A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon

you can run a marathon  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon anything is possibleMy Half Marathon Miracle

Half crazy is still crazy!

  • Seen on a t-shirt during the Air Force Half Marathon

A little over a year ago, a friend invited me to run the U.S. Air Force Half Marathon with her.  I had never done anything like that, even though I have always been interested in fitness.  Without thinking too much about it, I just went with my gut and said yes!  I did not know how to prepare, but I figured I could learn along the way.  (Which by the way, is a great way to approach business and life.  If given a big challenge and your gut says,  “Yes!” do it.  You will learn what you need to know along the way.)

Why this is a “miracle”

In this day and age of sick care, rather than health care, it is a wonder anyone recovers from anything.  To go from severe, debilitating fibromyalgia and a host of other coexisting conditions such as depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, IBS, PTSD, migraines, infertility and morbid obesity to vibrant health is in and of itself a “miracle.”

To go on to stay recovered from all of these supposedly incurable illnesses, live a great life raising my family and running a business, and then train and finish in a very challenging physical feat, is indeed rather unheard of, another “miracle.”

Starting Out

When I started training for a half marathon, I couldn’t  run the length of the block, much less around it.  I started out by walking briskly.  Then another friend  told me about an app called Couch to 5K (available for iPhone and Android devices).  It is a nine-week walk and jog program to train for a 5K race.

At first, I could only do about half of the recommended running time and all of the walking time.  I stayed on Week 1 for about three weeks!

To make it more enjoyable and productive, I took my dog, Annie, with me.  I did have to teach her how to “heel” so she wouldn’t yank my arm off, but she worked hard to learn what to do.  We both got exercise and we were both calmer during the day.  Win-win!

train for a half marathon  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon training for half marathonEven though it took me quite a bit longer than the nine weeks, about fifteen, to get to the point where I could run three miles in around thirty minutes, I did do it!  I worked the program at my own pace, which made it more effective than setting unreasonable goals .

Set Backs

I had a minor hip injury about two months before the race.  I was doing some exercises, my platform was not stable and I jerked my leg.  I didn’t have any swelling,  and I thought that was the end of it.  Later when I ran, my hip would hurt and it just wasn’t getting any better.  I went to my chiropractor and over the course of several weeks she helped me get it healed.

I had to take three weeks off from running which set me back over two months in my training.  My original plan had been to do the Couch to 5K program, then do their 5K to 10K program, and then their 10K to Half Marathon program.  Then life got in the way.  First, I had the hip injury and had to go back to week three of the Couch to 5K program.  Then, I realized I did not have enough time in the mornings to train for those longer running distances.   It was just a few weeks before the race and there was no time to increase the mileage I ran.

New Plan

Before the hip injury I was planning on training up to run about six miles in a session.  After the injury I was barely up to two miles.  My new plan was just to do my 5K walk and run app about five times.  I know that sounds crazy, and it probably is/was.  Even my chiropractor was skeptical.  My thought was, I think I can do it and if there is a chance I want to try.

I had been looking forward to this for over a year and I really wanted to give it a shot.  In the week leading up to the race I ate really well and I drank a lot of a Smooth Water (an extremely hydrating water concoction I developed that mixes water with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, lime juice and unrefined sea salt.)  I ate liver dishes like braunschweiger (liver, bacon and onion pâté) for energy.  I did lots of stretching and my chiropractor put KT tape on my legs.

Race Day

Morning of the race

Preparing for the Half Marathon  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon trained for half marathonOn the morning of the race I had to wake up at 5 am, which is my normal waking time.  It was kind of weird for me to get ready to leave the house first, instead of going for a run first.  For the important race day breakfast I had three eggs fried over medium in butter, three slices of bacon and a large scoop of braunschweiger.  In the car on the way to the race I had a cup of coffee with heavy cream.

As I was getting ready my dog, Annie, placed her head on my shoe while I was trying to tie it, like she always does.  This is slightly annoying but endearing.  She seemed very dejected that I had on my running gear and I was going out the door without her.  I was sad to not be able to take my faithful partner to the big dance!

Befairforce half marathon  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon airforce half marathonore the Race

I was surprised how far we had to park from the race site, it was about a mile.  There were over ten thousand people there.  It was very festive with all kinds of planes on display and decorations.  The energy was electric!

Once at the site and before the race (it was about a 45 minute wait) I drank a liter of my water concoction, Smooth Water.   They had signs back from the start line so runners could stand at where they expected their finish time to be.  Fastest in the front, slower in the back.  I stood at a spot about a quarter mile from the start line.  There were so many people there that it took about ten minutes after the official start for me to reach the starting line.


During the Race

The plan of running and walking per my phone app worked out very well.  I think it worked out much better than if I had just tried running and walking on my own.  I finished at about an average time of people who ran and walked, three hours, thirty minutes exact.  There may have been some folks who walked the entire way and finished ahead of me, but that would have only been a few.

At times during the race various parts of my body hurt.  I just prayed and sent that area extra love and after a while the pain or ache would just go numb and not hurt any more.  It was an amazing experience.


My hydration plan for during race was to drink my other super-hydration concoction, Juicy Water, (this has coconut water and beet kvass in it), and to have a couple of cups of water that the course provided.  I wore a belt that holds water bottles and has a little pocket on it for small items.

In my writings I have discussed at length why just drinking plain water is not very healthy and it was interesting to me how many people who had access to all the beverages on the course had hydration issues during and at the end of the race.

Of course I did not have any Gatorade, as it is not all healthy or even particularly hydrating.

Energy Food

I don’t do Goo.  Goo is a sugar gel substance in a tube pack that long distance runners consume to give them a burst of energy.  It is shelf stable and full of unpronounceable ingredients.  I eat almost entirely organic, non-chemical food, so I wasn’t about to lower my standards for the race.  (At one point I did partake of some Vaseline for a chafing area on my upper arm, which is the first time I have ever touched the stuff since I found out how toxic it is.)

My chiropractor, who is a tri-athlete,  suggested I use Lara Bars instead of Goo.  Lara Bars are natural food bars made from dried dates, nuts and other dried fruits, such as cherries or apples.  They are very high in natural fruit sugar and carbohydrates, so perfect for an endurance athletic event, too many carbohydrates for normal life though.  I ate my only Lara Bar at around mile 11 of 13.  It went so well with the Lara Bar that I wish I had brought two or three, so I could have had another one during the race and another one immediately after the race.

The Finish

I crossed the finish line at a running pace and had a smile on my face!  After the finish line there were lines set up to go through to have a medal placed around your neck and then a silver blanket draped on you to keep you from cooling down too fast.  I must have had some sort of runner’s high because I felt like I was in some kind of daze for hours afterwards.

You only get an estimate of what your race time was, because the race has already started when you reach the start line, which in my case, was about ten minutes after the start of the race.  I found out later my time was 3:30 exactly, only one hour later than the twelve mile road marches I did in the Army in my 20s!

After the Race

In another line, to leave the Finish Line area, I was handed a banana.  Let me tell you, that banana tasted SO GOOD…the best banana I have ever had! Beer and pizza were also offered, but I didn’t partake because I don’t eat grains and they were not all that appealing to me anyway.

I didn’t realize I would be able to check in some personal items at the beginning of the race so that I could have some things for afterwards.  One thing I wish I had packed away was more Juicy Water for after the race.

The one mile walk back to the car felt SO LONG.  The excitement was over and everyone was tired and quiet.  I was a little confused about where my car was because they had us going back to the parking area a slightly different way than the way we had come in.  It probably didn’t help that I still had that runners’ high too.

After, After the Race

When I finally got home I immediately took an Epsom salt bath.  I soaked off the mole skins from my toes.  I was happy to find I did not have any blisters or even hot spots.  The only “injury” I had was the chaffing spot on my upper arm which burned in the salty water.

I got dressed, ate a Five Guys bacon cheeseburger my husband brought home, and then I laid down for a short rest.  From the waist down I was really sore in the muscles and joints.  The ironic part was I had an injury to the opposite hip that I had had injured during training.  I didn’t even feel it happen during the race.

My “Fibromyalgia Recovery Is Possible” T Shirt

Ready for the Half Marathon  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon run a half marathonI got so many nice comments while racing about my t shirt.  I had numerous people say I was an inspiration.  I had two  ladies tell me they used to have chronic fatigue and one even told me what she had done to overcome it.  Another woman told me her daughter had fibromyalgia.  And yet another woman told me she had lost 55 pounds.  One man asked if I was The Fibro Lady, and I said yes!

One of the best t shirts I saw was “Know your limits – then DESTROY them!”

Celebration Time!

It’s important to celebrate!  We had planned on going to a good friend’s 50th birthday party about a month before, so we really wanted to be there.  I wore my Air Force Marathon official t shirt with my medal around my neck.  It was a big hit at the party!  Even though I was kind of walking stiffly, I had a couple of glasses of wine with the food and partook of cake and ice cream.  It was a nice time with nice people.

After Care

The next day the muscle and joint pain from the waist down started setting in and was really uncomfortable.  I took homeopathic Arnica Montana at the 200cc potency.  Within only 4 hours the pain started to let up, and I was able to walk around the back yard.  Later that day I went for a brisk walk which really loosened me up.  It’s important to keep moving so muscles don’t freeze up.

How do I know I have recovered from fibromyalgia?

Since the release of my book, Freedom from Fibromyalgia: 7 Steps to Complete Recovery,  I have had comments that generally fall into one of four groups:

1.  You had fibromyalgia and you are now recovered

2. You never had fibromyalgia and you were misdiagnosed, but you are very healthy now

3.  You have fibromyalgia still and you are in remission or are not fully recovered

(or rarely) 4.  You never had anything and this is all a scam

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia by multiple doctors, including those who are specialists in dealing with fibromyalgia.  My own personal pain doctor has said publicly and in writing that I had fibromyalgia and that I have recovered.  However, the real test for me is this:  the next day after the race, even though my muscles were sore from overuse, I was able to get up like a normal person and resume my life!  A few days later I was able to continue my  running program.  And, I had no doubts that would be the case.

Will I do a Half Marathon or a Marathon in the future?

As soon as I finished the race the questions of whether or not I will do another half marathon or even a full marathon came pouring in.  My answer: probably not.  The amount of time on a daily basis it takes to properly train for an event like this does not fit into my lifestyle right now.  Will I do a 5K or a 10K in the future?  Yes!  I really like running and it is an important part of my fitness regimen and it really helps clear my mind, plus it exercises my dog.  Next I’ll be on the lookout for a race I can take my dance partner!

Success -The Training paid off!  A Marathon Miracle -Training for a Half Marathon leah runs the Air Force Marathon

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