At around 9 a.m. Saturday, I checked my phone and saw my daily email from the NK Patch. There it was, #4 – my challenge, from Editor Samantha Turner herself: “I'm still looking for people to join me in training for the NK5K with the YMCA's 'Couch to 5K' program. I'm looking for a few more people to do the training, run the race with me, and blog about it.”
Run a 5K, blog about it? Really? Hmmm…I may have something to share. I clicked for more information.
Like Samantha I am not much of a runner. Tried awhile back, I think it was the summer of 1983.
Seriously, I have always worked out and as of May 2011 was in pretty good shape. I was working out a few times a week; yoga, strength training, aerobics. I dropped 17 lbs and 2 sizes. But something weird started to happen during that summer. I was so tired, my body ached, it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning. I had muscle weakness, pain in my quads, night sweats, leg cramps, weird skin sensations, and the list goes on. But the symptoms would come and go and were probably from fatigue, job, stress, traveling, age, working out too much, not working out enough…right?
Fast forward to November 2011 when I couldn’t balance in yoga class and my hands lost strength. I started dropping things then my finger swelled up. Lyme Disease – late stage. I am blessed to have been diagnosed immediately. The treatment is antibiotics and supplements – plenty of them for a long, long time. My husband, son and friends rallied around me but the fatigue made the winter long and lonely. Most of my energy went to work; what was left put some sort of supper on the table. My weekends were spent catching up around the house, errands and napping. A lot of napping. No energy for time out with friends, my Bible study group or even a date with my husband. Working out was out of the question.
So why, 8 months later am I even considering running a 5K? A couple of months ago, I felt my energy increasing. I stopped needing a nap every Saturday and Sunday. I actually was looking forward to going to the gym. So I started back slowly, barely breaking a sweat. My Holy Grail was that someday I would do a 5K. Maybe in late fall or early winter. Maybe next spring. But in 48 days?
I’m neither a medical expert nor a Lyme expert. I only know what I read and what I am experiencing. I know that staying active, and not giving up has accelerated my progress. It is very easy to get dragged down by depression with any life-changing condition. I won’t go there; it’s too hard to come back up. I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends. I know that prayer has had a huge affect as well. It is only by God’s grace that not only do I get up in the morning and put in a full day’s work, but I also have the energy to even want to do this, let alone accomplish it.
I was listening to my I-Pod while working out today and heard a song by Nicole C. Mullen – “When I Call on Jesus”.
I'm so very ordinary
Nothing special on my own
I have never walked on water
I have never calmed a storm
Sometimes I'm hiding away form the madness around me
Like a child who's afraid of the dark
But when I call on Jesus
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles and soar
When I call on Jesus
Mountains are gonna fall
'Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call
I knew that this blog had to be about sharing my journey, giving glory to God who walks by my side every step of the way, and giving back to other Lyme patients. I want to be a source of encouragement and also to get encouragement from others. Today I went to the YMCA, signed up for the "Couch to 5K" training session and hit the cardio equipment. I pushed myself harder than I have in a long time and today completed 2.75 miles. Broke a pretty decent sweat too. It’s a lot different from pounding the pavement but it’s a start. I can’t wait for next Saturday.
It is now 5:30 pm and I’m a little tired. But that’s ok. The doubt is starting. The race is in 48 days; the 50 – 59 age group. Really? Seriously!? But this blog has to be about the highs and lows. I will probably have setbacks. I never know how I will react to my next round of meds. How will I feel if I can’t do this? I’ll walk the 1 mile, how’s that? But like Samantha, I am putting it out there. I’m telling everyone that I’m going to try. So this blog will hold me accountable and as Samantha said “If I get lazy, then you all can call me out on it. Savvy?” I’m challenging you to join us as well. I’m 53 with Lyme Disease…no excuses.
I hope you’ll follow my progress, share some tips and run alongside me on September 8.
Maria Cassaday, North Kingstown