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?
- 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.
- 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.
- I sleep. A LOT. 8 – 9 hours is the goal.
- 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.
- I try and eat as clean as possible.
- I try to drink as least as possible.
- I strength train.
- I stretch.
- I Ice.
- I rest.
- 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.
- I do my best at every race.
- I listen to my body.
- I smile with every step.
- I enjoy the miracle of every moment and appreciate the miracle.
- I love running, the wind in my face, my feet pounding the pavement and realizing every race is a dream come true.
- 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!
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:
- Nutrition – I am eating way better than ever
- Sleep – I am sleeping 8 hours a night
- Run/Walk – I finally gave the run/walk method a shot and I am faster and quicker than ever
- Speed training
- Cross and Strength Training
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!
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!
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 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!
Doing things I love best.
2015 was all about risk taking, doing things out of the ordinary. Being uncomfortable.
2016 is simple. Be Happy.
Running makes me happy.
Over a year ago, I swore I wasn’t going to run again. But over the course of 2015, I realized I missed one of the greatest miracles of my life – the ability to run. For the last 10 years, I have been doing it all wrong. I have been working out of my capabilities. This year, I decided I would do it with my limitations and within my capabilities. I would run as someone who wants to do this forever.
How do you do that you ask? I decided I would really do the run/walk method. Not run till I get tired but really maintain a schedule – one meant for my body. So for my Disney Half, I decided I wanted to run it without pain and enjoy it. Boy did I enjoy it. Every minute of it.
I ran. I cried. I ran. I cried again. I cried because I was doing it. I was running at my pace.
I cried because I still remember that day almost 10 years ago when I realized I could run. I was humbled, I was grateful, I was happy.
I was doing my 6th half marathon. I hi-fived anyone and everyone. I took pictures. I stretched. Hey, I am not qualifying for Boston so who cares about time. I just wanted to do my best and get that medal. Sure I was nervous 10 weeks ago when I had surgery, that I wouldn’t be able to do it…but I tried hard enough and knew that I could! It was so fun, such a great way to start my 2016. And what was even more priceless was having my entire family at my side for this one. So what was my time?
Who cares, I finished!
It’s not a setback, it’s an opportunity to take a rest and come back stronger!
It’s been 11 days since I found out I had a short circuit in my DBS system during a routine battery replacement surgery. Can you imagine short circuiting 2x in less than 3 years? Well it happens! To ensure that it doesn’t happen again, I had my battery moved to an entirely new spot in my chest. What that means, is that a 20 minute surgery ended up being 1 hour and a usually easy recovery hasn’t been so easy…But as the old adage says, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….so today was a big win! I walked 1.25 miles!! That first mile walk post surgery always feels like crossing the finish line! Though a small mileage, it was a big step to a stronger Carrie.
Here we are again, on the mend but learning everyday how human we all are and it’s how we handle these setbacks that truly make us who we are. Every day I feel a little better and I know when I get back into my normal routine I am going to be that much stronger!
Life can’t be planned…it just happens…
As fate would have it, there was a 2 hour live DBS surgery on the National Geography channel. The doctor said this isn’t a cure, its a therapy…I will always have dystonia, but DBS is my constant therapy…
He also said something which has been weighing on my mind recently that people with Parkinsons’, etc should exercise! Recently, upon realizing I have to have another battery replacement, friends have been saying, maybe you workout too much…but what many don’t realize is that working out helps the brain…helps keep my brain as strong as it can be. It also keeps my body, my muscles as strong as they can be. As much as I weeble and wobble sometimes, I rarely fall, it’s because I am strong. Working out is my way to go farther, be stronger, be braver.
So here we go my 5th battery replacement is this week and you know what I am so looking forward to this! The last month has been terribly hard, many side effects of a dying battery…but every morning I wake up knowing that this too shall pass. So there are some side effects which I always forget about but I know that this down time has been good, giving my body a break which is always welcomed!
Here goes to another battery! Another smooth surgery and a quicker recovery!