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!
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.