Growing my spoon allotment.

Hello friends! We are half way through the week, so that is always good news! Some scary news: I signed up for my first cyclocross race! Oh my gosh… Really nervous. Bowie and I will both be racing on October 15th, and then I travel to Des Moines to run a half on Sunday. Bad timing? I don’t know.

Last night I had another great yoga class with Jennifer. I have really started to look forward to this class and I really do want to start making sure I hit it twice a week instead of once. My goal last night was to be able to sit down with my legs folded under me, with my butt hitting the balls of my feet again. Before class, every muscle felt like it was on fire while I tried to settle onto my feet. (Much like if you try to force yourself into the splits… my quads / knees were burning). I know this sounds like a trival thing to focus my energies on… But really. All the tightness and inflammation happened in my muscles due to autoimmune stuff… the pain of trying to sit on my feet is like a symbol of the battle I am fighting. And if I am able to sit, I will have overcome that. If only even for a day.

By the end of class, I was able to make my butt touch my feet if I really pressed hard. Gravity alone would not make it happen. (So I know at my class tonight, I will be focusing on this again).

There actually were a few great articles published this week about Lupus and Yoga. While I have not seen a specific study on lupus and yoga, the benefits of yoga can really help those with autoimmune, or really any chronic disease. Reducing inflammation, stress, fatigue, back pain, digestion, etc. It is all good stuff. And of course, yoga poses can be modified depending on the abilities and needs of the yogi. (Use a yoga block, use a chair, it is all good stuff). Note: I am not a medical professional, but just a yoga enthusiast who has autoimmune disease.

That said…

After yoga, I headed home for my run. At the start of my run, I could tell my legs were not cooperating. I pushed myself 2 miles and decided it was enough of that. I needed to move to something that was not such a struggle… So I hit the bike trainer and did the Wednesday workout. (So tonight I will run after yoga class to make it up).

I really can’t be too sad about not running. I still go an hour of yoga, a 2 mile run and a 10 mile bike in. For me, it really is balancing everything out and figuring out what I can do within my own limitations. And those limitations vary each day. (Some days you get more spoons, some days you get less spoons. And I am really trying to be satisfied with the spoons I have right now). not familiar with Spoon Theory? Go here.

 

Making my feet like a baby.

Yesterday was International Peace Day! How fitting for my yoga practice yesterday. We worked on shoulders and back quite a bit. We also opened up with some foot-stretching poses. Yikes. That really is my most difficult thing. My feet / Achilles has no flex in them right now. I struggle sometimes to flex my toes up off the ground. (When it gets really bad, I have to penguin waddle my way up steep hills on the trail). I will be researching a bit today on how I can improve my flexibility and start incorporating some new exercises into my daily routine. (I am hoping for things I can do at my desk. I don’t have a lot of time for additional “work out” sessions!)

It really hits me sometimes. There are so many things that I used to take for granted. My feet being able to flex is certainly one of them. So many poses in yoga, and everyday life really, require you to be able to flex your foot or point your toes. Hopefully it is something that I can improve if I work at it. I don’t like thinking that autoimmune will forever rob me of certain abilities.

(I am totally open for exercise / rehab suggestions for my feet / Achilles.)

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After I got home from yoga, I debated on run or bike. I had a sharp pain happening in my lower back (more like in my right glute), so I decided bike would be the only option I could pull off. I swapped into shorts and hit the trainer for a quick 30-minute ride.

After my bike ride, I tried out something called “Baby img_0543Foot.” Baby Foot are these little plastic booties that are filled with, basically, chemical peel ingredients. You slap on the booties for an hour and then rinse… After a week, the skin on the bottom of your feet should have peeled off completely, revealing brand new baby soft feet. I was worried at first that I would get a horrible chemical burn, but I didn’t feel any stinging or burning at all. It didn’t feel like anything, so I am actually wondering if anything will happen! I should start to notice peeling after 3 days, so I will keep you posted!

weird brick combos.

I am keeping my eyes on the sky and hoping for no rain as I have a women’s cyclocross clinic tonight. I am very excited, but really nervous! I will report back tomorrow with how it goes!

Yesterday was another muggy hot day in Kansas. I went to yoga where we worked on balance. Lots of poses that required us to stand on one leg and bend / contort / be crazy. I am actually fairly good at balance, I think from ice hockey since it requires you to focus on putting all your weight onto one skate while doing skills drills. (Been a long time since I have played, but I think the balancing stuff stays with you).

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It was a rough practice for me as some of the thinking and reflection we did mentioned self-love. And I am not really great at being nice to myself and saying nice things to myself. I will leave it at that and promise to work on that in the future.

When I got home, I changed into running clothes and got some sweaty laimg_0198ps in at the Baker U campus. Had I thought to take water with me, I would have kept going. I was really in the zone and was feeling really good about how I was moving. (Again… I keep forgetting my handheld.) It was really dark out but since campus is well lit, I didn’t bring a headlamp. I did try out wearing a buff on my head, which felt kind of strange at first. It did a great job keeping sweat out of my eyes, but maybe wasn’t the most flattering fashion choice. (I will always chose to keep sweat out of my eyes over looking  cute though. Stingy burning eyes are just miserable).

 

So 60 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes of running for me. Weirdest briimg_0196ck ever? Maybe. But it felt good and it worked for me.

 

I have had some questions on how I am coming along since I started my mega-doses of iron in July. I don’t know that I feel any better. It is hard to say. I am always tired, but some days more or less tired than others. So days I am less tired, I work out. Days I am more tired, I do something less stressful on my body or take a rest day. I am hoping that my iron labs are looking better. (I get my results back on Tuesday). Then they should have a new plan of action for getting me back to running hard.

 

Setting an intention.

I haven’t posted for a bit because I took some time off from training. I felt awful last week… my allergies were over the top, and the medicine my co-worker suggested made me feel worse. Once I realized I was having a bad reaction, I stopped using it and gradually felt better. So I missed my triathlon on Saturday. Which is a bummer. (But honestly, when I saw the bright green lake water at packet pick-up, it made me nervous. Many athletes reported yucky muddy water after the event. So that might not be a future event for me.)

This week, I am trying to get my body moving again. Monday, I had an appointment with a new doctor. He is re-doing all my labs to see where I am at, and also get a baseline so that he can help me. He seems pretty dedicated in getting me going again. I also got a tetanus shot.

Tuesday, I woke up with a sore, swollen arm. Ahhhhh tetanus shot. I went to yoga anyway and had a really good practice. My arm was super sore but I am hoping all that stretching helped.

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Do I look glowy and zen-like?

At yoga, the instructor has a topic for each practice. We set an intention at the beginning of our practice, which is a goal or intent for the session. (I usually decide to focus on calming myself and relaxing for my intention). At the end of practice, she usually reads a phrase which has a theme for use to think about the rest of the day. Yesterday she talked about love and compassion. That is something I do try to practice in my daily life, but I think we all could use a good reminder to try to do this more often.

When I got home from yoga, I changed into running clothes so that I could get my run in before I could talk myself out of it. I was in such a hurry to get out of the door that I forgot my handheld. This was a big mistake since it was 87% humidity and hot out. I ran the hill route out to the lake and it felt like running in a hot, sw
eaty armpit. (There is a great visual!) I made it all the way to the lake before Steven met me with a bottle of water. I cut my run short and called it good after 4 miles.

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Such a rookie mistake. Never forget your hydration!

 

 

 

 

So many things.

I sort of fell off the radar at the end of the week. Let’s catch up!

Wednesday I had yoga class again. I guess I am hooked. I am still not doing the advanced poses, and my broken left finger means I have to do some modifications… but I am getting a really good sweat on. (And my legs feel so much more loose.) I am sticking with it.

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Thursday was the pre-release of Suicide Squad! I took a rest day and hit the Alamo Drafthouse to get my Harley Quinn on.

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Saturday I attended an open water swim clinic in the morning and got in 800 meters or so with the coach of Trifecta Multisport Coaching. I am really looking forward to more of his coaching sessions. In this session, I worked on getting my elbows bent and high!

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Saturday afternoon we took the boys for a picnic and playground fun at Lone Star, where I had swam earlier. It was so pretty and I just knew my boys would love it there. They had a great time and want to take their swimming trunks next time.

Saturday night I grabbed my cross-bike and dragged Steven out of the house for a gravel ride. Lots of washboard on the first couple miles, but had a good ride after that. (A little fast pedaling as I had to flee from 3 border coliies who may or may not have wanted to eat me.) We made it out to my favorite road sign and turned around and went back the same way. Next time I will ride down that road! I have been itching to do that for a month now!

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Sunday I had a long run planned, but the hours were ticking by, and I was not feeling any better. In the evening, I forced myself to get dressed for a run. I really sat on the bed for a bit crying because I was just exhausted. I did make it out the door and got in a mile before I wanted to curl into a little ball on the street. My legs and arms had no energy in them. They were just so fatigued that I barely made it back home. I was stumbling around a bit, so Steven helped me back inside. Not good. Next time I won’t try to push myself so hard.

So autoimmune won on Sunday. It is hard to keep going, for sure. I still have really hard days. I mean, no day is ever “easy” for me now. But I find myself less exhausted than I was before. Either I am getting better or I am learning how to adapt to being tired. I am hoping the former is true.

For the last month, I have been on a heavy dose of iron to address my extremely low ferritin levels. (I will do a post on that once I have my next round of testing… that will tell me whether I am absorbing the iron like I should). But, much research (and many of my endurance sports friends) point to my low iron levels as being a big factor in my fatigue the last year. My iron level last spring was super low, but I was not treated. It was my persistence in researching and advocating for myself that the rheumatologist checked my iron and confirmed my suspicions. (Always always always  get a copy of your labs and don’t be afraid to Google and ask questions!)

I try to post positive things about “tomorrow being a whole new day.” But trust me. I am bummed. There are times I want to give up. I cry. I get angry. I am jealous of my friends who get to do the things I want to do.

I just keep telling myself that I will be ME again. That really is all I can do.

Getting my om on.

So.. about yoga.

Yesterday I went to my second yoga class. I liked it so much the first class that I put a new yoga mat on my birthday list – and my husband bought the one I wanted! (I went with a pink LuLuLemon one since I have read good reviews and just really like their apparel!)

I had to modify some of the poses since my left index finger is still sore. (I guess it takes more than a week for a broken bone to feel better. Whodathunkit). Still, I got super sweaty and felt like I was working really hard.

I am really hoping my flexibility comes back. I have lost so much of it running and is somewhat frustrating to feel like I am struggling to do simply stretches. I plan to keep at it and try to make yoga class twice a week.  I figure I need all the stretching I can get!

I am soliciting some feedback on yoga gear! I would love to get advice on what clothing and gear is cool and fun. Very interested in fashion-forward clothes especially. I have checked out some neat pants with laces / bows on the sides that look pretty cool. Please send me yo’ links! I will do a round-up link soon with your suggestions!

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When I got home, Steven had to go search the basement for my trainer tire that he just took off my tri-bike for my race last month. (Sorry dear. Oh, and I have a tri on the 27th, so I will need the real tire swapped back out soon!)

I did an hour of pedal-pedal-pedal-power while watching McFarland, USA. Really. I have seen that movie a million times and it never gets old. (That’s not DANNY  DIAZ!!) I love it so much.

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I am back to yoga tonight! I am hooked!

A mantra on my wrist.

Yay I am back! I have been training, as always… just haven’t been diligent about checking in. My bad.

Yesterday I finally made it to a yoga class. Many of my friends have been riding the yoga train for some time now. (It seems like they practically go every day!) I kept saying I needed to go, but just hadn’t put on my brave pants to do so.  Alas, I finally packed my gym bag with yoga and running gear with the intent of going to yoga and then hitting Clinton for a trail run after. And then it rained all day. With hail. Nice.

I realized I forgot my yoga mat, so I hit TJ Maxx on my way to class and bought a pretty robin’s egg blue mat. While I was there, I also got new yoga pants and this fun tank top. I kind of love it.

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How cute is this tank?

Then I was off to yoga! So, yes. It was challenging. I was working hard. I am not anywhere as flexible as I once was. I hated that my heels weren’t firmly planted on the floor for down-dog. I didn’t like that I was wobbling a bit for warrior. BUT!!! By the end of the night, my heels were on the floor (just barely). And that encouraged me enough to promise to come back!

Also, my legs feel really good today. All that stretching did me some good. So I am on the yoga train.

When I got home, I set up the fan in front of my trainer and watched Kill Bill while I pedaled. As I have mentioned before, I am not a fan of the trainer. I am not a fan of the treadmill either. I ran in sub-zero temps over the winter to avoid it.

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The trainer is not a good time.

So… I am always up for tips to make the trainer (and treadmill) suck less. I actually got a comment on Instagram to try a playlist instead of a movie. I will give that a try. (If anyone has a Spotify playlist to share, I am up for suggestions!)

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Love.

Finally. I really love this bracelet I ordered from Momentum. (It is custom, so I had to order it on their Etsy shop). I am not selling them, I don’t make any commission, nothing like that. I just like the bracelets so I thought I would share a picture. (And… for those unfamiliar with “HTFU,” please see Rule 5 here.)