Runners with Multiple Sclerosis

One of the first things I did after getting diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis was Google “runners with MS”, “triathletes with MS”, “marathoners with MS” and anything related to “exercising with MS”.  Many things swirled though my mind when I heard those words “you have MS”.  This disease is so much about the unknown.  Symptoms can hit in an instant without warning.  I’ve heard of people waking up and being partially blind, or paralyzed, when the day before they were fine.  I needed something to focus on, something to give me hope, and to be able to believe that it would be possible for me to continue running and exercising.

I was happily surprised to find a few articles and even a blog or 2 from athletes that have continued to remain fit and active through their battle with MS.  Over the course of the past year and a half I have found even more encouraging stories and want to share a few with you.  These are about runners with MS, however, I have also come across triathletes, long distance swimmers, a professional hockey player and a pro basketball player, that are also very inspiring to me.

Some of you may have seen the article about this 41 year old mother of 2 that just finished running a marathon every day for a year.  I absolutely love this story and just might print it out and start handing it to people that think I’m crazy for running the 7 marathons that I have ran the past few years!  Click here to read about her story.

I stumbled upon Dani’s blog, www.outrunningms.com, a while back and have enjoyed following her journey this year.  Dani was diagnosed 2 months after I was in 2012 and was a life long runner.  She has more than kept up with her running and recently completed what the Discovery Channel calls the toughest footrace on earth, the Marathon des Sables (MdS), a 156 mile, six day, self sufficiency stage race across the Sahara Desert.  What makes this even more amazing is the fact that heat is known to cause Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to flare up, so I am still in complete awe of how Dani managed to control her MS while running through scorching temperatures in the desert.  Go check out Dani’s website for a diary of her race, simply amazing.

Lastly, for now, is an inspiring story of Ashley Kumlien.  Ashley is the founder of MS Run the US, a 3,200 mile relay run across the United States to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis.  Ashley’s mom was diagnosed with MS 30 years ago and Ashley has dedicated the past few years to both running across the country by herself and now organizing a relay team who is currently running coast to coast all to benefit people with MS.

ms_run_the_us_relay_map

While Ashley doesn’t have MS herself, a few runners on the 16 member relay team do.  Bill Sinak ran a 200 mile segment through Colorado and has previously run 16 marathons and completed 19 MS150 Bike rides, all while living with MS for the past 20 years.  Michelle Jacobi who was diagnosed 9 years ago with MS is also one of the members of the team.  Follow MS Run the US on Facebook to keep up with their journey across the country.  They are currently running through Illinois, on their way to finishing in New York on September 6th.  Secretly I would LOVE to participate and run a segment of this relay some year.  I’m adding it to my bucket list!

These stories show how God can use even our toughest circumstances to bring about good things.  Each of these people has inspired me more than they will ever know and I pray that I can pay it forward and hopefully inspire someone through my journey as well.

run to stop ms

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

What inspires you?  Tell me any inspirational stories you know about.

 

Cross Training Anyone?

Last week I swam twice, took a spin class, did a 30 mile bike ride, and only ran 3 times.  Is it as shocking to you as it is to me that I ONLY ran 3 times, considering my never ending love of running?  Who am I?!

I am using a new training plan for the upcoming marathon I am doing in September.  It includes more cross training than the previous plans I have used for my other 2 marathons this year.  After coming off the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon where I just felt so tapped out and like I had nothing to give the entire race, I thought it might be a good idea to switch things up a bit.  It is always stressful for me to decide on what marathon training plan to follow because I feel like I have not keyed in on the best training for me yet.  Do I do better with more volume, more days of running, less days of running, higher intensity, more cross training???  There are so many unknowns.  I do know that when I ran my one and only BQ marathon last summer that I had been doing some swimming and biking, so I thought maybe I would try that for this marathon training cycle.  The proof will be in the pudding (or not) come September 14th!

The extra cross training is needed anyway because in about 5 more weeks I will be doing the 150 mile MS Bike Ride again.  My little 30 mile training ride this week will need to be bumped up these next few weeks to get my legs ready for this 2 day event in August.  I participated for the first time last year with my husband and some super supportive friends after having been diagnosed with MS just 6 months prior.  It was an incredibly humbling and meaningful experience to be surrounded by so many people that were all there to help raise funds for MS research and awareness.  I hope to be able to do the MS Bike Ride every year that the Lord blesses me with the ability to do so.

Miles and Trials Team 2012 MS Bike Ride

Miles and Trials Team 2012 MS Bike Ride

How do you select a training plan?  Am I the only one that stresses out about this?

Ever done a charity bike ride?

 

Another Trip

We were home for 3 days from Coeur d’Alene before packing up our camper and heading out again for the 4th of July.  We camped about 20 miles north of Durango, Colorado near a small lake.  The views were beautiful and the weather was great, although the skies were smoky from a nearby forest fire.

ducksOn the 4th of July we drove a little farther north to the cutest little mountain town called Silverton.  A few years ago we discovered their amazing fireworks show and this was our third time making the trek up the mountain to join the fun celebration.

Driving into Silverton

Driving into Silverton

We walked around the cute downtown area, got some ice cream, and then anxiously awaited the sun to set and the fireworks to start.

The kids in the back of the truck waiting for the fireworks

The kids in the back of the truck waiting for the fireworks

The show went on for 30 minutes!  It was spectacular and amazes me that such a little town puts on such a great show.

I managed to get in 2 runs while we were camping.  I’ve started my training for the Big Cottonwood Marathon and had a 2.5 hour long run.  Fortunately, I got to run near the river through Durango for about half of my run, which made it much more enjoyable.  I’ve been spoiled with getting to run by water in Durango, and on our trip the week before to Coeur d’Alene.  It’s going to be a tough adjustment to get back to running in the dry desert of Albuquerque where we live!

Such a blessing to get to run with this scenery!

Such a blessing to get to run with this scenery!

The last day of our trip we rented paddle boards and went out on the lake.  We all enjoyed doing it for the first time while we were in Coeur d’Alene, so the kids wanted to do it again on this trip.

Great times on the lake

Great times on the lake

After back to back trips, we will be hunkering down the remainder of the summer back at home.  It feels like the summer is almost over!

What did you do for the 4th of July?  Did you go see a fireworks show?

Home from Coeur d’Alene

We made it safely home from our big road trip to Coeur d’Alene.  It was a great adventure filled with fun times with friends, bike rides, a couple of runs, a swim in the lake, stand up paddle boarding for the first time (loved this!), and a little race called Ironman (for my hubs, not me!).

Sons of Thunder team: Ryan, Rick M., Adrian, and my hubby Rick

Sons of Thunder team: Ryan, Rick M., Adrian, and my hubby Rick

We traveled to Idaho with 4 other families whose husbands were also racing.  (Amidst all the excitement I don’t have a picture of Karl, another friend that also raced.)  The race was very organized with a gorgeous weather day, and I am incredibly proud of the 5 guys for their dedication throughout the 6 months of training and how they raced with such heart.  As I have experienced with marathon running, some days are good and some days are not, and we never know what we will experience on race day, but these men persevered through various trials on the course, and they are an inspiration to me!

Start of the Ironman swim

Start of the Ironman swim

Rick off the bike headed out to run

Rick off the bike headed out to run

A long day of spectating

A long day of spectating

The week after the race we hung out in Coeur d’Alene enjoying the cooler weather and rain, which we hardly ever see in Albuquerque!  We loved the green scenery all around and the lake was so beautiful.

I could get used to a run like this everyday!

I could get used to a run like this everyday!

Now it is back to reality for a few days and then we are off to go camping in Durango for the 4th of July.

My prayers go out to all those that passed away Sunday while fighting the fire in Arizona.  True heroes.