Monday, March 26, 2012

Under Attack Since the Half - Still Ran

It's been what? three weeks since my run, and thus three weeks since I posted about the half marathon. Those three weeks I have been under quite the RA attack. Feet, hands, fatigue, everything. I have no earthly idea if a half marathon induced this sort of pain or what.

This is my fifth week on Enbrel, and the pain is only getting worse and it's seeming to spread. Got a new RA related pain in my achilles/ankle area and the very top of the foot, to go along with the continuing and worsening pain in my feet, toes, hands, and wrists.

Besides that pain, I thought it a good idea to run in a 5 mile race this past Saturday (insert some groaning). Finished fourth in my age group and ran at about a 7:30 min/mile pace.

It's becoming increasingly hard for me to maintain a grasp on physical objects, most notably the newspaper. I have started taking the bus (for a multitude of reasons including gas prices and the fact that my feet and hands don't appreciate maneuvering a stick shift jeep wrangler in and out of traffic for up to two hours a day) and its becoming hard to hold on to the newspaper, as my fingers shake and I begin to lose feeling in them and the paper suddenly falls out. Also my hands continue to get colder while indoors, especially at work where I'm supposed to be typing all day (that is becoming another issue).

The frustrating part lies in a couple things, one: I've found no pattern whatsoever to the pain, food wise, exercise wise, sleep wise, nothing; two: its spreading and getting worse. I know Enbrel is supposed to take a while for it to really go into effect, but what constitutes "a while?"

I really am motivated, from a competitive standpoint, to continue running and train for another half marathon, or a triathlon, but the RA keeps putting those ambitions in check the past couple weeks. If anyone has any recollections as to how long it took there Enbrel (or whatever else was prescribed) to kick in, it would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Half Marathon 3-4-12

Half marathon complete.

The week leading up to the half marathon, my feet and hands were killing me, almost as if my RA was like "hey buddy, I know what you're trying to do, and I'm not a fan." I didn't run at all the last week and a half, because I just wanted to be in the least amount of pain to start the race as possible.

So half marathon morning, up at 4, shower, get ready, put on my sweet running shirt provided by the Arthritis National Research Foundation, my calf sleeves, and shoes and out the door we go.

Arrive in South Beach, and then it starts to hit me, "holy **** I'm about to put this body thru 13 miles of running." Not a comforting start when you realize you still have 2 hours of non stop running ahead of you in 80 degree weather.

Gun goes off, here goes nothing. My initial thought is, my i pod will be my savior I hope, so lets try and delay starting the music as long as possible. I delay it up to the point where I'm halfway across the first main bridge/causeway. So far no pain. My hope was for the foot RA pain to kick in big time at around mile 7, and then powering thru the last 6 knowing I was over halfway there. That plan failed. First RA foot pain came at about mile 3.6. Forget about it, keep concentrating on the surroundings. Also helped that I had my friend running with me the entire time, so whenever the pain got bad, just start talking garbled non sense to him to distract me.

Mile 6 - first time I go for a hydrating station, small problem, I didn't realize that the first group of liquids being given out is gatorade, take that cup and splash it on my face and into my eyes. That stings. Oops. Soon after that, BOOM! now were in some RA pain. Shooting pain from bottom of my feet out through my toes. Continue to concentrate on scenery. This pain continues until about mile 11.

At mile 11 comes the worst RA foot pain I have ever experienced. Nothing quite like it, and hurt so much my feet tingle thinking about it. Every step was painful, and it required a lot of convincing and tricking myself to not stop running. One of those tricks was that if I did stop running, there'd be no shot of my body starting back up again. The other, "you've ran 11 miles, how pissed you gonna be if you walk for a little?"To say that my pace slowed down during this moment, would be a drastic understatement. Also, my hands hurt, basically any place RA has spread to, was killing me. Probably because my body was in high gear, anti-inflammatories were out, and everything was under attack.

As I got myself a half mile from the finish line, I realized I had a shot of getting under 2 hours. So, in spite of what my body was telling me, I booked it, and man did that hurt. Felt like my feet were gonna just shatter at some point. Crossed finish line, just missed the 2 hour mark by about 15 20 seconds. Maybe got 10 feet beyond the finish line before I basically had to stop and prevent myself from toppling over onto the ground, and just stood there for a couple minutes before I felt my body could move again. Waited for Carlota, who was also sporting an Arthritis Research jersey, to finish.

To say I was in pain the next day (yesterday) would be putting it lightly. Barely could walk, exhausted, everything hurting. But it was damn worth it. Shot of Enbrel last night, and was shortly asleep. Feeling much less exhausted today, but man does everything still hurt.

All in all, it hurt. It hurt a lot, excruciating at the end. But it was so definitely worth it. Some might say this is stupid and all your doing is hurting your body, I don't know. I do know that even if it hurting my body, I don't wanna just sit here, while I'm still able to do some of these things, and watch time pass by. If this does hurt my body, and my body will hurt more eventually anyway, then at least I got something out of the pain.

Now onto the next race...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

"Can I Run with Rheumatoid Arthritis?"

Here is a link I found at Runner', where a reader asks about running with rheumatoid arthritis.

I agree with a lot of what he said, in my limited experience so far, and listening to your body is a key to not overdoing yourself (like I did trying to train for the ING). So far, it's taken my body a solid couple days to recover from a run. The pain in my feet is still heightened since my run on Saturday morning (I say "heightened" because the pain never really seems to "go away"). The pain in my hands also seems to be "heightened" whenever I get my body up into a frenzied state like a 9 mile run can cause.

I did discuss my "physical regimen" with my rheumatologist who said to cut running out altogether, which clearly I have not done. Just wondering what anyone else thought? I know some people respond on here or on twitter or thru e-mail, so whichever works for you.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Saturday Morning 9-Miler

So the "Running/RA Hangover" lasted all week from last Sunday's 6 mile adventure, including yesterdays weird tingling sensation I had in my feet for a good while. Nevertheless, I strapped on the shoes this morning and headed out for an 8 mile run. To say that my pace was slow to begin with would be an understatement. Before the RA made its way to my feet some months ago, I would run about an 8 minute per mile pace. Thru the first 4 or so miles today, 10 minutes a mile, yikes.

After that time my pace picked up to about a 9 minute mile pace, not sure why, and it eventually sunk back down to the 10 minute mark.

The RA pain kicked in at around mile marker 4.72, which is right around where it was last time, and where it has been every single time I've ran long distance. There has to be something to this, whether its my body triggering it or my form getting thrown off, something has to be happening.

I can continue to run with the pain, my concern is this: When I get the RA pain at mile 4.72, and I'm running 6 or 8 miles, I can convince myself to power thru it, or forget about it, because I'm over halfway done. What happens if I'm at mile 4.5 and the pain hits me, and I realize I have to run about 3x what I just did. We shall see. Maybe a new goal is to try and delay the RA pain till mile 6 or 7, and do that by figuring out whats triggering it.

So I took a wrong turn at one point and ended up a little farther away then I had anticipated, so I sucked it up and made it a 9 mile run. In hindsight, 8 would have been just fine, because as soon as I hit 8, my body basically shut down and I shuffled my way thru the last mile or so. Feet aching, hips aching, I'm sure it wasn't a pretty sight to the people driving by.

Now we await the RA hangover, and we'll see where this takes me. During the week this week I didn't do much but lift and play kickball and dodgeball, running seemed out of the question as did that spin class I keep telling myself I want to go to.

So 6 last week, 9 this week, hopefully 11 next weekend, and then the Half the following weekend. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Running Hangover

While most people yesterday were nursing a "Super Bowl Hangover," I was under the duress of what I liked to call "The Running Induced RAD Hangover." On Sunday, I did a 6 miler along the bay in Tampa (which was a beautiful run, and one I would love to do consistently). The run was fine until about the 4.5 mile region, which is where it seems the pain starts on almost all long runs. Why this is, I am not sure. Maybe its when I'm finally getting a little fatigued and my running form changes, or its when the inflammation begins to settle into my body causing the joints to be attacked. As I stumbled through the final mile and a half, pain was screaming out thru my toes.

I did feel fine until about 6 p.m., when the pain started. Where did the pain start? not in my feet, but in my hands. Sharp stabbing pain from the knuckles out thru the fingers. And the fatigue, oh the fatigue. The next morning, the hangover really caught in. On the drive back from Tampa to Miami, my feet were hurting so much that I became a master at the art of cruise control and couldn't even put on my shoes to go to work until I was sitting right outside the office. The pain continues today, as I took a much needed rest day yesterday. The pain is everywhere, hands, writs, toes, arches. It's like the 6 miler sent a message to the Rhuem, saying "ATTACK!" and 5 hours later it was on, and still is. I hope to be able to get a lifting session in this evening, and a spin class in tomorrow.

The RAD hangovers are sure to keep coming if I really wanna do this half, with an 8 miler coming this weekend, a 10 miler the next weekend, and the half after that. If I can make it there, I'll be sure to party enough to where I get the other type of hangover.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Let's Try This Again 1-30-12

Alright. So my feet betrayed me and made the decision for me that after some training, I wasn't running in the ING Half this past weekend. However, gonna give it another shot (with a little more careful training) for the Miami Beach Half Marathon that is in March. I'll try and give daily blog updates, or every other day, this time. I became a bit frustrated with the whole process recently and didn't feel like writing about the fact that I couldn't run. This time I'll try and be much more consistent about my training, and hopefully it's completion.

Miami Beach Half Marathon: just over a month away. March 4, 2012.