But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

Friday, February 29, 2008

I Can Do This!

Our first meeting was last night at the office of Dr. Jamey Gordon in Ft. Wayne. He's the physical therapist that is coordinating and directing our training. I think I've mentioned that our younger daughter is an athletic trainer, and it turns out that Jenna had Dr. Gordon as an instructor at Manchester College. And even more in the small world department, one of my fellow trainees is a friend and co-worker of Jenna's.

The training rationale and schedule was explained to us tonight, following a motivational talk by the lovely Mary Collins, news anchor from WPTA Channel 21. Getting a group like this together was her brainchild and it was Mary whom we had to e-mail when we applied to the training program. Mary runs and has had to overcome some difficulties in order to reach the goals she has set for herself, and being in the company of her enthusiasm along with Jamey's competent training makes me believe that I really can do this.

Training begins next Monday, when we will meet at the ASH Centre for an hour. We'll be meeting twice a week, with the other day being Thursday. Jamey also will be videoing us while we run to analyze our form so he can correct any problems with the mechanics of our running to help us avoid injury. Blood tests will be taken at Parkview Hospital to check our blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides. We'll also find out our body composition and have a cardiovascular exam.

By the time we left the meeting, things had been explained very thoroughly and I felt like we would be in such good hands during this whole thing that there's no way any of us won't be able to run 13.1 miles on September 27th.

During conversation with some of my fellow runners, I learned that one man has had triple bypass surgery, one had an appendectomy a short time ago, and another has a chronic illness that will make this a challenge. I'm sure there are other stories I haven't heard yet. We all have something that we feel may be a stumbling block, but that's part of life, isn't it? Obviously, those of us that are there don't want any of that to stand in our way of achieving something that at this point may appear to be nearly impossible.

Jamey's professional services at Fort Wayne Physical Therapy will be available to us throughout this entire experience, which is an amazing and invaluable advantage. The cost for this kind of care and training would be hundreds of dollars, yet we are fortunate enough to have it provided on our behalf.

Oh, we got a cool WPTA coffee mug, too.
Thanks, Mary! :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Isn't It Ironic?

One more day until our first meeting about the training and the race. When I walked into work today, one of my co-workers said, "You do know that when you walk into that meeting they're going to take one look at you and wonder why you're doing this and how you fit their criteria, don't you?"

I understand what she's saying. When I tell people how out of shape I am, one of their first reactions is to say, "You don't look like you're out of shape." At five-feet-four and 115 pounds, probably not. But "out of shape" isn't only a look.

For someone like me, it's about muscle tone and cardio-respiratory health. And as a woman, it's about bone health. In this case, being thin is somewhat of a disadvantage, because I don't have the added incentive of wanting or needing to lose weight to engage in regular physical activity or to eat a balanced diet. People tell me I'm lucky, and in some respects I am, but my being thin also hides my "sins" of omission.

In January of 1999, I became gravely ill with bacterial meningitis and came *this* close to dying. I spent eight days in the hospital and many weeks at home recuperating. It took about a year before I felt like I was back to normal. When I returned for a check-up with one of my infectious disease doctors (Dr. Mark Schomogyi in Ft. Wayne), he mentioned that he'd heard I was a runner and that was probably one reason I survived the meningitis. I looked over at my mom, who had taken me to my appointment, and we both burst out laughing.

Me. A runner. HA! I told him nothing could be further from the truth. I told him I firmly believe that the reason I survived was because of all the prayers that had been said on my behalf. He agreed.

So here I am, nine years later, about to embark on this running adventure. Self-fulfilling prophecy, perhaps? I'm not sure, but it is kind of ironic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Teeny Tiny Glimpse of Reality

My parents live 13 miles from us. When I think about running all the way from our house to theirs, I want to laugh and say, "Yeah, right!" But. But. But. That's my goal, isn't it? I'm glad September is a long way off. And I'm glad I'll have someone who will show me how this will one day be a reality.

I have a high school girlfriend that lives in Redmond, Washington, that happens to be a dental hygienist, like I am. About three years ago, when she was 48 years old, she ran a half-marathon in Seattle. I thought she was nuts. I looked up her time: 2:37:16. Her average pace was 12:00. Gack.

I should call her.

Monday, February 25, 2008

One of Those Days ...

... or two. Yesterday, the fibromyalgia attacked with a vengeance. I feel like that lady in the commercial on TV. Every minute, every second of the day, all I could think about was how much I hurt all over. I didn't sleep well the night before because of it, tossing and turning in an effort to get into a comfortable position. So far today, it's better, although not gone totally, but then it never really is.

I usually have "good" pain medication for when it gets like this, but I don't have any right now. So I alternate taking ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and acetaminophen, but none of it really helps much that I can tell.

Kara gave me a couple of bottles of Mon·avie™ that she got when she was working at an expo in the mall. She knew the distributor, who was also there, and told him about my fibromyalgia, so he told her to give them to me to try. It's a blend of several fruits, including the a├žai berry, and is supposed to help with fibro. He said it would take a couple of bottles before I notice much of a difference, so we'll see.

The one thing that really helps when I feel like this is soaking in a hot tub of water, so I'm doing that a couple of times a day. My skin will suffer a bit, but it's worth it.

Another odd thing that I discovered that helps is when I contract all my muscles in my legs and butt and hold that position, the pain disappears. How strange is that? I'm taking this as a good sign for training and running this half-marathon, because I have a feeling there will be a lot of contracting of those muscles!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Pain of Pilates

Several years ago (and I mean a lot of them), every now and then I'd get motivated for about a day to take on some sort of regular exercise. I remember once when step aerobics were popular, I bought a step aerobic kit at Target. I thought that sounded like exercise disguised as fun.

I brought it home and stashed it in the dining room (where quite a bit of things get stashed) until I was ready to open it up and get started.
About three months later, Romie said, "Are you going to ever take that step aerobics thing in the dining room back to Target?" What was he talking about? What did he mean, "take it back"? Ah, the voice of reason. I hate hearing it sometimes.

A few days later, I walked into Target, step aerobics kit in tow, and approached the service desk. I got out my receipt and placed the unopened box on the counter and stated that I wanted to return it. "Is there anything wrong with it?" the woman behind the counter asked. "Yeah," I said, "it didn't make me use it."

It was a long time before I ever thought about exercising again. But a few years later, a got a twitch and placed a Pilates DVD in my shopping cart. I'd heard Pilates was pretty low-key and more about stretching than pounding the pavement or dripping with sweat. Hmmmm... maybe this is something I can do. And what do you know - I did do it.

Every day for several months, I would lay out a blanket on the family room floor, pop the DVD in the player and for 22 minutes, I would breathe and stretch and contract and breathe and stretch. And it felt good! I hated the push-ups, though.

Then I quit. I don't remember exactly why I stopped doing Pilates; maybe I got sick and took a few days off and never started up again. In any case, the DVD went back into the cupboard and I never gave it another glance. Until today.

Those of you that do regular physical activity and know about Pilates - beginning Pilates at that - will probably laugh at me. While I never worked up a sweat, my arms and legs were shaky when I completed the routine. I'm telling you, unless it's gardening season, or I'm out geocaching, my spare time is spent in a near-vegetative state. I love to read and I spend a great deal of time on the computer.

This particular Pilates DVD is by Moira Merrithew and features her friends Tanji and Adriana. Moira calls the shots and Tanji and Adriana do what she says and make it look easy. IT'S NOT! Maybe by this time a month from now, I'll think it is, but not on Day One.

But hey, I'm making an effort. That's a step in the right direction, isn't it?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Double Challenge

It's a given that this whole training/running thing is going to be a gigantic undertaking. Going from being a computer potato all winter to doing regular physical activity each and every day will probably put my body in shock.
Legs: "What does she think she's doing? These legs are made for walking, not RUNNING, for crying out loud!"

Heart: "Look. I pump enough blood for you to get from the bed to the computer chair to the mailbox and down to the cemetery and back now and then. And now you want me to work overtime? I am not happy, I just want you to know this."

"Geez, woman! The lower lobes retired years ago and they were quite happy about it. Now you want to press them into service. They are going to be on fire over this."

"Yeah, yeah. Get over it. I'm doing this, so you have to, too. How about if I give you special treats every day? You know, like carrots and bananas and chicken and nuts and nutritious stuff like that?"

Brain: "I'm so confused."

The change in my diet is going to be as much of a challenge to me as the physical training. My poor diet is as well-known as my dislike of exercise. (It's getting easier to say that word.) I love carbs and while I know those are an important part of any runner's diet, I eat almost exclusively carbs. Pasta, breads, crackers. Love 'em. Eat 'em a lot.

It's not that I don't like fruits and vegetables, it's just that I don't eat them all that much for some reason, and certainly not as often as I should. I did find an easy way to get a serving of each every day. V8® makes this thing called V·Fusion. Eight ounces of it gives you one serving of fruits and vegetables and it really tastes wonderful. I know, it's the lazy way out, but when I don't get them the normal way, this will be a good way to do it.

Oops. I just said "will be," didn't I? I think I'd better start eating better NOW. On second thought, I haven't started training yet, so I've got some time to think about this.

**Grabs a box of Wheatables and heads to the living room couch to watch The View.**

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Let's Think About This...

You'd be surprised what goes through your head when you consider running 13.1 miles. Especially when the furthest you've ever run before is a mile, back in high school track, and that was 34 years ago.

I'm going to get winded. I'm going to get a major sideache. My legs are going to turn to jelly. And I'm a 50-year-old female that has had two kids who will be drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and running. Will we be allowed potty breaks?

Let's think of more pleasant things.

I don't have any running shoes, unless the Reeboks I got several years ago (and have hardly worn) will work. I think those are really made for walking, but I'm not sure. I know they're very cushiony with what seems like a lot of support, but what do I know?

What do I wear while working out? Hey, maybe I'll have to go shopping! Workout clothes! Now I'll have an excuse to buy new coordinated outfits! Can anyone recommend a good sports bra? Maybe I'll get one of those fancy sports watches. If I can't be good, I can at least look good.

This is going to be fun!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Rising To the Challenge

My dad thinks I'm crazy, my mom is cheering, my husband and younger daughter are laughing (as am I), and my older daughter thinks I'm cool.

Last week, one of our local TV stations, WPTA-TV Channel 21 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, issued a plea for people to apply to be one of ten chosen to go through a training program for running a half marathon (that's 13.1 miles!) in September. They wanted people who'd never run before, people least likely to do this, basically people who are out of shape. And I guess, people who are a little bit crazy to even think about doing something like this, but do it anyway.

That would be me. So I applied.

When I got home from work this evening, there was this e-mail waiting in my inbox:


You have been selected from the large number of applicants to participate in the Fort 4 Fitness Half-Marathon Training Group!

We will be having an introductory meeting on Thursday, February 28th. We will be getting to know each other and discussing the rationale and structure of the program as well as scheduling the training sessions. Please reply to this email to confirm your attendance. The meeting will last about 90 minutes.

We are extremely excited about your potential and the motivational impact your efforts will have on each other, your families and our community!!

They know I'm 50 years old. They know I've got fibromyalgia. They know I'm not doing it to lose weight. They know I don't exercise AT ALL. Surely they know what a challenge this is going to be for me, which is probably one reason they chose me.

I know you're asking why I would even want to do this if I hate exercise, don't do it, and have aching muscles much of the time. I have my reasons.

  1. I know I need to exercise. My doctor has told me this and that it will help my fibromyalgia.

  2. I hate to exercise and while I know I should do it, there is no way I will unless I'm in a regimented program where there's ... and here is the really important part ... ACCOUNTABILITY.

  3. I love a challenge, and believe me, this is a big one.

  4. It sounded like a good idea at the time.

At the meeting next Thursday night, when we meet with the physical therapist/athletic trainer that is in charge, I'll learn more of what I've actually gotten myself into.

Stay tuned ...