I have a few autoimmune diseases. And I am a runner. Not just a runner, an ultra runner. That means I willingly run more than a marathon distance (26.1 miles). Autoimmunity is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. This gets in the way of my training and race plans. Currently, there isn’t a cure for as many as 80 different autoimmune diseases. So, medication is prescribed, special diets are adhered to, supplements are taken, meditation is advised, essential oils are applied, and we are willing to try just about anything to feel like our normal selves. Some of these have worked for me, and some have not. But I keep trying to feel better, just like chasing that elusive runner’s high. You keep running even on the bad days, because you want that perfect run, the one where every step feels effortless and you can go on forever! I keep trying different treatments and keep on hoping. You have to have hope. Just like in depression, I have come very close to utter hopelessness, but there was still a tiny spark.
People with autoimmune diseases have to learn how to pace themselves. Just like in a race, you can’t just start full speed ahead, you’ll burn out long before the finish line. The longer the race, the more important pacing strategy is. So I have been carefully pacing my life. I can’t make too many commitments, I can’t stay up past 9:00, I need a nap during the day, etc. It’s that whole Spoon Therory.
I have had a series of bad days (months) but I am finding myself with a bit of hope! I saw a new Rheumatologist a month ago and started a new medication. I am feeling better than I have felt in so long! I even spent an hour on Ultrasignup yesterday because I feel like I can RUN again! (Pace yourself, Kirsten!) I’ve been “training” for a 50K in October, but unable to put in the miles and really thought I wouldn’t run it because I just haven’t felt good. How am I going to run 31 miles feeling like crap? Today, I actually signed up! I am going to run The Palo Duro Trail Run! Even if it’s not the race I want (beat last year’s time), I will know that it almost didn’t happen, that I almost gave up. I will get out there and run what I am capable of at that time. I will be thankful for the day, for the moment. I will not take running for granted. And I will pace myself accordingly.