Rough Day Number 2 – Gonna Need a Stress Run Tonight

19 04 2012

A little known fact of Autoimmune Arthritis is it can cause heart disease. The inflammation that attacks your joints can also turn and attack the membranes of your heart. People with diseases like RA and AS, or in my place some sort of hybrid undistinguishable mess are 3 times more likely to die from heart disease. Part of this is we don’t recognise the pain from a heart attack, and part of it is the chronic inflammation issue.

Last fall I started getting chest pains which was diagnosed as costiochondroitis. No biggy steroids knock it back when it flares with my disease. I’ve just learned to accept chest pain, and that cold air makes breathing rough. Having had asthma as a kid it wasnt a huge adjustment. My airflow has changed a little but beyond a new ache it really wasnt a huge deal. It was scary but whats one more issue with the plethora I already had.

Yesterday my rheumatologist casually mentioned a heart murmur. In my mind my head swung around like the exorcist but I didn’t say or do anything at the time because it was just startling to hear. As a former science student with plenty of pre-med credits I know heart murmurs are pretty normal. 90% of these murmurs are no big deal and do nothing other than make your heart sound weird. However having inflammatory disease and hearing heart murmur was a little shocking.

Luckily due to a little episode with balloons last week that caused my lungs to shut I had an appointment with my physician this morning. I was issued the very expectant epi-pen for the Latex allergy. I also had my heart listened to for several minutes. They found the murmur too.

Note as stated 90% of murmurs are not a big deal particularly when they are as subtle as mine, but I’ve got some risk factors that they need to check into. I’m also an endurance athlete and it never fails that someone is at least once a month telling me about someone who died doing one of these races due to heart failure from a pre-existing condition. I’ve known two from my community to die just this way last year alone. The truth is endurance athletics are great for you in general but they do tax the heart and a heart that isn’t quite right can eventually just give up in these situations. I also have the chronic inflammation issue with now accompanying chest pain. The murmur was found when my disease decided to start act funky yet again. The factors mean that a subtle murmur really has to be looked at. So next week I get to have the fun of an echocardiogram.

On some levels I’m excited to have an echocardiogram, its essentially a sonogram of my heart. I’ll get to see the working parts as they’re ticking away inside me, which as a scientist fascinates me to no end. On another level I’m scared, I know very few of these murmurs are a big deal but you cant help but go oh poop what if something’s not right?

So next week is my big date with the machine. Tonight however is a big date with running shoes, because I’m stressed to the max right now. Between joints flaring and my heart making newly discovered noises I’m emotionally taxed. The best way for me to handle that stress is through exercise it allows me to essentially beat it out of my own system.

Tomorrow is blood work. Lets all hope that the blood shows something useful to my doctor, but that we don’t have anymore bad news right in the clinic. I think angry arthritis, anaphylaxis diagnosis, and heart murmur is enough for one week right? These things come in threes so I am going to believe we’re all done with this BS right now and we’re just getting the final diagnostics on the issues that stand and there will be no more found. Tonight though is running to clear my heart, mind, and soul.

B





Training from 4/9/2012 to Present and Active Arthritis Setbacks

18 04 2012

First off I want to apologize for not writing for over a week. I haven’t been feeling so hot as my disease has decided its had enough sleeping and has insidiously crept back making me sleepy and achey. This is the life of someone with Autoimmune Arthritis we can feel fine one day, and then the next things come to a crashing halt.

I’d like to talk about my training before the health concerns however since that is going to explain how Arthur snuck up on me again.

4/9 was a rest day and I gladly took it.

4/10 I went to the gym and put 40 minutes in on the spin bike. I felt ok during this workout but sweat a lot and felt wiped afterwards. The next morning I was tired upon waking but it didnt really register at this point that I’d actually been tired a few days before too.

4/11 I went to the gym to swim. I put in 20 minutes before getting kicked out of my lane for a kid’s swim practice. I was fine with this as my swim had been a tempo swim anyway. I spent the entire swim just above my comfort zone. In the end I did over 1000 meters so this was a good swim. My back was tight afterwards though, and the next morning more exhaustion.

4/12 Tempo run of 5 miles. I started out a little stiff in the back but loosened up. I pushed through the whole way, sweat a lot and was left exhuasted.Took my MTX headed to bed early.

4/13 Rest day I woke up just done for the week. Blamed it on MTX hangover.

4/14 Swim and Spin. I had a rough time getting out of bed for swim, and spin was more difficult than it probably should have been. I went to a wedding that night and by the time I got home I just felt like a baseball bat had been taken to my back. I chalked it up to bad chairs, but I was wrong.

4/15 more exhaustion, hip pain, and a 5 mile unpleasant run. I never got rid of the tension or pain. Went out with friends to a trade show, and frankly never felt good all day. Achey hands and back at bed time as well.

4/16 Rest day. Sheer exhaustion is the only way I can explain Monday morning. The kind of exhaustion you get with the flu. This is where I put 2 and 2 together that things have been slowly going down hill for a week now and my hands start hurting pretty wicked that night. I called the rheumatologist and left a message thinking it was the MTX drop.

4/17 I can barely roll myself out of bed I’m over sleeping at this point. I put in a 25 minute uphill climb on a spin bike and I’m spent. The chairs at the school kill me that night, as does driving. I get called by my doctor and told to come in.

4/18 Today was supposed to be swim but with the rain I literally feel like I’ve been beaten. My energy is gone too. The doctor saw me and has ordered that I start a diary of my symptoms, more blood work stat, and a round of a steroid called prednisone. I go back in a month. I also opened my MRI report from GW today and I’m not happy about that it will be discussed in a month with my dr, because GW said it was negative which wasn’t the whole truth. The whole truth is it was negative for what they were looking for but had the same findings as the last MRI of that area only more disbursed.

So onto the medical. As we can see the last week has been a perpetual downward slide for me. I’ve used volteran gel on my hands today, and just typing right now feels like my hands are being hammered. In fact I didn’t think the joints had gotten that bad yet since the swelling really hadn’t started back up but they are all pretty tender right now as found on examination. Needless to say I will put in exercise the remainder of this week, and get my blood work done, but I’m also going to rest some. I cant stop moving because I’ll freeze up and hurt worse. However I cant push too hard because my disease will just get angry and my body is taxed right now. Its a delicate dance I do for the next 1-2 weeks till the prednisone takes out the inflammation in my joints. The good news is prednisone works quickly within 1-3 days for exhaustion typically. That in itself will be a nice reprieve.

For now though I sign off because pain meds are calling as is sleep. Its taken me a long time to accept the pain medications my doctors offer, but I’ve learned I typically dont register pain correctly. This leads to me sleeping horribly and the pain and exhaustion exacerbating itself further daily. None of which is good for me or anyone in my situation so with grace I now accept that my body has had enough for the last week and I’m going to try to help it get some well needed rest.

I will be posting some photos from this month’s race though later this week.

Bi





Helping to Save Lives 1 Mile at a Time – Anderson 70.3

11 04 2012

In 2008 I decided to try my hand at my first endurance event the El Tour de Tucson. I realized at that time I did not know how to go about training for an event of this nature, so I joined with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. In the end I not only completed the event I raised over $4000 for cancer research, and was touched by many stories of those stricken and lost to blood cancers. Through the years the camaraderie and mission that brought me back to Team in Training for the Zooma 10k in Spring 2009, to Mentor the Nike Women’s Half Marathon team in 2010, and to again Mentor the Nike Women’s Marathon Team in 2011. Each year I have spent training and fundraising for the LLS has been more gratifying than the last. I’ve made friends for a life time, and been touched by the mission to defeat blood cancer by the stories of those who have fought to win their battles, those who continue to fight, and the loved ones who grieve for one lost too soon.

In 2011 I was unable to complete the Nike Women’s Half Marathon due to injury, but I am back for 2012. This year I have set my biggest goals yet knowing that the LLS’s battle has yet to be won. I will train and complete the Anderson South Carolina Half Rev. This event is a 70.3 half ironman triathlon! A half ironman consists of 1.25 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling, and a 13.1 mile half marathon run. While training to become the ironman within me I will attempt to raise $7030 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s mission to beat blood cancer. That is $100 for every mile I will race.

The training through the summer will be hot and grueling but nothing like what a cancer patient goes through to win against cancer. A run in 80 degrees is a walk in the park compared to hours on a chemotherapy drip, or days in an intensive care unit at the hospital. Each season I’ve spent with Team in Training I’ve gained inspiration to keep going through my toughest moments through the stories that are shared. I’ve run alongside survivors, and those who have lost loved ones to cancer. I have raised money in honor of my friend’s family members who have lost their battles. I have cried tears at meetings where there was talk of loss and smiled from ear to ear for those who have won.

I continue to support the mission of the LLS because I believe in it. I have seen first hand the inspiration of a child growing back her hair, and the out pouring of love at a funeral of a young woman taken too soon. The simple truth is that the statistic of 80% survival is not enough because that means 1 in 5 still lose to these cancers. I continue to race because no parent should lose their child, and no child should have to face the horrors of cancer. I run because they cannot, and hope that my fund raising will help find the cure. Perhaps this cure will make these children into the doctors, or fundraisers of the future that find a cure for something even worse than what they have faced. Each life we save is another chance towards a better future for all.

At this time I’m asking you to believe in the mission to end blood cancer too. With so many people asking for money in these tough times I think it’s important to know that Leukemia Lymphoma Society was formed in 1949. This is when the de Villiers family lost 16 year old Rober Roesler de Villiers to leukemia. This death lead to the creation of a foundation called Roesler de Villiers, which is now known as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The organization’s mission is “Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Likewise in 1988 Team in Training was formed by Bruce Cleland in honor of his daughter Georgia a leukemia survivor. Cleland’s group raised over $300,000 and trained for the New York City Marathon. Team in Training now has 46 chapters and has raised over 1 billion dollars for the LLS mission since its creation. It is one of the largest, and most successful endurance training charity programs. They also have one of the highest charity ratios as they ensure that at least seventy-five percent of every dollar goes directly into programs to help those stricken with cancer, and research. With sixty-three years of research that has helped not only blood cancer victims but many other diseases as well, and twenty-four years of training to fund raise you can feel assured that the LLS is a charity you can trust your donations with. In this time they’ve raised cancer survival from a death sentence to 80% survival, I’m asking that you help us put the Leukemia Lymphoma Society out of business by giving a tax deductible donation and helping us end blood cancer.

Tax deductible donations can be given at the following website:

http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/rev3sc12/breedjemgp

Thank you for helping us save lives one mile at a time,

Bi





Its Official, 70.3 Half Ironman Here I Come!

9 04 2012





Training Log Week of 4/2/2012 -4/8/2012

9 04 2012

Monday: Rest Day. I was very sore after the 10 miler. I typically can run this distance without issue but since so many things went wrong I think my body was overly taxed.

Tuesday: Due to needing to meet with my school before class and still being sore I missed out on my spinning, and opted out of a late night swim I had considered.

Wednesday: I get back on the horse and swam 1600 meters in 35 minutes at the pool. This swim helped eased out the last of the muscle, and tendon soreness.

Thursday: My first speed workout since breaking my leg last summer. I ran 4 miles total. The first ½ mile was warm up, 2 miles of quarter mile altering sprint and recovery intervals, and the final mile was cool down. This work out was strenuous and followed with ample stretching to avoid taxing my muscles and tendons. Over all the workout felt great to complete, though it was exhausting with temps around 70 degrees. Next week I will do a tempo run rather than speed work, since too much speed work can increase the risk of stress fractures. I want to make sure my body recovers properly and not reinjure myself like last year. This speed work should hopefully re-solidify my 5k times into sub 9 miles by the time I run my two 5ks in May.

Friday: Rest Day. MTX day as well, but I plan on moving this to Thursdays as it created a lot of sweating on Saturday’s Spin. My MTX dosage has also been dropped from 7 to 5 which worries me. I won’t know for 4-6 weeks but last time I was on 5 the drug did not work at all. The only good news is that typically I do best in the summer with my condition, one worry is that last summer I did not do well however and this is when they did my initial MTX bump. I also had a hard winter where MTX was ineffective till bumped to 7 with a round of prednisone to initiate it. So right now I’m a nervous nelly over the drop, but my doctor seems to be open to the fact this may not work, so I’ve got my phone ready to speed dial if things start falling apart.

Saturday: Master Swim Class focusing on Speed and Endurance. I swam 1800 meters in class followed by 200 more to complete 1.25 miles or the distance of the half ironman swim. After this class I changed, ate a bonk breaker bar and headed upstairs for an hour of endurance spin class training. This workout was my second first for the week my first brick workout in at least a year.

Sunday: Easter and my daughter’s birthday combined meant lots of fun, stress, and deliciously bad things to eat. I put in a 10 mile run in the afternoon. The sun was high and bright, the temps in the mid to upper 60s. I kept a low 9 pace despite this and felt great.  I also felt no guilt for the small amount of easter goodies and birthday cupcake I ate.

Bi





Endurance Athletics with Arthritis: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

5 04 2012

People ask me all the time why I would participate in endurance athletics, they also ask me all the time how at 31 I can have and deal with arthritis. The answer to the first is that I believe the human body is a remarkable machine, and a gift to be taken care of. I want to see how far it can go, and how amazing it is. The second question can be answered as life is like a game of poker, you don’t know what hand you’re going to be dealt so you better know how to play the game. Your hand in poker is only crappy if you can’t play poker, or you give up before the next round. I choose to play life’s game of poker, and win as many hands as possible.

Once people find out that not only am I an Arthritis patient, that I’m and endurance athlete as well (or often times the other way around) people often then just give me the look of shock. Why would you run 13 miles with angry bones? I get this particularly from people who are healthy and don’t run at all. The answer is simple it’s because I can. No one knows their tomorrows so we should all Cherish the days we have, and part of that for me is pushing myself. Unlike many I’m realistic my days of this are numbered, and I don’t want to look back and say I should have done that when I could have. So I take every day one at a time and Cherish each run one step at a time through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Being arthritic and an endurance athlete also have a lot in common. It also gives me some advantages in training, but I also have disadvantages as well. Again we have a game of poker. It’s not about the cards I have its about playing them to the best of my ability.

An endurance athlete’s power is not speed, agility, or common strength. It is the ability to endure and excel when others have quit far behind us. It is through pain, suffering, and persistence we see the beauty of completing a goal well sought.

An Autoimmune Arthritis patient’s strength is in endurance of pain. A pain that at times goes for days, weeks, months or even years. It is the ability if we are lucky to see past the suffering to what is beautiful around us. We learn to not accept defeat, but to see past it to what really matters. Chronic pain has the ability to do one of two things to a person: destroy them, or build them into a kinder better stronger person with the sight to see what really matters. Its through the love and support from others, and the fire within ourselves that we run our own endurance race within.

The similarity between the racing and the condition is simple both require endurance. The difference in the endurance is that racing is a choice, my bad days with pain and exhaustion are not. They both require the ability to see past whats happening to me right now to a better result. This mental fortitude has taught me strength comes from inside not from false supports you build on the outside. Anyone can curl into themselves and give up in either of these circumstances, its saying to yourself no I will not give up tomorrow is another day and I will get there that shows a strong core.

Now before we go further I want people to understand something very important I am Kamikaze! Endurance athletics are not for everyone, and they certainly aren’t the preferred activity for people with inflammatory arthritis. However I am lucky, because I’ve had good care and though my disease is dispersed through out my body it is low on the erosive scale. This means my bone destruction is happening much slower than someone with one of these diseases typically.

I personally believe that by pushing myself to remain mobile I’ve helped my condition. I feel better because of it. However I do have days where there just is absolutely no go-go juice inside. This is not the typical exhaustion from training that many racers get but the absolute refusal by my body to continue. My body is essentially a war zone inside my immune system got bored at some point and hungry. That immune system got so hungry it essentially became a zombie and now instead of attacking the pathogens that make me sick it decided that my joints were even more tasty. Exercise for me is therapeutic it helps me handle the stress in my life. Stress is not good with an autoimmune disease it causes flares. Exercise also builds strength, agility, and keeps my heart strong. inflammatory diseases go after organs including the heart too.

Being a chronic pain patient has its advantages in endurance training. The advantage is pain tolerance. That nagging tendon down there that’s agitated I can ignore that simply because I know it’s not an injury, the same goes for certain muscle cramps. I can power through many aches and pains that build because my body naturally trains me for this in its own sadistic fashion.

There are disadvantages too. I need more rest days than a typical athlete. My body is already angry so stressing it though it relieves some inflammation can cause my body to make more. This means I need warm up runs for long ones, and down days after them. It means that many training cycles have to be modified to allow my body to recover. It’s about the quality of the training I put in not the quantity. Many athletes learn this as they get older, I had to learn this lesson young. Another disadvantage is I don’t feel injuries quite the same, and when I get them they take longer to recover from. Last year for instance I broke my leg from running. I ran a stress fracture all the way through my tibia (shin). If I’d been a healthy runner I probably would have recognised the issue sooner, I also would have recovered in 6-8 weeks rather than spending 4+ months on a bone growth stimulator. The medications I’m on can also affect how I train and race. Some of them make me temperamental to the sun. Others cause me to need to hydrate and eat more than other racers. I am also slower than others, though I wont lie and tell you I’m a snail I’m still fast enough on a good day to place in my age group in some of the local races. I’m realistic though that 6 minute miles will never happen in my future, and though it makes me sad I accept that.

One of the hardest things for an endurance athlete is to know when to rest, add arthritis into the equation you’ve now raised it to at least the 100th power. It’s through time and training cycles that the athletes learn when to not train. For a long time I was stubborn and tried to just push through the bad days. It took a good doctor and wonderful people in my life to help me learn when to say no this is a couch day (the progression of my disease has helped kindle the fire too). However I think this very steep learning curve is a good thing. I’ve learned when to say no, and when to say this is ok you can push through this. That is a very fine balance in either scenario, in a combination of the two it can be a maze of confusion until you learn which signs your body gives mean red, yellow, or green and how to treat those signs accordingly.

I think the greatest thing endurance racing has given me though is the ability to feel in control on some level of something I really have no control over my disease. It has allowed me to learn how to deal with pain, stress, and exhaustion in a constructive manner. Sometimes for me running through the pain is the only way I can deal, other days I’ll swim or nap. Its allowed me to learn how to read my body better. Its allowed me to see great places, meet wonderful people, and find happiness. One of the hardest things about chronic pain at times is seeing past the negative and being happy. Though I in realities can’t control whats going on inside my love of fitness has allowed me to better know how my body works, and how to treat it.

An endurance race is not completed in a day, but over months of training. You teach your body how to function. You channel yourself into every step for miles. In the end if you’re lucky you fall in love with the hours of monotonous training and the ability to challenge yourself. You make goals, and grow. An endurance sport is not about a quick sprint to the finish, but pushing through the mental and physical anguish to see how far your body can go. The finish line is the prize and getting there is the journey well spent. You learn a lot about yourself in those miles spent training, and that finish line is one of the most emotional experiences you may ever have. That line represents months of pain, suffering, sweat, love, pride, and trials.

For me racing has allowed me to come to grips with my life. Its allowed me peace. I know that I wont be able to do this forever, but that makes every run I have something special. For me running is meditative its like flying. The fact it may all be gone someday makes me sad, but I know I have these moments now. When I can’t run anymore I’ll find another way, but for now I want to focus on what I do have. I have a body that though isn’t healthy, is in better shape than many who are healthy. Its my job to take care of it. I run for me, and for those who can’t. I hope that someday someone will run for me.

Endurance sports are not about what you can do right now, but what you can become, Arthritis is about cherishing today for what you have. I think having both in my life has helped me achieve a healthy balance of knowing what is important. Its allowed me to grow, and accept that sometimes you just have to let go.

Image

Bi





Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Count Down, and Race Report

2 04 2012

The Final Countdown to the Race:

Wednesday: I ended up skipping my swim work out due to a last minute phone call that my daughter was not going to be picked up by her father’s grandma. So instead of going to the pool as intended I went to get her. This was fine we read a book together instead.

Thursday: My final prerace run of 3 miles was excruciating. My legs cramped the whole time and I had to stop numerous times to stretch. What kept me going was that I knew this run would loosen me up for Sunday. I pushed through one of the roughest workouts I’ve ever had knowing it was necessary. I also in the process made some decisions regarding my running specifically that I’ll be wearing flats to work the days I run. Even the short 1 inch heels I’ve been wearing apparently make my legs all screwy for afternoon runs.

By Thursday the weather forecast for Sunday finally stopped changing every hour; it solidified to one in the 40s at the start with no rain, and cloudy. I had to make a last ditch effort to find a running vest to protect my chest for the run. I ended up ordering a black and pink fleece one from Amazon and had it overnighted to Aric’s.

Friday: This was packet pick up day, and I went very excited. I took off work at noon making my day a half day, and headed into the city. After picking up my bib, and shirt I met up with my cousin and his wife. We checked out the expo where I bought a new white with orange and pink cherry blossom skirt, and a new tee-shirt. I also picked up fresh sports beans for Sunday’s run. After packet pick up we went to late lunch, and the Air and Space museum. There was a lot of walking to say the least but it was nice to let my body move.

Friday also had a little fiasco with my vest. Due to it being overnighted it required signature. Aric’s apartment complex didn’t sign for it. Luckily Aric went out the following morning and played superman while I went for my swim the next morning and drove to UPS to pick it up.

Finally Friday was methotrexate day. I took the magnificent 7 and went to bed early to be up for swim.

Saturday: I started with Master Swim this morning, which were mostly form exercises. This did well for me because it wasn’t overly taxing. Following this I ran some errands and took a nap due to extreme fogginess from my MTX the night before. Aric and I then spent the evening relaxing going to a movie, and eating a prerace pasta dinner. I set out my race clothes for the next morning choosing the new cherry blossom skirt I’d bought the day before, a pink dry fit long sleeve shirt, and my vest. We crashed early, and I took pain meds due to some chest and back pain during the day. I worried what that pain would mean for me in the morning on the run.

Sunday Race Report:

Sunday morning brought a very early wake up time of 4:30 am for me and Aric. The race start was at 7:30 and we wanted to be up in dc by about 6:30. I showered, did my hair, and ate a breakfast of two gluten free muffins, and Greek yoghurt. Then we headed out to Metro to get into the city. We got in a little later than we anticipated so I did what I always do first and head to the porta potty. We were so late that Aric had to take my bag to bag check after I got into the coral. I also never found my cousin prerace, so I moved up into the coral ahead of me due to being again being placed into the wrong coral. I also chose to go without the Garmin due to this being my first race back from injury, and my condition wreaking havoc on my last winter.  I also had relatively few long runs going into this race and wanted to focus on feel and form more than times.

Miles 1-2: These miles flew beneath my feet I felt good. My pace didn’t feel too fast it was sustainable. I clocked 2 very low 9 minute/sub 9 minute miles and felt great. My body came to temp and I didn’t feel too hot like the year prior. Everything functioned great and I was pleased.

Miles 2-4: Diaphragm cramp hits and I thought it was going to take me out at certain points. I spent these two miles having to slow a bit and focus on breathing exercises that eliminate these cramps. These miles were very mentally challenging and I don’t remember much other than focusing on the breathing exercise to release the cramping. I know the two of them remained in the low to mid nines.

Miles 4-6: I had a little redemption in miles 4-5 my pace quickened as I realized the cramp was gone. I focused on form and a sustainable pushed pace. These miles were quick and I came across the 5 mile marker at 46:50. Mile six things started to feel not quite right however. I decide to space my eating a little closer 2 miles apart rather than 2.5. This not quite right feeling was the feeling of salt loss that I’ve struggled with many times before.

Miles 6-10: I struggle with restoring salts that are lost and not feeling over fueled/hydrated 6-8. I lose time.  By mile 8 I finally feel right again in this regard and this is when I decided I would speed to the finish my hips decided they’d had enough. I decided to enjoy what I could for the rest of the race and be happy to be back racing again.

Finish:  My finish was 1:37:52 an overall pace of 9:48 per mile. My last year’s finish was 1:32:33, but I’d had more consistent training and fewer issues over the winter, plus no broken leg that took me out for 5 months. Overall I’m very pleased with this finish it is slower but I felt despite my issues it was strong. I managed to correct every folly my body gave me, and endure the one I could not correct through to the finish. This was a race of come back, and I’m proud of this comeback. I know that times will come down quickly now that I’m running these distances weekly. The important thing I’ve taken from this race is that I can run through the worst of it, last year I had 2 or 3 spots I walked. This year I ran through every pain and issue my body gave me. I put out a strong hard effort, and though it was not a personal best in time it was a personal best in making it through the hurdles of a distance race. This means when I get that race day where there are no issues I will run an amazing personal best and that is something I can look forward to knowing now that I can finish strong and running through thick and thin.

As for my Cousin: I’m pleased to say he had an awesome race a personal best of 9 minute miles finishing in 90 minutes and change. Go Brandon! Your efforts have paid off and those half marathons you’ve put in have allowed you to become a runner!! Congratulations on your Personal Record Yesterday, you deserved it!

Bi








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