Monthly Archives: February 2014

Drop

My mileage has dropped considerably. I think I have managed 13 miles in the past three weeks. I am feeling the withdrawals in every aspect in my life. I miss my balance.

I have a laundry list of excuses. After my half marathon, I gave myself a few days of rest. Then I was struck by the flu. Then Mike was on the road for work for a couple weeks. Then I was sick again, vomiting so severely I nearly had to go to the hospital. Then Mike was sick. Then Zoe was sick.

And did I mention the first trimester nausea, puking, and exhaustion? The pills that keep me from puking my brains out are part sleeping pill, so I have been sleeping through my workout time (and nearly work) every morning. Then I’m usually nauseous and sucking on popsicles to keep from hurling all evening.

I used to have no excuses.

I don’t feel like myself.

My body feels weak, tired, and largely useless (yes, I know I’m growing a human). I’m crazy as shit (yes, I know I’m an extra storm of hormones). I feel the deficit of endorphins, of the road, of the clarity. I just feel burned the fuck out.

I have no balance.

On the plus side, the knots in my shoulders have vanished; my feet are blister free; and my callouses are receding. Hardly seems worth it though.

The minimal running I have accomplished has been a mess too. The first three miles are miserable like I can’t describe; all I want to do is stop and say FUCK IT. I cannot breathe; I feel like I’m running in water; my heat spikes and with it my nausea; I’m so pathetically slow I might as well walk.

Horrible.

The only reason I push through this shit is (blatant stubbornness and refusal to let the fetus win and) that one random instant where it breaks and it all feels like running again. When it’s not all striving and suffering. When the endorphins flow and I may even be lucky enough to float.

When it feels worth it.

I use outlets to achieve any measure of sanity. Physical outlets are especially effective due to the brain chemistry involved. I had dance, but I lost that when we left Tennessee. Now I feel like I’m losing running at a time when I’m made additionally emotionally vulnerable by pregnancy. This child is negating most of my physical options by pinning me down under this relentless sickness.

And I’m over it. I feel trapped in my own body, and my frustration is mounting.

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I ran tonight. Only a 5k, but at this point, miles are miles. I decided this time at run club that we should try walking the first epic hill. The past couple weeks it has completely wiped me, leaving my legs numb and my heart knocking on my chest as I gasped for air. After that, I am worthless for a long stretch. Walking it helped. I started the route, granted the easier 5K rather than the 10K, more refreshed and feeling more normal.

I realized something on this run. It’s the hills again. On the flats and the declines, I’m myself again; I feel like I can jog comfortably. Yet on the hills, I am DYING, like an elephant is on my chest, like lead is packing into my calves. It’s like when I moved up to altitude all over again, which has me wondering… will I adjust if I keep doing it again? Or will it get worse and harder the longer I gestate?

But overall, the run felt good. Just getting out there felt good. Moving felt good. Ignoring how badly I wanted to stop or throw up felt good. I need the challenge now; I need to push myself to keep from feeling lazy and worthless.

Then I went home and threw up my dinner.

I know this is not a time for running to be a priority, but we are talking about something I use to keep myself sane and functional, about watching years of work and pain being undone in a matter of weeks. I could run a half marathon at the beginning on the month; now, I struggle to get off the couch.

I didn’t run in my last pregnancy (instead, I danced incessantly), but I do remember feeling this way. Feeling not like myself, feeling trapped in the more miserable parts. I need to remember this too shall pass; this will move into something better. Eventually.

For now, I just keep trying to run.

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Pregnant Skiing

I know this is a running blog, but it’s still fitness. And right now, all fitness is pregnant fitness.

Like running, pregnant skiing (even at only 12 weeks) was completely different. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to do it. The first morning started out rough. I woke up still getting over my flu, coughing my lungs out and blowing my nose out, and recovering from puking up my dinner before bed. I was a hot mess.

I ate a small breakfast, but when I hit the slopes, I was so shaky and just did not feel right. I have been on skis since I was three years-old (I think?), but I found myself nervous. I found my legs fumbling. Something was just not right. I felt just completely depleted. And one of the bindings on my boots were causing me pretty relentless pain.

I attempted two runs, but I was just not right. I couldn’t make it down a run without wanting to sit down. I just ran a half marathon; no matter how different the type of exercise, this was just ridiculous. I retired to the lounge and forced down a couple bottles of fluids and a packet of energy chews.

The shaking subsided. My head cleared.

I waited until after lunch then returned to the slopes. I felt more like myself; however, it was still different. My balance was not quite on; speed made me nervous. Lactic acid poured into my legs after so many turns. I have not skied in a long time, and the powder was quite intense, but it still not feel normal. I think dehydration from the flu and then having morning sickness puking the preceding four days had a lot to do with it.

So I took it easy. I went slower than I usually would. I took more breaks while my family swooshed off in front of me. I skied for a couple hours then called it a gentle finish in the lodge to be able to ski again the next day.

However, I was not to be able to ski the second day. I had taken special precautions all night to keep food and fluids down to start the day better than the previous. However, I threw up as my daughter brushed her teeth. And at my father’s house. And on the side of the road on the way up. And in the lodge.

I figured it was worth the shot to go up in case it broke like the day before. It did not break.

I threw up every drop and bite I put in my body. I spent my day in the lodge, alternating between heaving over a public toilet and napping awkwardly on a table beside the bar. By lunch, I was sure there was no hope that I would grace the slopes of Loveland, so I concentrated on just making it through the day.

By the time my forehead turned yellow, I called my doctor. She said if I could not keep fluids by the next day, I needed to get to the hospital.

I keep trying; everything kept getting rejected. I struggled my way through the ride home and a stop in Denver. I had never been so dehydrated in my life. My muscles felt like achy raisins strung on my bones; my brain felt like it was sitting heavy on the back of my skull; my eyelids were sticking to my eyes; I was starting to cramp.

And I was worried for my poor little fetus.

I made it home, took my anti-nausea meds, and passed out. When I woke, I could thankfully eat and drink. No hospital required.

I don’t know if it was pregnancy or flu or food poisoning or all of the above, but in this case, pregnant skiing was a vivid fail.


Pregnant Running

That’s right: I did it all PREGNANT.

Finally! Finally, I can talk about and write about it. My online presence is so open and interconnected that I couldn’t go public anywhere until the kid decided to commit to 12 weeks and I could tell my bosses.

I’ve known I was pregnant since I was puking before Christmas, so it has been killing me to not include its impact on my running. Training for a half marathon with morning sickness, nausea, and exhaustion. Worrying about the safety of prenatal running. Noticing the immediate effects on my performance.

It’s also been killing me to not include it as part of my accomplishments.

So far, my baby has run:

And we still have 28 weeks to go!

It affected me far earlier and differently than I expected. I anticipated morning sickness and some fatigue–nothing I couldn’t push through, right? Aside from the morning sickness including violent vomiting this time and fatigue elevating to bone-deep exhaustion, pregnancy impacted every part of my running from the earliest weeks.

I was instantly desperately winded for the first mile, gasping and coughing my way until my body yielded and leveled out. I felt like I was running in water. No matter how hard I pushed, I did not seem to be moving; my already slow pace suffered. My hips ached–all the time. It was all over me.

I know the science; I know why all this is happening. That doesn’t change how abrupt and foreign it feels. Just like my saggy uterus already protruding.

With NOLA behind me, I have decided to abandon pace and distance aspirations for the duration of this gestation. I’m just going to run–with no time and no length, no set goals. Instead, I’m going to focus on form. I have to focus on something, and it might as well be an aspect I can refine while keeping the baby the priority.

I will always wonder how my training would have went, how I would have done in my half had I been biologically solo. Maybe I’ll find out one day. After all, post partum started this whole running adventure to begin with…


New Orleans Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I did it. I ran a half marathon.

I didn’t walk; I didn’t stop at a portapotty; I didn’t stop for water. I steadily wogged for 13.1 miles.

I flew into New Orleans Saturday and met the original running mate, Carmen, at the airport. This adventure was her idea well over a year ago, hatched when she also decided we should jump from 5 to 10 miles on the Riverwalk in Chattanooga. I created a monster.

Competitor Group - 2014

We checked into our hotel, walked down to get our packets, wandered a bit, and some good New Orleans food. Then we called it an early, restful night.

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It was still dark when Carmen and I walked the block from our hotel to the starting line, wearing shorts and tshirts for the first time in months. The starting chute snaked in numbered corrals around and down the street.We chased it through the packs of preparing runners to the very end–corral 18.

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From the back, among the n00bs and the walkers, we heard the starting sound go off. For the next half hour, we heard the steady interval of the start for each corral and steadily marched forward. Until finally it was our start.

We broke out into downtown NOLA, jogging cautiously on the horrendously maintained asphalt. A heavy fog settled ominously between the buildings. The air was heavy and wet, filling my lungs until my head felt like it was buzzing. The temperatures were moderate with the occasional tease of a wonderful cool breeze.

I was back in the South. All the runners were not lean and hardcore. The pack did not dust me and leave me trotting the duration alone in their dust. There were walkers in the first mile; there were people doing intervals to their watches the whole distance. We were surrounded by other racers the entire race; it felt like a real race.

And it was motivating to be able to pass people in every mile.

We departed the downtown building and turned down a long stretch down historic St. Charles. Live oaks reached their thick, twisted branches into the fog and light rain, creating an arch over the street. Large French colonials stood obscured by jungle-like vegetation. I looked above me and saw Mardi Gras beads tangled in the trees; I looked below me and saw them impacted into the asphalt.

In true rock n roll NOLA style, there was a band every mile or two. Jazz bands, high school brass, bayou sounds–all different, all with that local flavor. It kept us engaged, gave us a beat to push our feet to as the sounds faded away behind us.

With each mile sign and clock that passed, Carmen and I high-fived. For motivation. For solidarity.

Miles 1 through 5 were long and slow for me, painful. I was not winded once, like I have been so often in the thin, cold Colorado winter air lately. However, the running was hard. My body felt depleted, and I found myself questioning the depth of my endurance.

Yet around mile 5, the float appeared. My pace quickened; the heaviness and the doubt dissipated. Miles 5 through 9 flew by. Sign after sign, high-five after high-five. They all blurred together under the haze of a runner’s high, even as we moved back through downtown, across Canal St., and into the French Quarter.

The fog thickened on Decatur St. As we passed Cafe du Monde, the runners ahead of us all but disappeared into the mist. A glorious cool breeze swept across us off the river.

As we turned into another neighborhood of fascinating architecture, my float began to stutter. I was alternating between bursts of float and the drag of exhaustion. My pelvis was a ring of pain, hips absolutely aching. I was constantly aware of the protests of my body, but I was able to run above them.

Mile 9 well into the 12 were slow miles again, stretching out for what seemed to be disproportionate and unreasonable lengths. I kept pushing myself; I kept pushing Carmen.

We were so damn close.

In the last mile, I saw Carmen dragging. I beckoned her, I’m sure annoyingly, called her to keep going.

When we hit City Park, I felt the finish swelling; I felt the energy of the end rise in my body. Carmen told me to go, and I unleashed whatever semblance of a sprint I had left. I pumped my legs until I was panting, weaving through the finishers.

I could see it. 13.1 was right there.

I left whatever I had on the pavement until I crossed that line. My goal had been under 3 hours; I crossed at 2:46:55.

Then I went back to finish with Carmen.

We did it. Her goal over a year in the making, over injuries and interstate hurdles. We didn’t stop, and we didn’t die.

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So now what?

Am I going to go full on and do a marathon? Um, fuck no.

Am I ever going to do another half marathon? Undecided.

I have checked it off my bucket list; I have supported my running mate. I just don’t know if I want to maintain that level of training. I like distances 10 miles and under; the 10K has emerged as my favorite.

For now, no more training. For now, just running to run. For health. For sanity. For the hell of it.

And, for the record, Cripple Creek is still the hardest race I’ve done.