Thank you for hanging out with me! From day to day you never know what life will throw at you. And it will often be this way in my blog as well :) But lest RUN WILD and LIVE FREE in this amazing adventure together!
I meant to sit down earlier this week and do a blog post but the week got away from me!
Many people have asked me over the past three years how I got started in running. The first answer is because I show German Shorthaired Pointers. One day I was at a show and was winded showing my one male. He is a big fast mover. So I decided something HAD to change as I did not like feeing so out of shape. So I started the C25K program (Couch to 5K). Growing up and through my whole life I have always hated running. Heck I will be honest, I still hate it many times while I am out doing it! Running doesn’t come easily for me. But I ran my first 5K race in August 2013 and was hooked. That excitement of crossing the finish line is so rewarding! It is one of those things that you can’t even put into words.
Over the last 3 years I have ran several 5K races, two Warrior Dash races, a handful of 10Ks and 2 Half Marathons. I no longer run because I don’t want to be out of breath showing my German Shorthaired Pointers. Through this 3 year journey (so far!) I have changed to being a person who runs because I CAN! So many people cannot run for one reason or another. But I CAN! My mom had lung cancer when I first started to run as well. I remember when I was breathing so hard doing my runs and races at that time that I would often look at my lung cancer awareness bracelet that I wore and just think about how she is fighting such a huge battle with chemo and radiation and I never hear her complain. She is a person who is an avid biker and swimmer along with loves to walk her dogs. But during her lung cancer battle these were things that were very hard or not possible to do. So as I would run and be out of breath I would be so thankful for the ability to run. I would wish I could give my ability to run and be active to her in those moments so she could also continue to do the things she loved. By the power of prayer and God’s amazing hand in our lives my mom is cancer free now and is back to doing those things she loves! Many times now when my legs are screaming from being tired I also think of my mother in law who battles MS type symptoms (though she does not have MS) and often uses a cane or wheelchair to get around, how she probably wishes many days that she could do what I am doing or even walk with more stability. I am thankful for the pain because of my ability to run.
Another reason I run is it make me feel strong. I have been able to push my body way beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of being able to do in training for my two half marathons. I am no fast, and I do a lot of run/walk through those longer miles. But I have learned that it is not the speed you run but the fact that you are out there doing it. Pushing yourself past limits you never through possible. Learning to love the person you are and the body you have. Realizing that we all have stories and inner struggles we are dealing with. It is so rewarding seeing so many other runners out on a race course and wondering what their story is. What their struggle is and why they are out there.
Running is also a great time for me to just let go. To not “think” all the time and to just be. Be in the moment, in my surroundings, in God’s creation and marveling in the little things. I once read something about how much “stuff” people miss driving places. That when you run, walk or bike you really see so much more and such little details. This has really proven to be true. Amazing water views with the sun over head in our home town in Michigan. Bald eagles both in the fall and young ones not even colored out yet in the spring. Families being active together on the local roads and trails I run. People fishing, snakes slithering on the side of the road, fox crossing the trail in front of you. Counting with my son how many squirrels we see (our record is 20 in 2 miles by the way). These are all such little things that would go un noticed if I didn’t run! I have really fallen in love with where I live through running. Yes there are also times I hate it LOL.
I do not have a runners body. But with the AIH that I have running has helped me to love the body I have. Love the changes that take place because of the medications. Even though I ache a lot when I first get up and moving I am so proud of the fact that I still get out there and I run. I put one foot in front of the other and push myself to the limits. What confidence running has given me.
So in other words my answer to the question of why do I run is not a short one! It is complex, it is long and it is personal. But the journey that running has taken me on is one I wouldn’t trade for the world! And I can now show my dogs without feeling winded! Goal 1 accomplished! I would highly encourage anyone, no matter your shape and size, no matter your physical or mental or personal hardships; get out there and move! I would encourage running but if you are not there yet, walk or bike. Take your time; don’t judge yourself on your pace or those around you. Take in your surroundings, explore bike trails and parks you have never been to and start to fall in love with yourself and the amazing wonders God has given us in nature and in our own amazing and detailed bodies! As always feel free to drop me a line or email if I can be of any help with this or other areas too!
I will leave you with a quote I love about running:
“Running….It’s about the sweat in your hair and the blisters on your feet. It’s the frozen spit on your chin and the nausea in your gut. It’s about throbbing calved and cramps at midnight that are strong enough to wake the dead. It’s about getting out the door and running when the rest of the world is only dreaming about having the passion that you need to live each and every day with. It’s about being on a lonely road and running like a champion even when there’s not a single soul in sigh to cheer you on. Running is all about having the desire to train and persevere until every fiber in your legs, mind and heart is turned to steel. And when you’ve finally forged hard enough, you will become the best running you can be. And that’s all you can ask for.”
My chosen verse for today: I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as the mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move. Nothing would be impossible. Matthew 17:20
There is so much I want to share on my blog with all of you. But I have decided to make my next post just something that has been on my mind/heart.
There has been so much heartache and heartbreak in our nation and world in such a small amount of time lately. As a society and even as individuals we can sit and point fingers and place blame. We can say things like “black lives matter” and “all lives matter” which is all fine and good. I don’t see anything wrong with any of this.
My heart just breaks for the families of all these victims. How have we gotten to the point that someone might feel the answer is to take the life of one who is out there trying to protect us (police officers)?
One thing that has been on my mind is that even though we have “terrorists” in many forms, and those who feel taking the lives of others is ok there are families behind those people. There are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers etc. that are also grieving the loss and decisions their family members are making. Being a mother, no matter what decision my son makes in his life, I will ALWAYS LOVE my son. My heart will always break if something bad happens to him, or if he makes a bad decision. But it will never change my love for him. As a parent I would not support the bad decision that was made but will always support the child I raised.
I say this because I feel as a society we need to open our minds and hearts to those families who are both grieving the loss of their loved ones that are the police officers, innocent lives lost in France, bikers that were hit in Kalamazoo, MI or the lives lost in a daily basis on the streets of America through many difference circumstances. But we also need to open our minds and hearts to the families who are also grieving and dealing with the negative decisions their loved ones have made that led to these losses and the losses that they are enduring of their loved ones because of the consequences of these poor decisions. There are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and families on both sides of all these incidents that have happened that are heart broken and grieving. We cannot, we should not, place blame on the families of the ones who were the shooters, bombers, drivers that caused these incidents to happen. These families need our support just as our police officers and their families need our support, just as the victims of these terrible tragedies need our support.
YES I want to see justice happen in these situations. But I also want to see heeling across our nation. And I think that one of the first steps to doing that is to open our hearts to all the victims across the board in these situations. Families have been forever changed in all aspects. It is so easy to blame and be mad at the ones who did the shootings/caused the death of others. But it is so often forgotten that they have loved ones that are torn apart as well. Let’s start a change and embrace those who are grieving and broken no matter the reason!
There is a reason all of this is happening. What it is we may not ever know til the end times. But I fully believe God has a grand plan in place. This may not be a “good enough” reason for some, and I understand that, but maybe it is to have us open our hearts, homes and lives to those who are grieving on both ends of the spectrum. Maybe it is to have us ask ourselves “How can I make a difference?” Maybe it is none of these. And believe me; I understand being angry with God through this and struggling with what is going on. I believe God understands that too. I believe he weeps with us as well. But I also think about all the “least of these” that God helped and came for.
Mathew 25:40: “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Thank you for taking the time to visit my page and get to now me, my journey and my desire to raise awareness to the disease of AIH along with the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly struggles of Auto Immune diseases. Beyond those struggles I hope to show the light and amazing wonder in the every day. I do not come here to look for sympathy but to hopefully inspire others through my journey. To be a listening ear and shoulder for someone to cry on if needed through their struggles whether they be the same or different than mine.
In 2001 I was diagnosed with AIH (Auto Immune Hepatitis). AIH is a chronic disease that the immune system attacks my liver as it doesn't feel it should be there. Just like if someone were to get an organ transplant. I was very sick before diagnosis. My LFTs (liver function tests) were extremely high. To treat this condition I was put on a very high dosage of prednisone (a steroid) and have been on prednisone since. Taking prednisone has been the biggest struggle of this journey. The side effects from prednisone includes weight gain, retained water, extreme hunger and in the long term thinning skin and bruising.
Currently I have been able to start tapering back down on my prednisone which has helped me be able to bring some of my weight down (still higher than I would like but this is something I have learned to be "OK" with). I have also noticed that my skin is not as thin and I am not bruising as easily. But due to the long term time I have been on prednisone one side effect of tapering is joint pain. I feel this mostly in my feet and ankles. And this may never go away. Because of this, if I sit too long, it is hard to get moving and is pretty painful. Sometimes I will loose balance as well. I have decided to start training our one male German Shorthaired Pointer to be my service dog to help me in these times.
BUT beyond all these struggles there is so much good! I consider my struggles to be small. There are so many people with much more difficult struggles in their lives. I am blessed to have an amazing husband (married in 2004), an amazing son (Adopted from Guatemala), and incredible family, fun and amazing pets, awesome friends and a home. I took up running in 2013 as well and have been able to complete any 5k, Warrior Dash and 2 half marathons! These are things I never thought I would be able to do. We have an amazing breeding program with our dogs and have been able to go on such awesome adventures and meet some incredible people because of this.
One thing that I have really learned with running is to really enjoy the journey. When we drive places we miss so much of the wonder of our amazing world and the people around us. Running is hard! And many times I want to quit. But the amazing journey it has taken me on has helped me to see the wonder in everything around me and the awe in what our bodies are capable of. These things prove to me that there is a GOD. There is no way that the way the world and us as people are put together are an accident or part of a "big bang" or evolution. We are blessed!
I will leave you today with my favorite verse: Isaiah 40:31
"But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."