Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Overcomers are Achievers!

Sitting down to fill out/update my athlete questionnaire for my coach had me counting my blessings. I have a lot of excuses I could use not to do what I do and yet I choose to anyway. Putting on paper the broken bones, surgeries, autoimmune disorders, etc. doesn't make me think about what I can't do or what holds me back. But instead it makes me appreciate what my body can do....in spite of everything that could stand in my way. I have had 10 broken bones not including multiple toes. I have had 9 surgeries. I have Scoliosis and Spondyliothesis which are both deformities of the spine. I have an irregular heartbeat and Angina which both require heart medications. I suffer from a few autoimmune disorders - Hypothythoid, IBS, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, Raynauds, and I am being treated for Rhuematoid Arthritis.
I am sometimes limited from my issues with my back. But I have to say the biggest challenge for me is the Rheumatoid Arthritis. It has taken a couple years to get a diagnosis and begin treatment and we are still tinkering with the treatment. I am constantly fatigued and every day there is chronic pain. Some days are harder than others. Some days it takes everything I've got just to get out of bed. But I make a choice to do it. I make that choice because I am afraid if I give in I let the disease win. And if you know me at all I don't like to lose! Some doctors have recommended me to stop running, some have told me to limit my efforts, I am thankful for the ones who encourage me to push thru it. Because for me, if I can't control my physical body I would like to have some say over my mental state. Swimming, biking, and running help keep me sane! Being able to do what I can gives me the feeling of control over something I don't always have control over.
I take a lot of medicine each day. I take Methotrexate and Prednisone for the arthritis, Synthroid for my thyroid, Cardizem and Ranexa for heart, Nexium for reflux, Omega 3 for meibomian gland dysfunction, Calcium for osteopenia/bone strength, Vitamin D, Zyrtec and Omnaris for allergies, and Albuterol for asthma.  I also tend to take Ibuprofen 3 times a day.
What you see in this pic is a woman who is 39 years old and just completed her first triathlon! A woman who crossed the finish line who a year before and a week before questioned if it was even possible. What you don't see is that I had finally recovered from my bike crash after 2 surgeries and months of physical therapy and training. And wouldn't you know it less than a week before my first triathlon I had an arthritis flare up so intense I could not walk. I shuffled in pain if I had to move. I was covered head to toe in a rash that caused swelling and horrible itching. I had put in so much work and overcame so many obstacles and I was not about to give up now! My rheumatologist and dermatologist worked together to treat my flare up. My meds were increased, I was bumped up to a high dosage of steroids, and was put on a steroid cream. And within a couple days I could walk! And a couple days after that I not only competed but I surpassed my goal and expectations. I sobbed hysterically at the finish line, I cried for days, and truth be told I still tear up when I think about the moment I crossed that finish line!
But as I've continued in the sport of running and triathlon, do you know what I've learned? Just about everyone in this field has their battles. We all have a story. And that is what makes us stronger and pushes us to accomplish anything we set our hearts on! I am inspired daily by stories I hear from people I meet in the field as well as those I may never meet! Overcomers are Achievers!
1st Olympic Distance Triathlon - 3:00:09
This race season I completed three 5k's, a Supersprint triathlon, two Sprint triathlons, and an Olympic distance triathlon. In every race I achieved a new personal record. I finish in at least the top 25% of my races. I even won a 1st place and 2nd place in my Age Group in 5k's. I will not let anything stand in my way! Choose not to let anything stand in yours!



  1. Great post! You definitely have persevered and continue to inspire us all despite everything life has thrown at you!

  2. Wow Jill!!! This post is so powerful! Like I have said so many times, you have always been an inspiration. I always believe that God does not give you more than you can handle... all I can say is that He knows you are one strong woman!!! May you continue to be blessed with many more accomplishments and PRs in all your races, but above all, that you never lose that GREAT attitude you have.