Sleep is the key with exercise in the world of a lupus patient. When I started getting into shape three years ago, I found I frequently needed naps following a hard or long effort.
In 2008, I started road bike riding, doing rides of 30, 40, and even 62-miles. In 2009, I started running and swimming. Someone asked me if I did triathlons and I replied that I did not, but started considering the possibility. In August 2009, I did my first sprint triathlon and while it took over two hours and I did it in the pouring rain, I loved every minute of it.
In 2010, I did my first century bike ride (100 miles), my first one-mile open water competitive swim, and my first Half Ironman Triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13-mile run). It took 7 1/2 hours, but I did it. The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming. To think that I could do these things, even though I have lupus and was never an athlete in high school or college because of my disease.
This year I am doing two triathlons; a sprint this June in which I finished 4th in my age group; and a Half Ironman in late August. I have also joined a bike racing team, and am also competing in a two-mile and a six-mile open water swim. In the future, I want to do marathon swims of 12 miles or more to raise money for lupus awareness and research (my mother has it also and has not been as fortunate with her health as I have been).
My training is taxing. There are days that I am exhausted and my body will not cooperate. Gains in speed, power, and strength are slow in coming and take a tremendous effort. It has taken three years to lose 15 lbs and my body is starting to resemble the physique of more typical triathletes. But I am the healthiest I have ever been. I love doing what I do because I shouldn't be able to do it.
If it keeps me off the drugs and my lupus in remission, I am willing to keep doing it.
I share my story because I want you to know what is possible.
I say go for it. You will only benefit.
Dx: Raynauds 1986; SLE/Discoid Lupus 1987; Meniere's Disease 2007. Rx: Antihistamines and decongestants as needed for allergies
I treat my lupus with diet/exercise; avoid processed food, all artificial sweeteners, and whey protein (to which I am allergic). I also compete in triathlons, road bike racing, cyclocross, running, and long-distance open water swimming.