The view is pretty from inside my house, but I'm glad I wasn't dealing with this garbage yesterday. I would have bailed.
Quick catch-up leading up to race day: had been running pretty consistently, worked back up to 6 miles, had to go off Enbrel for a month prior to race because of outpatient surgery (nothing RA-related, everything is fine), was 99% healed from surgery by race day. However, my hands and wrists have been awful, I was feeling the effects of no meds for a month, had rheum appointment last week and was switched to Cimzia because the Enbrel wasn't cutting it. First injection happened Thursday night (thank you, Sean, I was a hot mess and couldn't do it). A little nausea that night, nothing I couldn't handle. Saturday brought an exhaustion like nothing I've ever experienced, and I have no idea why. I doubt side effects would happen 36 hours later. Spent most of the day out cold in bed, and I think the last time that happened I was in my 20s. I woke up Sunday morning (race day!) tired, stiff, and not knowing if I could go or not. My very protective husband tried to talk me into just going with him and trying to run 6 miles on the treadmill in our warm gym. I made a deal with myself that I would get dressed for the race, eat, and if I still didn't feel like I could go, I would go to the gym instead. I got in my car and went. Lori-1, RA-0.
It's been bitter cold here in Pennsylvania, and this temp in the parking lot seemed almost warm:
Yes, my dashboard is that dusty. I'm going to take a second to make a quick RA PSA. I know a lot of people hate the cold. I know it makes a lot of people miserable. But it is very different for some of us. True cold intolerance is awful, and it can make functioning extremely difficult. No matter what I do, I can't get warm, or even remotely comfortable. I wear a base layer of Under Armour Cold Gear almost all of the time, and I often wear thin gloves inside my house. I know I'm driving Sean crazy by constantly bumping the heat up to 74, but he's a good sport and never says anything. So, I still can't believe that I signed up for and showed up at a February race. Lori-2, RA-0.
Once there, I actually got out of my warm car and picked up my bib and shirt. Then I went back to my warm car to wait for the race to start. Lori-3, RA-0.
Shout out to our local running club, The Lehigh Valley Road Runners. Their races are fantastic: affordable, not big bells and whistles affairs, but great courses, great food, great swag. That's a Saucony long-sleeved tech shirt. I just wish I had gotten a medium instead of a small because the sleeves will be short on my monkey arms. But considering the race fee was only $27.50, and a portion of that went to a charity, I think it's a bargain. A bonus is that the Lehigh Valley is home to the Runner's World Headquarters, so there are some seriously fast, seriously seasoned runners and race directors who often help plan the local races.
Last pic before I got out of the car and went to the starting line. Lori-4, RA-0. Those who show up to races tired, sore, and achy are allowed to be generous with scoring. Now you all know that. I'm thinking I should contact Under Armour. Hat and shirt here. I could be a spokesperson.
The race itself was really hilly, but I managed to run the whole time and finish it. Those were my two primary goals. My secondary goal was to hold about a 10 min/mile pace. CHECK. It's a big difference from a few short years ago when I was running anywhere between 8:00-8:30 regularly, but I can honestly say I really don't care anymore. Gratitude for physical health works wonders for mental health. Three more points for me. Lori-7, RA-0.
Now, I'm going to take a minute to talk about Liz, and embarrass the stink out of her when she reads this.
She was one of my first friends I met when we moved to the area 7 years ago. I remember our first conversation. She asked if I happened to have an extra snack because she forgot her son's for that day's soccer camp. We started chatting, and I learned she was a triathlete and a trainer. We've been through a lot together, both athletically and personally. Everyone who knows her knows she is an amazing athlete. Everyone who knows her well knows she is an incredibly giving person. I've talked about her in this post and this post. She's also the council director of our local Girls on the Run chapter, a fantastic non-profit that helps turn young girls into runners. Check it out, they do incredible work.
She's in the middle of training for a spring marathon, and just finished a 17 mile long run on Saturday. She was scheduled to do 8 on Sunday, and was running the race as part of that. She is fast enough that she would have probably won her age group, and she definitely would have gotten one of the extra gifts they give to the first 50 male and female finishers. But, she so very kindly ran with me (not even her very fast husband!), because she totally knew I needed her. Thanks, Buddy. XOXO
Yesterday, February 2, was also Rheumatoid Awareness Day, led by the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. So, it was great that yesterday's race was the first opportunity I had to wear my Racing for a Cure shirt. I joined the team this past month. It is one of the fundraising arms of the Arthritis National Research Foundation, a four-star rated charity by Charity Navigator. I love that I can contribute in a way that is meaningful to me. I have set up my own fundraising page, and I will start actively seeking donations when I register for a half-marathon.
Now that the Superbowl 10K is done, I feel like I can seriously start hoping and training for a spring half. But here is the current frustration I am having...emails like this:
I get it, race directors want to fill races. And I also get that it will sell out. But I'm getting irritated by having to commit to races months and months in advance when the fact is that anything can happen to any runner at any time. It's just hard when you're managing a chronic illness because you know that the probability of something happening for you is greater than that of the average runner. For example, yesterday's race is one of the most popular in our area, and when I signed up in November I had no idea that I would have a totally unexpected procedure and have to go off Enbrel for so long. I won't go into details, but it involved general anesthesia and ended up being a bigger deal than we expected it to be. I guess that's the risk every runner assumes, though, when they hand over an entry fee. I just wish I could wait until closer to the date of the race. So, I'll train, but wait until the last possible moment to register!
Thanks for reading!