Running with Lyme in the Heat

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 26-06-2010-05-2008

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Thank you to Martha Hall

for much needed inspiration and comic relief. She writes: Quite simply the best Sister Mary Louis(e)? song ever. We have been running Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday….. what have I done? (and she sent me a link to the Clash singing “Police on my Back” below)

This week has been a particularly hard week for me. Temperatures have been in the 80Fs for most of the week and weekend. I’ve been trying to stick to Hal Higdon’s intermediate spring training as much as possible before I start his 18 week marathon training (this will officially start for me and Martha July 5, 2010). Last weekend, I first started to notice some joint pain in my shoulders, hips and knees. I started to have that “Flower’s for Algernon” felling;  that I had gone from making a fantastic recovery from a long battle with Lyme to slipping backwards into it again. The only difference seemed to be that this time around, my right knee wasn’t swollen! Sunday my left arm was acting up. This was the first arm that I could not raise over my head during the illness (the second arm followed suit a couple weeks later.). The panic buttons started to go off.

Thank goodness for the miracle of social media and twitter. Via contacting several people who also have Lyme, I found out that symptoms can be far worse during times when the barometric pressure fluxuates greatly and the temperature goes up. Many people have now told me that their joints get inflamed and sore. I’ve been in touch with Bart Yasso, another marathon runner who has Lyme disease,  to ask him about this. Though he personally has not experienced this, he was able to share with me the fact that his right leg and right arm lose sensation if he doesn’t keep moving.  I was beginning to feel hopeless about running in the heat until things seemed to pass around Thursday of this week. Less soreness, no pain in my shoulder and little pain in my hips.

Today’s run was the best all week. A nice 7 miler that had me smiling throughtout though the temps were in the high 70s. I had very, very little pain in my hips and was just so happy to be out there! Possibly Lyme has made it much harder for me to acclimatize myself to higher temperatures, but it hasn’t put the kaboosh on my running the way I felt it had at the beginning of the week.

So, in the words of the Clash as reiterated by Martha, “we have been running
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday…..” and let’s hope we can make it to the New York Marathon November 7, 2010 without this warmer weather slowing us down!

Guest Blog by Martha Hall

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 20-06-2010-05-2008

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Martha Hall and I attended the same  private school together years ago. Oddly enough, during that time we were in the same Latin class, and oddly enough, that teacher’s favourite example to give of some sort of conjugation of the verb “to run” was, “and he was running and running and running and he never stopped running…” (and if I paid more attention all those years ago, I’d probably know what the verb was… but for whatever reason, this was her favourite phrase).

^ Martha and I just ran the Doc’s Tavern 3 Miler together June 6, 2010. Here we are at the start of the race.

I’m a true believer that when you ask the universe for something the universe will respond and if you really, really need what your asking for the universe will supply it. What I desperately needed in March of this year was someone crazy enough to take on the challenge of training for and running the NYC Marathon with me. Via the wonders of Facebook, Martha and I were able to connect again all these years later, and low and behold, turns out Martha is a marathon veteran AND just crazy enough to subject her body yet again to all the rigors of training for and running a marathon. So, Martha and I are in this marathon lark together now. She’s my support from afar (though we will be tackling all long runs together), and I’m humbled that she is so willing to help me out in this way, for there are days that without her support and reading her running log, that I might stumble and give up. Martha has been there for me since March, encouraging me and telling me that I can do this, that the only barrier to achieving this goal is in my head, and that I have the mental strength to overcome that barrier. I can’t thank Martha enough!

Below is her guest blog about her run Friday, June 18, 2010:

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I ran a 9.2 loop around the Charles yesterday at 3:30 pm and 6 miles into Harvard Square and back to my home at about 10:00 this morning. In both cases, it was well into the high 80’s. High 80’s and low 90’s describes the weather for about half my long runs last summer. The other half were in torrential rain. When running with Team in Training, I regularly went from MIT, across the Charles and followed the Green Line from the BU area to Heartbreak Hill itself. I ran out into suburban Newton and up that gradual hill both sweating profusely and squishing in shoes I had never imagined could hold so much water. I remember one 14 mile run in 95-degree weather. I had to drive to Maine afterwards and the fact that you’re supposed to run slower in the heat was irritating me (I didn’t have time to run more slowly!), along with the sweating and unstoppable sun. I had done all the right prep: visor, shorts and sleeveless dri-fit, water belt, ya da ya da. Plus, the most amazing part of Team in Training is that random 20-something volunteers get up each Saturday and drive to water and Gummi bear stops along the route, just to wait for us to come panting up to them and in what seems dire need of water. All in all, it was the best possible scenario for 95-degree heat and I was even accompanied by a woman who ran my 9.30 pace on long runs.

But, still, I was mightily cranky and fighting with my environment every step of the way. About mile 9, after the grumpy voice in my head got louder and louder, it occurred to me how much more unpleasant I had chosen to make my experience. It was just heat and discomfort after all. It was not death and destruction, no one was going to be hurt and I would be done in 45 minutes. Moreover, I was someone in great health with many choices: I wasn’t running toward anything that was eluding me or from anything that was threatening me. I was fortunate enough to have the most tedious task in my life be the occasional bad run. It finally dawned on me that what my yoga teachers and countless others have been saying for years (and centuries) was actually and observably true: Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.

Martha Hall finishing the Doc's Tavern 3 Miler race, June 6, 2010^ Martha finishing the Doc’s Tavern 3 Miler race, June 6, 2010.

I ran the Dublin Marathon in late October of last year. We had a 55-degree sunny day (perfect) andI finished at 4:35. This was 20 minutes slower than I had hoped and anticipated based on my 16, 18 and 20 mile run times. Nevertheless, I was happy with my first marathoning experience. Remembering that I had the good fortune to put myself in the situation I was resenting did at least, make me laugh many, many times during the race. I can’t even say I had “pain” at any time during the race, although the last 2 miles were quite a challenge.

I know there are many, many people in our world (and among our running subculture created on this blog- Thanks Ange!) who have no choice but to suffer. They are oppressed by internal and external forces, they are sick, sad or experiencing profound loss. I am fortunate not to be in their shoes. Nevertheless, I have learned a lot, quite literally, in my own Nike Bowermans. Running in general, and running a marathon, in particular, is an incredible teacher. Running reminds me in an immediate way that I have many, many choices about how I choose to witness myself in a challenging situation than I readily realize. Running is a moving meditation and has taught me how to suffer only when I really choose to. So, get out and run in that heat!

All weather runner

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-06-2010-05-2008

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I just found this on twitter and it kind of sums up yesterday’s run:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  -John Bingham / via @irunnerblog

So why was yesterday’s run any different from any other day’s run – the weather. I know, I know, I’ve been told so many times now that I have to run in all weather and I sort of have. I’ve run in light snow in January, extreme heat in August, severe wind a month ago, drizzle a week ago, but yesterday, it was downpour! Had I known this before I left my office, I might not have run, so it was just as well I didn’t check the weather before leaving (though I wore my running top as it had been foggy and cold in the morning).

Now, the only thing that really made this run hard, though, was the lack of other runners out there (and the fact I ran my 6 miles alone as I was late joining the group of hard core runners I would normally run with on Tue & Thur!) I don’t really mind running alone, or being soaking wet,  but the combination of the two brought about a feeling of lonliness that was kind of hard on the soul. On any sunny day, this particular run’s route would have me passing upwards of 20+ runners. Yesterday I only passed 6 runners; 6 crazy, deranged and highly motivated and commited runners like myself. So kudos to us and to all who run in all sorts of weather because they have the commitment and desire to do so. It’s not that we finished our runs, but that we got out there and did it in the first place!

Photo above: one soaked but happy Lymerunner who actually needs a better rain-proof  running top.

Keeping Motivated

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-06-2010-05-2008

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Like all runners, there are just days when I’m tired and my legs feel like cement. On those days, it’s hard to keep motivated to get out and do a long run. I know once I’m out there running, it will all be okay, but it’s getting out there that is sometimes the challenging part. But It think I’ve come up with a way to stay m motivated and get out there.

For me, it’s always easier to run if I think about someone else. I’ve met so many people with Lyme disease who may never be able to run as I am now able to. When I think of them and others who are trying to recover their health, it makes it easy for me to get up off my duff and get out there. So, here’s what I do: every day I run I go to my Facebook account and dedicate a run to one of my FB friends. I tell them what distance I’m running, sometimes elaborate on the weather conditions, and usually have a fond memory to share with them. Then when I’m out running, I can think of think of my friend and the memories and the run becomes a piece of cake!

Marathon Training Academy gives Lymerunner a shout out!

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 13-06-2010-05-2008

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It’s hard slog doing all this running! There are days, like today, when my legs feel like cement, it’s raining, and finding motivation to get out there and do what I have to do is kind of hard. Searching around for the right inspiration and motivation, I discovered a very, very cool podcast and a very cool site. Marathon Training Academy has now become my online mentor and guru! Angie Spenser updates the podcast, website and Facebook Fan pages with lots and lots of great information for marathon runners of all abilities. In episode 13,
Dealing with Running Mishaps, Lymerunner gets a shout out 4 minutes into the podcast. Have a listen below, and many, many thanks to Angie Spenser and the Marathon Training Academy!