This weekend I ran an entire 10k pain free. I ran the entire time, and didn't stop once. The race I ran, the Fit for Life is special to me because I ran the half marathon last July, just a couple months before I got sick. It was the last race I ran before my RA Symptoms started, the longest distance I've done in the past year, and it was right before Ronnie and I became an official couple, and he came out with some of our other friends to cheer my friend Jackie and I on as we ran.
When I first got sick with RA and the doctors finally figured out what it was, they told me there was a possibility I might not run again. That my joints might not be able to handle that much impact, and even with medication, my running days may be over. Over the next six months, I started to believe that. I believed I would never feel good enough to run again, and to be honest, I had a season where I was in a dark place. I learned that I found my identity in being a runner, that I turned to running as my comfort, my stress release, my security.
I am not saying I think running is bad, because it isn't. It is so good for me, mentally and physically but I do believe that God took it away from me for a season to remind me that my identity isn't found in being a runner, it is found in Him. He showed me that He wanted me to come to him first with my emotions, with my anger and fear and stress and let him heal my heart before taking it to the streets and pounding those emotions into the pavement, never really dealing with them.
About three months ago, I saw a different doctor in my Rheumatologist office. He is the actual Rheumatologist doctor, and usually I see the Nurse Practioner. He saw how much pain I was still in, even six months after being treated with medication and said what I had known that that medicine was NOT working for me and we made a plan to switch me to Enbrel. I will never forget when he said to me "We are going to get you running again." I was scared to believe him, to even hope for that.
Little by little, my joint pain has all but disappeared. Karissa and I started running together, and I had to deal with some pride issues as my knees weren't quite ready at first, and then even when they were, when I couldn't run a whole mile without a walk break, and then when I could do that, my mile time was almost two minutes slower than before I got sick. But all that didn't matter this weekend when I completed an entire 10k, 6.2 miles, without a walk break. I didn't do it fast, I didn't beat any personal records, but I was running again. Pain free.
Karissa and I ran almost the entire race together. Our speed demon men took off right away, and we saw them about half way through the race as they were heading back to the finish line and we were heading to the turn-around. We chatted about life, weddings, trips, friends, dogs, and being homeowners and even felt bad about our lives when this lady doing a run, walk, run, walk pace was beating us.