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Been AWOL – making my way back & update

It is hard to keep up with life and then add tending to a blog that you aren’t sure about and you have a crazy recipe for disaster!  Not sure about?  Well most people don’t know I have MS and it was getting harder to put things out there.  It is a little like bearing a part of your soul people don’t know about.  But I think I’ve worked thru my strange inner issues on this one.

So to catch up…

January we did the Rock-n-Roll in Arizona with an amazing group of people- the MS Rockstars.  We had a great time and while I had to drop from the marathon to the half because of injury my daughter did the full.  It was a great weekend with some amazing people.

So that brings us to 2013.  Which is bringing us to the latest thing.  I think I’ve blocked blogging because while this has been on my mind, there is always the fear of putting something out there and then failing!  So here it is universe….

This weekend I’m doing my first Ultra.  That’s right a Trail ultra.  Skipping that marathon (well I’ll do it during the Ultra) and just going for it.  This is just now starting to freak me out.  I’m signed up for the 50 miler.  Yes, 50 miles. I am honored to do this with my amazing running friends Andy & Robin.  Andy is doing the 100 miler and Robin the 50K.  It will be brutal.  I have no doubt I will not be happy.  I will question why I’m doing it.  I might cry.  But at the end of it all… I will have done it.  Once big middle finger to MS and all that it takes away from us.  I’ll be honest again (since I don’t think anyone even reads this blog) I’m having a hard MS week.  So I’m sure this is going to be awful and it will take a lot of inner strength.  Sure I have 2 friends there- but they are doing their own runs.  The family- not really their thing.  So at mile 40 I’ll have to find my inner motivation because I’ll be on my own for this one.  I’m thinking I need a really good play list on my ipod!  People think of triumphant finishes with people cheering etc.  The reality will be slugging across a finish line with little fanfare.  That is the world of Ultras.  That is also the world of being the slow one!  I’m OK with that ( I think).  I don’t think people realize that this is just so much more than just doing and Ultra (which is a big deal in an of itself).  I’m almost thinking of a tattoo to remember this triumph and I’m not a tattoo kinda girl.:)

I heard a coyote… yes, then I saw him.. I’m the slow antelope so I’m the one that gets picked off the herd!

So Beyond Limits Ultra- here I come.  Ready or Not (let’s just say not- but going with ignorance is Bliss).  My First Ultra. I’ll be channeling all the wisdom of my favorite people and podcasts on this one!

 

 

Why do you run?? Do you really want to know?

Recently a friend asked me this with an incredulous tone.  Why do you run?  What I said was that I liked it.

The reality…I’m not really sure.  I’ve always been that kid that liked to prove people wrong for starters.  The surest way to get me to do something was to tell me I couldn’t do it.  I’m sure my parents figured this out when I was young and used it to their benefit.  I sure would have.

The truth… I love that NOBODY that knows, me or knew me, thinks I can.  Seriously.  If you made a list of people and who might take up running in their 40′s I wouldn’t have even been at the bottom of the list.  I wore knee braces and dislocated left and right (literally) growing up.  It was just luck that I was a swimmer.  Running was punishment as a swimmer.  The knees wouldn’t have endured it anyway.  So multiple surgeries and rebuilding of the legs later so I can walk and Voila I’m a runner!  Not quite.  In reality after several knee and foot surgeries I found myself elated briefly.  I was driving in my car smiling for no reason.  4 years of PT every MWF was over.  Woo Hoo!  Knee problems since 6th grade… done!??  I called my BFF with that stupid grin on my face.  I was never a whiner, but I’ve had a rough road with the legs.  It has prevented me from doing many things.  I walk with a focused caution that most people don’t ever think about.  So this is the part of the story that is supposed to be the end.  The happy ending.  Only life doesn’t work like that.

While my orthopedic journey ends, my neurological journey begins.  Literally.  I woke up from surgery on my left foot with my right side numb.  Not in the hospital- I’ve got getting out of there down to a science. Sure the knees was a week on a morphine pump, but everything else I can get out faster than you can imagine.(let the IV run out, vein collapses- no pain meds and use the bathroom-yep- those three things = release!)  Anyway, once home I woke up day 2 numb on my right side.  We ended up in the ER and while I thought we got moved thru quickly because the nurse knew me apparently I’m not that impressive…. they thought I was having a stroke.  CT showed a mass on my right temporal lobe.  MRI at the hospital showed no lesions in my brain.  I will always the ER doctor saying “at least it isn’t MS”.  So off to the neurosurgeon.  Cavernous Malformation with a Venus anomaly.  That is what the mass was.  However, removing it would cause more damage than leaving it might ever do.  If it ever “goes” I’ll have a massive stroke.  It might never do anything though. This doesn’t explain the numbness or burning on the right side of my body though.  By this time it was excruciating.  There is no escape.  It is like being trapped in a small car with a screaming child 24/7.  Buzzing, numb and when I’m touched it registers as a severe burn in my mind.  Lumbar punctures, tons of blood tests and lots of waiting… being told well maybe it will be Lupus and not MS.  I found myself wishing for Lupus, how strange is that?  Within 4 months I went from not a clue about MS to a confirmed diagnosis.  I understand now that it quite fast.  Some people develop slowly and it can take years to find out what it is.  Mine progressed hard and fast and you could watch it form in only 4 months on MRI’s.

That was almost 4 years ago and I can tell you I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to about MS since then.  I inject daily with a medication that MAY reduce the number of lesions forming in my brain and spine by up to 30%.  At least that is what the rat, monkey and bunny showed.  It has some nasty side effects like on occasion it can feel like a heart attack after injecting.  I’ve gotten better and better at it and I can avoid the huge welts I used to get, but finding a new injection spot gets harder and harder.  I’ve self injected about 1400 times at this point.  I take a Parkinson’s med to help with the intense cramping and spasms that I tend to get at night.  Meds now help me sleep as well.   I’ve tried some meds and backed off them as much as possible.  I’ve never been a big pain med person so that was the first to go.  I’d rather be in some pain than end up addicted to something.  I do see how easily that can happen though.

So what does this all mean?  For me… why do I run?  Because yesterday I couldn’t, tomorrow I wont be able to and for now I can.  It isn’t easy, it hurts, every stupid little step is a struggle some days, but I can.  Fuel that fire with a doctor who early on told me to go “rest”, avoid stress and stay out of the heat.  Clearly you don’t know me.  I own a company and have teenagers- my life has stress written all over it.  So I did the least logical thing possible- I joined a running group.  The group doesn’t know about the MS, a few select people do now, but they welcomed me slow and awkward as I am with open arms.  They have been amazing to me.  I ran my first half marathon with my daughter and some of the runners from the group.  It meant the world to me to finish.  13.1 miles farther than I had ever run before.  Everyone seemed proud, but they don’t have a clue what that meant to me.

Fast forward to now and my doctor gives me a stern look and warning about keeping the miles, intensity and temperature low on safe paved roads.  It isn’t odd at all that I took to running on trails, pushing myself and well you can’t avoid the heat here.  Sure that is in part- forget you doc I can do this.  It also is a moment on a trail that I might not ever get back.  Time that I’ve learned I love.  My parents raised me to not whine, accept your challenge and rise above it.  I’m still not sure how you rise above MS, but I’m learning to find ways around it.

Everyone has a reason to run.  You might get the easy answer “because it’s fun”.  You might get a real answer.  Most never ask.

 

AC 100 miler

I had the honor of being asked to crew coach Andy for the Angels Crest 100 miler this weekend.  I took great care packing the care with spare batteries, spare headlamps, food, drinks, salt tabs… basically everything that you could possibly want.  I even tossed in a small power pack for the evening to recharge or power anything.  Yes, I’m that girl.  Like a team mom on steroids.;)

Well, today wasn’t Coaches day.  Some knee pain slowed him down and he was out at Islip Saddle.  Gotta take care of those knees for the future!  In the meanwhile I did have time to snap some shots.  It was fun seeing some of the wonderful people I’ve met this year.  I just snapped a few of Andy at Vincent Gap and then some racers at Islip Saddle.  We did drive up to catch the leader at that point at least, Chris.  He had a nice lead going, then home.  So on the upside I didn’t have to use my pillow pet for sleeping tonight and I got a real meal instead of beef jerky for dinner!  :)   If you want a high res version please make a donation to our MS fundraising efforts: Our MS Donation Page

the winner of AC100- Chris Price

 

 

 

Pretty little trails up North

We started with a rivertrail run with the older brother.. found some new trails even!  We did start up a hill that looked like a trail…. but wasn’t and since I was sliding backwards we went back down.

Only in Anderson do you go get a burger with your wagon and horses.:)

Lunch with Dad and my daughter at Bartels… oh how I miss Bartels!  I’m sure if I was a good runner I wouldn’t be eating here… but I’m not so I did!

Headed up to Ashland- that is Mt. Shasta- 14,000 ft of climb anyone??

We stopped by Southern Oregon to check it out.  My cousin went here and while Madison LOVED Ashland it might be a little smaller than she is wanting.  We will see.  Pretty campus and town though.

Hey we are in Ashland, OR so we might as well go check out the running store.  Madison like Hal Koerner since watching Unbreakable and he owns the store.  Only no Hal- he was still in Colorado after winning Hard Rock 100.  However, we did have the nice surprise of seeing Tim Olson who was working (western states 2012 winner).  We came, we shopped, we bought cool stuff.  Madison even got Tim to sign her new shorts.  She was quite happy and Tim was really cool about his new found fame.

We traveled up to Medford to visit some friends and then back to Redding.  Yep, day tripping!

Mt. Shasta the other side

Black Butte.. I was impressed I remembered the name!

Next day is running some trails with the big brother and Madison.  He can kick my butt, but took pity on me.  We went up a couple miles before I realized I didn’t have my phone to take photos.  So I had to loop back a little with the phone to catch a glimpse of the beauty of the trails he gets to run on daily.

They are serious about running here- gotta set down the martini to run!

As soon as we were done we kicked off our shoes and ran straight into the lake.  I did take off my waterproof Garmin… but forgot my new ipod.  Duh!

The end of a beautiful day at the lake with the family and some gorgeous trails!

Running with the Devil

I might have a new theme song while running… well not new… it brings me back to the 80′s actually.  Aside from that it does have a new meaning for me as I’m now older.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not on the road living the rock star life and I have a great family to come home to.  However, running with MS can feel like you are running with the devil in our 100+ degree heat for sure!

Runnin with the Devil via Van Halen….

Yeah, Yeah!
Ah, yeah!

I live my life like there’s no tomorrow
and all I’ve got, I had to steal
Least I don’t need to beg or borrow
Yes I’m livin’ at a pace that kills

Oooh, yeah
(Ahh!) Runnin’ with the devil (Ahh-hah! Yeah!)
(Woo-hoo-oo!) Runnin’ with the devil
I’m gonna tell ya all about it

I found the simple life ain’t so simple
When I jumped out, on that road
I got no love, no love you’d call real
Ain’t got nobody, waitin’ at home

(Ah, yeah-ah!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(God damn it lady. You know I ain’t lyin’ to ya)
(I’m only gonna tell you one time-ya!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Yes I am! Yeah!)

(Guitar Solo)
Woo!

Woo!

You know I, I found the simple life
Weren’t so simple, no
When I jumped out, on that road
Got no love, no love you’d call real
Got nobody, waitin’ at home

(Ah, yeah!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Hold on. Hold on, I’m runnin’! Ah, yeah!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Uh! Uh! Come on, one more time)

(Guitar Solo)

(Ha-yeah!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Oh, yeah! Ya-yeah!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Woo! Woo!)
Runnin’ with the devil
(Ah-ha, yeah! Ah-ha, yeah! Ah-hah, yeah!)
Runnin’ with the devil (Woo!)