Mission accomplished!

For the fourth year in a row I signed up to participate in Vårruset–a 5K race for women every year in May–together with 5 of my rheumatic friends. We always sign up together as a group as we then receive a picnic basket to enjoy after the race.

For the first time in 4 years we actually had fantastic weather all evening long. Previous years we’ve had clouds, wind, rain and even freezing cold. To be able to walk the race in short sleeves was amazing! To not mention actually taking time to enjoy the picnic afterwards.

For two years now I’ve had major issues with my hip but with the help from my physical therapist in addition to cortisone shots when the pain/inflammation as been to severe I’ve managed to have it more or less under control. During the past 2 weeks I’ve walked longer distances (two times just over 4K and once 5K) in order to prepare for the race and have not had any major issues with the hip. My wish for the race was to be able to be under the one hour mark and I’m very proud to say that I did manage to accomplish it! 😃

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Runkeeper stats

Towards the end of the race I started to get an intense pain in my hip plus problems with my left foot. I did not slow down though because I was focused on getting to the finish line “in time”. I also had a friend walking with me so I was able ignore the pain pretty good while talking to her.

On my way home after the race the pain got worse and when I got off the bus around 5 minutes from home I could not walk anymore due to the pain. Luckily my hubby was there and walked home and came back with the car to pick me up. I had a hard time fall asleep but after awhile I guess the painkillers finally kicked in as I did manage to sleep around midnight.

I’m still in pain this morning so I guess pain killers will be my best friend today. I’m hoping to be back to normal pretty soon. When I’ve walked these distances the past weeks I’ve not gotten issues with my hip but I haven’t pushed myself for a specific time then instead I’ve always walked slower in order to actually manage to reach the distance I wanted to accomplish.

I’m also extremely happy to have managed to participate in the race considering my fatigue. As its always lots of music and noise during a race I did bring ear plugs but never used them.

Considering everything with the hip and fatigue I’m so proud of myself for participating yesterday! Major accomplishment and maybe a good sign that I’m on track of getting better.

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Good pain

I’ve followed my training plan and exercised by doing power walks every other day for the past 1,5 months now and it’s going great. Currently I’m doing 4k every second day except once a week when it’s “interval day”. In the beginning I walked 1k in around 13 minutes, now I’m down to 11.  🙂 At the end of October I shall complete a 5k walk. Can you imagine how good my race in May would have been if I had done the training plan before then! 😉

This week it was finally time to meet with the PT I signed up with in August. I’ve eagerly anticipated this appointment which has been delayed due to my eye infection among other things. So, three days ago I packed my bag and went to the gym, Fitness 24 Seven. First time ever I’ve been to a gym. I’m not convinced yet… the locker rooms were terrible. Seriously, don’t people care about how they leave a place!? I felt like walking away before I even had changed into my training clothes, but as I’ve paid for 3 times with the PT I got to go to this particular gym (they have plenty of other gyms in other locations). And the bath rooms! Yuck…

We decided that to start with he would give me exercises I could do at home and in a month or so I’ll see him again and he shows me things to do at the gym. So, he showed me the different exercises (pelvic lifts, squats, push ups, crunches, etc) and how to make them correctly. Some of them were harder to do than others and push ups he had to come up with an alternative for as my wrists couldn’t take it. A very good 45 minute appointment overall.

It was not until later in the evening I noticed the soreness in my muscles. Obviously I knew it was going to arrive as I’ve not done any type of training since… ages ago… some never. During the night it got worse, as soon as I moved I felt a bad muscle pain in my stomach area. I did not sleep well that night… I’m still having soreness, second night was bad as well but as long as I’m up walking it’s no big deal. I have to say though the soreness in the stomach muscles is the worst soreness I’ve ever experienced.

The good thing with sore muscles though, compared to joint pain, is that it doesn’t hurt when you’re standing/sitting/laying still. It’s just when you move. Also, it’s a good pain because I’ve been doing something good for my health and not because my illness flares. I’m hoping I’ll have more muscle soreness and less joint pain this Fall! 🙂

Dressed for success

I’ve decided it’s time to get my health on track. At least the part of my health that I can do something about and control on my own. I’m sick of having to eat my daily cortisone pills and as soon as I try to lower the dosage my joints react immediately.  I need to get stronger, in particularly in my knees and feet. I want to be able to vacuum under the bed. I want to be able to wear my favorite shoes (at least to parties) again. I want to be able to go geocaching in places without having to think about how my knees or feet will react.

My illness is mostly under control. I have a few bumps on the road every now and then but for the most part nothing major. I’m able to live almost as I did before I got this illness 4 years ago. I’ve learned to accept the fact that some days I might wake up feeling crappy. I’ve still not learned that those crappy days affect my mood and I can turn into a nasty little devil, but I guess I will learn to control the bad beast some day too. 😉

So, what to do? I figure that in order to get rid of the cortisone I need my body to be stronger and healthier. To be able to achieve this means two things… 1) I need to start exercise regularly and 2) eat better so I can loose weight. Weight loss will definitely help my knees and feet as the pressure on the joints will not be as heavy as now.

I thought I had a perfect plan as far as exercising goes. I got a yearly pass to Fitness 24 Seven, and I contacted, and met, a PT that would help me get going. Suddenly my eye problem started and before I even had my first training session I had to cancel. Now my eye need to heal first and when that is done my PT is on vacation so I won’t be able to start until mid September. Bummer… and I can’t go swimming either as I can’t wear my lenses yet (only 2,5 more weeks with my cortisone drops). Double bummer… Instead I decided to start a training plan through RunKeeper (fabulous app!) and exercise by walking regularly. My goal for the end of the year is to exercise at the gym or swim once a week and then do my walking sessions 2-3 times a week.

As far as weight loss goes I’m already working hard. Previously I’ve tried by counting calories. It worked wonders for a few weeks but every time I got sick after a while (either a cold, flu or joint issues) and I lost all motivation whatsoever. This time I’m not going to count calories instead I’m trying the Paleo diet. With a paleo diet grain, processed food and dairy products are forbidden, instead it’s lean meat, fish, egg, vegetables, fruit and nuts that matters. I’m not going Paleo “all the way”. I’m going to continue to eat dairy, and on special occasion bread or pasta. I’m also considering going gluten free those times I do eat bread. I’ve read a few places that claims Paleo can help RA patients so I’m gonna give it a go.

A few weeks ago I started eating lactose-free and no red meat to see how my RA would react. I’m going to continue with lactose free dairy (I’ve noticed my stomach is much calmer nowadays) but I will add some red meat back into my diet again. I will continue to eat “normal” on those occasions when I’m going to places where I can’t control the menu. So, dear friends, do not panic to invite me over for dinner parties. 😉 The rules of Paleo only applies when I’m cooking.

Right at the end of today’s walk a song started playing… “Dressed for success” with Roxette. Not only did it have a great beat for my walking pace but it also turned into my new mojo: Dressed for Success… in exercise and weight loss. I’m ready for a healthier me!

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