I have learned above else this year is Never Settle for more than you know you are and deserve in life. I was well on my way to my running dream marathon time when I was struck with Hashimotos, an autoimmune disease that reeks havoc on your body and mind. Well it wasn't a sudden event but a progression in a disease that had been silently destroying my thyroid for years. Only when the symptoms started to become more severe and reduced me to a fatigued and brain fogged soul did I take notice of what was going on inside my body. The months of fatigue was finally explained and I was discouraged by doctors and others that running would not be apart of my future especially endurance running.
My heart knew different and I set out this past year to find the best doctors and resources and coach to get me back on track. I have fought hard. I knew that something in me was more than this disease said their could be. I was worth the fight and my dream was worth fighting for. I was not willing to set it aside when my heart still screamed this is possible - keep going!
Last year when things were bad, running a 10 minute mile was difficult and running 2 miles was difficult and many runs had me walking away in tears- confused and lost. Where did my strong body go? Just months before 7 minute miles were totally within my abilities.
Month by month working on my health and taking my training day by day I have seen tremendous progress. Some days still suck and running is more difficult than it should be but I keep going on the days when parts of my want to quit. Most days I go into each run having no idea how I will feel. Will it be there or not or will I be gutting out a tough day. There are days that I feel feverish and clammy running like I have the flu or I felt like couldn't breathe and my heart was working too hard for an easy effort or my pace is much slower than I think it should be but everyday I am out there trying is like a gift to myself. I am trying and effort in life is everything. I am not out there being defeated I am winning just by trying.
I remember two months or so ago when I had a breakthrough workout. I literally finished this amazing run and cried my heart out on the track. I had run faster than I had every thought was even possible for me. In the weeks before I was struggling with hair loss and in and out drs appts overwhelmed by Hashimotos but than I was given unexpected gift on the track one morning. It was like my gift for keeping at it when all signs were pointing to let go of this dream. That one workout gave me enough emotional fuel to keep going and keep doing the work both phyiscal and mental. Everyday is like a brick you get to lay and you want to lay it the best you can so you can build a strong wall. That is how I view each run no matter how fast or not fast I run, I want my effort to be my best. In the end that is all I am responsible for my effort and my attitude the rest is left up to a high power than myself.
And I believe that that high power is supporting me in my fight! I believe that I am suppose to be doing this with my whole heart even on the days and races that others may not see the progress I know I am making progress each day. I know while it isn't always apparent or consistently shining through like it would for someone without Hashimotos, I know it is there. I see glimpses of the greatness that is inside waiting for all the elements to be in place to shine through. I am good with that!
This weekend I ran the fastest and strongest long run ever and totally at effort that was well within my abilities and I did not strain to run this fast. For 18 miles @ 8:07 average pace. This is what never give up and never settling looks like for me.
What is crazy is that 2 years ago when I was training for Houston Marathon when I was healthy and the best shape of my life, I was doing marathon paces runs in the 7:50-8:00 range this was difficult but this weekend I ran 18 miles in that range. This gives me a glimpse into how far I have come and that there really is amazing fitness there ready to tap into when the time is right.
Sometimes sitting back and savoring how far I have come in the year is the most amazing feeling.