Sunday, January 24, 2016

RA Will Not Win

"You just do it. You force yourself to put one foot in front of the other, and God damn it, you refuse to let it get to you. You fight. You cry. You curse. Then you go about your business of living. That's how I've done it. There's no other way." - Elizabeth Taylor

The good, the bad, and the ugly! Here it is my friends! I'm going to keep it real. I post all these great pictures of my training and it all looks fun and easy. But let me tell you it's not. There are days when getting out of bed seems an impossible task.

Oh the things we can't control! In training, as in life, there are obstacles we will face. We can choose to let them stop us in our tracks or embrace them and let them make us stronger. 
It took me almost two years to get a diagnosis and get on a treatment plan that we are still tweaking to manage the inflammation and pain caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis. For the last 9 months I have been on varying doses of steroids every day. I also take methotrexate weekly. Together these medications have taken me from daily pain to an average of two flare ups a month. So we have now added Enbrel injections to the mix. I've just started the injections, but we're hoping the Enbrel will help put the RA into remission. And then hopefully I will be able to reduce or maybe even come off of the steroids. 

Living with chronic pain and fatigue has become a way of life for me. Most people, unless they deal with it or live with someone who does, do not understand what it's like. And I think that because people see me workout every day, it's even harder to understand. Even my husband who really is very supportive (he even gives me the injections), does not understand why I do what I do. He often tells me to just rest or to take the day off. I have had doctors tell me to stop. But I am a fighter. I have goals. I have a dream. And while there are days when it takes all I have to get out of bed in the morning (mornings are the worst) I cannot give in to RA or give up! It would make me feel like I am losing. And I don't like to lose!

I am not unique or special. We all have our demons. It's just about how we choose to fight them.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Back on the Road

I signed up to do a supported 46 mile ride called Ride Thru the Forest and Hills. A supported ride meant there would me police ensuring a safe route, there would be port a potties and rest stops if needed, and people along the course to offer support in case of injury or mechanical difficulties. This appealed to me a great deal. I could use every bit of support out there! And next time I should really pay attention to the name of the race. Hahaha.....

That morning the temps were going to be freezing. So I went to the bike store and bought a skull cap, toe warmers, and wool bike socks to wear with my tights and shorts, double layer shirts, windbreaker, gloves, and tube scarf. It turned out to be below freezing! 28 degrees to be exact! But the gear worked and the weather cooperated and I was mostly comfortable. Well temperature wise anyway. Lol!

The ride was a huge VICTORY for me! Because my crash that resulted in two surgeries and months of recovery, I really struggle with my confidence on the bike. Most of my rides I do on the trainer. Well I got out there and did 46 very hilly (1900+ elevation gain/loss) miles! And I didn't fall! It wasn't fast but that ride was all mine!!

Those hills made this ride one of the most challenging workouts I have ever done! They were insane! By the end there were some who just got off and walked their bikes up. I'm not going to lie it was tempting. But I pushed thru ever so slowly. And that was a reward in itself! But I am definitely looking forward to a flatter ride next time!

And the best part was my new friend Susan came out for the ride too!! I look forward riding together again!

Friday, January 15, 2016

TriTats Ambassador

It's so cool to be chosen to be an ambassador for TriTats. I love my tritats and wear them at all my triathlons. And even cooler is the group of triathletes I get to be a part of! Not only are they amazing athletes but they are a ton of fun! They keep me entertained every day! Can't wait to meet these characters and to continue to rock my TriTats!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

"You can't fall if you don't climb. But there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground." - Unknown 

This pertains to triathlon training for me as well. Triathlon takes me out of my comfort zone so much. And so often I ask myself why I am doing this to myself. Why I'm pushing myself to do something that so often makes me uncomfortable physically, mentally, and emotionally? How many times am I going to fall and keep getting right back up? 

Since this journey has begun I have found a strength and determination  I never knew I could possess. I have grown into the person I have always wanted to become. I have found a great joy and satisfaction in what my body can do, what my spirit can endure, and what my mind can achieve. 

Lesson learned - stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way one can grow! Challenge yourself every day!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A look back before looking forward....

2015 was a year of greater achievements than I could have ever dreamed! When my goal of completing my first triathlon in 2014 was crushed by my accident, and I got back to training, I knew I would not let anything get in the way of me making it happen! I didn't let the accident stop me and I wouldn't let Rheumatoid Arthritis stop me either. And wouldn't you know it I had my most severe flare up just  two weeks before my first triathlon. But thanks to my amazing rheumatologist and my dermatologist, they accelerated my treatment plan and got me moving again. And then it began...the best season for triathlon and running I could imagine! I ran four 5k's and placed 1st in my AG in one and 2nd in my AG in another. My 5k PR was 22:24! I completed four triathlons - a super sprint, two sprints, and an Olympic distance. And each race I improved on my very respectable times! And my final race of the year was a 10 mile race in which I PR'd by 10 minutes with a pace of 8:04!! What a fantastic season! 
And I have even bigger dreams for 2016! My biggest goal for this year is to complete my first Ironman 70.3 Texas! 
 I will give everything I've got to training and preparing for this race! I look forward to all 2016 will bring! I hope to use the lows to learn from and get stronger and the highs to motivate me to get it done! 
Put pencil to paper and write down your ambitions for the new year. Make them real and work for them! There is great reward in accomplishing what you set your mind to!