Saturday, May 26, 2012

It Can't Always Get Worse


Ever since my return from Peru, my poor body has had a lot with which to deal. The day after I set foot back in the US, my tummy went rogue with what I "affectionately" refer to as Peru Belly.  Apparently anywhere from 50 - 80% of Americans and Europeans don't have happy tummies after or during trips to South America. After 11 days of basically getting very little nutrition from anything I ate, I went to see my favorite trail running doc. He gave me a prescription for Cipro to fix the problem. I managed to take it for 5 days before deciding I had had enough due a pain in my ankle and in my hip and basically feeling like I had no energy. Cipro can have some pretty ugly side effects.

Before going to Peru, my tooth that has had problems for many years after a dentist (in Tennessee) got hold of it decided it couldn't take much more. Luckily it played nice while in Peru, but a week or two after returning, it swelled under the gum line. My dentist sent me to an endodontist, neither of which could tell me what exactly had gone wrong with the tooth. I'm fairly certain it was from the trauma many moons ago. The dentist told me that I had some bone loss in the jaw from what was going on in there, and the endodontist prescribed two more antibiotics. (Did I mention that I really dislike taking antibiotics?) A week after a root canal, it was time for my dentist to clean out the gum area around that tooth.  He then held up a prescription for another antibiotic! It had been two days since I finished the last set. I asked if I could skip it, and he said no after thinking about it for a couple of seconds. That meant 4 antibiotics in a month and half!  During that time, I also attempted to run a couple of races which was a bit like torture. Two days after finishing my final antibiotic, I decided to go ahead and run the Ice Age 50K. I had originally signed up for the 50 mile, but I knew that was just too much after all that my body had gone through. 

At mile 21 of the Ice Age, I had decided that a DNF (Did Not Finish) was preferable to running another 9 miles. I felt TERRIBLE. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful course, and I felt like death warmed over. I tried listening to music. I tried listening to an audio book. I tried listening to nothing. I just could not get out of that place in my mind, and I could not ignore how terrible I was feeling physically.  I prayed... a lot. I asked God to let me know whether or not I was supposed to finish this race because I just could not keep going feeling the way I was feeling. I needed help. Not 10 minutes later, I ran into Rick. I had spoken a few words with Rick miles before, and as I was running by him, I asked him to run with me.  He said he couldn't, but he picked it up to a run anyway. Turns out that Rick was having a rough time as well.  As we started talking, I was finally able to get out of the mental valley in which I had been stuck. We ran past the aid station / start area and started on the third loop. Once you start that final loop, there is really no turning back. As Rick and I talked, we realized that we had both been considering a DNF before we ran into each other. I was very happy to be in the final loop because in my mind I had already DNFed. Had Rick and I not found each other and started running together, I would not have finished that race. He said he wouldn't have either. The third loop, though physically very difficult for my tired body, was actually a lot of fun. Rick and I crossed the finish line together. I really would like to return to Wisconsin and run the 50 mile sometime in the future.

The story doesn't really end there. After so many antibiotics, my body was not only missing the bad stuff, but all my good bacteria had been killed off as well. That meant more health issues. Today, everything seems to be on the way back to normal, but my running is still not where it was before departing for Peru on March 9th. Running is still a bit of a struggle, and paces that would have been non-taxing previously take more effort.  Instead of 80% of my runs feeling good, 80% of them feel difficult. I am still running and still moving forward. I am working on adjusting my mindset and letting go of the fear that things will not continue to improve. This struggle is nothing compared to the struggle of some. I often think of Angela Ivory and the struggle she must face against cancer. There isn't a day that goes by that she isn't in my prayers. Please put her in your prayers as well. 

Philippians 3:12-21
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.

Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.


  1. I love this beautiful post, Cassie. I wish you were closer so that I could come give you a big hug, offer to run/walk, talk, laugh, or whatever you would like with you!
    Press on in faith, friend. I will pray for you this day!

  2. Thanks, Karen. :-) Your kind words, thoughts, and prayers are very much appreciated!