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Day 152: From TSW Warrior to Marathoner

One of the proudest moments of my life today, and it wouldn’t have happened without TSW. I know I’ve written that I’ve been exercising daily in my updates. However, what I didn’t tell you was about 9 weeks ago, I started secretly training for the race of my life.

I’ve always hated running. However when my TSW began back in May and I decided to try NMT, it became part of my daily routine. Part of the NMT treatment is to raise your heart rate to 120bpm for an hour daily. Normally I like to swim, but that wasn’t an option (obviously). I don’t mind weights, but there was no way I was going to a public gym with my face falling off. Running was the only option.

Since NMT says to exercise for at least an hour, the first time I went running I tried to run for an hour. The pain as soon as I started sweating was so torturous, plus my legs just hurt so much, they hate running as much as me. I did one lap around my neighbourhood. Took about 20 minutes, and I felt like I was going to die.

When I got home I mapped the run on mapmyrun.com. It was 2.14 km 😅.

Of course I kept running every day, because I wanted to heal so bad. After a week, I started to feel okay after one lap around the block, so I added in a loop around a little side street. Mapped that run after I got home too. 2.74 km.

Eventually after a few weeks, I got to 4 km, then got ambitious and did a 6.67 km run which was a total death march and I barely made it home. But my skin was improving and I was getting better at running, I even started to semi-enjoy it. That’s when my second flare hit. It totally smoked my groin and armpits, running became hell. I woke up one particularly cold morning, after a sleepless night, got dressed, went outside to run. It started to rain.

I just thought, why are you doing this to me!!!! I was almost in tears, standing on my doorstep. It’s bad enough you make me run every day, and you’re torturing me with this skin, you’re putting me through another flare…now on this freezing morning, rain?

I went for my run anyway, and it hurt so bad, and that’s when I had one of those moments where I felt like I saw everything clearly all of a sudden. I thought to myself OH! I SEE NOW! You don’t want me to get through this!!! Every time I start healing, you just make it harder. You think forcing me to run during this hell is going to break me!

It got me so angry I just said Okay, joke’s on you. You think this will break me? Let me show you how far I can fucking run.

When I got home first thing I did was look up marathons around the country. Just so happened my city’s annual marathon was in 9 weeks. I signed up that night.

From that day my runs weren’t just runs for NMT, they had to be marathon training runs too. I looked up training plans, most said you needed 18-20 weeks to prepare. “Otherwise, be prepared for the worst pain of your life.”

I remember reading that, I almost laughed out loud. Worst pain of my life….. 😅😅😅😅 These guys obviously had never heard of TSW. If pain is what gets you through a marathon, TSW had put me through 1,000 marathons already. I figured 9 weeks would be plenty.

Honestly though that 9 weeks was tough. I couldn’t just do 6km or 8km runs anymore, I had to start building up to 18km, 20km, 26km, injuries slowed me down, flares slowed me down. I wanted to quit so many times, but just knowing that TSW had already taken so much from me kept me going. There was no way I was going to let it take this from me as well.

Today was race day. I woke up at 3:30am, so nervous, race started at 6. But once the gun went I felt great. I knocked off the first 20km like clockwork. Around 26km, the pain set in deep. I started stomping my legs like they weighed 100 tons. Around 30km, people started dropping like flies, every second person had started walking, limping. They say most first time marathoners don’t finish, and I started seeing why. But I never stopped to walk once. Any time my body wanted to shut down, I thought about all the people in my support groups, how much we SUFFERED together, I felt like they were all running beside me and that we’d all been through pain so much worse than this, we would finish this race strong to show everyone we are warriors and that nothing can break us. That last 5km felt like 100 miles, I felt like there were knives in the soles of my feet. It only made me run faster.

I was already crying when I turned the final corner to the finish line. Hundreds of people cheering, none of them knew the pain TSW had put us through, but they might have guessed from my face this was more than just a race for me. I crossed the finish line and broke down in tears. 4 hours 37 minutes.

They were right, this was more than just a race. TSW can make you feel so worthless, it’s almost like it’s mocking you sometimes, as if it’s trying to break you and reduce you to nothing. So often I would get up and just sit in a chair all day staring at the ground, it hurt too much to even walk down the stairs. Surely that was enough suffering, but no, whenever I thought it had taken enough from me, it just came back and took even more. After days of no sleep and pain, your mind goes to the darkest places.

Chasing this marathon became my way to escape from there, to prove I was still alive inside, still worthy of being here. Often it feels like, it saved my life.

I want you all to remember no matter how deep into hell this takes us, never stop fighting back because we are stronger than we could ever imagine. Not only will we survive this battle, it will push us to places we never thought we could go, it will make us fight until we become unbreakable. And then nothing will be able to stop us.

Of course the silent heroes of this story are my Mum and Dad, months of washing my endless blood covered sheets and clothes, dishes, vacuuming the floors covered in piles of dead skin, all the small things that aren’t so small. And of course they were at the start line today to see me off, and waiting for me when I crossed the finish ❤️ Half this victory belongs to them.

To my TSW/NMT Facebook support group. Never met any of you, but you’re the strongest people I know, and you’re all family now too.

Love and strength to you all. You’re going to win this battle. I’m cheering for you ❤️

B

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