Are you all in? At first it seems like a fairly simple question, but when my coach posed it to me three months ago, it did not seem very simple at all. I will confess, at the time he asked me it had absolutely nothing to do with training or my recent diagnosis and everything to do with the fact that someone important to me was possibly leaving for longer than I had expected. Mark is often more psychologist than coach and at that time he had some background that provided some desperately needed perspective. His question, “Are you all in?” was enough to make me realize that not matter what I would make the situation work. I already knew the answer; I was all in and had been since the very first day, I just didn't realize it.
Fast-forward to a week ago and this question kept rolling through my mind as I was given the RCD diagnosis. During the course of the day I had been given lots of advice, things like “make sure you get plenty of sleep” or, “you should eat more”. Both of these are great, but when side effects of the RCD drugs include insomnia and loss of appetite, these are not under my control. Are you all in? Now that was under my control. That was something I could focus on.
The afternoon of my diagnosis, I bought new running shoes. My way of trying not to give in.
Being all in means not giving up, it means not pausing to let fear keep you from chasing what you want – the risks, a broken heart or in this case the possibility of Type I becoming Type II, are secondary. This has been further broken down into two more pieces of advice that I have received.
The first is simple. Don’t blink. Know that you stood in front of the monster without fear, screaming into oblivion. Blinking is giving something power over you; just that moment of pause is enough for fear to take root. Easier said than done, but it is one of those pieces of advice that serves more as a pep talk than actual advice. Sometimes you need a pep talk.
The second is more practical. Make the good days great. From what I have been told, particularly in regards to the side effects of the medication cocktail I am on, it will get worse before it gets better. There will be days where I feel like I am fine, and there will be days where even getting out of bed is a struggle. Since there is no storing up energy for a rainy day, it is better to take the days that I feel fine and make them great, something to smile about on the bad days.
Speaking of making the good days great, I had my first event as Race Director this last weekend. Running the collegiate track race for the RMCCC was an absolute pleasure, and reminded me why I came to Colorado in the first place.
I had initially targeted five cyclo-cross races for this fall, but those are out the door (USADA violations if I was to race with the drug cocktail, not to mention the fact that my immune system is currently being intentionally broken). I had planned on running a half marathon with my brother while home over Christmas, and I am signed up for my first marathon in May (eep!). Those may not be in the cards right now, but I’m not changing my plans yet in the hopes that it will give me something to work for. Ask me in a month and maybe things will be different, but for now I’m trying not to blink. I hiked/ran six miles with my friend Tasha yesterday at Section 16, and today there was barely enough energy to get me to the mailbox and back.
This was in part because today was my first day on the full cocktail of medications for Refractory Celiac Disease. Because so few people are diagnosed with RCD, it is very much trial and error in terms of dosage, which has made the last week less than fun. However, when I got home I found a box at the door, and inside was a Hulk action figure. It even says HULK SMASH! Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the bad days okay.
So for now, there is no training plan but listening to my body. The only weekly schedule I have is four words long. Are you all in?
HULK SMASH! From Kurt. Literally the best thing from today.