If I were to sum up 2016 with one word as it relates to my running “odyssey” this year, it would be “frustrating.” Not “frustrating” with what I have accomplished (2 half’s and one full marathon plus an assortment of smaller ones) but frustrating based on the unpredictability of the injuries that have come my way. Injuries happen so I am not surprised that I have had them this year based on the miles I have run but I think the overall amount of injuries is higher because I have appeared to let my PsA “back in the door.” What does that mean?
Well, the battle with Psoriatic Arthritis is like a war that never ends. You have victories from time to time but you also have an equal amount of defeats – the key is to not get too down from these defeats and build on the victories. Never let the disease take over (and in the door) and continue to fight so to speak. The problem lately though…I am getting knocked down a bunch from PsA and it is getting harder to get up each time. The amount of “Flare ups,” which are periods of time where all the joints hurt in my body making it hard to function (and these can last days) have risen since May. Every 14 days like clock work, the pain levels rise and my weight goes up (versus 28-35 days before). Typically, I take my enbrel shot and the weight goes back down. The problem is that the levels of pain that have been coming each time has been on the rise and when I take the enbrel shot, it takes longer to take hold and reduce the pain.
So this is a problem and I think explains why I have become more susceptible to injury this past summer. The body is taking a beating with the flareups and I am not healing as quickly as I would like. The lack of healing of my body combined with the pounding that running brings is leading to an overall weakening situation in my body. It is the chief cause of my “frustration.”
So how did PsA gain the upper hand and get “in the door? ” In short, I had a system in place to combat this disease – gluten free eating, better overall food, running and excercising more and some vitamins such as merieva and Vit D – that I used successfully for a few years. I abandoned this process/strategy because I thought I had “won” the war. I removed one item after another seeing if I needed them to hold off pain. After removing a few of them, nothing changed and I thought I was in the clear. Then soon I was munching on pizza and eating fried food like it was going out of fashion. I was inhaling candy bars and bags of chips like it did not matter. I consumed enormous amounts of fatty foods because I was running and would “work it off.” Oh boy, was I delusional! I was opening my body for a full frontal assault from PsA because I thought I was winning by actually losing! So so stupid!
- Gluten Free Eating: No more gluten will be entering my system. I got lazy eating lots of bagels, pizza and other things that I should have avoided. Back to being gluten free once again!
- Eating Better: This kind of goes with the GF eating above but also includes less snacking and snacking better. More carrots and less peanut butter cups!
- Back on the Vitamins: I used a mix of Vitamin D, Merieva, and Fish Oil. What this did was simple: it kept my immune system strong and a strong immune system leads to a faster recovery. Also, I have been slacking on my chia intake and will ramp that back up as well.
- More Cross Training: Over the past year, I have cut my cross training activities way down. Unsure why but these are important and cannot be ignored anymore. Type to get back into the gym!
- More sleep: I tend to get to sleep by 11pm each night and wake up around 5 so I can get on with my running once into work. I simply need to go to sleep earlier!
- Focus on the goal: I need to have a goal each time for my training. My goal now – looking to perhaps run my first 50k come January! Also, as a result of this mix, I hope to drop another 20lbs getting back my college weight which should in turn get my pace down solidly into the 7s per mile.
This is the recipe that I hope gets me back on track and I assume that in a few months I will be reporting back with an improvement on such. At one time, I constantly improved on my processes. Now is the time to do it again!
Thank you for reading!