12. Running a Post-Diagnosis 5K – Clarissa Reynolds

In one of my very first interviews with Chronically Badass, I spoke with Clarissa Reynolds, who was celebrating her first post-diagnosis 5K finish around the time of our conversation. Clarissa is a personal trainer and Badass with lupus, Sjogren’s, and Reynaud’s. In this last podcast before the holiday season, we talk about chronic illness, family, and sharing our gifts with the community.

Clarissa: Personal Trainer | Aspiring Aerial Yogi | Lupus-SLE/Reynaud’s Phenomenon/Sjogren’s Syndrome/Anxiety Warrior

As Clarissa shares, she was diagnosed with lupus in November 2017 and completed her personal training certification program around the same time. She speaks honestly about the lack of motivation to workout that she experienced after her diagnosis and about how she renewed her dedication and purpose when she began teaching classes at a gym. She’s found it helpful to have a support network and inspirational to be surrounded by other active people. Clarissa shares that she enjoys lots of different fitness activities and that she uses lower-impact activities like yoga to give her body grace when it needs a break from running.

Clarissa experiences heat intolerance due to lupus and cold sensitivity due to Reynaud’s phenomenon, so we discuss strategies for exercising in the elements. She emphasizes the importance of sunscreen, protective clothing, and even opting for the treadmill when the weather demands.

Clarissa shares her knowledge and passion in a Facebook group called Chronic Illness Exercise Class. There, she publishes low-impact exercise routines, while sharing instructions for and reasoning behind each movement. She plans to create videos catering to specific pains that people commonly experience.

For those Badasses who have set the goal for themselves to get to their first race next year, Clarissa and I talk about her first race post-diagnosis. Specifically, she describes the benefits of using online training plans, motivating yourself by putting a race on the calendar (found online or at local run shop/run club), recording training notes, taking training one step at a time, and realizing that runners of all experience levels are welcome at races.

Before her diagnosis, Clarissa had run a half-marathon. Now, with a post-diagnosis 5K under her belt, she’s eyeing longer races once again.

Links from our discussion:

To contact us about the podcast or your own Badassery, email podcast@chronicallybadass.org. And, for your daily dose of Badass athletes who are redefining what it means to be chronically ill, follow @chronicallybadassclub on Instagram and Facebook.

Podcast music by: Caleb Ritchie

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