels like to have fibromyalgia-related pain symptoms. We can spend hours explaining it to make them understand, but at the end, they have no idea. And to be honest, i don't even want anyone to know what it's really like. it's painful as it is for me. So anyway, I really started thinking about these things as my relationship has started getting deeper and I have come to the conclusion that I truly care about the person I have been with for the past several months.

Going back to this morning, when i saw that my partner (let's call him J for now) was awake, I just quietly said to him that I was achy - him, being the genuine sweetheart that he is, asked me where, and i said "just all over." we managed to fall back asleep as he held me. That was so really nice. However, as the time came we had to get up and start the day, I was really struggling, but i didn't want to show it without adding a positive color to it. I just said that this too shall pass and that i'm just grateful that my flareups are only happening once every other month or so vs. every week when i was at my worst. I was going to go home, and just rest for the rest of the day, eating vegetables and fruit and waiting for the symptoms to dissipate. J asked a couple of times how things hurt and what i was going to do today (he was off to work also going to be out of town), I just kept smiling and said I was going to be fine. He asked "so is it fibromyalgia?" i just smiled and said "yes." Then finally he asked so innocently "can you die from it?" to which i replied "no, thank god,'s all fine." And i managed to give a cheerful good-bye as we were parting. I felt good. Of course, the drive home was painful, and this day in its entirety has been awful. But i was so happy that i was able to communicate my situation without shutting J down and creating tension that would ultimately do no benefit.

Just about an hour ago, I got a txt from J asking me how I was feeling. To me, that was more than enough care. I know he cares and he doesn't like me being in pain. and I can take care of myself, so i don't have to expect him or want him to take care of me when i'm suffering. So mutually, we're at a great balance of caring for each other and taking care of ourselves. it is a very important thing.

If the person in your life is genuinely not caring at all, then obviously we need to realize we deserve better. However, i believe that we have to be very careful not to burden others with our own and expect them to do something about it to make us feel better. We're not entitled to some kind of special sympathy or attention because of what we have - we should remember to appreciate the people in our lives and always remember to take ownership and responsibility of our health. With our positive attitudes, we will burden others less and they will be more genuinely caring and respectful of our situation.

I'm frustrated right now and my left side is just in so much pain, but i'm still smiling. I'm grateful I have a great life when i'm not in pain. I'm grateful for my relationship, for that special person that makes me laugh at all times. The last thing i want to do is burden him with something he cannot fix.

I'm looking forward to feeling better tomorrow. There's a lot to do, so hopefully I will be able to do most of them once my pain level subsides.

Oh btw, I did manage to cut 5.5 minutes off last year's half marathon time at the Surf City half marathon last weekend. It wasn't quite the 15 minutes i wanted to improve, but given the lack of training I was ok with the results. Now i have to work on meeting that goal at the Great Race of Agoura Hills Chesebro half marathon on 3/27!

God bless, and keep smiling at all times!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Surf City Half Marathon is Tomorrow

I'm waiting to get my oil change and starting to gather my thoughts together to prepare for tomorrow's half marathon. The day before a race is always nerve-wracking, and what I think and how I spend my day determines how I am going to do tomorrow.

I am pretty concerned about my left glute and hip flexor, as they have been feeling very weak these past couple of weeks. I don't think this was one of my best-prepared races, and I missed one crucial week of training (when I was supposed to be at my last peak period), so needless to say I have no idea how I'm going to feel past mile 6. Or maybe 8.

I'm done with the worrying, so let's talk strategy now. I know my hips and glutes are going to take some time get some good blood flowing, so for the first 3-4 miles I'm going to just focus on doing 10 min Run/2 min walk intervals. When I feel more ready, I will try to alternate between 12:00min/mile and 13:00min/mile pace for the next 4 miles. Then for the rest hopefully I will be able to maintain a 13 min/mile pace to finish. Aggressive, but I will start there and see what my body can handle.

The key is to start slow and steady and not rush. It is my race, and I will not keep comparing myself with someone else. I'm slow, and with my inherent structural disadvantage (narrow hip socket, nearing displasia) I'm exposed to more pain. Well, I know that already and I want to overcome my weaknesses and do what I can. I will be proud of myself no matter what, and I will think of those who cannot run even if they want to. I will remember the encouragements from all different places and use them as my mental fuel source. I will not let fear limit me. I will only do my best.

I pray to God to keep me focused on the right things. I pray that I will be grateful no matter what. Besides, great Mexican food waiting for me at Las Barcas after the finish! And I will feel great, yet again after a grueling yet fun race!

Please keep me in your is not in my hands to complete this race. I know it is all a blessing.

Go me, and go those with chornic pain - this race is for all of us.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Monday, February 1, 2010

I am Ashamed of my Laziness! Getting back to Blog Posting...

Life has been crazy, but i have NO EXCUSE for not having written anything in almost 3 months! doh! Well, in truth i have been writing a lot of things, but i haven't been posting them...because i felt like so much of it was me whining about my frequent pain and small injuries throughout the course of my half marathon training. I'm sure we are all over that stuff, myself included!

I am writing this to confess something.

Years of triathlon training and racing has made me greedy, and I have mentioned this before. I know that it is in my competitive nature to want to do better every year, and that is probably a good thing, but the bad thing is that I do believe that it has been keeping me from remembering why i really do the things I do.

I have been a bit, actually QUITE a bit stressed out lately about my upcoming Surf City Half Marathon (2/7, Super Bowl Sunday). My goal, when I signed up late last year, was to set a personal record time, as I vowed to heal my injuries and commit to a consistent conditioning and strengthening regimen. I was focused, I trained, I worked on my hip problems, lost some weight, etc... I was doing pretty well. Along the way, as things always do, life got busy and I wasn't able to maintain the training regimen I initially planned on. I also ended up traveling a bit more than i thought and missed out some crucial training weekends, including my last 10 mile training run 3 weeks before race day.

Today, I ran on the treadmill for 30 minutes and stressed out about the fact that the easy 30 minute run was NOT too easy for me. I was thinking of not doing the race to save myself from the embrassment of not reaching my goals. I was thinking of still doing the race, but maybe not finishing it and use the race as one of the training runs for my next half marathon in March. i was thinking about a lot of stuff, obviously, but none of them was about actually committing to the race no matter what, and telling myself to just do it.

I came back from the run, and as I was having lunch, my other (probably the better) persona came out of nowhere and punched me in the head - this is not about me, it's about those who can't race! I'm running for those who can't run, i'm going to be in pain, ready or not, for those who are in far worse pain on a daily basis! My head dropped (but i didn't drop my sandwich), and I finally told myself, dang, I just have to do this. I have to finish the 13.1 miles, even it means i have to walk the last 3 miles, or limp the last 2 miles, or whatever. I am going to cross that finish line so that I can cross the finish line for many... Why do i keep forgetting this? I need to write something like this and stick it on my fridge so that I will be reminded every single day - "It's not about me, it's about those that suffer in pain even when they are not running."

Please keep me in your prayers! I will come back with finish line stories!

I have a few more updates and epiphanies - shall be updating about those pretty soon!

God bless you all - and thank you for your inspiration, all of you out there that somehow find my blog and reading about my humble existence! Your encouragement means so much to me!