Friday, August 30, 2013

The Moment I Became a Runner!

I hear it all the time "Oh, I run!" or "I'm a runner!"

My question is when did you become a runner?

At what point did you feel like you could label yourself as a runner?

I ask because I think I've had that feeling. I think I might be a runner.

My epiphany came after not running for a few days after having ran every other day for almost 3-months. Something was amiss. I just didn't feel right.

After lacing up again a few times a week I feel good again and whatever was amiss is no longer.

So....this is the moment a runner is born. Is this when I became a runner?


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Finding the Balance

Finding balance between who I am with CF and who I am as a whole is difficult. Its hard to separate the two. For me, I think its a journey worth exploring.

As a whole I have many likes, interests, hobbies, aspirations, achievements and more. As a person with CF I also have many likes, interests, aspirations, achievements and more. Sometimes, the two overlap and the lines are blurred.

The older I get I'm realizing that in order to be able to accept and heal from the things in-which CF takes from me or causes me to experience I must understand who I am as a whole. Understanding this difference can help me fear CF less. Separating the two will allow me to not be over dramatic about something CF is imposing because I know/understand it doesn't matter to myself as a whole. You know, sort of like, you never knew you wanted to color until someone took away the crayons.

If CF were cured who would I be?

Things I know for sure is that I would still be a.....daughter, sister, wife, auntie, a friend, a lover of books, a sitcom junkie, a foodnetwork fanatic, a pasta-eating-machine, a brunette whose hair is curly, a freckle-faced 31 year old with blue eyes, and soooo much more.

Things I'm not sure I would be if I didn't have CF........ compassionate, driven, overly sensitive, passionate about healthy eating and exercise, a Christian, afraid of death, fearful of what the future "might" not hold, an understanding that life is too short to be taken for granted, and lots of other tidbits.

Its just sort of a weird phenomenon. Of course, CF has shaped who I am and how I maneuver thru life. That would be silly to think otherwise. But what parts of me are the CF and what parts are just plan old me?

Am I driven to run because of CF or would the logical order of who I am cause me to run at this age?

Am I overly sensitive to those hurting around me or living in poverty because on some level I understand suffering because of the CF or is this just another aspect of the core me?

Am I a person who gets lost in a good book because of spending countless hours sick in bed because of CF or is this too just another part of the core me?

I don't know.

I don't know if I'll ever truly 100% know.

I have a hunch that when this life is over is when I'll know.

But I'll never stop exploring and trying to understand how CF has affected me and what parts are just me.

Maybe CF's influence isn't all bad or shouldn't be viewed in a negative light. I would venture to say some parts of having CF have made me a better person.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

In Other News

It might be hard to believe but I have a life outside of running. haha! Although some days it feels like its consuming me.

This summer has been great. B and I are on a Wednesday night bowling league that has been so much fun. Frustrating at times because I'm not that good but its a fun activity to break up the week with. We bowl three games each Wednesday night, which for me is just enough. Everyone on our team but me is making improvements, I seem to be very inconsistent but I don't take it very seriously either. I believe our team is in last place or second to last, but we're having fun!

In addition, we found time to cook together. I know I've mentioned that B likes to cooks a time or two but I just love it. Its nice to have another set of hands or another someone to make a meal if I'm feeling under-the-weather. We had made a plan before the CF Cycle for Life ride that we'd make fettucini the night before and then make ravioli for the night of. We started out assembling both the night before so that after the ride we didn't have to do anything but boil the ravioli. Here is our pasta making frenzy:

Dough Making:

One for fettucini and the other for ravioli:

Preparing dough: 

Cutting fettucini:

 Fettucini final product: Blackened Chicken Alfredo 

We make a pretty good team! The fettucini was sooo yummy. The bonus is that I can add my Duocal (fat soluble powder) to it for added calories which B just gets the normal fatty goodness that is Alfredo. I failed to capture the ravioli process on camera, but its just as easy. If you've never made your own pasta I highly recommend. We've been doing for almost a year and the pasta is just so much tastier. You can add whatever you'd like to the dough for added flavor without all the crappy stuff.

So, thus far the summer has been filled with good food, good friends and a lot of exercise. We have our 7 year wedding anniversary coming up in just a few short weeks and I'm planning a hot date in downtown Portland, shhhh!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Huckleberry 10K= ACHIEVED

I am so proud of myself. Going into this 10K training I knew it would be challenging and exhausting but I never gave up, even on the difficult days. I held myself accountable every step of the way and it feels sooo good to announce that I accomplished what I set out to do.

The Huckleberry 10K & Half Marathon was a beautiful route. The temperature was perfect; cool in the morning but slowly warmed up as the sun came up. The route was a paved surface which is what I had predominately trained on. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better set up and conditions.

As we stood at the start line waiting for the horn to blow announcing our start I had to swallow back tears. So many emotions ran thru me. Jubilation that I'm even able to "think" of taking on such a goal. Guilt for being this healthy while many of my friends have passed away or are in a serious battle for life. Sadness for my friends who have passed, that they didn't get a fair chance or the opportunity to breathe so deeply or simply run. I don't just run for myself but for those who can't or couldn't. I feel that I owe it to them to try and not waste my good health and in addition so that I don't look back when my health is failing wishing I had done it.

As we passed the start line we paid close attention to our pace. It's very easy to get caught up in the joy and energy of those around you and run to fast too soon. We wanted to keep a 10:30-11 minute mile, which we do a pretty darn good job regulating. As the first mile came and went we started to separate from the masses to settle into a comfortable pace. At the first water station we stopped to take our long-sleeve shirts off and sip some water. As mile 2 came I was excitedly thinking "nice, only 4 more to go" but in mile 3.5-4.5 its mostly all uphill. A gradual hill, which is almost worst than a quick steep hill, as it drags on and on and on. At a few points, I had to stop running and lundge up the hill so that I could catch my breath. I can't remember but we did stop for water another 2x, which we walked for about 30 seconds afterwards. The hill just kept going and going and my mother-in-law was second guessing if the route was accurate because our gps watches were telling us we were half-way yet we were still running away from the start and not towards. I told her that either way at the top I was turning around, I am not prepared to run farther than the 6.2 miles. Shortly, after we saw the turnaround point but we both were still a bit confused about the distance. At the last water station which was at the bottom of the hill the water-lady said we had one more mile and I was astonished because my garmin gps watch was telling me something different. We then began the climb of another yet shorter hill but on the backside I started to notice signs of the finish line. Here I was preparing myself for another mile roughly yet the finish line was just seconds away. For the record, the route was correct, they routed us a different way back that was shorted. I was amazed. I was feeling tired but overall pretty good.

As we came a-crossed the finish, Big Foot was there to celebrate our arrival. I gave him a high-five, got my finisher's metal and a water then as  I was walking off the emotions overflowed and I had a moment of ugly crying. Its still hard to reconcile that I actually did it. That at 31 years of age with Cystic Fibrosis I ran 6.2 miles in a very respectable timeframe.

My official time:

Things I've learned about myself:

1) When I truly put my heart and mind into something, the results are amazing.
2) My body might have some limitations but its still miraculous.
3) Having CF has been a blessing by which it forces me to act now and not take life for granted.
4) Nothing is impossible, cliche but true!
5) My inner strength is a force to be respected.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Exhaustion Is Setting In

All this training and working out is exhausting. Not just the act of working my body but the planning my days to incorporate the workouts. When I thought about preparing for a 10k I thought it would be great to do so during the summer. I figured it would force me to get outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. I am doing just that; enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, but I'm over the heat. The air is fabulous on my lungs, my spirit and makes me feel refreshed. The sunshine is giving me that sun-kissed glow and it brings out my freckles. But the heat. It's too much. I've adjusted my training schedule and life to allow me to get up and run between 5:30am- 6am. I'm an early riser but to be up, awake and ready to run is a different story. It makes for an extremely long day. I forgo my morning neb treatments until after I get back from my run just to save time and beat the sun. The entire thing is exhausting. I'm rethink attempting such a task during summer. Winter is looking mighty appealing.

We recently bought a portable A/C unit but with all my medical stuff and the dog kennels we can't fit it into our bedroom. It does work greatly in the guest room, so we've sort set up shop in there on the nights when it doesn't cool down enough to sleep comfortably. Flopping between two different beds is probably a contributing factor to my exhaustion.

While I'm exhausted I'm oddly simultaneously on cloud nine. I'm setting goals, achieving them and that feels great. Better than great; amazing. It makes heading to bed a 7:30pm and crawling out at 5am worth it. The sacrifice is so worth it. My overall health is better for it.

The behemoth task of incorporating a workout routine or training schedule feels overwhelmingly impossible and too consuming. Not gonna lie, there are days when it just feels like too much or that I'm pushing my body too hard, but pushing thru those feelings is what makes me feel like I'm actually making a difference in my health and progressing in my training. I've mentioned in my workout updates that I went into this knowing that I would be making adjustments along the way and that just because the schedule "says" I'm gonna run x-miles I might actually do something less than what's planned. I'm okay with that. As long as I do  something I know I'm not taking steps backwards.

My 10K is this Saturday and I'm taking Thursday and Friday off. No running. I will be stretching and walking the dogs. I'm eager to check this goal off and move on to the next. I keep joking that after the run Saturday I'm gonna sleep the rest of the day and Sunday too!!

The upside to this type of exhaustion is that its from getting my body in-shape not because I'm sick and my body is worn down from crudeness.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

35-miles all for CF Cycle for Life

Riding in the truck on the way home the reality of what I accomplished brought me to tears. At 31 years old, approximately 6 years from the average life expectancy I crossed the finished line of a 35-mile bike ride to benefit and fund more life saving advancements in CF. I did it!! No one pulled me, carried me or helped me a-crossed (with the exception of moral support and words of encouragement) the finish but me, myself and my pure determination to not let CF win.

We cycled around Henry Hagg Lake and thru two towns; Forest Grove and Gaston. The company B works for Cascadian Landscapers, Inc supported the team and my ride. I was the ONLY rider with CF and dubbed the Ride Ambassador.

Team Cascadian Landscapers, Inc!

The weather was perfect. Not too hot not too cold. We shared laughs along way, struggled up a few hills as a group and ended the day by eating while having a glass of wine on the lawn, that is after I laid like a dead person to regroup myself. Good greif!

The ride itself was for the most part easier then the previous time I rode in Cycle for Life. There were a few good size hills, which were mostly around the lake and the rest were rolling hills. During the first 18 miles had a few what-the-heck-am-I-doing thoughts but felt good overall. However, the last 10-miles or so were excruciatingly long. I thought we would NEVER get to the finish.

Since we rode with my hubby's side of the family (sister, mother and father in-laws) they all would "check in" to see how I was holding up. Towards the end, last 2 miles or so, we could physically see the winery where the finish line was and I seriously felt like giving up. I was tired, my legs were rubbery, I was having a very difficult time keeping my breathing rhythmic and I was just plan done. Those last two miles felt like eternity. The worst part was the finish was just at the top of a hill. A huge hill.

But we did. I did. I'm so proud of us ALL. I'm so thankful for those in my life who support me and push me to reach new heights and not let this disease dictate what I can and can't do. I rode for all those who are struggling, those who have lost the battle and for those who gaining new strength every day.

What a ride!

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