Hi all, remember me? I know that I usually post every day but Ihave missed the past two days. Work has been pretty busy, and while that could be the reason I have not been blogging it is not. I blog at home, so where have I been? I mainly blame my absence on this
I am fairly late to the games, no pun intended. I am probably the last person ever to read this book, but if for some crazy unknown reason you have not read this book yet, stop whatever you are doing and go get it. You are seriously doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book. Do NOT go to the movie first, I beg you, read the book!
So in actuality, I am not reading the book. I am actually listening to it on audiotape. I usually get audiotapes for when I have to run alone (which is actually pretty incredible, definitely don’t knock it until you try it). Yet, I decided to get an audiobook for Hunger Games and not just for running because I have a lot of trouble holding books due to neck pain. I am so glad I did. It allows me to “read” on the go like at Physical Therapy this morning (sorry Aaron, I know you wanted to chat but I had to listen to Katniss’s plans to destroy and steal all of the Careers’ food by the pond). It also allows me to take long relaxing baths while listening to my book – my new favorite hobby.
The other reason I have been MIA is Valentine’s Day, of course. A few weeks ago Aaron asked me what I wanted to do for Valentine’s Day. This is a change because I am a HUGE planner (could you ever guess) and usually I have our plans set way in advance. This year, however, I am no longer so in love with restaurants and all that jazz and just wanted to stay home and have a picnic by our fireplace complete with pizza (I have such advanced taste buds). The only issue is our fireplace, which is gas, has not worked since we moved in in May. I made it abundantly clear to Aaron, by dropping some “subtle” hints that if the fireplace was not working by Valentine’s Day I would be less than thrilled. I think he got the idea and by Monday this was me:
I did not expect or want much else. Yesterday, I went about my day and managed to get into a sizable fight with Aaron over nonsense logistics on the way home. I sure felt like a fool though because when I got home, I opened up the fridge to this…
Yes, a homemade edible arrangement. I love Edible Arrangements but they never have watermelon in the winter so Aaron went and made his own! He went to the store and found great watermelon as well as a picnic basket for our picnic. I proceeded to then make the best looking pizza yet and we dined on pizza and fruit.
If that was not enough, I got another surprise. Robin stopped by on her way home to drop off these…
Robin is an amazing baker. Her cookies are incredible! Thanks Robin! I could not have asked for a better Valentine’s Day.
How do you all spend your holiday? Have you read Hunger Games yet?
Friday was my scheduled rest day. Friday I ran 13 miles. I cannot tell you how long this 13 miles took me or what pace I went or if I stopped at 12.99 or 13.01. All I know is that Friday instead of resting, I ran 13 miles and had a blast.
It is no secret that I have been struggling both physically and emotionally. I have been stressing a great deal about what is the “right” thing to do to get my period back and what that might mean for my day-to-day life, my running, and most importantly my family and my future. People have been incredibly supportive and have offered wise words, advise, and comfort. But I have continued to struggle with ensuring that I am doing the “right” thing, eating the “right” food, and exercising the “right” allotted amount. All of this becomes more stressful as I cannot expect to see results immediately and have no idea if I am helping the situation. All I can really see is that my pants feel tighter, my stomach hurts a lot, and that each pregnancy test that my doctors make me take before another test is negative.
Most importantly people have told me to relax. To not judge myself or worry if I am making the “right” decision. With all of the above, you can see how it can be hard to just relax. I am used to being in control. I wanted to be a lawyer, I went to law school, I studied hard, I became a lawyer. I wanted a house, we looked around, we bought a house. But this, this is not something really in control. I have been even more judgmental about myself for wanting this control and wanting to do the right thing and not wanting to slow down, especially with my running.
Ultimately, though, I knew I needed a break. I will be getting the blood tests back next week and until then there is not much I can do. Until then, I have been pushing myself to be gentle, to relax, to enjoy myself, and to start turning my mind to change. That was my goal for this weekend and considering it took a good amount of energy to get out of my nice relax bath to write this post, I feel I have accomplished it. This weekend I ran, I indulged in ice-cream and wine, I slept 11 hours, I did not leave the house for the day. This weekend I relaxed.
This relaxation idea had been stewing all week. I have been stressed, anxious, and have been having trouble concentrating. Thus, on Thursday when XLMIC started to put challenges into my head, I knew it was time to take her up on them. She challenged me to find 5 moments of joy in the next 24 hours and to write them down. They could also be workout focused. If I had something on my workout agenda that I did not want to do, she pushed me to just do something else and not follow the plan. To really just RUN FOR FUN. Both challenges seemed difficult at the time, especially since Friday was supposed to be a rest day. But as my close friend has reminded me time and time again, I am the QUEEN of challenges and before I knew it I had more than 5 moments of joy.
The really eye opening experience, however, was Friday when, after work was over for the day, I headed out for my long run. A long run was not on the schedule for Friday. I did not have much time on my hands but it was beautiful out and although I was tired from a long day at work and it was almost dark, I could not help myself especially since my husband said he would join me.
We started out together. Aaron had to run two miles. He wanted to run the second mile at a 9 minute pace which is just about right, maybe even too fast, for a long run, so I said I would join him for that and then he would cool down and I would continue on. He would then catch up to me on his rollerblades.
First a winnner!! Kelly at Running Kellometers is our winner. Congrats Kelly! Send me an email please!
I would like to tell you that my plan from yesterday went well and that I had the best run ever because I took it slow and everything fell into place. Well, I did take it slow, but everything did not fall into place. Instead, the run yet again went like this:
Unfortunately, I am a “Stubborn Runner.”
I would like to tell you all that I am a good little runner. That I take my mistakes and learn from them easily. That when I sit down to look at what went right and what went wrong, in my latest run, that I take the “what went wrong part” and work on changing it and improving it. But alas, I am a Stubborn Runner and apparently that is not what us stubborn runners like to do. Instead, we contemplate the run, assess what went right and what went wrong and then proceed on doing the exact same thing the next time instead of trying to make changes.
Case in point, the last two treadmill hills workouts I have run, have been less than stellar. Last Thursday, I did 4 miles with three hills. I wanted to break 30 minutes. End result was more like 31 and change. My stomach hurt all during this run and I had to keep jumping off the treadmill and resting. Afterwards, I thought about why my stomach was so upset. Maybe it did not like the granola bar I ate right before I went on the treadmill, although I often eat granola bars right before I run and/or maybe I was going too fast.
Fast forward to Tuesday, 3 miles 3 hills on the treadmill. Same situation – bad stomach pains and a lot of starting and stopping. Instead of under 22 minutes my time was 22:42 and that is being generous.
I have been contemplating these runs a great deal. Thinking that it would be wise for me to change my eating patterns and/or slow down. I would like to go outside and give that a whirl (because I think I do better outside) but honestly there is something about the dark and cold mornings that I just don’t do. Instead, I like to wait until the very last second and sleep as much as I can and then hop out of bed and cram in some quick miles before scurrying to work. But if I am going to just stick with the treadmill, something has got to change. I know this and I have been battling with it all week. Ideally, I need to get through tomorrow’s 4 mile treadmill run with 3 hills WITHOUT STOPPING. I have run 26.2 miles without stopping, I can run 4! But lately on the treadmill I cannot seem to do this. This means only one thing to me. I need to slow down!
The idea of slowing down on these lower milage runs is hard on me and on my pride. I want to do my best every time I run and work as hard as possible thus it is very difficult for me to force myself to go slower. However, I know based on the past two runs slower might be my faster for right now. I also know that there are other important goals besides just having my fastest run. Right now my goal needs to be to get through a run without stopping and with no stomach pains.
So tomorrow, I will promise to start slower. I will start at a 7:53 pace and assess how I feel. If it feels really good, I will kick it up one notch. If it feels bad, I will kick it down. If I feel just ok, I will just keep it at the 7:53 and go from there. I WILL NOT STOP! That has to be the goal for tomorrow and one I have to accept. As for the tummy pains, I might try a half of banana tomorrow morning instead but we shall see how I feel when I wake up..
So that’s it. Here is to becoming less of a stubborn runner…..
Are you a stubborn runner? Any good advice from one runner to the next?
Have you entered my CEP Compression Sweepstakes here or checked out my audition post here?
Did you know that blogging is actually just a cheaper version of therapy? It is
kind of exactly like journaling, except for the fact that everyone else reads it (minor detail, right?) So here is hoping that I get in a good therapy session with this post. Tomorrow, I promise I will talk about running, ok? Deal.
These past few days I have been working on acceptance, and it has not been easy in the least. Whether it is running or “real life,” I am just a little Type A, can you tell? I want to be able to control everything! If there is a problem, I want to be told how to fix it and then I can simply take the steps to do so. In law school, this was problematic. I wanted my professors to give me exact answers, they could not. They would try to tell me to see the forest instead of the trees, but I was just so darn fixated on those trees; they are important too, right? That is kind of what this journey has been like thus far. I want to control everything, I want answers, I want to know if I do X, Y, and Z, then everything will fall into place, but I cannot know that and that is really really hard.
So let’s back up. As I mentioned previously, my nutritionist and I spoke about decreasing the workouts and increasing food intake by about 200 calories. I thought that was going to be easy and so far the workout decrease has been fine. The food increase has been surprisingly hard. It should be easy, but, in all honesty, it has not been. I find myself fixated on the right foods to eat and reexamining my diet at every turn. Am I eating too many carbs? Do I need more dairy fats? Just more healthy fats? How much proteins?
This is exhausting and while I hope to meet with my nutritionist this week, I know that part of all these thoughts are just symptoms masking my anxiety and that I have to deal with the real issues. On top of all of this is the underlying comments and opinions that people have said. Some say I am at a healthy weight and do not need to gain countered with those that think I do need to gain is troubling. And to put the cherry on the sundae, this week none of my clothes seem to be fitting right and are much more snug. I have been off Provera for three weeks and only a minor increase in food for one week, it just seems…weird. I feel uncomfortable and uncertain in my body.
O.k. enough of the brain dump now an actual update (feel free to skim). I went to a new Reproductive Endocrinologist yesterday and I loved her. She was so wonderful and spoke to us for a long time wanting to know everything about me and my history. I am really excited to work with her. But what exactly does she think and what is exactly the issue is, she is not sure yet. When I asked her if she thought my plan of decrease exercise increase food was a good one that would help, she said she was not sure since I had never tried that before. She sent us for an ultrasound and to meet her associate who we would work closely with (who btw thought my weight was fine and to give the cardio a rest).
Now, the way I understand it (and I really don’t), there could be two issues I could be dealing with here that are causing me not to ovulate and not get my period (and don’t quote me on this, I was never a big Bio fan). The first could be the issue of Hypothalamic Amenorrhea without going into too much detail; it is mainly an issue with the hypothalamus in my brain not producing any or enough of the hormones needed for ovulation. This is often treated through changing lifestyle factors – exercise and potentially weight gain. The other, and my knowledge is weak here, has to do with polycystic ovaries (but not the syndrome). The associate doing the ultrasound told us this information. It is all a bit fuzzy but my main take away was that about 25% of women have this and we could likely get me to ovulate with Clomid (a drug used to induce ovulation). But right now overall, no actual plan has been set. First on Tuesday, I am going to have have this all day test where they draw my blood every 10 minutes and that will tell them a ton more of how we should proceed. Apparently, what this really means is on Tuesday I will be stuck in a chair for 10 hours and am free to Tweet, read blogs, catch up on Daily Mile etc., so make sure to keep me company please!
So there you have it, all the technical stuff. But for me it all comes back to the fact that I have NO control here. I do not really have any complete answers and don’t know if what I am doing will work. Put this on top of the random weight and bloating issues and it is unsettling, to say the least.
Today, I am working hard on acceptance. I am working to relinquish control. I am working on being happy. This is hard stuff. It has made me a bit sad. But writing can be therapy right? So, I am resolving to take on a challenge for the rest of the afternoon. I am going to fake it until I make it and I am going to try and give myself a few hours off to just enjoy myself and let the process be what it is. I trust my doctors and my team and I need to relax. So for now that is what I am going to try and do just that. No more weeping at this moment it is time to go enjoy the weekend and relinquish the control I want to have.
How do you let get? Happy Weekend All!
This year, I have been lucky enough to become a Fit Fluential Ambassador. This is an audition post to see if anyone out there might be interested in having me write for them. I hope everyone enjoys getting to know a little big more about me. Thanks for stopping by.
Thank you everyone for your wonderful supportive comments. I promise to respond soon. It really meant so much to me. Ok back to it..
The decisions that I made yesterday were not easy ones. They are unsettling, in some ways, difficult in others, and exciting in yet other ways. The choice to give up my May Marathon was not easy. The commitment to eat more with the potential to gain weight has been less than fun and the fact that I have to give up some of my beloved running just plain well sucks. But here we are Day 2 and I am still alive.
So how did this decision come to be? Well, before I even went to the doctor, I had an inkling he was going to tell me gain weight and reduce exercise, especially running because everyone always seems to go after the running. Why is that?!? However, regardless of my “inkling” I was not at all prepared for the cut the exercise in HALF and gain 10 lbs “prescription.” It seemed so counter intuitive to me – that all the things that are suppose to be “good for you” just became bad for me. This is how the conversation went:
Doctor: How much do you run?
Me: Well, not as much as others, I run 3 times a week, cross train 3 times a week.
Doctor: Can’t you just do less like 30 minutes instead of an hour
Me: Institute noise that sounds of like ehhhh and look down
Doctor: How much do you run on weekends?
Me: 2 hours-ish
Doctor: Can’t you do an hour?
Me: If I go faster…..Can’t we just start with the increase in food and then go to the running?
Doctor: Yes but if it does not work, we will take out the running and we will see that I was right
Me: Yes, but if eliminating the running and increasing the food does not work, we will see I am right.
Clearly, the doctor and I did not see eye to eye. Additionally, I knew this relationship was not going to work for me necessarily. I generally need someone who “gets” me and who can hold my hand a little bit more, especially when things are tough. I am also still not convinced that this is an all or nothing thing. So I did a little research and talked to more people.
Unfortunately, regardless of anyway you slice it, everyone seems to agree that I need to at least cut some exercise and eat a bit more. To make the decision to this was not easy. I wrestled with it over the past four days, I made Pros and Cons lists, I talked to more people, and I considered my priorities. I went from being just plain PISSED off that this was happening to me to feeling an enormous amount of pressure. I felt that even though my husband and I were in this together it was ultimately my decision. Would I gain weight and reduce training in hopes of getting us closer to having a baby or would I put it off to be a smaller size and run another marathon? I also felt extremely worried and self conscious. I stressed that I would gain a ton of weight and none of my clothes would fit and everyone would talk about all my weight gain. I worried that I would give up what I love to have a baby and resent this fact. Further I stressed about that I would give it all up and this potential solution would not actually work. I was scared that I would lose blogging if I was not training for a marathon and lose my training partner as well.
Not everyone understood. Why not just give up the running? No big deal right? Just gain a few pounds, no one will know, right? Some got it, but others just didn’t….
So I went through the motions – the sadness, the fear, the anger, and then ultimately the Acceptance. I realized that while I love running so much and that while I wanted to run a May Marathon, I could live without it. That there would be other marathons and that I could find other ways to support my love of running. That I could adapt and find ways to keep enjoying running as well as blogging for that matter. My running partner and I talked and she was totally awesome suggesting that we could run whatever I could on Sundays and she would pace me to a “wicked” fast half marathon come May and then we could go cheer on our speedy friend. That even though we could not run 15 miles together, we could do 6 or 8 miles or whatever I am allowed and then go for breakfast and she would be able to refuel from a hard workout and I could just, well, eat my 200 extra calories and enjoy!
I talked to my family and made the decision to be open about this topic on my blog. To allow the experience to help me put a more personal spin on my blog. It does not mean that the running talk is going away (don’t worry) but that I can share more with you all and I am really excited about that.
As per the weight, we will see. Somehow letting others know that I have to be eating more makes it easier. I am not actually proud of that fact because I know the theory is that I am glad people know because they won’t think “I am out of control.” This is something I am admitting but NOT something I think is the healthy frame of mind. I am working towards being ok with the weight and food intake because that is what I need! That is what my future baby needs and I want to do everything in my power to prepare my body to be ready for a baby.
So there you have it. These were hard choices. They make me sad and, at the same time, happy, but hopefully they will make me stronger (and strong enough to have a period).
In the meantime, I keep trying to convince Aaron into a puppy, you know, for practice. He does not seem to be so agreeable. I guess one of us has to be the responsible one here..
Have you ever had to make tough choices? How do you do it?
Disclaimer: As you may have guessed from recent posts, some personal things have been going on in my life that I have not been 100% forthcoming with. I always debate how much I want to share on this blog, and lately, I could be sharing more than I have. After much consideration, I decided that it might be helpful for me and hopefully you all to open up a little more. Not sure where this will take my blog but we will just give it a go and see what you all think and if it works. I hope you will stick with me…
Luckily for me, I am blessed today with all of those things, which could not have come at a better time because I really needed all of these things to come together to make some big decisions. Today’s run and conversations before, during, and after have led to some BIG decisions, as they often do (it is something about running that just brings those wise thoughts or crazy spouts of energy). I am not sure where these decisions will lead, if they will change as we go, or if they will stay the same, but for this moment this is where we are at (and by tomorrow I may even be somewhere else, stay tuned).
Big Decision # 1 – I will not be running the NJ Marathon, if possible, I will do the half. Sigh.
Big Decision # 2 – I will increase my calorie intake by 200 calories a day, if not more.
Big Decision # 3 – I will cut back training to 4 cardio sessions a week and 1 strength training sessions followed by two full days of rest (or a day of full rest and a day of Stretch, Flow, & Relaxation Yoga).
Now the explanation, and like I said, we are getting a little more personal here. I hope it can benefit us all. While Aaron and I are still very young, we have hopes of starting a family in the near future. We have been together for 8 years and are ready to add an addition to our home. The only problem being is to add that someone, namely a baby, you need to get pregnant. To get pregnant, generally, you need to get your period. I am not pregnant and I am not getting my period. This is, as you would guess, problematic.
Let’s back up and give you the whole story. Until July, I was on the pill and getting regular periods, most likely due to the Pill. The combination of hormones in the Pill, estrogen and progesterone, allowed me to have regular monthly periods, keeping me healthy and my bones protected. In July, I went off the Pill and have not had my period since.
My doctor told me to wait, that some women take up to 3 months to re-regulate. I waited, but nothing happened. While this was ideal for marathon training, it was not so great for baby world. After the marathon, I went back to my doctor and we tried another hormone, Provera – a hormone meant to essentially “jump start” your body into having a period. Again, no luck.
Thursday, I saw a Reproductive Endocrinologist. In a very blunt and scientific manner, he looked at my labs and told me that I should stop exercising and sit on the couch and eat french fries (and yes that is what he said). I was diagnosed with exactly what I thought I would be diagnosed with – Secondary Amenorrhea.
SecondaryAmenorrhea occurs when a woman who was previously menstruating stops menstruating. It is, in essence, an absence of a period. While some might rejoice in this, it is not a good thing and it can have negative consequences if not treated.
Clearly, regardless of the “baby factor” we are taking this very seriously. It is not something to play around with. In comes the dilemma, what causes it and how to treat it. There are a number of opinions and causes. Some causes include natural ones, hormonal imbalances and structural issues. None of these fit me as far as we can tell. What does, however, fit me is these other “lifestyle causes” including stress, low body weight, and excessive exercise (maybe, it is debatable if this is actually a cause).
The “prescription” from my doctor, as noted, was to gain weight (10 lbs) and drastically reduce my exercise. But not every doctor subscribes to this theory. My nutritionist, Nancy Clark, argues that it is not the marathons but the caloric deficit that is problematic. In essence, my body does not have the calories it needs to sustain life or a period and do all that I am doing. Increase the calories, reduce some exercise, and see results.
Thursday night when I came home from the doctor, I was fairly distraught. The idea of just gaining 10 lbs and cutting out almost all exercise seemed a little much for me to handle. After doing some further research (thanks Google) and talking with Nancy, it seems that there are other options. Yet even further I feel the need to discuss with more doctors and get more opinions on which is the correct route to go for me.
In the past few days, I have talked with a lot of friends and professionals. I have ridden a bit of an emotional roller coaster and I have made the above decisions. However, getting to these decisions was not easy. In some respects, after gathering more information, these decisions may change again…But for now, let’s start here, with how I came to this decision….
To Be Continued…
Have you had any experience with Amenorrhea? Do you struggle to decide how much to share if you blog?
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. I am not providing advice as a professional but sharing my story.