“Now I have no symptoms of fibromyalgia – but I don’t want to stop running in case it returns!”
Lesley from Otago, New Zealand woke up one morning in March 2006 thinking she had the flu. Every bone and muscle in her body hurt but when she wasn’t getting better she went to her doctor – the first of which was to be many visits.
The doctors searched for what was wrong and for a long time no-one could say. She was put on steroids and the only effect was huge weight gain.
Eventually a rheumatologist said “…maybe it’s fibromyalgia! There is no treatment, the only thing you can do to manage the symptoms is exercise!”
That seemed like a joke to Lesley as she could hardly walk from the bedroom to the lounge.
“The fatigue was awful – I needed to sit down in the shower – and then go back to bed for a rest,” said Lesley.
Her days were spent dragging herself through her chores and at times she needed to use a walking stick for support as her balance was poor.
In October 2010 Lesley was desperate for something to change and even though she is a nurse and didn’t think it would help she tried acupuncture.
“At first it didn’t help, seemed to make it worse but after the third treatment I found it easier to walk - so I kept on walking! But you don’t get very far, very fast when you walk so, in middle of 2011, I thought I would try running. I used a Couch to 5k app, and thought I might die after the first 30 secs of running. At the end of five weeks I ran for 20 mins – wow I felt great! I haven’t looked back and the body feels good,” said Lesley.
A friend of Lesley’s did the Couch to 5k programme with her and thought they should aim for an event.
“Our first ever race was in March 2012, the Real Women’s 5km at Millbrook near Queenstown and it was freezing! Then I thought – if I can do 5k maybe I could do 10k so in June I did a 10k race in the Run Auckland Series. Then I though mmm wonder if I could do a half marathon – Moro Half Marathon in Dunedin in Sept 2012 was the one!”
In March 2013 Lesley ran the Wanaka Half Marathon. And then after much training Lesley took part in The Auckland Marathon November 2013.
“It was an amazing experience – it is incredible what our bodies can do,” exclaimed Lesley.
Lesley says it is family in Sydney that is the main reason for her taking part in the Blackmores Bridge Run.
“My son and his partner have run in The Blackmores Bridge run the past two years and enjoyed it. My daughter has started running now and it seemed a lovely idea to do one together,” said Lesley.
“I have another son and his family in Sydney as well so it will be a great opportunity to catch up with my grandchildren.
“I am really looking forward to picking up my race pack and seeing all the stalls and to running over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge!”
Lesley has gone from not being able to shower without having to sit down to running marathons, but what she gets from running is time to unwind and her health.
“Running gives me space to process my thoughts and to let stress fade away, time to unwind, time to myself and that wonderful feeling of fitness. Now I have no symptoms of fibromyalgia – I don’t want to stop running in case it returns!”
We wish Lesley all the best for the Blackmores Bridge Run with her family and her continued good health.
To enter the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival go to www.sydneyrunningfestival.com.au