Hi! My name is Heather! I am a child of God, wife, mother, retired art teacher, and painter! I love running! Since 2008 I have completed innumerable 5K, 5 mile, and 10K races, a triathlon, 10 half-marathons, and six full marathons. Although I have never won an overall award or ran a Boston Qualifier (BQ) marathon, I did manage to hold my own in the age-group standings and have several gold, silver, and bronze medals in the shorter races.
Then in 2017 I started having multiple health symptoms that were simply not resolving themselves. I suddenly gained nearly 30 lbs. in less than three months. ( This is something I did not even do with both of my pregnancies.) After a long series of medical appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, and two biopsies, I was eventually diagnosed with a sizable thyroid nodule, hypothyroidism, and two autoimmune diseases (Hashimoto’s and Celiac ).
There was both a Catch -22 and a domino effect working in me. The illnesses affected my running; I eventually had to stop running altogether. Then the lack of exercise that I was so used to affected my health. In addition to the previously mentioned maladies, my blood sugars bounded well into pre-diabetic territory. The fatigue was unreal, my joints ached, my hair was falling out, and I was constantly cold. Before all of this, I was running 15-40 miles a week. I would eagerly run 7-13 miles every Saturday just for fun, (and easily able to carry on with the rest of my day afterward). Suddenly I found myself needing a long nap after only walking one mile!
It is now 2020, and things are more stable now with strict gluten avoidance and medication. I still wear sweatshirts due to the cold, I still have issues with joint pain, and my weight is still “up there”. But after much prayer by myself and others, I do believe that it’s God’s will to not only get back to running, but to train for another marathon, even if this endeavor takes much longer than it did before. Since gluten and sugar obviously need to be out of my diet regardless of how much running I do, I am going to attempt to train for this marathon while utilizing the Ketogenic Diet, or Keto for short.
Running a marathon on low carb diet? Am I crazy? Maybe. Hey, I ran my first marathon as a 44 year-old and I started carbo-loading for it in what, third grade? Look where that got me! No worries, I’ve eaten my fair share of carbs and believe me, I can take the hit! If I run into too much trouble I can still add a few healthy carbs in here and there when the training gets too intense. The purpose is not to be a purist. But I do want to give it a try. I am 55 years old now and believe me, it’s all about just going out there and finishing the 26.2 miles. With a smile on my face. With my body still in the upright position. Hey, it’s not like I’m aiming to win the thing. I’m not an elite athlete, so I’ve got nothing to lose! But I want to at least say I gave the Keto way a fair shot.
There is another reason why I want to go Keto on all of this. Our oldest son, Nicky carries the diagnosis of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy (in fact, he actually banged out a nasty 12-minute seizure as I was in the middle of writing this.) Keto was originally developed for epileptics, and it still works well in eliminating or reducing seizure activity, particularly in children. Although Nicky is 22, It is still my hope that by adopting the Keto diet in my own life will inspire him (and other epileptics, and others who have autoimmune conditions) to make wise food choices, and be healthier!
So there you have it! My mission is to run marathon number seven, and here I am ….an old lady starting from scratch. I walk/ran my first mile on the treadmill yesterday. I will be be powered by prayer and fueled by fat My plan is to use both this blog and my painting to document the journey. This might also break into a Youtube adventure. So be sure to stop by to see how this all goes!