Training for the NK5K has been an interesting journey. The decision to start training was absolutely empowering! I felt strong and in control. I wanted to feel normal again; not a patient with a chronic disease. But, in life there’s always a balance to maintain and the reality is I am healing; I am feeling better; I am empowered to define myself in positive ways; I do have Lyme Disease.
I pushed myself and kept up with the training. My legs were getting stronger and the exercise really helped relieve the pain I had in my quads and sciatic nerve. About a week ago I just slid downhill. I was doing okay initially, but once I really pushed my training to a more intense level I starting feeling awful.
Turns out all this running is killing off my Lyme. Exercise raises body temperature and increases oxygenation causing a die-off of the organism. That's a good thing except when Lyme spirochetes die off they release toxins, lots and lots of toxins and cause what is called a Herxheimer reaction (or Herx for short; named for the doctor who discovered it, of course.) It occurs when the toxins are released faster than the body can clean them out, producing an inflammatory response. It's a side effect of antibiotics, too. Patients feel much worse before feeling better on Lyme treatment. Symptoms include insomnia and the related fatigue, headaches, brain fog, anxiety, muscle pain, etc., etc. This Herx lasted about a week and I am finally starting to feel better.
So, that said, I won't be running this race. I was really disappointed and depressed but I realize that I can't train at this level and work full time and be here for my family. What a bummer!
I want to thank everyone for all of the encouragement and support. I have heard that I inspired a few people to get moving and I hope you all continue. I'll run a 5K eventually, but this time I’ll be the one walking in purple sneakers with crazy orange laces. See you on September 8.