arthritis · chronic illness · fitness · life · RheumAthlete · rheumatoid arthritis · running · training · triathlon · Uncategorized

WOW, I can’t believe I did it!

I went beyond my comfort zone by training for a triathlon. I thought they were crazy yet I have now completed two and ready to do another season. It all happened last fall seeing an Instagram post about Tri Equal and before you know it I applied and got accepted. And so, the journey began.

Something I didn’t really expect when I started training for a triathlon was the ability to push myself more than I thought. Sure, I knew I was going to work hard and there was going to be some intense moments but its more than just that, it’s finding the strength inside you. I would like to think I am a strong woman, I am a mom of two with a loving husband, a crazy lab and has rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Having RA was not something I told a lot of people the first few years but I have learned to accept it is a part of me and maybe one day it won’t be but I have to learn to live/deal with it for now. But having RA is by no means an excuse, but it has its moments…like Friday are my chemo hangover days and having a weakened autoimmune system means everything my wonderful kids bring home from school means I usually get it….I recall my coach asking me after the third cold if this is normal, my response was kinda. So, I embraced the training with open arms and enjoyed every moment (okay maybe not on the 5th round of 400m sprints). When I first started up with my coach, I was thinking wow, he is ambitious there is no way I can do back to back running days like that (honestly, I didn’t think my body could handle it). Then, he added swimming into the schedule and then once a week a swim and a run in one day…then brick training…geez, what the hell, is he serious?! Sure, there has been some blips along the way. But, I did it and my body really didn’t hate me like I thought it might…maybe I just wasn’t pushing it enough in the past or I was letting my RA be my crutch. Plus, there was this extra motivation knowing you were accountable to someone and I felt like I was letting myself done….yes, there were times when I just couldn’t do the workout or I altered it but I really did my best to stick to the schedule and I just reminded myself this is to help you succeed in the race.

But, having someone coaching you is nice. The last time I had a coach was in high school when I was on the track team so having a coach now at 40 is cool….I mean there is this person who is there to help you become a stronger athlete. Plus, they have done this triathlon stuff and can give you advice…I suppose they are also like a mentor. Don’t get me wrong my family is amazing and were super supportive…my kids totally got I was training for a triathlon because the man with the yellow hat did one on Curious George…so naturally they are experts, but seeing me do one…I think they were impressed. And, my husband was beyond supportive and having him congratulate me after I swam 2.5 km the first time to encouraging me when I just didn’t want to workout to getting the kids to make ‘Go Mommy’ signs during the race…it felt wonderful. But the combination of my family and coach support was amazing!

In July, I completed my ‘B’ race, a Sprint and although my swim didn’t go as well as I thought (despite that, it was still strong), overall the first race went well even when it poured rain the whole run. Plus, I got to jump off a steamship to get to the swim start. It was crazy but I loved it. And, I learned that the triathlon community is very supportive of one another even though they are strangers.

 

So, after the first race, I had a month to get ready for my ‘A’ race, the Olympic. Training was steady and I was feeling good…nervous but prepared. Race day came and I wahaving some front tire issues…thank goodness, my hubby was there to resolve them. The swim went really well, I was in the zone, finishing it felt amazing and going onto my bike I was so happy. The bike leg was going well…I was remembering to drink and felt I was going at a good pace. Yes, people were passing me but that was okay. Then with 10km left I had this realization I was near the back and I started feeling low…I just couldn’t go faster and just moments before I was feeling so good. I kept going at a steady pace and made it back to transition. I was still feeling down as I started my run but seeing my family there was huge!  I was feeling somewhat better and I had to remind myself that this race was for me, it didn’t matter if I was last I was doing this and knowing my two kids were watching me helped me never give up. The first 5km were better than the next 5km but I got through it…my hubby ran with me during the loop turns which was wonderful. Finishing was truly amazing and I did complete it way faster than I thought and I am beyond proud of what I accomplished.

When I started the triathlon training I thought the swim was going to be awful, but it turns out I have some swim talent and it was by far my strongest. It also helped that I met an amazing swim coach who took me under his wing and helped refine my technique. I got my very first road bike in the winter and started riding in the spring, so I was really happy with my progression. Although, I have never been a fast runner…I got stronger and hope I can keep that momentum going. I plan on using what I have learned these last few months and putting it towards my next season with the goal of improving my times in each discipline but remembering to have fun while doing it (I may have forgotten that for some moments during my ‘A’ race even though my coach reminded me to do that before each race).

I had an extraordinary experience with my coach, I even texted him the night before my ‘A’ race worried about peeing during the race….and of course he responded with suggestions and yes, I peed during the race. Thank you Tri Equal for selecting me and pairing me with Ian as my coach. Ian you are an amazing coach and it is very inspiring seeing you reach your triathlon goals. So, when I signed up to be a part of Tri Equal I really didn’t know what it would ultimately mean or do….yes, I love seeing strong women out in sports and being treated the same but after this, I realize more than ever, that I  am a strong women. But, it’s more than just being a women it’s about tackling something that is tough but not giving up when it gets hard, building self-confidence and believing in myself….and just being badass!!

 

 

 

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arthritis · chronic illness · duathlon · fitness · life · raceseason · RheumAthlete · rheumatoid arthritis · running · training · Uncategorized

Am I really going to train for a duathlon?

A mystery foot injury (which is still lingering) had me take some time off from my running. I had being work so hard up to that point, that I couldn’t just sit around…so, I got reacquainted with my bike. I have always enjoyed biking but since having kids I haven’t really used as much as I would like…..I dream of the day when we take a family bike ride!

During my couple of weeks of biking I was thinking about other races I wanted to do in addition to my half marathon in the fall. I was considering a 25 km trail run but then it occurred to me, ‘why not try a duathlon?’. I haven’t officially signed up for it, but I am feeling pretty committed to doing it and plan on signing up for it this weekend! It is funny how an injury can point you in a different direction of your training.

Only 4.5 weeks until my first duathlon!

life · parenting · rheumatoid arthritis · Uncategorized

Next Chapter

I have been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born 7 years ago. I never actually thought I would be a stay at home mom, but I really loved it (well most of the time). During that time I managed a few work contracts, that made me feel like my brain still worked. My 5 year old started school in the fall, so it has opened up my days. I was working a part time contract that is now over and unfortunately the funding for a work extension did not come through. So, I am left with now wondering what do I do?

Here’s what I do know what I want…

  • To be happy (seems obvious but I think often overlooked)
  • To be able to spend time with my kids including play time, cuddle time, driving them to their various programs, getting them on and off the bus, etc.
  • Have me time
  • Have time with just my partner
  • Want to be able to go away in the winter for a couple weeks, usually somewhere warm!! (Costa Rica has been a favorite)
  • Want to travel and camp in the summer
  • Have extra money for whatever
  • Ultimately, to not feel so overwhelmed that I can’t handle it (and my RA flares, I get too fatigued, etc. etc….maybe me being a worry wart, but it is a major concern to me)

We have been lucky that when I was at home, my husband’s job could allow that….I know that I/we were very fortunate for this as a family. So, part of me feels like it’s a dream world for my ‘wants list’ and I can accept that maybe I don’t get to pick my kids up off the bus but I would like to be able to most days. Is it selfish, maybe, maybe not, they are my kids and I want to be there for them (like I had when growing up).

I am now taking this time to search and apply for jobs but keeping in mind what I want that will keep me happy and ultimately my family.

Has anyone else gone through this? We love to know what you have done or going to do?

rheumatoid arthritis · running · Uncategorized

Need my running mojo!!

I have been trying to find my running groove again. In November, I had an MCP fusion on my right thumb due to my RA (more on this in another post). I was wishful, thinking that I would be back to running in 2-3 weeks after surgery. The first couple weeks my whole hand was swollen. As the swelling went down in my hand, the swelling in my thumb remained and I needed to keep it elevated most of the time (for 7 weeks total). So, running wasn’t in the cards as soon as I thought it would be…… I tried but I had a tingling that would run through my arm due to the swelling and it was quite uncomfortable. The alternative was walking both outside on the warmer days and inside on the treadmill on the cooler days. After 3 months of wearing a splint, I finally got it off and have been slowly getting back into running (including 2 beautiful runs in Costa Rica)…but I can’t seem to motivate myself to really get back into some sort of routine. The weather has certainly played a part in that. So, I have decided I need to commit myself to a couple races and that should/hope get me motivated and get myself back into a running and cross training routine. Now, what race(s) should I pick??