Just What I Needed

I’m typing this on a Sunday evening and I am really tired. Just, beat. That always scares me a little. Am I getting sick? Are things going south? I’ve not really been sick since this whole adventure started, except for a really bad cold and the fatigue I felt during the SCT process.

Then I have to remind myself. I forget sometimes. When you run 28 miles in two days, you might feel tired. I did a very hilly workout of 18 miles yesterday. Today I was assigned a fast 10. If coaching means tough love sometimes, all I can say is, my coach loves me a lot. He is having me do exactly what I need to do. And I am very grateful that I can do it. I had to push today. To run 8 of the 10 miles assigned at marathon pace when my legs had not yet recovered from yesterday was hard. But I LOVED it.

So back to Amyloid land, I had that silly (or maybe excruciatingly painful is the phrase I’m looking for) bone marrow biopsy on the 14th and I didn’t get the results until the 24th, which gave my mind lots of time to go to places it had no business going. However, by that Friday afternoon, I was ready to hear what it was. It was good. The measure of plasma cells in my marrow is still at 5% and that’s normal. Sigh of relief. That means that the main indicators of remission are still normal. The next step was going to be to see what my nephrologist was going to say.

I had to shift gears, though, because I was off to San Luis Obispo for a half marathon on Sunday. (That’s 13.1 miles if you are not a regular follower of running) The double life is alive and well! First, though, there was a musical at Ygnacio Valley High School I needed to attend. My daughter Rory, although suffering from a very bad sore throat, was one of the stars. The show had to go on, and it did. In typical YV fashion, it was a fantastic show. I’m proud of my girl. She did an amazing job.


That’s my girl!

Saturday morning came a little too soon, so I shot out of bed to get a few pet sitting visits done, before doing a short “prep” run and getting on the road. It was about a 3 hour drive.

Then it hit me. This is a long way. About 240 miles, for a race.  What was I thinking?

I can tell you what I was thinking. It was a certified course (which matters if you are going to be submitting results to a race organization) and I had friends filming the race for an internet broadcast. So, it seemed like a good idea at the time. But I had started to worry about the hills on the course and that I just was not ready. My goal was to come in under 1:54. That was an 8:42 pace per mile, the time standard for guaranteed entry to the New York City marathon for my age group. A half time I had done once when I was 6 years younger, running faster 5k’s and not coming off a….ya know.

I was not feeling the love of racing on Saturday night. I could feel myself withdrawing from the lively conversation of my friends at dinner, and going to a dark place in the land of pre-race anxiety. My friends made it clear they believed in me. Why didn’t I ?

The alarm went off at 3:30 the next morning, and I went through the motions. The race started at 6:45. By the time I was lining up for the race, my feet seemed to know what they were there to do. The song played over the speakers right before the race was “I lived” by One Republic. I think that set me straight. I only had one choice I knew, to go out and do it.

And, as if by magic, everything went right. I got up those hills, and I let gravity carry me down. I stayed on pace. I knew coach Andy was at mile 7 and I couldn’t wait to get there and give him a big smile. I yelled to him that I was on pace. I kept it up. I got it done. With 14 seconds to spare, I came flying in to the best greeting ever…Pete and Erin filming the race at the finish line, and right there, available to give me the best hugs ever! What a sweet moment. I can’t imagine a better way to finish!

KImfinishing SLO

Pete managed to get this photo, as I kind of surprised them at the finish. My mouth is wide open, maybe gasping for air…but who cares?

I celebrated with a nice meal including a chocolate shake. Kim doesn’t let Kim have those very often.

When I got home, my new chicken harness had arrived in the mail.


Pretty cool weekend, ha?

To say this was a confidence booster is putting it lightly. I really needed something like this. A concrete way to know that I was coming back. I’ve been doing far better at mental toughness, but I needed results. I know that running is not the most important thing in the world, but it is very special to me. And achieving something is a way to know that I’m back on track. There were many scary moments when I was first diagnosed. I thought my running life was over. But it’s not. I have cried a lot of tears of joy over this.

Back to the real world, I did see my nephrologist a few days after the race. She is concerned about my protein levels and asked me a lot of questions about medications and diet. With nothing to pin this on, she is considering another kidney biopsy to see if I have any other type of kidney disease…like I have  time for that! She will check with the pathologists who did the original one in 2013 to see if there was anything else they saw. I think that’s unlikely since I was told they had exhausted all possibilities before looking for Amyloid. We have tentatively planned the biopsy for June 1st. She understands that I have a marathon on May 24th. It will mean a night in the hospital and a week off running, and I can’t lose a week right now.  After my appointment, I got a call from the nurse asking about how to contact my doctors at Stanford, so it looks look she will consult with them, the Amyloid experts. How common is steadily increasing proteinuria two years into treatment? I don’t know, but I am sure I will hear from them soon, and that will probably determine whether or not I am headed for another kidney biopsy.

All I know is, I’m not going to let anything get in my way. I’m running well. I’m happy. I’m starting to believe in myself again. And it’s the best feeling ever!


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