About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm running in my first race this weekend.  The Carlsbad 5000, promoted as "the worlds fastest 5k." Well, the race may be, but I may not be.

I've never run in a race before. In fact, I always despised running since Alvarado Junior High when we had the dreaded, "running day" each week in PE.  I had my periods of being in pretty good physical shape, even if I was overweight. But it was never because of running. It just wasn't my thing. Besides, being "well endowed" gave me a handy excuse. It was way too uncomfortable!

I started running a little bit about a year ago, even before my breast cancer diagnosis. I had lost 50 pounds, and gone down two bra cup sizes to a B. I decided to run a little at the gym on the treadmill.  I gave it a shot, and was able to do it.  Maybe not for long, but I was able to join the ranks of the "runners" at the gym for a few minutes.  I would start out by walking 5 minutes, running 10, walking 5, running 10 for about an hour. It felt good to be able to do something that I had only envisoned people in really good shape being able to do. I was slowly joining their club! Jillian's admonishment echoed in my mind, "You have no idea how strong you are and what you can do until you try it." I was doing it!

Then I was put into a club that I never aspired to be in.  The pink ribbon club. Surgery set me back in my exercise.  I lost some definition and strength in my upper body. I managed to keep my cardio going, even if it was the recumbent stationary bike. I had to be careful not to be too "bouncy" with anything while I was healing from surgery. But I slowly made it to the elliptical, then the stairmaster, and ultimately back to the treadmill.  Working out throughout my treatment made me feel stronger and gave me more energy.

Now I consider exercise ongoing treatment. It's not an option for me anymore. It is something I need to do if I want to do all I can to cut down the risk of recurrence.

I wanted to run in the Carlsbad 5000 last year, but I was too chicken. But this year, I'm going for it. I'm not in it to "win it."  I just don't want to embarass myself!  I'd like to run the whole thing and get a decent time.

I don't know much of anything about training for something like this. Besides, its not like a marathon...it's only 3.1 miles. I started out by just seeing if I could run 5k on the treadmill without stopping. My first attempt in mid-January was successful. It took me 38 minutes, 34 seconds.  I've been peeling seconds off of that time ever since.  My ultimate goal is to run a 5k in under 30 minutes. I came close today-30 minutes, 22 seconds.  I ran a 10 minute mile most of the time, and then upped it for the last 1/2 mile. It was tough!

I haven't only been doing flat treadmill runs. I've also been running a little bit outdoors. That is probably the most helpful because of the natural terrain and elevation changes, but its hard because of the kids. At least at the gym, Jean-Marc can go into the "Kids Club." I've also been cross training on the elliptical and stair master, as well as switching up the treadmill to do intervals and hills.

I also am doing something a little extra, just for fun.  Jillian Michaels has a new DVD out, "Ripped in 30." It is similar to her "30 Day Shred" program. It's a half an hour workout with 3 circuits. In each circuit is 3 minutes of strength training, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. There are 4 levels of workouts. The idea is to progress each week to the next level. I decided to give it a shot 6 days a week, on top of whatever other workouts I'm doing. I figured it might be a good way to get back some of the strengh in my upper body. Besides, I do want to drop at least another 10 pounds. Adding some extra physical activity should help with that.  We'll see if I can get "ripped in 30."

I have 2 more days before the big day. I plan on doing the Jillian workout at some point each day. I'm on week 2. Tomorrow, I want to do some cross training on the Stair master and bike as well.  I'm going to take most of Saturday off, with the exception of the Jillian DVD in the morning.  If it wasn't for my little goal of dong the "ripped" series, I'd take the whole day off. But 30 minutes in the morning isn't going to kill me.

I have to be there pretty early on Sunday morning to check in. I plan on having my green smoothie ready to go the night before so I can just drink it as soon as I'm up.  I'll take a banana with me and eat it about 30 minutes before we take off.

One thing I'm a little concerned about is my shoes. I got these shoes last July, right before my surgery. They are definitely falling apart. But I don't want to get new ones before the race. So I'm hoping they hang in there and protect me feet and legs a little bit longer. Then I'll go down to Road Runner and get a few pairs to break in as we begin to seriously train for the 3-Day.

Prayers and well wishes are welcome. I've never done this before. It is definitely out of my comfort zone. I have no idea what kind of time to expect or hope for. I don't know if it is realistic to compare it to treadmill times, especially since I'll be on the road with hundreds of other people. I just want to go in and have fun. It's one of those things that I never imagined myself doing.  It's one of those things that I thought about doing as I was recovering from surgery. With every step, I will feel like I am kicking cancer's butt!

No comments:

Post a Comment