March 8, 2017

Ouch, has it been that long since I have reached out and written…Life, gets in the way so often.  So, last year was a whirlwind, train, train, train and 2017 hasn’t brought the discipline I wished I had last year. The 4:30am runs, the endless miles and I am embarrassed to say that I have likely logged less than 15 miles all year!  But that’s okay.  This is life.  We never know what is going to be, we never know what that next day brings.  I often think of life with DBS no difference than life in general.  It happens, good and bad.

Realizing your battery will die sometime this year when you had all these trips planned, moving to a city, starting a new job can definitely overwhelming.  The first thing that I always do when I realize the time is coming near is to say when can I squeeze this surgery in.  Then I stop, pause, meditate and realize that getting a battery change is a forced pause, a reset, a new burst of energy, a way of remembering how lucky I am.

It’s been almost 11 years since the day that I had my entire life change and I will try and run 11 miles on April 4, because I CAN and because it reminds me how lucky I am.  If I can’t do 11, I will still do what I can, because my life is truly a miracle.  I will break down, I will be overwhelmed with emotions, because I still remember April 4, as clear as today.  I remember the smell of the drill in my skull, I remember the jokes, I remember promising my team if I was ever so lucky I would run a 10K, ha!  And look at me today over 10 halfs and 1 full and so many more to go!

So as much as some plans will be cancelled in 2017, I always have to remember the big picture.  I am an athlete, a runner, who everyone couple of years needs to get a battery change and you know what that’s okay.  Plans will always get cancelled, things will happen and I remind myself that’s the story of life.

January 1, 2017

New day. New Year, New Chapter!

For the last years of my life, I always start with – I want to lose 10 lbs….this is the first year that I can truly say the quest for abs didn’t make the list.

For my new chapter aka the New Year, I decided that these are the things I would like to focus on:

  1.  Be fit.  Be Athletic. Be Strong.
  2. Sleep more
  3. Be more social in real life and not on the phone
  4. Read Daily
  5. Meditate Consistently
  6. Stretch more
  7. Keep my diet clean as possible without depriving myself
  8. Practice daily gratitude
  9. Laugh more

These all seem easy but they really aren’t.  Every day will be a new page, a new chance to work on these  goals.  I am working on my race schedule, but if my Dystonia and my batteries work in my favor, I plan on running the Lululemon Half in Vancouver and the NYC marathon.  2017 is about less races and more quality training.  It is less about the race bling and more about the effort and the bucket list races.  I am always evolving into a better me and I am about to embark on an even bigger adventure, announcement soon!

So in 2017, it is less about “Dystonia Sucks” and more about appreciating the life that I was given, the life that I lead and those that I inspire through being me.  I truly believe that if I was “normal”, I would be a different me, but you know what after a long, long road, I have come to appreciate and enjoy this me!

To writing your new chapter!

834514634400920010117

 

 

2016

This…just this…pause for a second and remember I have dystonia.

109f99a8-2e70-4046-b1b8-15208f703ae3

Life’s lessons.  Every year I vow to post more, to write more, to share more and every year life gets in the way.  One thing is certain though, I always write a year in review at the end of the year and a year of resolutions in the new year, so 2016 you rocked my world!

For 2016, I had set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, I’ll let you the reader tell me if I succeeded, I ran:

  1. January – Disney Half
  2. January – Miami Half
  3. May – Brooklyn Half
  4. July – Chicago Half
  5. September – Philly Half
  6. October – Halloween Half

I had one more to do but life got in the way and just couldn’t make that race.  But 6!  Yes 6, I am so proud of myself.  Prior to this year, I had run a total of 5 halfs!  I am not without saying thanks to my tribe, my run squad, my tribe of girls that what’s app daily about what workout or run we should do today.  I am beyond grateful to all my friends and family that come on this journey with me.  Thank you to everyone that supported me on this journey.

So why this many? Because I needed to prove to myself that with the right diligence and training, I could do anything if I worked hard enough.  I needed to stop the chatter in my head of “I can’t”.  I needed to realize I wasn’t going to come in last.  I needed to prove to myself I am a runner.  So as of 2016, I call myself a runner.  I don’t say “oh I run/walk”, that’s irrelevant. What is relevant is lacing up and running.” Just do it”, as simple as Nike’s mantra.

2016, thank you.  You taught me I can be greater than I think.  You taught me I can be a runner.  I call myself an athlete now, I earned it.  Every 4:30am alarm during the summer for a long run, every evening run, every speed session, every strength training session, that was all me.  That was my input.  My output was running my best times at age 41!

I won’t be running for the next 3 weeks, due to a back injury but this rest is earned.  I am not the only athlete that gets benched many great ones do.  I call my rest period my chance to get a tune up, to start 2017 even better and stronger.  So what’s for 2017? I guess we’ll have to wait and see in my next blog!

 

 

September 18, 2016

I was born with Dystonia, rare neurological disease, which should have me in wheelchair.

In 2006, I was given the ability to run through science – Deep Brain Stimulation, aka brain surgery.

I became a runner through grit, perseverance, strength and sheer determination.

Today I truly said to myself – Carrie you inspire me.

After my brain surgery in 2006, I said my goal will be to run a 10K. Well here I am 10 years later and so many lessons learned and goals and PRs broken.

When I set out to retire from running several years ago, I had run 5 half marathons. 5 painful half marathons. 5 half marathons I trained for the wrong way.

Fast forward to 2016.  As of January 1, 2016, I have run 5 halfs with 3 more on the books for the rest of the year.  I have never enjoyed running so much as I have this year, so for 2 hours and 45 minutes today I thought about why?

  1. I believe in myself. For the first time I realized, I won’t finish last. I won’t win. But I will get my bling.
  2. I put the time in my training. I don’t rush it in 4 weeks, I have a plan with a run coach and I stick with it.
  3. I sleep. A LOT. 8 – 9 hours is the goal.
  4. I invested in a nutrition coach who listens to my goals and virtually coaches me to perform better through food. I may not always be on point but I try to be and the results show.
  5. I try and eat as clean as possible.
  6. I try to drink as least as possible.
  7. I strength train.
  8. I stretch.
  9. I Ice.
  10. I rest.
  11. I found a tribe – a group of like-minded women that help me get out to run on the days I feel lazy and cheer my on when I succeed, did I say we don’t even live in the same state much less country.
  12. I do my best at every race.
  13. I listen to my body.
  14. I smile with every step.
  15. I enjoy the miracle of every moment and appreciate the miracle.
  16. I love running, the wind in my face, my feet pounding the pavement and realizing every race is a dream come true.
  17. I shed a tear at every race and just say thank you. Thank you to my family, thank you to my friends, thank you to my medical teams and just thank you to the Big Man above for giving me a second shot at life!

Today’s run I knew I wasn’t ready for and I didn’t push, I took my time, I enjoyed the scenery and just said hey it’s a training run and was just so full of gratitude.

Being happy in the moment is a new attitude for me.

Appreciating myself is a new outlook.

Truly realizing the gift I was given with the miracle of modern science and believing in myself, that’s what I call winning!

July 11, 2016

Half Marathon #4 of 2016!

So I am ready and feeling great about my Chicago half this weekend!  I can’t believe it, in a week, I’ll have 4 halfs under my belt with 3 more to go!  I feel like I finally have the recipe right:

  1. Nutrition – I am eating way better than ever
  2. Sleep – I am sleeping 8 hours a night
  3. Run/Walk – I finally gave the run/walk method a shot and I am faster and quicker than ever
  4. Speed training
  5. Cross and Strength Training
  6. Rowing

I often get asked what do you think about on that long run? I honestly think about the next step.  I have to be thoughtful and deliberate for 25,000 steps.  If not I can fall, I can trip, my foot may invert.  For those 25,000 steps, I am thankful I got one foot on the floor and am getting ready for the next.  I think about every step. There have been times that I know my mind wants to freeze, but I tell myself you can do it…just keep moving…and I do…So when everyone talks about the proverbial wall, I hit that wall with every step and choose to break through it.

Training can often feel like a full time job but I know my ability to run is a gift.  A BIG gift – A MIRACLE!  DBS made me who I am today.  I have had emotional and physical ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade this miracle in for the world!  I would love to ask each and every one of you reading this blog to donate $10 to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation.  Doing so, can create other miracles, bigger miracles than the ones that happen for me every weekend.  Please Donate here for me, for every child that dreamed of running and now has a chance to with research and science.  Thank you for reading and thank you for donating!

 

 

 

May 23, 2016

Brooklyn Half 2016 – done and in the books!

I trained hard for this race, I didn’t rush my training in the end.  I paced the training – I ran, I lifted, I rowed, I did  yoga.  I had a squad of other caribbean women that reminded me to train daily and if one of us wasn’t in the mood, we encouraged each other to lace up and just run.  Get a squad they are the best to help you train and be focused!

I was ready. I went to bed at 9pm on Friday night, I laid everything out, I was prepared.

Saturday – I woke up at 5a.m., got ready, hopped on the train with 100s of other like minded people and jammed to some Beyonce…to calm the chatter, to stop with the I can’t and focus on being fierce and strong like some of the songs on Bey’s album.  I saw my friends pre-race and that was encouraging and calming to see the faces of my squad that also trained so hard!

GOAL: I set a goal for myself, I told myself if you can match your PR of 2:43 you are a winner, you would be so proud of yourself!

RESULT: I started off strong, but I held back. I didn’t go hard at the beginning.  I decided leave it to mile 11 and then go for it!  I had 3 different pace times on my devices and was so confused, so I just decided screw it, just run…net result- 2:30!!!  Not only did I PR but I drop my 2016 time by 21 minutes.  I will never win the race, but I know I am a runner!!!

All my dystonia friends, please set a goal, whether is a 1K or 50 steps and go for it! It’s not easy in the process, but the result with training is amazing!

xoxo

May 1, 2016

Yes, it’s been a while. Yes, I feel super guilty.

I mean my 10 year anniversary passed and I didn’t even write a blog about gratitude.

I feel awful.

I have been so consumed with life, I forgot to write in the blog. I think about it on long runs. I think about it when I go for an annual health exam with a new primary doctor and you should see her face when she sees the word Dystonia.  The best part was that she told me my reflexes won’t be great because of my Dystonia, but wait you told me 5 minutes ago that you weren’t familiar with the disease….Jeez. This is why I don’t love doctors. I don’t expect them to know about Dystonia but ask, don’t assume.

I digress.

I am going to run my 3rd half for the year in less than 3 weeks and couldn’t be more excited.  I have been doing my 10 milers and eating properly and trying to get my 8 hours of sleep. Since, I last wrote here are some highlights from half #2 – Miami, me enjoying a PBJ on the run, and some of the other beauties I see when I run.  In these moments, knowing that I will never win a half, I stop and capture the moment.  I am always reminded on every run the beauty of what nature gives us.  I am also reminded that who knows what my life would be like without Dystonia…maybe one where I wouldn’t have found a passion for running and fitness!  But here I am and despite ups and downs, I constantly look forward to my long run – my time of reflection, uninterrupted.

I am going to try and write more and be better, but I have said this before.  But I will try!!!

Always remember work within your limits – half of the effort is just getting up and lacing up!