SheCan…and SheWill Part 1
Tonight is the first part of a series on running with chronic illness…written by the lovely jodie
Where to start. Maybe a little bit about my running history. I first started when I was at uni in 2008, something free and something to keep me fit. Running along to sunny Portsmouth seafront was great. When I moved back home I kept it up with my cousin, someone who was super fit. I struggled to keep up with her at my plodding pace but I managed and completed a few 10k Race for Life events with her.
Then I was just about to move out of the county and Emily and Kate started up SheCan…Run. I always said to myself if I ever came back the first thing I would do would join SheCan and it was. SheCan gave me the confidence to run faster, loose a bit of weight and make fantastic friendships. Since joining the ladies my running has gone from strength to strength. I ran further than I could have ever imagined including two marathons and two ultramarathons.
My first marathon bling!
Anyway enough about my running history, I wanted to blog not only about running but also about running with a chronic illness. I have something called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). A condition where cysts grow in my kidneys and liver, cause high blood pressure, enlarged kidneys, kidney infections, cyst infections and a decrease in kidney function ultimately leading to need dialysis and a kidney transplant, among other things as well (too many to mention). I have known this since just before my 18th birthday. That is why one of the reasons I like to run, it keeps me healthy, happy and my consultant says it’s really good for me.
After completing an ultra marathon last July I was the fittest I had ever been. I was in great shape and loved my running life. However things took a turn for the worst with my health, I had a bleed from a large cyst in my right kidney and was hospitalised for ten days. Now lots of people have different opinions on what caused my bleed from the impact of Go Ape (which I will be doing again), to pushing my body too far (running an ultra marathon) with exercise. I don’t think it was any of these. It was just something that happened and something that may happen again in the future. A side effect of my chronic illness.
Anyway, running took a back seat. Keeping fit took a back seat. Life went on hold for a while. Constantly feeling tired, zapped of energy meant even the slightest thing like the food shop would leave me needing a nap for hours. It’s taken six months of trips back to the doctors, months of antibiotics and changes in medication I am slowly getting back on my feet. I have worked hard keeping myself healthy and I can now say I am happily running 5k’s again. A recent consultant appointment left me in shock about how much not running and exercising has changed my body. But I am aware that I need to find a balance and I need to get healthy for my kidneys sake.
Race To The Stones 2016
But I can tell you it’s been hard work. This time last year I was training for Brighton Marathon with a great group of friends. A memory that I love. Now I am running my slowest 5k’s in years. I am a mixed bag of running emotions. At times I feel frustrated because I am going so slow (looking at my watch is never good), sometimes I feel great and full of motivation to run (like this morning) and then I can feel so shattered I can’t move of the sofa (like Wednesday night). But I know I need to keep going at it. It’s going to be a slow, long and windy road but as long as I believe I can, I know I will. With the help and support from the great group of friends at SheCan I will get there again…