Check out my 5.3 mi Run on Strava: http://app.strava.com/activities/276701166
“There are no pacts between lions and men”. This is one of my favorite quotes from Achilles, in the Movie “Troy.” Throughout the years, my little brother Brad and I quote this to each other when we are making a deal that one of us doesn’t intend to keep. I have quoted it to myself a few times, since being diagnosed.
The first of these times was when my doctor told me I had to start taking it easy. Going against that advice was the best decision I ever made, because picking up my pace and suddenly going harder, saved my butt! At firs,t it started in anger and desperation, because I was always thinking this could be my last race or last year walking. What did I have to lose? I would lay in bed at night with numb tingling feet wondering if I would still feel my legs when I woke up in the morning.
Before MS, I was an average 5th or 6th place finisher every time I raced. After a while, I started to realize that the harder I pushed myself, the better I could move. A rest day here and there is good for me, but after two or three, my body starts to feel tired and fatigued. If I do a race coming off a rest day, I’m horrible! I need two or three days of moving, if I am to do well. Also, I learned that pushing myself helped me to suppress my immune system. I was taking drugs to help me with this as well, but exercise and drugs were the answers I needed.
I still had flare ups and I still failed my medications, but my attacks were never too severe that I couldn’t do my job or the things that were required of me. I was happy to hear the other day, that my immune system had come back up from the chemo, and that my body would only take a day or two to replace the plasma and stem cells I lost last week. I only had a couple days of no restrictions. There was a point where my immune system had dropped, and if I took a bad fall, I could have bled to death. In a couple days, I’ll start a lot more chemo and I’ll have to be careful all over again…and for a much longer time! Now as far as that pact of lions and men, my doctor here is the best in the world when it comes to autoimmune diseases. If he tells me to do something, I’m going to do it. I know I feel like I will beat this and have a lot to lose. Recovering correctly is my goal for now, and I’m praying my years of fighting are going to make recovery go better and hopefully a little faster.
Today I woke up and had great energy. My body must have replaced most the plasma and stem cells that were taken out last week. With time running out, before I go back to the hospital, we want to be as productive as possible, plus, I want to be as active as possible, before my workouts consist of walking laps in the hospital hallway.
Olivia dropped her monkey by accident. We thankfully found him in the middle of the plaza. He almost had his own adventure!
We have been wanting to walk down to Millennium Park for a while as a family, and the weather was amazing, so after a pit stop at the park for Olivia, we enjoyed a fun afternoon of exploring Chicago, walking the river, and taking the famous Chicago Bean pics.
While at the Bean, a lady wanted to take a pic of me jumping for her Facebook page called “Jumping at the Bean.” She works for a law firm, but in her free time takes pictures of people at the Bean. While talking to her, I learned that she is a stem cell transplant survivor for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and that she wants to follow my progress to see how I do. It’s great running into such positive people who genuinely care about how you’re doing and that want to see you overcome the odds and beat a disease. It gives me more hope in humanity. Anyway, check out her Facebook page. It’s really cool that someone does this stuff for people out of pure kindness, with no profit or gain!
Afterwards, we headed back and enjoyed a nap and some down time. Upon waking up, I really wanted to go for a run along the lake (despite my legs killing me from doing lunges yesterday). On Saturday, my MS buddy and Kona Inspired athlete, Lyle Anderson, and also my friend and Zia Velo teammate, Terry Casey, did the Iron man Oceanside 70.3 Triathlon.
Lyle was one of few selected to go to the Iron man World Championships in Kona, because his fight with MS as an Iron man athlete. Terry is a beast, and just turned pro. She coaches triathletes, as well as swimmers, and this was her first race as a pro. She also is no stranger to Kona. Her husband, Shawn also wants to do this race next year, as well as one of my training buddies Norm. The thought of this got me really motivated thinking that in exactly one year from this week of hospitals and chemotherapy, I could be doing this race as a symbol of making a comeback, and halting this disease. I have learned that I needed to have goals. or I start to get fat and lazy.
Winning my category in the Southwest Challenge triathlon series was one the worst things that ever happened to me in a way, because I became satisfied, and I let myself think I deserved an off-season. When you have a disease that wants to cripple you, off seasons are out of the question. It needs to be a fight all the time, and not just for a season. Since being diagnosed back in 2011, I had never taken on off season, until November, when I finished my triathlon season, and in that short amount of time, I started losing strength on my whole left side, and had a significant amount of cognitive issues, as well as fatigue. I also gained about 15 lbs, which is not the shape I wanted to be in, as I arrived to Chicago for the fight of my life. Not to mention, as an athlete it drives me nuts seeing people getting faster while I get slower. My buddy and faithful training partner, Steve Hanson, keeps reminding me of how I only beat him by 27 seconds at a bike time trial last month, when just a couple of months before, I got him by about five minutes on the bike section of a triathlon in December. The fire in me burns, and Steve knows I’m coming for him! It’s going to take a while, but I’m coming Steve! :-). Just to be clear on something real quickly, getting fat and slower is not because of my MS, but something I did to myself, by getting lazy in December and January. In the time I’ve had MS, I’ve won more races and performed better than before I knew I had it. It’s amazing what racing with a chip on your shoulder, and a little desperation, can do for you!
So anyway, it turns out Lake Michigan has a nice running path, so I headed out and did a nice 5.3 mile run to Lincoln Park Zoo. There were a ton of runners out, and just seeing them and the awesome views of Chicago and the lake, really made for a great run! I took it nice and slow, because I didn’t want to push too hard, since I just had a bag of plasma and stem cells sucked out of me a few days ago, but I gotta say, I felt good, and really enjoyed it! I don’t usually enjoy running!
Afterwards, when I came in, I realized that my total miles for the day were 13.05, so I decided I couldn’t live with myself if I stopped .05 miles short of half marathon distance, so quick trip to the corner store, and I got it! It sounds dumb, but if you look at most of my bike rides on Strava, they will end with a few trips around the block, because I can’t end at 49 miles or 24 miles. I always try to round it off, if time permits! Like I’ve said before, I’m not here to just fight this disease, I’m here to win!
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