p2p blog header_Justine


I used to run but that was a very long time ago … I actually used to do Triathlons, but that seems like a whole lifetime ago.  Needless to say, both of these activities were before children!  1992 was the last time I did either of these and I remember that so well, because it was the year I had an operation to release the compartments in my lower legs.  Why was I running?  Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed running but it didn’t seem to suit me and my body wasn’t happy about it!

Fast forward nearly 20 years and there are other post children issues!!!  I had kept fit sporadically simply because I didn’t have the energy to keep at it!  I kept trying and would be travelling along well until I would end up literally falling in a heap exhausted.  My health and my fitness over the ten years after having our third child, Charlotte, was more of a roller coaster of semi-wellness and fatigue and illness.  Very strange, often unrelated things were happening.  I was constantly anaemic (major problem for feeling run down!) I got pleurisy and shingles in 2006 and then a recurring neuralgia in my face (by recurring I mean every four to six weeks) with cold sores, blisters and ridiculous pain.  Life in my body was not pleasant and I didn’t have any answers.  I always had an “excuse” though and throughout those post baby years they went something like this “I have a new baby, that’s why I’m so tired” or ” I have a baby and a toddler” or “now I have three children and a busy household, no wonder I’m so exhausted.”

When Charlotte was six and started school, I had planned that it would be the year that I would get fit and healthy and get back to my “normal” self.  After all, I no longer had babies, toddlers or any other reason that would stop me.  Before things got better, they got worse and I still had no answers.  I found a great doctor and for my first consultation I spent 45 minutes with her telling her everything about what had been happening and what my symptoms were.  I felt like we were piecing together a puzzle and for the first time things began to make sense.  In short, after some extensive blood tests, the major problem appeared to be that I had a severe iodine deficiency (lots of other deficiencies too) but with a series of supplementation within 6 months I was feeling like a whole new person.  I would return to my doctor regularly and we would fine tune things and I was constantly improving.

In May of 2012 I was back at the gym working out and walking regularly when I hurt my elbow.  Then it was my wrist and while I was having one wrist treated by the physiotherapist, I woke up in agony in the early hours of the morning with excruciating pain in the other wrist!!!  Then my hands started to lock up and my physio sent me to the Doctors for more bloods.  This time  they found I had elevated Rheumatoid Factors and I was sent off to see a rheumatologist in Melbourne (an hour flight from home)!  This was a fun trip as I got to spend the day with Kerrianne and Janice 🙂

The Rheumatologist put me on a disease modifying drug and an anti-inflammatory diet.  Which for me means, no gluten, no dairy, no sugar and only one red meat meal per week and a high dose of EPA fish oils each day.  I also knew that I needed to move more regularly and started a daily walking program with Annabelle (our middle child).  The diet is not easy, but it works!  Over the course of the last year I have been really, really good and I have failed miserably.  My Doctor calls all of this “research” and it is such a good way to look at it.  I have learnt so much about what works and doesn’t work for my body and can safely say that I feel the best now than I have in years 🙂  Being off dairy had added benefits – all of my neuralgia symptoms slowly disappeared the longer I stuck with this change.

My walking program soon progressed into running and I began a “couch to 5km” program via an app on my phone.  My compartment syndrome came back (as if I didn’t have enough things to deal with) and I saw another physiotherapist, who promptly acupunctured the offending area to relieve the pressure.  I would constantly ask him if I, with all my joint pain and symptoms (not to mention the compartment issues) should actually be running or should I stop?  “Am I crazy?  Should I be running?”  His answer was always “Do you enjoy running?”  Strangely enough I really do, so on the proviso that I wasn’t about to head into a marathon training program, my goal of running 5kms three times a week wasn’t going to be an issue.

Once I finished my “couch to 5km” program, I found another app called “Runtastic” and picked up one of their training programs.  This time I was working on running 50mins after 16 weeks and found myself in America with Jan half way through it.  On one run around the beautiful suburb that Anne lives in, my hip started to burn and I hobbled home 🙁  I had just bought some fabulous running shoes too!  Jan found me a great physical therapist and he massaged it, gave me some exercises and suggested Pilates.  I continued to hobble and gave up running for the rest of my trip.  On my return to Australia, I was back to the physiotherapist and soon commenced the first of two 8 week blocks of clinical Pilates.

Then one Friday evening, Chloe came home excited about a running event called Park Run.  She encouraged me to go, and while I hadn’t been running, I knew I could walk the 5km course without any problem.  It was the best event!  A free, timed 5km run that happens every Saturday morning about 15 minutes from home.  I loved it and have participated on any Saturday morning since then that I could.

Doing this event inspired me even more to get running and keep running!  I’ve managed to do it three times now and with each new run, I’ve taken two minutes off my time!  The last time I ran it was extra special, my sister was visiting and we ran it together (she beat me!) but it was great fun. We nearly had her kids and mine join us too … maybe next time!

I’ve since finished my “50 mins” program and am finding myself running 5-8kms three times a week, completely injury and pain free!  It’s been a long process with lots of learning, “research” and experimentation along the way.

I’m happy to say that I have found a lifestyle and an eating plan that works and I am completely drug free, pain free and feel fantastic!

Run Blog_JF - Page 014

Serious Sandpit Stuff Blueprint (January 2014) CM Totally Fun Digital Kit, Sporty Digital Kit, Total Sports Silhouette Shapes, Fonts: Junkos Typewriter, Another Typewriter, KH Payphone.

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28 Responses to Blog: Run Forrest, Run!

  1. Cheryl says:

    Thankful to hear that after this very long journey you have your health back. Proud of you for the hard road you took trying so many different modifications to help YOUR body find what is best for it naturally. Our bodies are amazing machines!

  2. Jan says:

    So, so glad it’s all better now, Juzzi! And I’m sorry for my contribution towards ‘bad diet’ research while you were here…. I’m just now getting rid of the poundage I gained on our road trip! I’m loving moving around more, too – I’m even running (a very TEENY bit) when I’m out on my walks now, too. Here’s to continued good health! xx

    PS I had compartment syndrome, too, when I ran track in high school. One reason I don’t run now!

  3. Carolyn says:

    🙂 Go Juzzi! Such an inspiring story. I think of you every time you log a run because since we’re MapMyWalk/Run friends, my phone tweets each time you finish. Now the kids know it’s you too and so when my phone tweets, they say “Your friend just finished exercising. Did you exercise today?” It’s a GREAT encouragement for me. Thank you!

  4. Anita Albritton says:

    Wow! What a journey, Justine! So glad you have found some answers to your ongoing health issues, and that you’ve been able to get back into your running. Wonderful blog, and I agree with Tameka that your title for it is perfection!!

    I know this is way off subject and completely out of nowhere, but are you still doing Day2Day ? I so enjoyed seeing your pages on facebook, and hope you’ll share, if you are still doing the project!

    • Justine says:

      Thanks Nita! My Day2Day project has been put on the back-burner for the moment! I’m randomly taking photos but with these health issues and the impact they have had on the rest of my life, it got crowded out as I took stock of what I needed to really focus on, in the end it was just a half hearted attempt and easier to let go. I hope to be back in full force shortly!

  5. What a journey Justine! I love the word “research” you’ve used….I think I’m going to copy that for my journey. You are definitely determined and it was inspiring to read your story here! Wishing you continued great health!

  6. Janice says:

    Oh My – was it nearly 2 years ago you came to Melbourne for that specialist appointment!!! I’m sure you need to revisit rather than skyping him …. hehehehehehe
    You’e been through so much, and it’s so good to see and hear you happier and healthier – well done on all the hard work to get there! xx

  7. inekeloux says:

    Justine, what an encouraging piece to read. Though not a runner myself, (I’m more into walking and to-from-work biking) I admire those who find running programs that work and stick to them! You really hit the nail on the head by talking of a diet/exercise program that is working for YOU. Oh, that we all follow your lead and find the diet/exercise program that works so well for each of us! And then find people, like your daughter and sister, who can join us for the fun and fellowship.

  8. Viv says:

    What a struggle you have had. Thanks for sharing it with us. Hopefully it all stays that way now. I love hearing about your family as I had three daughters also!!

  9. jolleyontheroad jolleyontheroad says:

    Great story! Keep working it!! Glad you have found what works for you!! I am much more active since losing 50 pounds! Still have some back pain, but it is best to keep moving and working out!!

  10. shirley shingara says:

    Inspiring, honest, and real. That you for sharing your story, your perseverance and your character. I appreciate it.

  11. Deb Bilboe says:

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I too was a runner but was diagnosed with PA a form of RA about a year ago. I am working on my diet as well. New idea for mini book about the trials and victories of my health and my faith. Thanks pixies for digital encouragement (finally bought artisan after the last cloning video and love it) but also the personal touch you bring with your blogs!

    • Justine says:

      Thanks Deb! Good luck with your diet 🙂

    • KatieK. says:

      Deb, your post got me wondering… In regards to your mini book project about your health & faith journey, if you have an idea of how you will approach it.

      There are so many books, blogs, online & in-person classes, ideas and project templates out there for the typical themes – weddings, all about me, kids/baby, faith, travel, etc. Lots will include suggestions for journaling & story organization(i.e., the P2P All About Me project, R.Anderson & G.Skoog’s Ten Questions just to name 2 out of 100’s).

      But have you ever seen, heard or read of any for a health-focused theme project? Maybe when you complete yours and if you’re comfortable with sharing how you developed your story approach – you could share a bit? From the # of responses to this post, many of us would find it relevant to our own journeys.

      Thanks Justine for your inspiring story and page.

  12. Lori Morris says:

    Loved reading this story. You go Justine. I love your title. Forest Gump is one of my favorite movies.

  13. Kerrianne says:

    Fabulous Juzzi 🙂

  14. Anne says:

    Way to go Juzzi! You and your sister look so much alike! Glad everything’s working – keep doing what you’re doing!

  15. Tameka says:

    Loved reading this. Great job. I am so proud of you. It is not easy…but you didn’t give up!

  16. Tameka says:

    Before even reading this blog…. I am hysterically laughing at the title (Forest Gump is one of my favorite movies…as Tom Hanks is one of my favorite actors.)

  17. Linda DeLaughter says:

    We’re so very proud of you, Juzzie!

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