Friday, July 24, 2015

My Dream To Run!

I have always wanted to run. Not sure why, but for some reason I would admire runners and I just wanted to do that. So what held me knees! See I'm knock kneed and I have knee caps that think popping out of the socket makes for a really good time. My knee caps started popping out of the socket at 12 years old. The first time being in a Nordstroms dressing room with my friend and her family. I was in so much pain I had no idea what had happened, but since I wasn't home and didn't have my mom I just sucked it up and then about crumpled into my mom's arms when I did finally get home. My mom of course knew exactly what had happened since she had the same problem in the past. Growing up my knee caps would pop out all the time. Sometimes worse than others. I remember once at youth group I used a bag of peas that were in the church freezer to ice my knee after it popped out. Once at school I stepped half on and half off one of those wrestling mats and my knee popped out so bad my Dad had to come get me and take me to the doctor. That time was so bad I ended up in physical therapy and I had to wear a stiff braces from my hip to my ankle for weeks. I got called gimpy and grandma for a while after that! As I've gotten older they've popped out less and less. I attribute it to the fact that I know my triggers. I can tell if I'm going to hurt myself and I can correct my footing and stop it from happening. I believe the last time I actually popped them out was at Michael's parents house before kids. I was sliding into his mom's car, but I had on a long jean skirt so I had to kind of twist and it popped right out and I ended up falling to the ground since my legs gave out. At some point though my body actually got used to it so much so I could just keep on going and the swelling wouldn't be that bad. 

All that to body sucked! 

My personal goals for the last few years have been to get my mental and physical body into better shape. Earlier this year I had about had it with my body. I woke up one morning turned over and stretched and that's all it took...I completely threw out my back and my neck. I was crying because it hurt so bad and I was just angry at my body for betraying me. Having 4 kids had really taken a toll and even though I wasn't overweight I was no where near being in good shape. My muscle mass was almost nonexistent. I knew the first thing I needed to do was work on strengthening my muscles. While I was laying in bed I texted my neighbor Rachael who is a personal trainer. She had trained me at the beginning of 2014 for a month or two, but then she had a baby. By the time she was ready to start working with me again we were leaving for Disneyland and one thing led to another and here it was 2015 and I hadn't gotten around to scheduling anything with her. I told her my sob story and she said we would definitely schedule me for regular workouts once my back and neck healed up a bit. 

I believe I started training with her in March. At first it was absolutely hilarious. Rachael would ask me to do an exercise and I honestly would have no idea how to move the muscle she was asking me to move. I really was that out of shape! Slowly but surely I started to see some differences. Rachael has been mainly working on my major muscle groups and I've seen so many differences in how I feel and how I can move. I can do things that I know without a doubt I would have ended up hurting myself doing before I started working with her. I have had a couple back and neck issues since starting with her, but that was mainly due to the pillow I was sleeping on. Now I have a special pillow that supports my neck and it's amazing. I really love working out with her and I know that I wouldn't be where I am today if I had been trying to do this on my own. She is truly an answer to prayer! 

As for my running...a few months after I started working out I started noticing all these friends of mine competing in 5K's or posting on FB about their running. Like I said before I've always admired runners and in my head I felt like I could be a runner, but I was afraid my body would betray me. After talking with a couple people I decide to give it a try. I downloaded the C25K app and told Michael we were heading to the track. I knew that I would probably not be able to run on concrete or asphalt, but I figured that a track was made of cushy stuff so that might set me up for a little bit of success. Plus we have 4 kids so I knew that going to the track would give them some space to play while I ran. May 16th was the first night I ran...the first day of C25K had me walking for 5 minutes then running for 60 seconds then walking for 90 seconds. I did 8 intervals of running/walking for a total of 8 minutes of running and then another 5 minutes of walking at the end. I thought I was going to die!!! Seriously I had never ran before in my life. I went to Christian school we didn't have track and field! This was so hard! The first time I ran was by myself...Michael played with the kids. Then the second time I ran he decided to join me. He was an amazing source of encouragement. One time he even ran backwards and cheered me on! As I moved on with C25K I went from running 60 second intervals to 90 seconds, then 3 minutes and then up to 5 minutes. I honestly remember thinking there was NO WAY I was going to be able to run for 5 minutes straight. I remember putting that on FB and some of my running friends were so encouraging! I think it was around this time that I started running in the mornings since the kids were out of school. That means I haven't run with Michael in over a month now. He was a great source of strength for me, but now that my confidence has improved so much and I know I can do it I'm able to go by myself. After 5 minute intervals came 8 minutes and then 10 minutes. On the 4th of July I ran for 20 minutes straight. The most I had ran at one time before that was 3/4 of a mile. On the 4th of July I ran 1.65 miles without stopping! I'm not saying this to toot my own horn. I'm seriously amazed at what my body can actually do!!! If someone would have told me 4 months ago that by the 4th of July I would be running over a mile at one time I would have laughed in their face! 

I'm not saying there haven't been set backs. Towards the beginning I actually wasn't sure if I was going to be able to run anymore. I got runners knee really bad. I could barely lift my leg without being in pain. I ended up doing some research and I got a brace that I wore for a week and a half and that helped. The biggest change I made was I started taking liquid Glucosamine. My Dad has sweared by it for years since he has hip and knee trouble too. It has helped so knees actually feel like they have cushions in them now. Earlier in July I actually tried to save money and got Glucosamine in pill form at Costco since it was on coupon. After taking those for 2 weeks I almost felt crippled! I took the pills right back to Costco and got the liquid again instead. It's not worth the saving in money if the stuff doesn't work! 

I also started seeing a Naturopath Dr during this time. I just hated how MD's like to throw pills at you and when something else comes up from the pill they prescribed you they throw another pill at you. It was just maddening to me. I wanted to feel more in control of my healthcare and I wanted to know the whys as well. My new Dr is amazing!!! I love her! First off I get to have a 45 minute appointment with her every. single. time!!!! I never feel rushed. She walks in with her Apple laptop and her cup of coffee and sits down and we talk! I've never even sat down on the exam table....I just sit next to her and we talk over my equals. Her office has actually called me to schedule appointments since she wanted to run some bloodwork. I don't think my MD's office has ever called me to make an appointment. The best part of all of this is our insurance covers her just like a normal Dr. and Michael's health saving account reimburses us for any herbs she it actually is covered more than a normal MD's office. The funny thing is I'm actually taking more pills now than when I was going to my MD's office. Only two of them are actually Rx's though...the rest are herbs. My favorite part is I feel like I'm part of the solution to my bodies problems. I know and understand what's going on with my body because she wants educated me. She's also helped me with my running. During the research for my runners knee I found a video of a guy teaching you how to breath while you run. The first suggestion really helped....look up when you run! I am the kind of person that gets discouraged when I see how far I have to go so I was running looking down. No wonder I felt like I was suffocating. Just lifting your head up increases your lung capacity so much. It's amazing what a little change can do. The second thing he talked about was how you breath. In through your nose and out through your mouth and to breath using your diaphragm. Well the next time I ran I tried it and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath the whole time. My Dr said she tried that too and then figured...breathing is something that our body just knows how to do, we don't have to tell it to just breathe! I took her advise and now I just let my body do what it does and I breathe in through my mouth and out through my mouth and I'm doing just fine! 

When I started running I didn't really have a particular goal in mind. Even though I was using the C25K app I wasn't aiming for a particular 5K race. I'm still not even sure if I can run on concrete. I have tried since I started and that's when I ended up with runners knee. I guess my goal was just to make it past the next day on my app. Recently though with my increased confidence I decided to actually set a real goal. 4 months to the day after I started running is my 35th birthday so my goal is to be able to run for 35 minutes straight by my 35th birthday. Right now the most I've run is 26 minutes and 50 seconds straight and the furthest I've run is 2.25 miles. I still have more than a month to reach my goal and I'm confident that I will. This is one thing that I've done for myself...I've worked hard...harder than I ever thought I could and I've achieved my goals. A couple weeks ago I said something to Jack since he still struggles with his dexterity. I told him he needs to tell his brain to do it and then he can. After I said that it hit me that that goes for running too. My body can go so much further than I ever thought it could, but my brain doesn't think so. Once I tell my brain I'm going to do it then I do it! It really is mind over matter! 

Even though I have done this for me I know that it reaches into other areas of my life. With me being in better shape I'm able to do more with my kids and be more active. I feel like I can contribute more to our family since I feel confident that I won't hurt myself doing certain tasks. It's also great for my kids to see me taking care of myself and staying in good shape. I want to be a good role model for them so they see that hard work really does pays off.