Can you believe it’s May already? Where has the year gone?!
As some of you might be aware for a few years now I have been suffering with ME/CFS (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). My health is a lot better now and my days with ME/CFS feel like more of a distant memory, however May 12th is International awareness day. As we are approaching awareness day pretty quickly, I want to put it out there that I will be dedicating a huge goal of mine to raising awareness and fundraising for ME/CFS.
Back in 2012 I participated in City2Surf for the first time ever, l had a fantastic time and was eager to participate in the following years event. Unfortunately that year I became unwell with ME/CFS and haven’t been able to enter since.
Well friends, I’m extremely excited to announce that this year is the year, that I will be taking on this goal! Exciting isn’t it! It’s been worth the wait! I have always vowed to myself that, when the day arrived I would dedicate/ fundraise my race to the Emerge charity to help fundraise for ME/CFS.
If you’re not familiar with City2Surf, let me tell you a little about it. It is a 14 km race from the Sydney CBD out to the famous Bondi beach. The event is held in August and usually attracts more than around 80,000 people, making it one the largest runs of its kind in the world. It is a fun but challenging event that is suitable for most people with a bit of a fitness level, whether you are entering for the competitive race or just for fun, dressing up is always optional. You can find all types of entertainment along the race, it truly is a fun morning out.
I am super thrilled to be entering this year, this has been something I have had my heart set on doing for a few years now. I have built up my strength day by day from being bed ridden to where I am today.
I have meet many wonderful people online, world wide who suffer with this illness. They have all helped make what was a very difficult journey a much happier and brighter one. This one’s for you team!!!
I have started an everyday hero page through the City2Surf website, this page is where you can join me on my journey. You can view my training that I will load up a couple of times a week, with my number one trainer Snowy. I will also keep you posted on my Instagram, but for my everyday hero page click here. I would love for you all to pop over to my page, share it, donate or just say hi, Snowy and I would love the encouragement!
During the early days of my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome) moving proved to be very difficult, my body was weak and heavy. I’m in my third year of recovering with ME/CFS and here is how I have managed to get moving again. Please note that although I have found this to help me, it may not be ideal for you. Everyone is different and this illness affects everyone differently.
When my doctor referred me to an exercise physiologist to help with my recovery, I was confused and didn’t understand why… “how could I exercise if I could barely hold myself up?” This being my only option from my doctor, I went and gave it a go.
At the exercise physiologist I was given a couple of exercises and was told to start walking, this sounded like pure torture. I did want to get better, which meant I was willing to give anything a go.
The exercises I did off and on, but the walking I have kept and maintained since day one. I started off with a walk down my driveway; to the mailbox and up and down 2 small flights of stairs. That was me done! I struggled up the stairs, while breathing heavily. Gradually I started shuffling a 5 minute walk to the beach. It was literally two blocks away and took me 10 minutes to get there. I started this walk with someone each time, I was too scared to go by myself and scared that I would fall over and be too weak to pick myself up if I ever needed to. I would stop when I got to the beach and get a chai latte. Usually I would need to rest for around half an hour before heading back again. When I got confident I started do this walk on my own, I remember the first time I was out on my own and I was shuffling along and an elderly man passed me, I was so disheartened. The old me would have lapped that elderly man, twice!
I started to walk around 2 – 4 times a week, this become the highlight of my day and even week. I would look forward to it, it became good for my physical health and mental health. If I could manage a small walk on my struggle day’s, then that was something and something is better than nothing. There were days where I didn’t want to do it though deep down I knew that if I got out into the fresh air I would feel better for it and I always did.
I remember one occasion I was having a bad day, I was feeling down and had no motivation to face my walk. I was mentally struggling and it was late in the afternoon. I thought to myself I need to do this walk today, I got myself together and slowly made my way down to the beach. When I finally got there, I ordered my chai latte, sat down and looked out over the ocean. I was rewarded with the beautiful sight of whales splashing around in the distance. I was so happy and proud that I had made it down, it was such an amazing reward.
After almost a year of this, things got easier and we moved into a different area. We lived close to some shops that were under a 5 minute walk. I would walk up there, run an errand or two, have a chai latte and sit down then walk back when I was ready. Gradually I didn’t need to sit down and rest, I would find that I would be walking around for 20 – 30 minutes easily.
That’s when I took on a new challenge of walking Snow. We only had her for a few months, after a bit of walking practice around the backyard. I started to feel comfortable walking her. We started our walks and got into a habit of walking 2 – 3 times a week, walking around a few streets in the area that would take me around 20 – 30 minutes depending on how I was.
When I returned back to work I had to make sure not to push things. Usually when I went for a walk it would be on my days off and the walk would range from 20 – 30 minutes. I took her on longer walks when we would go to the beach, they were always at a strolling pace. Beach walks were good to add in as the terrain is a bit harder to walk on. This helped build strength, we would bring Snow along to the beach and I started off by walking a quarter of the way and then back. Every-time I would go, I would assess how I felt and then turn around and walk back. Eventually after doing this for just over 24 months I made it to the end and back comfortably.
I have managed to build up a solid pace from the shuffle that I use to do back in my earlier days. I now can complete regular walks weekly ranging from 2 – 5 times a week. I always assess how I am each day and during the week, if it feels like too much then that’s ok, I limit what I do.
I recently completed my first walking event since illness, it was 6 km’s and I completed it in 54 minutes (click here for details). My goal is to complete CITY2SURF I did it back in 2012 and loved it, due to illness I haven’t been able to do it since. It’s 14 km’s, fingers crossed next year is my year for it!!!
I believe walking can help on so many levels, do you enjoy walking or find helpful at all? Have you noticed any progress over time with your walking? I would love to hear all about it!
For a long time now I have been patiently waiting for my body to cooperate and say “yep I’m ready to move it and be active again!”
I have maintained regular walking throughout my illness with ME/CFS (Myalgic encephalomyelitis/ Chronic fatigue syndrome). In the beginning it started off with only walking to the mail box, because at the time, that was all I could manage. Over time I have increased accordingly to what I could manage, slowly but surely I have made progress with this.
This brings me to where I am today….. Today I entered into the Run Wollongong running event and registered myself into the 6 km walk. Yep it was a little scary to think that I was taking on normal active life again, but also amazingly brilliant that I was at this point where it was an option and I didn’t have to worry about my illness or symptoms of getting in the way of it all.
Cameron and my Dad joined me, Cameron entered himself to run the 12 km race and Dad walked the 6 km race with me. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was out, blue skies where upon us and the temperature was warm. A lovely light breeze swept through towards the end of the race, which helped with keeping cool.
Proudly I can say that I kept a fast pace up throughout the whole course, finishing towards the front of our group. I felt completely in my element! I have always enjoyed walking and right before my illness, I had started to get into walking/ running events. I have been longing to get back into living an active life for a while and it feels fantastic to be able to do this sort of thing again! Thanks body, thanks for working with me! Whoohoo!!!
Celebrations were called for and we made a pit spot at a healthy cafe that I had been wanting to try out. I celebrated with a Acai bowl!
Every proud moment or milestone is always worth celebrating! Do you have any proud moments or milestones that you should be celebrating? Make sure you celebrate them!