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It is quiet.  The air is still. I hear a soft pounding in my chest and my feet on the asphalt.  My heart reminds me of the task at hand: kee...

Friday, March 7, 2014

Suzanne - Wonderful, Amazing You!

Top Secret Sister-In-Law has started her own team for the MS Walk team in San Diego.  I found out because she linked to my blog and I saw the extra hits being sourced from the San Diego website.  Sneaky! 

So, I thought I would return the favor and blog a bit about her, because she is pretty awesome.  Not only is she the mother of my youngest niece, and married to my favorite brother, she is also someone I count as a good friend.  And, in this last year she has really taken to running.  I love this about her.  She will be running her first half marathon later this year and she is always asking me questions about it, what shoes, how often I switch to new shoes, how I recover.  Her enthusiasm has caused me to pick up my own temp.  But isn't that the way it's supposed to be?

Recently, it occurred to me that it would be a great exercise to write about how other people how influenced my life.  Such an exercise would be beneficial on many levels.  First, it would give me the opportunity to reflect on gratitude, which is always advantageous.  Next, I would have the opportunity to really think about the wonderful people closest to me and how they enrich my life.  And finally, but certainly not concluding the benefits, I would be granted a small amount of time outside of my own head--brief, I know, but needed.

So, here is Suzanne.  She is a bit younger than me, though not too much.  She has a great sense of humor and a wonderful personality.  She is one of the kindest people I have ever met, and I have met Og Mandino!  Also, she is super smart, and I do mean book-smart and common-sense-smart alike!   Once I called her with an insurance question (a legal question) and she just knew the answer.  And you should see how she has her organized her life.  Wonderful!  Also, she is a great mom.  My little niece's name is Olivia and she is the dumpling to my apple.  Suzanne makes the best choices for Olivia, not always the easiest choices either.  She is patient and loving and nurturing.  I'm honored to know her. 

So when someone like Suzanne starts her own MS Walk Team (like she has done each year) to raise her own personal goal amount of funds and awareness, I have to pause and thank my lucky stars that there are people like her in the world.  Thank you Suzanne.  You are the driving force behind this movement.  Thank you for being you. Wonderful, amazing YOU!

Here is a link to Suzanne's MS Walk Team page:


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Orange Week 2014

I am several weeks into my marathon training and things are going well.  I feel like I am on target for the goal of 4:30.  I have been experimenting with new coconut waters and other means of hydration.  I have also been looking into the newest tech fabrics again, for cooling in the spring during warm runs.  We'll see.  But so far, so good.

I did run in Florida last week when we were there for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.  It was a perfect time for a family vacation and the event was beautiful.  It was not the best conditions for running.  The humidity was out of control.  This was also during the same time that Tampa hosts a huge running event called The Gasparilla Classic.  I am not sure how they do it, but I am going to guess there aren't many participants with MS.

That brings me to the subject of this blog.  March is MS Month and this year Orange Week is early.  What is Orange Week, you ask?  Well, Orange Week is when people with MS and our family members and friends wear orange or share oranges or orange food, pictures, memes and we do it with the m.o. of raising awareness about MS, the facts about the disease and the recovery of the disease.  This Orange Week, I learned something.  I learned that without disease-modifying therapy, about one-third of those diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS will be using a wheelchair at 20 years after diagnosis.  I don't know if I believe that, or at least I am optimistic to remain within the other two-thirds (wink-wink).  Still, it is great to share stats and experience.  This is a time for us to do that.  Some of us do it all year long if asked ot not, and that's cool too.

Here's a few things I am doing for Orange Week.  I am wearing Orange every day in some small way, or maybe some large way.  I am running every day, except not on Monday because I ran 11 miles on Sunday and I'm following a training program.  I did partake in other physical activity, because I can and because it is a joy.  I will have logged 26 miles by tomorrow, with 2 more Orange Week days to go!

I am focusing and breathing, too.  Yes, on purpose.  

I am also trying to release anger as a physiological response and to move on.  I read recently that often we have a reaction of anger only to then feed it with our thoughts afterward like fanning flames on a fire.  It is better to acknowledge the anger and then move on.  This takes practice, though, and so I have been looking for opportunities to practice this. I find that something has caused me anger; a person cuts me off in traffic.  Instead of yelling out (they cant hear me anyway) I notice my emotional response and try not to judge it.  I simply acknowledge it.  "Wow, that made me angry!"  Then I try to let it go. I don't think, "What was that guy's problem? Didn't he see me? Why is his schedule/safety/etc. more important than mine?"  Instead, I think, "I can move in from this.  I don't have to judge this."  And I am finding that I don't either.

For those of us afflicted with MS, it is vital that we keep a healthy emotional balance as well as a healthy physical balance in all that we do.  I will be the first to admit that this is the biggest the challenge for me, but that does not give me the excuse to not try.  Practice in this way can help me to not internalize my negative feelings.  It can help me to reduce my stress.  And I find that I am much more relaxed and content.

So, this year if anyone wants to know what is the most significantly different aspect of my disease management now into my 9th year of diagnosis, I will tell them that I am most focused on my emotional well-being.  It is as important -- or probably more so, than my physical well-being.  Actually, the two are mutually dependent upon one another.  

Happy Orange Week!

 Photo from the Oregon Chapter of the MS Society