In the past 3 months I’ve run two 5ks. It’s pretty much as far as I’ve been able to go, and they’ve both been the slowest 5ks I’ve ever run, but also the most empowering races I’ve ever had as well. Seem like an oxymoron? It’s all about the goals you set for yourself.
My Mom and I like to do a race on Thanksgiving Day before all of the craziness gets going. Usually I’ll do the half marathon, but the whole not being able to breathe thing made the 5k look much more sensible. My goal was simple. I wanted to run the whole thing thing without stopping to walk. I was getting stuck in a rut with my runs, and just had this feeling that I had more in myself. I got stuck in ridicioulsly crazy crush of people at the beginning from the overstuffed corrals, and started slow as I weaved in, out, and around all of the people before getting in a grove going up the hills around Grant Park. I bounced around, said hi to friends along the way, thanked every Police Officer out there, and then realized I was at the final hill. As I went under the Olympic rings outside the stadium (can we pause here for a second, and talk about how cool this is!?!) I hit the gas to see what my legs had left. Oh yeah, I just turned out a 7:30 pace for the last 1/4 of a mile… Goal. Crushed!
Sunday I ran the Hot Chocolate 5k after getting cleared to workout again after 10 days on Cipro. For anyone who doesn’t know Cipro is pretty much one of the most effective, and strongest antibiotics out there. I’m now convinced it can kill anything! It has one very nasty side effect though, it can cause lots of joint/tendon pain, and has even lead to burst Achilles. For 10 days I did nothing! I figured out pretty early on in my antibiotic dose I needed to switch from the 15k to the 5k. The goal was simple, start and finish without a burst Achilles! I honestly don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people do a 5k. The crowds were overwhelming, and slowed me down, which since doctor’s orders were no racing or sprinting helped keep me in check. I can tell you it’s not easy deliberately running slow in a 5k! It goes against everything I know, but I felt great the whole way. I could finally breathe while running!! And despite the urge I didn’t spring to the finish. I felt like I could do much more, and felt a little flat to be honest, but once again the goal was crushed.
I’ve learned a lot about setting goals with these two races. They need to be achievable, otherwise you simply set yourself up to fail. Which is why I texted my coach with a simple goal for the race I want to do in the fall. I just want to PR. There are all kind of times I would like to achieve, but I’ve learned to let go and run with the ability and effort I have on any given day. Who would have thought you would learn so much for your slowest races. Watch 2015. As soon as I get my endurance back you’re mine!
It was a bacteria infection. For 9 months I have been coughing, and between 8 doctor’s they
“threw the kitchen sink” at me with drugs. No one did tests. prescriptions would be written for drugs with no idea if they would do any good. I had chest x-rays, ct scans, and three rounds of antibiotics. One doctor even wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic “just in case.” Some times the cough and congestion would get better, but most of the time it got worse. At points I couldn’t even talk, and forget running. I couldn’t breathe while running, or at work.
And then I finally got an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Once again nothing appeared to be wrong, but because he listened and knew something wasn’t right he did a culture from the back of my mouth just in case. His gut told him it was a bacteria infection despite all of the antibiotics. Two days later I was on the strongest antibiotic available for a bacteria infection that was resistant to all other antibiotics I had taken. All it took was a culture, and within 48 hours I finally felt like myself again. And friends and co-workers noticed immediately.
I learned a lot about myself through all of this. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up if you think something isn’t right, and your doctor’s aren’t listening. It wasn’t easy. A lot of the time it was really frustrating, and the hard part was not letting that frustration spill over to other parts of my life. There were days that I cried, wallowed in bed, and hid from things going on around me. My co-workers and friends shouldn’t have to deal with my problems, or my constant coughing. I missed out on things I wanted to do, races I wanted to run, and goals I wanted to smash. 2015 is a new year. A chance to restart from the beginning, and tackle one goal at a time. I’ve learned that I have some amazing friends, an amazing support group, and through all of this I’ve learned how strong I really am. So, watch out 2015!
Keep fighting for yourself. Don’t ever give up!
I really thought Thursday was going to bring a whole bunch of answers, and I would start feeling so much better. Instead it brought more frustration, and no answers. And yes, I’m still coughing.
Thursday I was set to have my allergy testing redone. The first time it was done I wasn’t off my allergy medicine for long enough. This time I had endured 9 days with no drugs. It was miserable. It reminded me of how bad I’ve felt in prior months. Long story short round 1 of skin testing showed no allergies. On to round 2 on my arms, also showing no results. Now most people would think this is a really good thing, but if you’ve been coughing for 5 months and passing every test it’s infuriating. Plus, as my doctor agreed, I’ve had some reactions that sound like a serious allergic reaction. Why doesn’t anything show up? So, Monday I get to do more blood work so they can run additional tests on the foods I have problems with. But that doesn’t get us any answers for the elephant in the room. 5 months of coughing!
Everyone has an opinion. People keep sending me ideas of what they think is causing the coughing. I know that the coughing is a symptom of troubles breathing. Saturday morning’s run was proof of that. I was almost reduced to tears by the end from frustration. What has happened to me? And why can no one find any answers?
So, now it’s a referral to doctor #4 to see what’s up with my lungs. Well, he was busy till the end of October, and since I’ve already been coughing for 5 months the idea of waiting another month just for someone to look at me wasn’t really appealing. So, I just have to wait another week to see one of his colleagues. Add on top of that a brewing battle with the insurance company over one of the tests my doctor order to determine her course of treatment has been deemed medically unnecessary. Sometimes it seems overwhelming. Other times I realize how fortunate I am. So, it’s one foot in front of the other, and the insurance company can expect a little letter coming in the mail.
“You don’t have to see where you’re going, you don’t have to see your destination or everything you will pass along the way. You just have to see two or three feet ahead of you.” – Anne Lamott