Saturday, April 30, 2011

Running a 5k

A while back I mentioned that I wanted to run a 5k.  Actually, I wanted to run much more than that, but a 5k would do for a start.  I made it clear that I would follow the Couch to 5k program, and I encouraged anyone and everyone to join me.  So, I got started.  Things, however, did not go as planned.

A while before I'd started the plan I was having trouble breathing.  Not wheezing or asthma type trouble, but more just a tightness that I couldn't explain.  I would breathe as deeply as I could, but I still wasn't getting enough.  I figured that running might help to expand my lungs and make everything a little easier.  I was wrong.  Finally, after one what-should-have-been-relaxing Sunday except I couldn't breathe, I decided to head to the doctor's office.

After chatting for a while, listening to my heart and lungs, and a full examination, my doc declared he thought it was sarcoidosis.  Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disorder where your immune system is too strong and starts to attack the organs.  It often attacks the lungs first.  While there's no cure, it is treatable, and people can live long lives with it.  So, while a bit nervous (who wants a chronic disease?), I figured I'd be OK.  In I went for a chest x-ray.  Three days later, no sarcoidosis.  Woot!

Well, what was it?  Time for an echo cardiogram.  I was born with a heart murmur that had gone away in my teenage years.  Lately, though, it had come back, and it was stronger.  Could my breathing problem, combined with rapid weight gain be a sign of heart failure?  Actually, this is something I'd wondered for a little while.  The doctor didn't think that was the problem, but he decided to rule out any possibilities.  I was all for an echo, and at times when I wasn't, Hans would encourage me to go (he was a little worried).  So, back to the hospital I went.

I left the hospital with the words, "You definitely have a murmur." lodged in my brain.  I knew it!  I was dying.  My heart was failing.  That murmur was a massive whole, and time was short.  Talk about a stressful weekend! 

I called the doctor first thing Monday morning.  Everything was normal.  My murmur, while noisy, was nothing serious.  He offered to have me wear an event monitor, but he and I both decided that wouldn't be necessary.  But, what was the problem?  I'm going back to what I originally first thought it was...stress.  I was stressed over work, and over the house, and over working out, and I just tightened up.  I didn't need a doctor, I needed a masseuse! 

So, now I'm back to training.  It's warmer outside now, though, so the treadmill just isn't even an option.  I want to be outside with my dogs, not stuck on a conveyor belt.  That means that the C25k program wasn't going to work quite as well.  I don't own a working watch, and I really didn't relish the idea of constantly have to look at my watch just so I could tell when 90 seconds was up.  So, I started looking for something new to try.

After reading the book The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women I found the perfect plan.  Written by an absolute non-runner, it was a good read, but what was even better was her website, Dream In Motion.  On this website, she gives a detailed running plan for everyone from a novice to an advanced runner.  I'm on her walk-run plan for novices.  I love it, because instead of having you start and stop every few moments she simply says to run for 10 minutes.  If you can't run the whole time then walk.  When you can run, RUN (or jog as is my case)!

I'm on week two, and I'm already jogging over two miles.  Granted, their slow, but they're still better than walking.  In a few weeks, the program will switch from time increments to miles, and that will be another challenge for me.  For now, though, I'm doing great.  I'm loving it, AND I can breathe!  It's amazing what a little extra time with the dogs will do.  :)

I do hope that you all are doing well with whatever you're doing.  I'm just trying to make the best of what I've got, and what I've got is a lot.  Yay!

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