Sunday, February 10, 2013

A 15k?!

I'm not the type of girl to sit back and be passive. If someone tells me not to do something, I normally end up doing it. A bit rebellious? Yes. Has this gotten me into trouble before? Yes. But I also think this fighting spirit has helped me greatly deal with Addison's Disease.

Also, I have always loved running. I just can't explain my love of running. I'm sure I come across as a crazy person. But my relationship with running is very finicky. If my Addison's Disease is off, I can't run or train. Many runners give me the advice to just "push through it!" No. I refuse to send my body into a crisis for my own selfishness. I have to listen to my body. I'm easily dehydrated and easily fatigued. I always assumed that I would hit a wall with distance. I told myself that I shouldn't try for the longer distances. I should be content with the "easy" 3.1 miles.

Recently I've learned how to better adjust my medicine and food so that I can handle longer distances. In November, I ran the 8 mile Turkey Trot. While I considered that a huge milestone and triumph, I did end up in the ER less than a week later. Not good.

About at month ago, I spoke with my endocrinologist and we tweaked some of my medicine. I openly told her about the couple of longer distances I had coming up. She told me how to adjust my medicine so that I would be able to recover faster.

Last Sunday, I ran a 5 mile race. I got third place for my age group!!! While that might not seem that significant, I was always the slowest girl on high school cross country. Looking back, I've realized it was because I was not adequately adjusting my medicine.

The RunOn! Chicken was kind enough to pose for a picture with me.
Also, the award was a snow globe. How awesome is that?

Yesterday, I wanted to test my boundaries again. I have Addison's Disease, but I'm done living in a box. My disease is incurable, but that does not mean that my life has to be miserable. I can do intense physical activity, I just have to plan ahead and be extra careful. I took additional medicine and was proactive about remaining well hydrated.

I had a co-woker who ran with me the first 8 miles.
I know I couldn't have had this good of time if I had been running alone.

I finished it!!! Addison's Disease, suck it! I ran a race that most healthy people would never dream of doing. AND I ran it at a 9:50/mi pace. Now let's just hope I don't end up in the ER less than a week later. But if that happens, oh well. This is the nature of this disease.

Next goal? A half marathon the end of March. I have completed a half marathon before (in 2008), but I didn't train and it took several days for my body to recover from it. And by recover, I don't mean "Oh, I'm sore." I mean "Oh, Addison's Disease, I hate you right now." I want to try to actually run this half marathon. Once again, I am pushing the limits of my disease.

Addison's Disease, you do not control my life.

I am Clearly Alive.

(And Clearly Crazy. That's the only way I can rationalize my love of running.)

I totally ran 9.3 miles for the chocolate.
It was totally worth it.


  1. You're amazing! You're going to conquer that 13.1 and more (think 26.2 since you can do ANYTHING!). Love your spirit and love your blog! Keep doing the fantastic. :) Hugs from Lisa M.

    1. One day I shall complete a full marathon! That will take lots of training, but I wont let my Addison's get in the way! Thank you so much for your encouragement and inspiration :)

  2. Amber,
    Way to go. I am Lisa and a mom first and foremost. I have AD/ diagnosed early fall 12.
    Some days I feel like AD has thrown me under the bus and other days by the Grace of God I feel like i'm driving the bus. 2 months after had total thyroidectomy. I do feel one day I will get back to walking more as I so enjoy and swimming. It is so inspirational to hear your story. God Bless you and keep running !!! Lisa

    1. Lisa, I love how you state that you are a mom first and foremost! May we never view our disease as something that is our core identity. No. And I can relate to having those good days and off days. It certainly makes every day an adventure :) Best of luck!

  3. Good for you! I have Addison's and have done a half marathon so I know you can, too. You'll learn what requires more meds and what doesn't and you'll do great!

    1. Tina,
      Thank you for your encouragement! :D I LOVE hearing of other's success stories. I had honestly believed for a long time that these longer distances races were out of my reach because of my disease. But no, I'm done limiting myself. I will be careful and I will adjust my meds. And I'll be sure to let y'all know on my blog how it goes :)

  4. Hi Amber, I've just discovered your blog! My name is Pip, I live in New Zealand. I'm 39 (about to turn 40) and I was diagnosed with Primary Addisons in 2004. I also have Hypothyroidism and Pernicious Anaemia, and I was born with Hydrocephalus (water on the brain).
    Despite all of that I have a very demanding managerial job in a large government agency, and I'm a runner and cyclist. One of your earlier posts talked about attitude being important. When I was diagnosed my endo said to me that I'd live a normal life as long as I took my medication. Perhaps I have been lucky but that has proved to be the case for me. In fact this morning I just ran a very demanding 15k run on some challenging trails here. I've also completed 150km cycle races and a 26km trail run. I don't have a lot of difficulty managing my condition. I take my Hydrocortisone when I wake up (which can be 5.30am during the week if I have a training session before work, or as late as 8am on the weekend if I'm having a rare sleep in. On a normal day I take 15mg of Hydro in three divided doses, plus one Fludrocortisone tablet. I also take 15mg of DHEA. Because of my big run this morning I took an extra 10mg of Hydro.

    Have you heard of Dusty Hardman? She lives in Florida and is a long-distance endurance runner. She's run the Marathon de Sables in Morocco, and that's as extreme as you can get! She also has Addisons. She has a blog called "Training Because I Can", and is also on Facebook. She has a message forum associated with her blog and is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I'd recommend you get in touch with her if you want to keep up the running!

    1. Pip, I'm glad you discovered my blog! I love hearing about others who have Addison's and how they treat it. I've noticed this disease effects everyone just a little differently. There are some I know with Addison's that struggle greatly doing laundry while I hear amazing stories of others completing challenges that were once thought off limits to me.

      Do you take extra HC for training or for just for your "big" events? I'm still trying to figure out my threshold for when I should add extra HC or when I should just muscle through it.

      And I had never heard of Dusty Hardman, but I just found her blog. I think I shall contact her and see if she has any tips or tricks for my half. Thank you so much! :)

  5. Dusty can probably give you better advice than me on managing your medication and exercise. She tends to nag me a bit! I probably don't stress dose enough. For example it's not uncommon for me to do a cross-fit style group workout in the morning and then run at night, and still only take the 15mg. I do notice that I feel better the next day if I add another 5mg though. For a long time I didn't take any extra medication unless I was running for over two hours, and I would cycle for up to four hours on my normal dosage! I used to only take extra medication for events. However now I've realised that I do better if I take an extra 5mg of Hydro for my two hour runs, and if I take an extra 5mg every couple of hours on the bike. On days when I'm feeling a bit fatigued I'll take 10mg before one of my morning workouts instead of 5, especially if I have a big run scheduled that night. As you've noticed though, everyone's different. Good luck with your running!

    1. Thank you so much! Please keep in touch! :)

  6. Awesome!!!! I've got to get myself together and get busy.


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