Miss Migraine Runs: Part Two

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Help me raise $300 to support migraine research and awareness!

Despite my runner’s knee not really being cleared up, we decided to wake up at 5 a.m. and resume our 5k training program this morning.

Despite painful knees, I’ve tried to still do some form of exercise 5 days a week, whether it’s going for a walk or using the elliptical.

I am not a morning person. Never have been, probably never will be. I’d much rather run at 8 or 9 p.m. than wake up before the freaking sun rises. But, I’m getting ready for a monologue show in a few weeks, and I’ve got evening rehearsals all this week and next week. Early morning is the only time we could run, so that’s what we did.

And hey–it wasn’t as awful as I expected it to be! Waking up was easy enough. I laid my running clothes out last night, so all I had to do was pull them on. I ate an apple, leashed up the dog, and off we went.

Over the past three months, I’ve increased my overall activity level. Each bar represents a week’s worth of steps.

This week the program has us running varying intervals of 90 seconds and 3 minutes. The first set of runs were fine. My knees ached a little but it wasn’t bad. But then we did the second set, and I definitely should have stopped because it felt like my knees were on fire. But I am stubborn as fuck, so I finished the workout and then spent a good long while icing my knees. Surprisingly now they feel pretty okay, which means I’ll probably be stupid and run again Wednesday morning.

Running and walking has also been helping me with the grief of losing my corgi dog Lexi–it’s not that I miss her less or feel less sad, it’s just that being outside and working my body provides a good expression for those emotions. I think it’s helping Jaina cope, as well.

Now I just need my knees to stop hurting!

 

Miss Migraine Runs: Part One

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine. June is National Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. Help me raise $300 to support migraine research and awareness!

Okay, so. I’ve been talking about the Miles for Migraine June Virtual event for awhile now, but I haven’t given many details on what I’ve actually been doing to train for a 5k race in August. Well, here we go.

D.J., Jaina, and I began running using the Zen Labs Fitness C25K (Couch to 5k) app on May 21. The program includes three 30-minute workouts each week. You alternate running with walking to build up your cardio fitness level and leg/joint strength. The amount of time you spend running increases each week by a small amount. The program also focuses on time instead of distance to keep you motivated through the beginning. The distance aspect comes in later, when you’re closer to being able to run a full 5k without stopping.

We went camping last weekend, but we still got our Friday run in!

Since we began, we’ve only missed one run (for a good reason). Somehow, I’ve gone from a “OMG I HATE RUNNING” to an “OMG WHEN CAN WE RUN” person, despite persistent asthma attacks. Having a challenging but doable training plan really helps, as does having two running partners. Jaina views our 30-minute training runs as a good warmup. When we get home, she picks up her ball and asks us to throw it for her! I also got a new inhaler from my doctor, which I’m supposed to use before we run to prevent an attack. So far it seems to be working pretty well!

Unfortunately, I seem to have injured my right knee on our last run. I’m really set on running a race in August, so this week I’m icing my knee, wearing a brace, and doing low-impact cardio instead of running. I’m also going to try a few things for our runs to prevent re-occurrence in the future. I have flat feet, my ankles over-pronate like crazy, and I have plantar fasciitis in my right heel because of it, so right knee soreness seems inevitable, but also treatable. Of course, if my doesn’t get better in a few days, I may need to adjust my plans.

This is a huge bummer. I want to run! I feel like I need to run! I even want to run through the pain, but I know that’s a terrible idea, so I’m forcing myself to stick with the elliptical this week. If you want to encourage me, you could drop a little cash money on my Miles for Migraine fundraising page. That will definitely boost my morale. ;p

I understand that not everyone has a ton of disposable income, so there are a number of ways you can support me this month:

  1. Make a donation to Miles for Migraine through my fundraising page.
  2. Share my fundraising page with your social networks.
  3. Reach out to someone living with chronic migraine and let them know you care. If you’re able, offer to do something nice for them, or send an encouragement card or small token (just lay off smelly lotion or candles, as perfume can trigger migraines).
  4. Remind your friends and family that migraines aren’t just “bad headaches.” They’re part of a debilitating disease that has no cure, and they affect more than 30 million Americans.

Of all these things, number three is the most important, and the easiest.

Miss Migraine in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Banner that says "The Adventures of Miss Migraine"

The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine.

After my last post about Aimovig, the first-ever drug designed specifically to prevent migraines, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette contacted me about doing an interview with them. You can read the full story on the P-G’s website! Here’s a snippet:

“I can’t even conceptualize what’s it like to not be in constant pain,” said Kelly Lynn Thomas, a patient at UPMC. “So, the possibility of having time where I’m not in any pain is mind-blowing.”

For years, Ms. Thomas, 31, of Spring Hill-City View, has written a blog “The Adventures of Miss Migraine.” The most recent post features the new drug. “Guys. This is huge,” she begins.

I was thrilled to be able to help shed some light on this important issue, and am so glad Aimovig is getting so much press.

Now, I have an ask. Help me raise $300 to support migraine research and awareness!

Last week I started the Couch 2 5K running program. Exercise is a good tool in the migraine management tool box, but it is unfortunately also difficult to get started because, well–migraines sap your energy and suck the life out of you, and exercise tends to trigger them. So far I like the C25K program because it starts out slow and alternates running with walking for the first few weeks.

While I am already feeling the benefits of regular exercise (I really do have more energy!), I’m not just doing this for me. I’m running to raise funds for migraine research as part of migraine advocacy organization Miles for Migraine’s June Virtual Challenge.

I won’t be ready to run a full 5k by the end of June, but I’ll be halfway there. I’ll continue running in July and hope to run my first 5K in August or September. Throughout June, on non-running days, my goal is to at least go for a 30-minute walk and/or attend a yoga class. Starting June 1st, I’ll post weekly updates here about my progress.

Here’s how you can help this June and beyond:

  1. Make a donation through my fundraising page.
  2. Share my page with your social networks.
  3. Reach out to someone living with chronic migraine and let them know you care. If you’re able, offer to do something nice for them, or send an encouragement card or small token (just lay off smelly lotion or candles, as perfume can trigger migraines).
  4. Share the Post-Gazette article with your networks to help spread awareness of how difficult, isolating, and depressing chronic migraine can be.
  5. Ask your health insurance provider if they plan to cover Aimovig, and when. If they say no, ask why not and reaffirm how important this drug is to migraine patients.

I’m also working on some gift ideas for anyone who pledges a certain amount of money, so stay tuned for more on that!