Lost Control & Mental Health 

In the last few months, I’ve had many changes, some for the good and honestly most out of my control.

Fast forward to the now. In the last 2 months I’ve been hospitalized (taken by ambulance), seen doctors, new specialists, been to the hospital for testing, had my food choices taken away and entered a whole new unknown. Which I’ve embraced head on as you’ll see. 

This is not a pity party, because no one should ever pity me or feel sorry for me. I’ve taken every set back and totally made the best of it.  Found the positive, because whether you believe it or not there is always a positive in a storm or road block.

I am not a control freak by any means, but I live for a structure (which I am sure 98% of us do) and planning. Please don’t get me wrong I am all for last minute road trips, changing plans and just doing random things at a drop of a hat. But I am totally a planner or like to have control over some of the things going on, so with the last few weeks it has mentally been a struggle.

Becoming a forced plant based eater on such short notice has been completely overwhelming. I’m a repeat eater, I don’t go too far off my “regular” foods, meal prep and mix things up. I’m not creative, I don’t need to be, as I am a repeat eater. I’m that country kid where all I need is a meat and a veggie. When your options are striped from you, that is mentally tough right there. I didn’t become a plant eater because I am against everything to do with animals etc. I did it because talking to my specialists it was decided we are taking me back to the bare minimum for food for my anaphylaxis. So I’ve mentally struggled with new foods to eat that are not meat, dairy, soy and rice.

BUT I am trying, it’s reading labels for a totally different reason, it’s going to learn that I soak something for how long and why. It’s a new learning curve and I’ve embraced it head on, because that is what a strong person does. This is for me, learning and hopefully finding an answer for my anaphylaxis. I’m thankful to every person who sent me messages, whether it be a movie to watch, a book to read or information on where to find some cool recipes and mostly I’m thankful for those who have supported me.

Now added in that dangerous poisonous insect bit I got on my body with a crazy infection, I haven’t been able to work out, run or do anything but heal. This has been hard on my mental health with everything. I’ve been struggling a lot lately.

With being on the bench from running, considering I have a plan, something that in all of my life’s chaos it was permanent, set in stone and can’t change or bend, it was controlled. It was something I knew had to be done on the days coached and I agreed to. Even if I missed one day I knew I could make it up in that week of training. My plan was designed for me.

Running is not my “alone” time or a time I use to think, mostly I am thinking of random things I see along the run, or just singing to myself. I don’t use running to escape anything.

Running is the one thing I can control in amidst of everything right now in my life. I follow the plan, I am in control. Right now the rest of my life is not in any control and I’m struggling.

Running I am in control, I pick and choose the time I am going out for my run. People who know me know that I am a robot, but lately I’m not a robot. I’m all over the place, taking what is being tossed at me, falling back on this mountain I am climbing. Everyone has a different reason as to why they run, besides the important factor its excellent for our health, but my reason as I said it was one of the last thing I can control right now in my life and always been able to control.

I can’t control when my body rebels, or if I get a bit from some bug, or my veins in my leg act up, I can’t control any of that. Having this marathon training schedule set in black and white, I can control this.

So you add all this up and you have a mental health upset. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. Yes I just admitted it again, so let’s end the stigma while we are at it. There is no shame in this. This is me.

When I get overwhelmed which I have been for the past 3 weeks, I have a 1000 thoughts running through my head, I get anxious when control is gone, when I don’t know what to do, when I feel like I need to know it and try to plan. Add in worry and it’s a perfect cocktail for a bad mental health day. Which are ok to have, but you don’t stay down. I work my way out of them and continue on. The sun always rises and will always set. So I work with what works best with me and I get through those tough days.

But when I look back over the last few weeks I lost the last thing I could control, maybe losing this control is a life lesson and afterwards I’ll be able to be thankful for the lesson, but right now I am still confused, but I know that I will be able to run soon again, the infection is clearing. I will be able to control and plan and have something in each day that I controlled. 

I am learning better ways to cope with my anxiety and my panic attacks. I’m learning how to talk through them, not to be alone when I am down and also acknowledge I do need alone time to be me, and just settle.

Running right now in my life will be the only control I have, this makes me stronger as I haven’t given up, when things go bad, when my body rebels etc.

I am climbing this mountain to show my body, that it can’t beat me, mentally and physically. To show others your journey is worth it, never give up, that you just find a way around road blocks in your path, and you will climb your own mountain in the speed you’re meant to climb it at.


I’ll be back running it’s just a matter of time, I will be back in control again of something and feel a relief. I will be back on my marathon training plan, making up lost kms, following the plan, having fun while at it, smiling and knowing come October, this marathon will not beat me, I will finish. Because this journey is too important not to love and be successful.

I want to thank everyone again for their support, checking in with me, your friendships are golden to me. I’ve had bad mental health moments and sometimes you folks pop in just at the right time. Again there is no shame in admitting you have a mental health issue, the stigma needs to end. We are humans. 

🍍

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W5 and W6 = Blur or Epic Fail

I started my week 5 off on a good start. I was on track to make up missed kms from when I was in anaphylaxis and in hospital. So I was feeling good. I ran Monday (6km)



Tuesday (7km) and Wednesday (6km)


I was feeling amazing, proud of myself for running 3 days in a row. I was becoming more confident in myself for running. Thursday I took a rest day. Friday I was unable to run, as I had to do a commute (which took an additional 4 hours). 

During this week Koren learned that after multiple tests and doctors visits she would be sidelined with an injury in her ankle/foot, and is off running for 4-6 weeks. It was a blow as I losing my long run, running partner. 

The long run we had scheduled at the end of week 5, we did thinking and Koren was going to either bike or roller-blade beside me, keep me company and support me. Sunday was an epic fail. My asthma was off the charts and uncontrollable. I can run through most things but I can’t run through wheezing, short breath and sever lung pain, so I played it smart and bowed out of my long run to go back into the AC and recover. 

I told myself week 6 will change and everything will be on track. 

‪On Monday/Tuesday of ‬week 6 (this past week) I had a meeting with my specialist. I had a discussion with them over more testing, further options, more information. After it was all said and done, we decided on doing some changes with my food, to bring it back to basic. So I am now eating a vegan life style, well more plant based as I’m still consuming honey. 


This to be quite honest has been a difficult change, as I was just tossed into it. I haven’t really had time to wrap my head around it, where most people take the time to do research, study recipes and options before making the full leap. I went cold turkey and started on Tuesday. So not being consumed in this life style is all meats, dairy, all soy products and no rice. I know I’ll eventually figure this out.

Sooo let’s take a moment and go back to about 2 weeks ago, I went to the lake to visit friends. I got some good mosquitoes bites. I had one that was basically on the back of my upper leg, that I just figured was a more meaty area for them to bit. It started out the size of a pea and over the last 2 weeks has continually grow into this really red ugly, raised rash that was larger than my hand. I also started to feel worse as each day passed. I was achy, my bones hurt and I felt like I was getting the flu, which was not leaving me. I had zero energy, it was an effort to crawl out of bed in the morning. I was needing extra coffee during the day to stay awake. But I literally thought it was that “summer flu”.

On Thursday I had a doctors appointment, so I brought it to my doctors attention that I had this rash that was itchy and wasn’t going away. She took one look and went into “doctor mode”, and was draining the rash site and telling me that the infection was in my whole body, as I had a fever and other issues upon further testing. So I was given a beyond heavy duty medication to treat a blood and bone infection, if the spot is not cleared up by Monday, I need to go back in for a heavier medication, which will most likely be an IV treatment. 


So to sum up the last two weeks, I haven’t felt like running. I haven’t felt like doing any cross training, just walking a flight of stairs had(s) me ready for a nap. My body is tired. Which is ok, its fighting an infection. 

I can say with all this, when I told my friends, they have been amazing, good sense of humours and mostly kept checking in on me, showing concern, yelling like mother’s. Sometimes you need to find humour in siutations that want to make you cry. 

For 4 weeks, my body has been broken, hospitlized and on a treatment plan and everything else. 

I haven’t ran for 11 days and that is ok. The sun still rose in the morning and set in the evenings. Its all ok. 

Do I have guilt for not running? Maybe

Do I have sadness over everything? At times

Do I think this will change my marathon time and outcome? HELL NO

Set backs happen whether minor, big or just a small hiccup. This doesn’t change anything. 

My determination is wild and I’m driven to be back on track, back on targert. I will continue on this marathon journey. 

My body may want to continue to fight me, but I’m stronger. 

🍍

Week 4-Part 2 – Marathon Training

Well, I’m going to be honest; I didn’t run at all this week. My plan was there, my mind was ready but my body didn’t work. This time around the treatment they gave me knocked me down and kept me down. My body rebelled.

I talked to my doctors. I listened to my body. Mostly I didn’t trust my body to behave, from being dizzy, swelling and everything in between I decided I couldn’t risk it, a run was not worth me falling or passing out. To be honest I didn’t even leave the house until yesterday. This was my Friday night views..
So the remainder of this week I focused on making a better plan. I spent a lot of time researching foods and being creative with what I can eat right now. 

So today it was “meal prep” day.


I’ve made my breakfasts – egg cups. My lunches are planned for each day and are ready to be grabbed from the fridge. My snacks are measured, made into appropriate portions and again are ready to grab and go. I’ve made protein balls and super health sugar free banana protein muffins as well.

My dinners are made. Each day I have something different but healthy and clean. I will be having fish, chicken and pork (yup I eat pork).


I have everything ready to go. No excuses and no standing in the kitchen wondering.

So week 5 I have goals. First, I’m hoping the side effects are all gone and sleep will come back to me. 

I’m going to be adding extra runs. Making up runs and eating right. I’m going to aim for 5 runs this week including my long this weekend which Koren and I will do together. 

Yes this is a set back but it’s not going to change the outcome of this marathon. I will finish. 

Life happens and my body is an original so I have to protect it. I could be angry I’m behind but I’m not. I am going to focus on the positive in making this week count. Making up for lost kms. 

Bring on week 5! 

3 Year Anniversary – Sorta


Today I have an anniversary of sorts; it was 3 years ago today I was admitted to the hospital for being in anaphylactic shock. 

I waited over 36 hours before seeking medical help because I didn’t think anything was wrong or basically I didn’t know what was wrong and just assumed it was nothing. 

I’ve been on a journey these past 3 years with many more anaphylaxis attacks; ambulance rides and stays in the hospital and numerous treatment tries. As well as being tested for everything imaginable including working with doctors in the US. (OHIP cut backs)


Most of you don’t realize that I live daily in a state of anaphylaxis. Somedays my meds work; other days I have to decide if I’m “gone too far” and need 911. There are days I struggle. There are days I’m fed up and over all “this shit” as I always say. There are moments when I get a wee bit of fear in me that I’ve waited too long for my epi and my airway is closing fast. 

I’m thankful for the team of specialists who will not give up on me and this invisible illness. Who work with me to continue to live a “normal” life and let me run and follow my dreams. 

Today I celebrate being alive. 

#ThisIsMe #IdiopathicAnaphylaxis #FaceItDaily #DontWearMyShoes #ThankfulDaily #LiveLife #MeVsMe #IDontGiveUp

Week 4 – Pt 1 of Marathon Training 

Well so far this week is being summed up as life truly does happen and we can’t control everything. 

For those of you who don’t know (or haven’t followed the journey from the start), besides having severe asthma I have idiopathic Anaphylaxis. Which means I’m in anaphylactic shock daily. Somedays my meds just don’t work and this was the case on Monday. I went into full blown anaphylaxis (closed airway, tight chest, hives, swollen etc), so I got a fancy ride in an ambulance with lights and all to the hospital. 


After treatment and I was given the ok to leave the hospital, I did manage to ask the doctor when can I continue my marathon training plan for the week, I’m pretty sure his eye roll said it all. If you don’t ask you don’t know was my motto, but he just didn’t know me. This was not my first rodeo with this. I don’t sit back. 

I came home on a heavy duty treatment plan which I get every possible side effect; insomnia (yes I haven’t slept in days), sweats, burning skin, swollen skin and joints that feel broken and so on. 

So I’ve sat today looking at my marathon training plan, seeing what I’ve missed this week and mostly trying not to be sad. 

I was on such a roll and beyond proud of myself for the full commitment and then my body decided to fight me. This body likes to think it can beat me. But little does it know I’m stronger then this challenge. I’m stronger mentally. 

So I’m listening to my body and with it being Thursday I’ve used most of my energy to go up and down stairs and walk around. I know tomorrow is a new day and one day closer to being finished the treatment plan and adjusting back to being in the new routine. 

Nothing in life is craved in stone; we are like rivers, streams, constantly are flowing, changing directions and adjusting to hurdles in the way. That’s what this week is about accepting and adjusting. 

Until then I’m going to stare at my runners, my clothes, hydration pack, dream and set new goals. 

I still have three days left in week 4 of the marathon training plan. I’m pretty sure I’ll be on the pavement before the end of it. 

My body is not going to fully win this round, when I have determination in my blood.

Stay tuned for part 2 of week 4!
 

W3 – Marathon Training

I started this week out more concerned over the upcoming doctors appointments. My main focus going into the week above the medical aside was my food, changing the fuelling up and trying to figure out the proper balance for myself.  

Tuesday I was at the hospital meeting a new specialist who will be working with my asthma doctor. I completed a series of tests and came away with another medication to use before I do any exercise. Hopefully this helps with keeping airways open. Needless to say it wasn’t a fun day.

Wednesday I had another appointment to get some answers from the popping sound and pain in my chest and my legs. So the end verdict on my ribs is the intercostal muscles are moving, inflamed and angry, so they are moving my ribs (I have previous broken ribs & chest bone), which is causing me the pain. So I have a treatment and a game plan. Mostly remember to listen to my body and the pain. Now on to my legs and hip, I’ll be needing surgery and have been referred on to a specialist. Nothing crazy but serious enough. I have a plan; doctors recommendation and always remember to listen to my body. 

So with all this news I had to re adjust to a new normal

My runs this week I added kms to the runs just to try and make up missed kms. The humidity spiked this week so it was difficult to run outside. On Thursdays run I went out and did the loop, it wasn’t my fastest time but I look at it the 8km were done and completed. 

The long run was moved again this week to Saturday. Scheduled was 14.5km. We decided to do the waterfront trail, just to make it fun, with a bit of water and trees for coverage. 


Once we got going we realized we missed judged the starting point to get all the kms in, so yes at one point I was that fool making up kms in a parking lot. 

This run was a mix of good hills and flat all mixed in with repeats. It was good a workout.


Koren and I had fun again on this long run, last week we named the run “picking daisy” and this week it was all about the dance party. Koren forgot her headset so we ran with the music playing. So it was a dance party. 

​You have to be able to run and train all while keeping it happy. Who cares what others think. Have fun and be you. 


This run we kept a good pace for the first 8kms and from there it went downhill quickly. We both became hungry. I felt pain. I forgot my asthma medicine (don’t ask). I was hurting. But! I was ok with the slower finish because we still finished! 

Learning to listen to your body and realize you are not failing the plan or yourself is an adjustment. Knowing that I’m being smart and sensible because this goal is the goal of 2017, that makes me ok with everything. It makes me realize I’m a strong person. 

So again this week it’s almost like a reset button on last weeks goal. I’m going to figure out my nutrition, learning the new normal, listening to both doctors and following plans. 

So bring on week 4 with some changes and mostly me working on the other side of running. 

Marathon Training -W2

Well I was excited to start week 2 because I was happy I got through and committed myself to week 1. Dedication is hard when the goal is months away. 

After my long run on week 1, I experienced pains in my chest that were not “heart attack pains”. It felt like ribs had moved or something. I sought out some advice on if I should run, see a doctor or rest. I have broken a few ribs including my chest bone in the past. So with losing weight and losing the added protection around my intercostal muscles I need to see a doctor to be cleared (make sure that my ribs are moving, popping out when I try to sleep). 

So this week I knew my body was going to be the guide. When the pain hits running I stop. Again I’m not going to be a hero. This is a dream that is going to happen. 

On Tuesday I was scheduled to run 7k. I started out on the treadmill and just made it to 5k. I pushed myself and was happy. 

I was scheduled for my cross training / intervals on Wed and I knew there was no way I could do any of that without the pain, which comes and goes depending on how I bend, move. So I crossed it off the plan and added the words “make up” beside it.

Thursday I was scheduled again for 7km. The humidity spiked and I was not going outside. So I was in the treadmill, with AC and fans pointing at me. Again I only made it to 5k. I did learn I cannot have a conversation with a 5yr old while running on a treadmill. Those why questions become too much! 

So at this point I have 4kms I want to make up because I feel it will continue to make me stronger. 

We moved our long run to Saturday because Koren came for a visit. So we spent our Canada Day morning running the Trans Canada Trail just outside of Peterborough. We decided to run this trail as there are no lights or cars to worry about, just snakes! Which we saw zero this time!!!!

We started out strong, even with the intense heat burst we went through. It was cloudy and there was a small breeze which helped. 


The plan was for a 10.5k run. I said to Koren let’s just see what we can do. We kept it up strong until about the 7k mark just when my chest was done. I had to slow up and eventually ended up walking back. 


To me I still am considering this a successful training run because: 1. I listened to my body. 2. We completed 10.5k 3. I didn’t care about the time. 

I knew going into this training program and making this commitment to myself that not every run is going to be pretty, full of rainbows, sunshine, there are going to be ugly ones that just make you wish you were finished, or full of mental battles. 

So my focus for week 3 is nutrition. Most of you are all unaware I have food restrictions and can not consume a lot of “normal” foods. No this is not because of “diet” but because it’s health related. 

I need to learn this week protein before and after a run. How to fuel my body in advance better and afterwards. What carbs might actually work for me that my body will accept. 

My running times have me out running longer than most, so I need to factor in my runs are longer and I need more fuel so my legs don’t feel like cement filled cinder blocks holding me back. 

So bring on week 3: 

Doctor’s appointment to get medically cleared and to make sure nothing is wrong; 

3 runs; and hopefully intervals and cross training. 

And learning nutrition for me. 

Week 1 – Done (marathon training)

So… week 1 is done, checked marked off. 

I was scheduled to run an easy 5k on Wednesday which I had a first. I ran my first ever 5k without stopping. This is huge to me and such a victory all on its own. It was just me and a back country road. Small steps lead to big steps. #MeVsMe


My next scheduled run was for Friday, which I’ll admit life happened and I didn’t get it in. I did however walk well over 5k around Toronto (avoided transit). I knew it was an error on my part for not getting out when I got home, but I know sometimes life creeps up on us. Plans change. 

Today (Sunday) was the scheduled “long run”. Koren visited for some Summer weekend fun (bonfire, sunsets and smores), so this AM (Sunday) we got up to go out for our 7.5k run. 

The sun was out, we were out with nature and off running. It was an easy path with some little hills. 


I had a few things I normally do that I didn’t today (Sunday); I didn’t run with my hydration pack. I ran with everything in a belt around my waist (which doesn’t fit everything) and water bottle in hand. I was completely fine for the 5k with this set up but not for this distance. I think I need my pack for longer runs. It’s way more comfortable and offers me easier access for my puffer. 

Today (Sunday) I also had another first…. a side stitch that all these people talk about. This was an experience. I said to Koren “is this a heart attack?”. I could barely breathe and I was bent over in pain. It was not fun.

So, I didn’t tell Koren but our 7.5k was actually 8k from where we parked the car to entrance to road we ran on. So it sort of helped a wee bit with missing the Friday run. 


My legs felt good, I was not pooped afterwards. I truly believe my body is adjusting to this running and this frequently, with such longer distances. 

The one thing that as my kms increase u have to accept I don’t get pizza. The rule always was after any “run” I’d get pizza or a slice but not anymore. Now my reward is food to refuel my body properly (but I still think pizza is proper). 

Marathon training is just not running but also food and mental.  

So let’s see how week 2 pans out. Stay tuned. 

#MyJourney #BackOfThePack

Marathon Training 

Well I knew this was going to roll around sooner than later. I had a beyond lengthy discussion with my run coach on Tuesday. He and I discussed so many different logistics, including my health to just about what I’ll eat daily or mostly on days of long training runs. 

Most important for summer training; listen to my body. Listen to my asthma. Don’t be a hero.  

I have the schedule. I have the days written in my agenda, it’s real now. I’m going to do this. 


Today is day 1 of week 1. 

I’ll be posting more as weeks go on, more so to keep myself accountable. 

I thought a lot today while being crazy busy about the start of this journey. I realized my first 5k of this plan is (was) done on the longest day of the year, but mostly today is a new season. It seems fitting. 

Last year I set a goal to do a half marathon. I accomplished that in October. Since the start of 2017 I’ve ran 4 half marathons and 2 10ks. I could of worked on my half marathon time and kept getting better times but I figured I needed a tougher goal. I needed to prove to myself this back of the pack runner can do a full. I can do the challenge. I can win and beat my body and mind. I’ll be a marathoner. 

So stay tuned for this journey it’s going to be epic, an adventure and mostly me probably grumbling but the finish will be worth it.

This is my journey. It’s #MeVsMe