Thursday, April 24, 2014

Big Run and Thoughts on a Potential Half Marathon

Big Run!
Today I did my big run.  I wanted to see how I felt on a longer effort, because of my still-thinking-about-the-half-marathon as you'll see below.

Overall, it was slow, but not nearly as ugly as runs have been for a long time.  I didn't have the crippling heartburn, the hunger, the leg and back pain, or the heart rate issues that have been troubling me for so long.  So I think the treatment plan the doctor is trialing is working.

As far as RACE PLANS… I've been jonesing to do a half-marathon, for my 35th b-day.  I was originally planning one the day before my birthday, but pulled out because I knew I was just not healthy enough. Now there's another one in May that M is signed up for… and on one hand, I really want to do it.  After today's long run, I know I COULD do 13.1.  It's just a question of do I want to COMPLETE a half, or do I want to do a half WELL?

I know I can  complete it, because I have already done that distance.  And I'm feeling good enough now to do it.

I know I can't run it WELL or FAST right now because, while I'm feeling good, I'm also rehabbing.  I'm rebuilding speed and stamina.  

I feel that I could complete it and back off at the right times so I wouldn't hurt myself. 

I wonder if I want to wait until I can actually be competitive.  Or, like, at least not the slowest I've been in years.

I want the glory and thrill of yet another medal for my medal collection.

How much is that medal worth?  If this was, say, the Marine Corp Marathon, wild horses couldn't keep me from the start line.  But for a small race that's not a destination race, this early in the season, maybe it's a better idea to save myself.

Runners, please weigh in!  I need your advice.

Health Issues Update.  This is the boring part.  

So I've been taking my medication like a good girl and noticing some very positive reactions.  Among other things:

-I'm not freezing cold all the time.  I was sitting on the couch the other day, and my feet actually felt warm, without being in socks and ugg boots.  I guess this is what a metabolism is like, eh?

-My GI issues are finally going away.  Per the various doctors, the gnawing hunger and stabbing pains were actually heartburn, and the sharp carb cravings might have been because carbs can help calm stomach acid.  So my body was hurting, a lot more than I realized, and the carb cravings were its desperate way to put out the fire.

-My heart rate has dropped by about 25 BPM on long runs and hard efforts.  This is huge.  Since my body isn't retaining water constantly, my heart is a lot less boggy.

-My chest doesn't hurt.  I hadn't even realized it was hurting, until the last few workouts when I glanced at my HRM and noticed that my hard efforts were up at a 165 BPM, but I wasn't suffering in abject misery.  And that was when I realized that I'd been in a LOT of pain that I hadn't even realized was not normal pain.  Oops.

-Recovery is a LOT easier.  I don't have the extreme water retention, painful ankles and back, or puffy fingers that have plagued me for a long time.  In fact, I noticed just now that my fingers aren't swollen at all- I can't remember the last time I finished a run without swollen fingers!  Didn't exactly realize that that wasn't normal either.  I thought everyone had workout sausage fingers all the time, until I started taking medicine and my sausage fingers went away.

All in all, the working theory is that the e.Coli activated some stuff that I had kept in check just by being healthy- i.e., lactose intolerance and some endocrine-related disorders- making it much, much worse.  I do believe that general healthy living is the best medicine.  But I guess that right now I need a little more support from my friend, the pharmacy, to really get healthy again.

Psychologically, that is tough for me.  I really wanted my body to be able to heal itself.  I wanted to believe that if I just ate well and worked out, I'd get better.  I do feel that a mostly-vegetarian, high-vegan diet is gracious and healthy for us and our planet (with the occasional bit of ethically sourced animal protein being fine in my world), and I really wanted to be the person who cured her woes with green smoothies.

It's really tough to accept that I need medicine to get to be totally healthy again.  Boo.

The e.Coli also did horrible things to my stomach- basically, wrecking my gut.  (The primary symptom was the heartburn issues.)  The heartburn might also be behind the increased hoarseness in my voice that some of you have noticed.  (Heartburn bubbling up, burning the esophagus.  Ouch.)

Right now, I'm on a strict heartburn diet (bland as all heck, really) for three weeks, and can start adding things back in next week.  The doc wants to let my gut have a fair chance to really heal, and if my gut really heals at last, I might be able to address some of dairy allergy issues!  But that is still months away.   Right now, it's all about healing the gut.

This meant going off caffeine.  The first few days of withdrawal were misery.  I am one of the people who gets HORRIBLE withdrawal- headaches, nausea, wishing for death.  Oh, god, the misery.  I'm much better now, but wow.  I miss you, French Press.  It's not you, it's me, I swear.

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