Sunday, December 9, 2012

It May Not Seem Like Much - But To Me It's HUGE!

I'm lying in bed unable to move with a heating pad that is not big enough to cover my entire body (note to self - must invest in one of these soon.)  Today was the annual Arthritis Foundation's Jungle Bell 5K Walk/Run. This is the 4th year my family has participated in this event. It is my sixth year living with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis).Three years ago, I did not run, but my husband did. Two years ago, I walked - and finished - dead last. In fact, I was so far last, that the time keeper had already packed up and was long gone. Last year, I didn't finish. I sadly had to call it quits at the two mile mark.

Here is me with two of my three children and my uncle pre-race. I look happy & energetic right? I like to refer to this one as "PP" or "Pre-Pain"

This year, the organizers took my advice and added a one mile course. I was THRILLED! 3.10 miles was just too much for me and so many others with arthritis to tackle. With the one mile course, so many who previously were unable to participate might now be able to walk or even run if they felt up to it. So once again, I put bells on my sneakers and headed toward the course. Only, I couldn't find the one mile course, and the volunteers who I asked, pointed me in the direction of the 5K course. So I headed off with the masses.

And we're off! It's a beautiful, warm, sunny day ... or not.

I figured at some point, there would be a turn off for us one-mile walkers. I was wrong. I walked ... and walked ... and walked. I passed the "One Mile sign." I considered turning back, but (a) I'd be going against traffic and there were a lot of people, and (b) I'd still be walking two miles. The 5K was just over 3 miles, so why go 2 when I could go 3? Did I mention I'm stubborn? Did I also mention it was cold and raining and I was only wearing a sweatshirt because I thought I'd only be outside for a 15 minute or less mile course?

Yes, I really am leaning to the left. That's because I'm about to fall over. This one is also"PP", but now it means "Pure Pain", but hey, I'm still smiling!

So - I trudged on - my hips gave out first, then my knees. My ankles and feet were not far behind. My 12 1/2 year old daughter walked beside me, telling me I could do this. She was right. I finished the race one hour and seven minutes later. There were even people still behind me. I'm proud and in pain. Lots and lots of pain - but I did it.

Is that the finish line or am I just hallucinating?

Look! There are people behind us - not many, but still! I'm not last this year, and I managed to cross the finish line before everyone packed up and went home!

It may sound ridiculous. I mean 3.10 miles doesn't sound like a lot, and to be honest, it's not to most people. But for me or someone like me who lives with RA (or other conditions which affect daily activity) it is huge, and the fact that I was able to finish the race puts a big smile on my face - despite the pain.

Thank you to all of my family and friends who supported me this year in the Jingle Bell Walk/Run! I so appreciate it!!


  1. I actually cried as I read this. My mother was recently diagnosed with RA and the side effects are quickly taking her down hill. She was hospitalized 3 times between Easter & 4 of July for lung issues as a result of RA. The last time I had to make them admit her and then she was there for 2 weeks. We've aince had a biopsy of her lungs and her results indicated 3-5 years if they do not get a handle on her RA. There is only one RA doctor in our area and it takes a year to get into his office as a new patient. All that being said, seeing what my Mom goes through - I am EXTREMELY proud of you! Keep fighting the fight. Well wishes and prayers for you! You Rock! ;)

    1. Thank you so much Alicia! I'm SO very sorry to hear about your mother. I have RA nodules in my lungs as well, but thankfully, they are so far harmless. I hope your mom is able to get int o see a dr soon. Hugs to her & you.


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