I'm A Hero

Monday, September 5, 2016

Many Years Ago There Was A Little Girl

Many Years Ago There Was A Little Girl....

Many years ago there was a little girl that touched my mother's heart. It bothered me that this little girl* was soo special to my mother! She wasn't a family member, just another kid on her school bus route. It turns out that this kid had something very special in common with my her. She had cancer. The chemo-taking, losing hair kind during the same time my mother was diagnosed with Melanoma. They were cancer buddies who fought hard. There was a special relationship I couldn't understand, but grew to love hearing about. Both my mom and that little girl* went into remission for a time. Both grew older and lived a little longer. My mom retired and moved from Illinois to Kentucky with my father. Unfortunately the cancer returned and took my mom.
A couple years later after my moms passing we received a letter from the little girls family. I read it and found that she to had passed away from another bout of cancer. I never told the family about my mom. I didn't want them to be sad. Within a couple of years of each other, the cancer buddies were taken from this world. I'd like to think that if more research could have been done, they may have had a longer stay. I'm a St. Jude Hero and I am running for them!
I really really really hate cancer!

*name is withheld

Thursday, July 28, 2016

So You Want To Run A 5K?

Sitting here at the the doctor, I paid my 25 bucks for the race and am getting checked out. Oh crap they wanna do an X-ray of my hip. Oh crap. I was nervous as hell. Was I gonna be allowed to run after all? Of course I brought up the topic of wanting to run a 5k and getting checked out. The doctor looked at me and said ok, good for you and to take it easy. What did I really know about running anyway? Was there something I was missing in this process? It's a 5K, I walk more miles than that in a day!? My tracker tells me how great I'm doing and that is just walking, working, and of all things marching in place to get my steps in. How hard was this running stuff really gonna be? My goodness I read a few articles and updated my inhaler and got a hold of some cheap Nikes at a discount store.

Nothing would be more alarming to me when I took off at the start of the race, this is easy I thought. lol what I didn't know was that starting out I needed to pace my self and run really slow. I made the first mile and it hit me, lungs were on fire and my right lower leg and foot had cramped up so bad I wanted to yell. I had made the mistake of tying my ill-fitting shoes too tight and tried to keep up with the crowd. Not a good way to start out racing, but I persisted and kept on. I did however make the smartest decision.  I tried to walk for awhile and then run. It was mostly walking by the time I had made it to mile two. You see I had heard of this method by Jeff Galloway. He is an Olympian from 1972. Of course I didn't initially heed his very sage advice. I had this weird cocky belief that "real runners" only ran. I was so wrong. I swear by his training apps now! This walk run method of his saved my butt and knees from quitting and or collapsing in the process. I also have to say the encouragement from the people on the sidelines was exhilarating. Please keep cheering for the fat chick who just wants to stop and throw up in the last two-thirds of this hell. Uh well it wasn't hell actually. My hell was letting my body get so out of shape and feeling like I was trapped in a fat suit for the past five years. This race was about to knock me on my well cushioned posterior. Then something came over me: I was starting to feel a little better. I could breathe a bit, and of all things I ceased drooling. Yes I admit that my body did some pretty weird stuff that day. No one told me this would happen, that is why I am writing this. don't be ashamed of anything that happens during a race. I was told how during a longer race,  some people literally pee their pants and that wearing a tutu was pretty helpful for covering an accident. My eyes widened with a mix of horror and delight.

So more walking then running and somehow I was able to get around what I had heard more experienced runners called a "wall".  My energy was coming back again. I wasn't going to actually die on a side street in Murray, Kentucky. The fire had subsided and the cramping was manageable. I can do this! "Radio Free Europe" by REM started to play on my iPod. It was on, I wasn't going to quit. Slowly I was starting to pick up pace and passed a few folks who looked like they were suffering from life to. I started to slowly pull away from people and moved on to running alone. I was still walking every so often to catch my breath and recharge. To my surprise there were these to kids running along and slacking.  I yelled to them that they better hurry or I was gonna catch up to them, or better yet pass them. They took off like a shot. I had my motivation, they had theirs. Who wants to be beaten by a mouthy, out of shape old lady. Those two kids helped more then they knew. I never did catch them, but as I rounded the last corner of the race, the finish line was in view and so I ran with all my might to finish.  To my absolute delight, I didn't finish last as I expected to. I got my time 54 minutes and took a puff on the inhaler in celebration. The best part of this race was that I lived to tell people about my experience and started training a little more seriously with this  running stuff. 

Since this race I have done three 5K’s, one was pushing a friend in a wheelchair, but that story is for another time. If you would like to donate I am running as a St. Jude’s Hero April 20th 2017 In Nashville Tennessee here is a link to my official page:  St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Runs Away To Help Herself and Others

I am that running girl you see on cool mornings or near dusk evenings in your neighborhood or local gym. Sometimes I am quiet and unassuming, while other times dripping with sweat and sometimes singing along with my iPod. I am the girl who at one point weighed 280 lbs and thought her life was over. Yes,  I was soo wrong about that one! First half of my forties were the hardest, second may be harder, but soo much more fufilling! Read on and see why:

 Thanks to an asthma clinic in Chicago, some well-meaning "suggestions", and the death of my mother, along with my sincere desire to feel healthier, it all changed. Not over night, but over a period of six years, progress has been made. Sure I would like to be a slinky size 6 or even happy size 8, but that is not what I am about at the moment. My goal is to successfully run a marathon before the age of 50. I have about five years to do this. In the "long run" I believe it is possible. Recently I have successfully completed three 5k races and have made healthy eating a priority. Who knew that I would give up a 24 year smoking habit and become a better vegitarion. My diet used to consist of beer, cheese pizza, fancy coffee drinks and cake. Vegetables were to be avoided.

I have had my share of setbacks in this process to. My over eager attitude has me sitting out from running for another week, due to some soft tissue damage in my ankle and knee. This is why I thought  about starting the blog. Another setback happened, but was another helpful part of my story. One of my dear friends from college started doing Cross-Fit. Thank you Diane, because it made me discover what I truly love: running. Anyway Cross-Fit is just like the old school way of working out in a gym: weightlifting, running, jumping, etc. I tried it out to. Unfortunately it wasn't right for me,but it worked out really well for her and many others. Unfortunately, I had a series of tears in my chest wall leading to chondritus and a visit to the heart doctor for an abnormal stress test. He told me to cut out the lifting period and do some light cardiovascular exercise or expect to die earlier than I would like. He also went on on to tell me that I needed to lose weight, not for looks, but for my joints and for the osteo-arthritis that was not so slowly taking over my spine and hips. He was able to prescribe gentle exercise at the local gym and get me an affordable rate. I had some hope brewing in me.

My first class was water aerobics. It is still taught by a young man with loud music and helpful insight. I was so nervous, this was the evening version of the same class my mother loved and attend with fervent regularity. This was a class for women and men of a certain age who needed to work out, but didn't have the endurance for doing it on land. I realized with heavy heart, my once super healthy aerobized butt was gone and that I was starting all over. I loved it from day one. It felt awkward discovering gravity for the first time when leaving the pool, but it got easier. I still love to goto water aerobics when my schedule allows for it. The people I met in that class are wonderful!

 Other classes came and went. Did some Zumba and Yoga, but what really stuck was walking on the Treadmill. As a young woman I could walk for hours and run a little bit. I say a little because my asthma was not controlled at the time. Wild fits of coughing were a regular occurrence. Now days thanks to an emergency visit to Stroger Emergency Room (formerly Cook County Hospital) on the south side of Chicago when I started  to turn blue I  was now equipt with an emergency inhaler and admittance to their asthma clinic for care. That ER visit was almost 7 years ago. If you ever want to to see real life go there on a Friday or Saruday night. You will come out of there a different person, but I digress. Back to the treadmill, I could now walk for 30 minutes and then up to 50 and so on. I wanted to try for something different. Who has two hours to spend at the gym? 

I ran for five whole minutes after walking for 30 minutes. My lungs ached and I was wheezing, but in my crazy discount nikes I started something that has continued to enthrall, anger and challenge me even today as I write this. I, Stacy Frett ran for five minutes that day. Five minutes turned into 7, then 10, 15, 20, 30, 35, then 45 minutes of sweating buckets of and at least two puffs on the inhaler. I was a running girl!

 Keep reading for updates on my progress and my latest venture: Hero for St. Judes Hospital:" St. Jude Heroes are an exclusive group of dedicated athletes committed to raising funds for the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital"