Friday, July 30, 2010

The F word

Take a giant dose of stress, throw in a 3-night lack of sleep, shake vigorously with several days of low barometric pressure and what do you get? A fibromyalgia flare! For those of you who've never had the joy of experiencing one, I can only describe it as a full-body toothache meets the flu. You wake up in the morning feeling as though you've been beaten with a baseball bat, and every time you move, every muscle in your body exhibits the raw-nerve sensation of biting on an abscessed tooth. Exercise is completely out of the question. Surviving it is pretty much the only goal.

This latest flare was mercifully brief. It hit Monday evening, laid me low Tuesday and Wednesday, and finally started to subside sometime yesterday morning. On a scale of one to ten I'd say it averaged around a 5. The most frustrating thing, of course, was not being able to run and work toward my goal of running a (slow) mile without stopping, which I was hoping to reach by the end of this week.

I really didn't feel like running this morning, but since I was sure the flare was 99% gone, I forced myself to hop on the treadmill. I had no plan in mind whatsoever -- walk a slow mile? Try to run just a little? Who knows? But once I had my earbuds in and the Prodigy exhorted me to "Smack My Bitch Up" (look for a post about my running playlist soon), I felt like trying a couple of running/walking intervals like I did on Saturday -- running for 30 seconds, then walking for a minute. I was thrilled to find that not only did it not hurt, it felt fantastic! So fantastic that I didn't want to stop. I did two miles altogether, including warm-up and cool-down. That's almost two-thirds of a 5K!

So my goal has changed. Forget running a mile without stopping. That hurts, and my body doesn't like it, and it was an arbitrary goal anyway. I'm just going to add intervals until I'm up to the distance I need. What I'll do after that, I don't know, but that is my new short-term goal -- build up intervals until I'm doing at least 3.1 miles total at a time.

Alrighty! Onward and upward!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday run

Today I worked on endurance. I did a mile and a half, with a half-mile total of warm-up/cool-down, and alternated running .8 laps at 4.2 m.p.h. and walking .2 laps at 3 m.p.h. for the remaining mile. I feel really close to my goal of running a mile (at an easy pace) without stopping! I think it's more a mental hurdle than a physical one, so I'm going to set a goal of busting through it by this time next week. You all are instructed to hold me accountable!

Some days I finish a run and feel so glad that it's over. I don't even want to think about running after I'm done, and the next day it's usually a struggle to get back on the treadmill. Other days I finish a run feeling fantastic and can think about nothing else for the remainder of the day except when can I run again?!

Today was definitely a running-obsessed day. I got off the treadmill this morning feeling tired but accomplished and have been full of energy all day long, able to think about nothing but getting back on the treadmill and seeing what else I've got in me. I know better than to overdo it like that, though, so I made do with watching Spirit of the Marathon on Hulu (it made me cry!) and poring over the August issue of Runner's World magazine.

One other running-related thing I did today was make a decision about the two 5K races coming up in my area in September. I've decided for sure to register for and run the "real" 5K that takes place the weekend after my birthday. I checked the website for the race today and it got me all excited with its mention of race packets and t-shirts and whatnot. I still haven't decided what to do about the other 5K, the one for which I was originally training, that takes place the weekend before my birthday. Since that one is a free Fun Run and all you have to do is show up, I'll probably make that decision as it gets closer.

Now that I know for sure I'm running a real race, I am super excited about my training. My only goal, honestly, will be to not come in last. I don't think that will be a problem because I've been told it's a family-friendly race with lots of walkers, but I'll let you know if any toddlers end up lapping me!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's supposed to be fun, right?

I decided to change things up today. I did a mile and a half on the treadmill, with one lap each of warm-up and cool-down. So, one half mile of that altogether. For the remaining mile I alternated running 30 seconds at 5 m.p.h. (a pretty good clip for me) and walking one minute at 3 m.p.h.

Holy fun run, Batman! That was an absolute blast! Each running interval ended with me feeling like I could do more (hello, I was in labor with my daughter for 80 mostly unmedicated hours -- I can do anything for 30 seconds). So I was really watching the clock during my one-minute walking intervals, eager to get back to running again. Loved this workout!

This has me kind of re-thinking my training plan. Maybe I should alternate days of doing this with days of running for longer distances at my usual (slower) speed of 4.2 m.p.h.? I'll have to play around with it over the next few days and see if I can work something out. Anything that gets me to my goal of running a mile without stopping or getting injured is fair game right now!

Speaking of goals, I just found out there is going to be a "real" 5K in my area one week after the 5K Fun Run for which I've been training. The second 5K is on a USATF-certified course and has an entry fee and everything, whereas the fun run is free and a lot more casual. Now I'm wondering if I should do the second one instead, just to feel like I'm putting a little more weight behind my goal and taking it a little more seriously. Or is it unrealistic to think I might be able to do both? The timing of both races is auspicious; my 44th birthday happens right between them. They're a week apart, so if I don't kill myself on the fun run I should be able to do another 5K a week later, right?

Right now I'm leaning toward registering for the "real" 5K, doing that one for sure, and seeing how I feel when the fun run comes up. If I'm up to running 3 miles a few days a week by then, maybe I will do both!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another running injury

Fortunately I don't think this one will impact my training much!

Can you even see it there? That tiny little round dot of a bruise on the very tip of my ring finger? You wouldn't think something that small would hurt very much, but you would be so very wrong.

I love my treadmill, goodness knows I do, but there are two things about it that bug me. One, I wish it had the ability to set a custom speed that could be accessed with one button. For example, I run most comfortably at 4.2 miles per hour (don't laugh). It's such a pain, when I switch from walking to running, to have to hit the "4" button and then the "up" button to increase the speed in .1-mile increments. All I need is a button labeled "custom" that I can set to whatever speed I want, making it really easy to toggle back and forth between my walking speed (3 m.p.h.)(I said don't laugh) and my running speed. Is that too much to ask?

Second, the side rails are so poorly designed. They're too short and too high, and they consist of pretty much just a couple of capped metal tubes that jut straight out from the front of the machine. I can't even count the number of times I've smacked my hands into them while running, but this is the first time I've actually been bruised by one of them. I guess I got a little too windmill-y today! My next treadmill will have curved side rails. Or rubber side rails. Or no side rails.

Anyhoo, apart from my crippling finger injury I had a great run today! Yes, I said run. I did 1.25 miles (five laps) again with a half-lap each of warm-up and cool-down, but this time I alternated running .6 laps and walking .4 in-between. Man, it felt great! So happy to be back to training. I'm going to knock out that one-mile running goal in no time, you just wait and see!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Book Review: No Need for Speed by John "The Penguin" Bingham

I'll admit it was the title that drew me to this book, because let's face it, I'm never going to be fast. Not by professional running standards, anyway. And I honestly have no desire to be. I've never been a very competitive person and all of my running challenges have to do with pushing myself to do something I've never done before, not measuring myself against someone else's best. I don't know that I'll ever feel the desire to run anything more than a 10K, race-wise, and I'm perfectly content to line up and remain at the back of the pack, just as long as I finish.

Fortunately, this book was just perfect for someone at my stage in the running game. Bingham talks a lot about the motivation to run and how runners are "born", but the emphasis is on just putting one foot in front of the other and doing it rather than turning yourself into some sort of speed/distance demon. The tone of the book is very encouraging throughout, and Bingham really makes you feel like you can do this! I also love his assertion that if you run, you are a runner. Even if you're more round than oblong, even if people leisurely walking their dogs are lapping you as you huff around the block, even if you finish consistently in last place at every race you run, the fact that you are running at all means you are a "real" runner. No need for speed!

The book is divided into four sections entitled "Inspiration", "Perspiration", "Dedication" and "Celebration" with a special bonus section of Bingham's most popular columns from Runner's World magazine. The "Inspiration" section, as you can probably imagine, deals with getting started. In this section Bingham deals not only with motivation and exorcising the demons that keep you from getting started, but also with practical information on how to outfit yourself to begin running -- buying the right shoes, etc. "Perspiration" talks about the nuts and bolts of running, from nutrition to injury prevention. "Dedication" deals with goal setting, staying motivated during training, and how to cross-train. And finally, "Celebration" is all about the joy of running, whether you're just huffing along on the treadmill a few times a week or racing your heart out in a marathon.

I really loved this book. I feel like I already had the motivation to get started and keep going where running was concerned, but it's hard not to get discouraged when I suffer setbacks (like my most recent bout with illness) and this book has been a great source of reminders that as long as I'm putting one foot in front of the other, I'm still in it. The practical tips are great, too, and they are presented in a very no-pressure sort of way. I highly recommend this book for anyone who's just getting started with running, even if you've only thought about it but haven't actually taken the plunge yet (maybe especially if you're at that stage). If you're feeling too slow, too fat, too achy, too old or in any way discouraged about running, this book will give you a real boost!

Back in the saddle

Well, that was fun. The low-grade fever I came down with on Wednesday evening ended up lingering for several days, forcing me to stop running altogether while I got over it. You haven't seen grumpy until you've seen me sick, and when you add not being able to run into the mix, well. It wasn't pretty.

I've been fever-free since yesterday morning, so this morning I hopped back on the treadmill. What I really wanted to do was pick up where I left off and run my heart out, but I knew that would be stupid with my body still in recovery mode so I took it easy. I did five laps, or 1.25 miles, altogether with a half-lap each of warm-up and cool-down and then alternating half-laps of moderate walking and speed-walking in between. I didn't want any impact on my muscles, joints and whatnot after just having gotten over a fever, but I didn't want to just mosey either. It definitely felt like I was working but my body seemed to handle it okay, so tomorrow I'll throw in some running intervals and take it from there.

I'm not going to lie, I'm getting a little nervous about the 5K in September. My training has suffered way more setbacks than I would like. I've been checking online for local races coming up this fall so I can line up another one down the road if I have to punk out on this one, but it really will feel like failing if I don't even try! Fingers crossed that I can reach my short-term goal of running a mile without stopping by the end of July. If I can do that, I think it'll really boost my confidence.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Human after all

Well, I solved the mystery of yesterday's crummy run. I'll spare you the list of symptoms, but it appears I've come down with a mild bug of some sort. I run a low-grade fever at the drop of a hat -- I guess that's a convenient signal to slow down -- and I know from experience that I can either heal from whatever ails me or exercise, but not both at the same time. So I skipped the treadmill altogether today and will see how I feel tomorrow. With luck, I won't be sidelined for too long and will at least be able to get back to some easy run/walk intervals soon!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Like running through oatmeal

That's how it felt on the treadmill this morning. I ran the exact same speed/distance/intervals as yesterday (and the day before, for that matter) but for some reason today it was such a struggle. My legs were burning a bit after the first running interval and I didn't think too much of it, but then my precisely timed walk break seemed so unexpectedly short. The second running interval was a definite struggle -- I was fatigued, the air felt thick, I found myself leaning forward while simultaneously landing on my heels more than usual (how does that even work?!), and my calves were burning. The second walk break seemed to last microseconds, and when the third running interval rolled around I found myself thinking "oh no" instead of my usual "let's go"!

My internal pep talk even regressed to monosyllables as I mentally chanted, "Go, go, go. Push, push, push." (Usually my pep self-talks go more along the lines of: "You're strong. You can do this. Just keep moving.") By the time I finished I was panting and wheezing and felt about half dead. It took forever for me to cool down and get my heart rate back to normal.

What gives? I don't know what was different this time. I actually slept better last night than the night before, and had a decent breakfast of protein and complex carbs, but it really was like running through oatmeal today. Maybe it's because it was my third day in a row running the same speed/distance/intervals? Pundits say you shouldn't run every day, but I've found that because of the fibromyalgia, if I don't move every single day my body resets to "zero" and I have to start all over again to build up intensity. It might be time to play around with alternating easy runs vs. hard (for me) runs, though. I definitely don't want to get another injury, and more than that, I want to be having fun!

Yesterday's run was so great, and today it was just torture. Same run, two completely different experiences. Is it the fibromyalgia, or just running in general? Who knows? I just know that for the first time today, with my 5K almost exactly two months away, I started to get a little nervous about it. And that is no place for my head to be while training.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baby steps

It's easy to get discouraged while exercising with fibromyalgia. Progress can be unbelievably slow and recovery time unbelievably long compared to what other runners seem to experience. Thanks to new technology that allows runners to share run distances, times, pacing, etc. instantly through social media like Facebook and Twitter, I'm constantly aware of how I compare to other runners I know.

In a word, I am SLOW. And lacking endurance, big-time.

I try not to focus on that, though. The important thing is that I am MOVING. I might be doing it slowly, but I'm doing it! And by golly, that's all that matters.

With that being said, I thought I'd report in on my 5K training, such as it is. I'm still running on the treadmill exclusively (a) because it's hotter than Satan's armpit out there, and (b) because I like the control it gives me. Today I did six laps on the treadmill, which equals a mile and a half. The first half lap (.125 miles) was warmup, then I ran eight-tenths of a lap and walked two-tenths of a lap until I had covered 4.3 laps. The remainder was cool-down.

Is that a lot of running? Nope. But it's a lot of running for me, and it felt pretty damn good!

My immediate goal is to be able to run a mile without stopping. Not fast, just without stopping. After that I need to increase my distance so that I'm eventually able to run three miles with just short walk breaks between miles. And then it'll be time to get off the treadmill and hit the trail where the 5K is taking place to make sure my knees can handle it (not to mention acclimating myself to the heat and humidity, ugh). My fibromyalgia is flared by weather changes so that is a huge hurdle for me, running outside with the humidity and everything and still being able to recover afterwards. I guess we'll see what happens!

Book Review: Run Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

I almost didn't buy this book. It showed up in my Amazon recommendations and when I read the description, with its talk of tips for running while pregnant and post-partum and finding time to run while mothering toddlers, I immediately thought it didn't really apply to me since my kids are older. But the reader reviews won me over, and I went ahead and bought it. I'm so glad I did!

The two authors of Run Like a Mother make it clear from the outset that while they have many similarities (most notably a love of running), they also have many differences. Bowen Shea is the more intense and competitive of the two, while McDowell takes a somewhat more casual approach to running. I imagine most readers will identify pretty strongly with one or the other, which gives the book an intimate, conversational feel. It really reads more like friendly advice than an instruction manual, which I really liked.

Chapters are short and typically include an essay by one of the two authors about the topic in question, a variety of sidebars that tend to take the form of bulleted lists or quotes from other running mothers, and an extra ".2" section (for the .2 mile that makes up the end of a 26.2-mile marathon) with fun stuff like playlist suggestions or pre-run beauty dos and don'ts.

Early chapter topics include everything from finding motivation to finding the right shoes. Middle and later chapters deal with different aspects of running (trail running, speedwork, hills, race training) as well as specific considerations for mothers (running while pregnant, postpartum, etc.). The book is chock-full of personal stories and experiences by the authors along with loads of practical information and resources, all presented in a very easy-to-read format.

Run Like a Mother is a great resource for women runners in all stages of life, whether mother-to-be, new mother, mother of teens, grandmother, or don't-plan-to-be-a-mother! More than that, it's a really fun read. You'll feel like you've just taken a run with a couple of friends who really "get it". The authors also have a blog where they keep the conversation going.

I highly recommend this book and expect to refer back to it often during my running (r)evolution.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pushing through

I am not a natural athlete. Even as a teenager, when I was probably in the best shape of my life, I didn't enjoy sports. I lacked coordination, endurance, talent, motivation -- pretty much everything necessary for success or even enjoyment of most athletic endeavors. My brother was a terror on the football field and my best friend was a star on our high school's cross-country team, and while I was happy to cheer them on from the sidelines, quietly envious of their skill and discipline, I had no actual desire to join them in the ranks of real athletes. When forced to run around the track in high school P.E. class I would drag myself along grudgingly, walking the straights and lurching through the curves in a half-jog, hand clutching the stitch in my side, hating every minute of it.

Twenty-five years, two kids and one fibromyalgia diagnosis later and I am running and loving it. Go figure!

It's easy for me to remember when I first felt the love because it only happened a couple of months ago. I was running on the treadmill and feeling the burn. My shins were sore, my hips were on fire, my left knee felt wonky and I had a weird twinge in the arch of my right foot. I wanted to fall back to a walk, but I had promised myself that I'd run for a certain distance before doing that and I wasn't quite there yet.

So, I pushed through. I kept going even though I wanted to quit. I can't honestly say I had ever done that before with any physical activity (barring childbirth, not that I had much choice there). As strange as this sounds, I'm not sure I even realized it was an option. But this time it was a deliberate choice: my brain threw up a wall, and I decided to crash through it. What I found on the other side was that feeling I've heard athletes refer to so many times -- the second wind, the zone, the endorphin rush. It's a feeling difficult to describe to anyone who hasn't felt it, but it was positively drug-like and I was an instant addict. For the first time I wasn't running because I wanted to be active in my old age, because I wanted to be healthy, because I wanted to prove something to myself -- I was running because it felt amazing!

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that in hindsight it might not have been the best idea crashing through that wall. One of the things fibromyalgia does is magnify the body's pain signals. It also distorts sensory input, telling the body it's in pain when it really isn't. When I first started running, I had no way of knowing whether any pain I felt was the start of an injury or just my central nervous system playing tricks on me. I told myself that real runners pushed through the pain. No pain, no gain, right? They wouldn't say it if it wasn't true! How was I ever going to become a real runner if I stopped every time I felt a twinge?

So I pushed through, and even though I got invited to the endorphin party as a reward, I'm convinced that was the beginning stage of my knee injury. I continued to run on it every day, pushing past the persistent pain signals my body was sending, and weakened my knee to the point that one short trail run was enough to finish it off. Whoops!

I've since become a lot more sensible about pushing through pain. It's still hard for me to tell whether the pain I feel is due to an impending injury or just some random fibro misfire that will disappear as mysteriously as it began, but now when I run and my brain tells me to slow down or stop I do a body check: does anything hurt? Is it a sharp pain or a dull pain? Is it really pain or just fatigue/soreness? No more second-guessing -- if it hurts, I slow down. If I'm just sore or tired, I go a little bit further in pursuit of that elusive but oh-so-addictive runner's high.

I'm not quite there yet, and the going is a lot slower than I'd like, but I can tell I'm making definite progress toward my ultimate goal: no (by which I mean a manageable level of normal-for-me) pain, all gain!

The long road to getting started

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia eight years ago. If you had told me then that one day I'd be training for a 5K race, I would have laughed myself into incontinence. I still remember the first time my doctor gave me "homework" between treatment appointments. My assignment was simply to walk around my suburban block, as slowly as I liked, and take a baseline measurement of my heart rate. I can't remember now what that baseline was, but I do remember spending the entire next day in bed, flat on my back, popping ibuprofin like candy. I was in absolute agony just from walking around the block! And I had bought good walking shoes specifically for that task!

I spent the next several years joking that I was allergic to exercise. Any doctor who dared to suggest that I get up and moving was shut down immediately. "You don't understand," I would say. "I can't do that. I can't! I have two kids, a husband and a life! People are counting on me to function -- I can't spend two days in bed for every day you want me to get out and walk." So we tried other things: elimination diets, supplements, medications, massage, chiropractic care, acupuncture, physical therapy. It all worked for a while, enough that I was able to get through my day, but adding any additional exercise on top of the housework and kid-toting that I did everyday as a stay-at-home mom of two young children was out of the question.

I'm not sure exactly what changed as the years went by, my children got older, and the demands of motherhood became less physical, but I can tell you that it was a change in attitude more than a physical change. Not that there weren't plenty of physical changes going on as I stared down the barrel of my forties with my metabolism noticeably slowing down, my middle noticeably thickening, and various other bits and pieces suddenly succumbing to the laws of gravity like never before. But it was more the thought of facing my empty-nest years as a sedentary, achy lump of goo that had me looking for a change. Someday in the not-too-distant future my kids would be off living their own lives, my husband would be retired, and I would have nothing but time on my hands. What was I going to do then? Take up needlepoint? Scrapbooking? Fantasy football?

Nah. None of those things were for  me. I wanted my golden years with my husband to be active and fun, full of travel (even if only on day trips around central Texas). That's what I wanted to happen, but I had no idea how to get there. I was able to function with a certain level of pain, but I didn't see that situation improving as I got older. More than likely my pain would get worse and I'd eventually end up in a wheelchair or one of those as-seen-on-TV scooter things. It was a depressing idea, and I was determined not to let it happen. It was definitely time for a change!

My husband was apparently going through a similar early-mid-life crisis, because right about this time he decided to buy a second-hand treadmill. He talked about it for weeks -- where to put it, how much he was willing to pay for it, how he planned to use it -- and I can't say I was overly supportive. We didn't have anywhere to put it, we didn't have much if any money to spend on it, and I certainly never planned to use it! Hello, allergic to exercise, remember? But he found both the money and the space and bought one anyway. (We've been married for a long time; he has learned to ignore my nay-saying.)

On the day after my husband brought it home and set it up, the treadmill and I faced off in the guest bedroom. I thought that as long as it was there anyway, I'd give it a little try, just to prove that I was right about being allergic to exercise. I walked on it for 20 minutes at 2 miles per hour and could barely get out of bed the next day. Vindicated! But eventually I did get out of bed, and every time I hobbled past the guest room, the treadmill was still there. I am nothing if not incredibly stubborn, so a day later I hopped back on and walked for 10 minutes at 1.5 miles per hour. For the rest of the day it felt like someone had tried to pry my legs off at the hip and I made a resolve: no more treadmill.

Then my husband bought a Wii Fit and just to prove I couldn't do that either, I gave it a try. Much to my surprise, I kind of enjoyed it. The exercises didn't hurt and I was able to stand in one place for most of them. So I started doing the Wii Fit every single day, and after a week or two I was only a little sore from it. After three weeks or so, the aerobic exercises barely left me winded. I decided to give the treadmill another try.

The first day I did 30 minutes at about 2.5 miles per hour and I wanted to die. I was popping anti-inflammatories like candy all day long and into the next morning, and I could barely make it up and down the stairs.

The second day I did 20 minutes at 2.5 miles per hour and I was really sore all that day and into the next. I think I got by with only one dose of ibuprofin, though.

The third day I did 15 minutes at 2.7 miles per hour and the next day I felt fantastic.

The fourth day I did 20 minutes at 3 miles per hour and was a little sore, but not enough to need any sort of pain medication.

The fifth day I did 30 minutes at 3 miles per hour and even jogged for maybe 30 seconds at 4 miles per hour.

I kept at it every day, increasing my speed a bit, increasing my time a bit, jogging/running for a bit. I didn't quit like I always have before -- I pushed through it.

And one day, after a couple of weeks on the treadmill, I walked two miles. Which was 1.98 miles farther than I had been able to walk for years prior. My pain was most definitely present, but it was at a low hum, equivalent to the general level of pain I had been dealing with on a daily basis before I'd started this whole exercise thing. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it felt to walk two miles and not only still get out of bed the next morning, but actually be able to function as a human being.

That was all it took. I was hooked. I walked every single day, finding through experimentation that if I skipped a day my body would reset to zero and I'd have to start slow again, building back up to a decent pace. I loved knowing that I was doing something I never thought I could do and I very much enjoyed the increased strength and stamina I had in my lower body. But eventually walking alone, even at a brisk pace, was no longer enough for me. I'd proved I could do it, and now it was time to push myself a little bit further. It was time to run.

I started running the same way I started walking: on the treadmill, increasing my speed and distance in infinitesimally small increments. One "lap" on my treadmill is equivalent to one quarter of a mile, and at my peak I was running nine-tenths of a lap and walking one-tenth of a lap for one mile, with a lap each of warm-up and cool-down. Then I got cocky and decided to run on a hike-and-bike trail near my house, like the real runners do. That proved to be a big mistake -- I injured my knee and had to take a solid three weeks off from running. I did Wii-assisted yoga, stretching and strength training instead, then started back with slow walking and gradually worked my way back up to running. It was a frustrating setback but I learned a valuable lesson: I'm not going to reach my goal(s) any faster by pushing myself too fast and ending up with an injury. With the added complication of fibromyalgia, the old saying "slow and steady wins the race" has never been more true.

Speaking of races, as mentioned in the first paragraph above I am "training" for a 5K. Five kilometers is 3.1 miles. As of this morning I'm up to a half-lap each of warm-up and cool-down, then three laps of running half a lap and walking half a lap. So, a total of only 1.12 miles per day so far, including warm-up and cool-down. I'm trying to work my way up to three miles slowly, but it's so hard to be patient! The race is in September and my goal is to be able to run most of it and keep my walking to a minimum. I'm not trying to win, I just want to finish. It's a "fun run" so it won't be timed anyway, but it feels like a good place to start.

I imagine this introduction is long enough, so feel free to stop back by and keep tabs on my progress, or to pick up and share tips on running with fibromyalgia. We fibro sufferers face a unique challenge when it comes to living an active lifestyle -- let's do this together!