Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The gift of Running the Distance

My mind is swimming in a sea of to do lists. I really should write it all down but instead, I choose to work my memory muscles. Writing blog posts has taken a back seat in my life but I miss it, so here I am, at almost 2am, diving into my word therapy. I'm in the final countdown of the biggest race of my life. I am going to have to start prioritizing tasks. It is simply not going to all get done before I head out of town, in a week, to run the Graveyard 100 Miler.

I feel my chronic fatigue settling in during the afternoon and then I get a second wind by the midnight hour. I recently found out that this is common for people living with Lyme Disease. It is almost as if my brain gets rewired by the stillness of the house and the decluttering of my mind from the chaos of my afternoons/evenings, taking care of rugrats and a furry baby. My sleep patterns drive me crazy but I'm not sure I will ever be a morning person. I am envious of my runner friends who can get up at 5:30am and knock out 5 miles to start their day. My body is not functioning on most days until after 8am. Running is usually welcomed after lunchtime.

The miracle is that I manage to get up for every race, exhausted from not sleeping, and to have the courage to start running towards the finish line, while fueled by adrenaline. The more I think about what I do and how I push myself to do it, I realize this running thing is all about training my mind. This is how I know I will finish my first 100 Miler. My body may be in pain but it will not stop me because my mind will ignore it. I may be hungry or thirsty but instead, I will focus on the next step, that will take me to the next mile marker. I will work through temperature issues when I am too hot or too cold and will withstand the discomfort until I can get to the next 20 mile marker aid station to grab whatever I need, from my drop bag. I will push myself with true grit and guts and fight like a girl to get to that finish line. Finishing is not a maybe for me, it is a reality. I've already imagined celebrating my victory and cherishing a prized belt buckle for finishing the most difficult race of my life, nevertheless, running 100 miles uncrewed = no planned human support along the route.

I am afraid but yet, I am not afraid to try. Running has taught me that you can do the impossible if you don't let your fear stop you. Running the distance takes courage, the acceptance that you might fail but more importantly, visualizing your success. When one imagines crossing the finish line so many times, a magical thing happens and somehow your mind takes over your body and through relentless forward motion, you find yourself accomplishing your goal. You must be a leader and go with your heart and not listen to the naysayers who may mean well but really don't have a clue how you got to be in this sweet spot in your life. A spot that I could have only dreamed of until that day I decided to make my fitness dreams a reality. It was a personal decision to want more out of life, to do more, to stop living in my safety bubble, to go outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to push myself where the doctors had told me that I would never go. I wish those doctors that saw me on crutches almost 19 years ago could see me now.

I am running to give hope to those bedridden from Lyme Disease, to those that are feeling hopeless, like their life is over, wondering if this is the end? I was once upon a time there too, in the thickness of the black cloud, wondering if this was it? My life had a huge gap in it but at the time, I was too tired and suffering from too much pain, to make things happen differently. I just wanted one night of rest without having to turn and toss and then struggle with moving my legs in the morning. I have shared my battle with Lyme Disease with many but those that truly understand what I have been through, are the ones who are also fighting this horrible, debilitating, invisible illness, that sucks every ounce of life out of you. The waterworks have begun as I write this. My predication is coming true how my words would become a therapy session, as I remember my life before Running the Distance.

During these last six months, I have been immersed in the world of chronic Lyme Disease. I have taken several courses of antibiotics that have given me temporary relief and experimented with acupuncture which I am finding to be helpful but unfortunately, it is not a cure. I'm learning to accept my disease as it is and grab a hold of the good days and run, soaking every ounce of goodness, out of each moment. I know that I am one of the lucky ones, battling Lyme Disease, who has escaped a life of chronic pain. 

For I have been given the gift of RUNNING the Distance and I am choosing to give back to the Lyme Disease Community by creating awareness by running and fundraising to find a cure. I never want to go back to that black cloud period in my life. It was one of the most hopeless times I've ever experienced. 

I want to encourage others to get up and push through the pain and get moving, releasing the toxins that have invaded their body. I am firm believer that exercise/running is my natural antibiotic against this debilitating disease. Nevertheless, I want to help raise money to find a CURE for those suffering from Chronic/Lyme Disease. It is time for the CDC to wake up and recognize Chronic Lyme Disease as a REAL ILLNESS that has attacked over 300,000 individuals in the United States.

 Can you please join me in helping in the fight against Lyme Disease? Upon request, I will dedicate mile(s) of my race for a Lyme Disease Warrior.
  •  Stella and Dot Fundraiser: 30% of your purchase will go to the National Capital Lyme Disease Association to help find a cure for this debilitating disease. Shop on-line, through 2/28, using this link. 
  • Local Fundraiser at Dogfish Head Alehouse: Tuesday, March 25th, 12pm-11:30pm
13041 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy, Fairfax, VA 22033  (Greenbriar shopping center)               
*20% of total sales will be donated to the National Capital Lyme Disease Association;
 Just Show Up - No flyer or mention needed!  
**I'm still looking for business sponsors for prizes for a silent auction ** And I'm also looking for an acoustic band to play that evening!**
 To read more about my Lyme Disease story:
  •  Swirlgear "Swirl Sister of the Week" FEB 17, 2014 

Please share this post ~ It would be so appreciated! Thank you for your support, positive vibes and cyber cheers!
Peace, Love and Happy Running, 

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