Running Enthusiast Sue, aged 65, tells us about living with arthritis for almost 30 years and how her hobby keeps her positive.
“I was initially diagnosed with arthritis in 1993, after going to see my doctor about some of the aches and pains I was feeling. I was given some useful information about my arthritis, and some ways to help me manage the condition. I was also given details for an osteopath, and some medication was suggested that could help with the pain.
I would describe the pain I feel as constant. I have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue – together, the exhaustion means everything I do has to be planned in advance. I didn’t anticipate how much my fatigue would make normal jobs harder. It often brings me down as I’m unable to take part in things I’d like. I could still do these things if I pushed myself, but the pain I’d feel afterwards just wouldn’t be worth it. I can never be sure how my body will react.
I initially discovered Arthritis Action after searching online for ways to manage my arthritis. I found it to be a wonderful resource, with information about my condition and things I could do myself to help reduce the pain I was feeling. I only wish I had been aware of the charity earlier!
The charity’s self-management approach really pushed me to stay active. I try to go for a run, or give myself some exercising goal, every day. I’ve now been setting myself a running challenge of some form or another for the past 28 years, to make sure I stay active and have a goal to work towards. I first completed the Great North Run in 1993 as I wanted to do something positive after my dad died, and have done the Run a good few times since then.
I do what the doctor tells me, but there’s always something more I can be doing to help myself as well. Setting myself challenges gives me a goal to focus on, which really helps me
In June last year I set myself a goal of running 5k every day for a month, which I found very tough but did wonders for my physical health. I’ll soon be turning 66, and have set myself the goal of running 6k every day for a month in the lead-up to my birthday. It can be psychologically hard getting up on bad days, knowing I have to get out of the house and run, but it feels so good to finish. I wouldn’t even say I love running – but I endure it, knowing it’s making a big difference to my wellbeing. The end goal makes it all worth it.
I’m convinced that exercise has kept me as healthy as I am, and reduced the underlying pain I used to feel all the time. I do what the doctor tells me, but there’s always something more I can be doing to help myself as well. Setting myself challenges gives me a goal to focus on, which really helps me.”
If you’d like to donate towards Sue’s 6k a Day for a Month challenge, please help her reach her goal through her Virgin Money Giving page.