From Wino to Wineglass Marathon

  I’ve started reading a book called “Mind Gym” in an effort to prepare myself for the marathon next week. Mostly, I feel in a good (enough) headspace. I worked a lot on my race anxiety this year by racing Garmin-blind and racing fairly often. 

I also have kept one eye on the 2016 Boston Marathon registrations. Right now, it looks like the cutoff for those qualifying was even tougher this year since by the time they got to the “squeakers” (those who beat their qualifying times by less than 5 minutes), they had 3,000 fewer spots still left than last year. What this means to me is that I need to do better than just barely qualify if I want a spot in 2017. But no pressure. 

I can’t help but think of how — I don’t know if I should say ironic or fitting — it is that I am running the Wineglass Marathon as my goal race this year. Wine was my chosen poison, and on October 25, it will be 10 years since I admitted myself to rehab for alcoholism. I have been trying to visualize that Wineglass medal in my hands. The “medal” has been a melted down wine bottle. A part of me really needs to qualify for the Boston Marathon at this race. But even if something goes wrong, I think having fun at it will be even more important. 

One thing I’ve been under a bit of stress about for the last few months was some questionable results from some blood tests I had done as part of my annual physical. I’m diligent about these doctor visits because I was warned that my liver might have some scarring as a result of my excessive drinking. I was in pretty bad shape by the time I dragged myself into rehab — the head physician there said I wouldn’t have lasted much longer. 

My liver function has been fine, but the last couple years my parathyroid hormone levels have been low.  The problem with this is that it affects the levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in the blood, which in turn affects the bones. As in osteoporosis. In general, as a 45 year old lady, that’s not great news. As a runner, I had “stress fractures” buzzing in my head. 

On the one hand, I felt like if I had even early osteoporosis, I would’ve had some sort of stress fracture or reaction by now with all the pounding my training has put on my skeletal system. On the other, I’m freaking out because it seems like parathyroidism is usually caused by some sort of surgical damage, which I’ve never had surgery in that area, and so the cause of my parathyroidism seems like a big question mark. It’s probably hereditary, I suppose. But it bugs me. It especially bugs me that the parathyroid itself can’t be treated — all you can do is treat the symptoms, which basically means calcium and magnesium supplements. 

Anyway, further blood tests continue to show low parathyroid, but my calcium, magnesium and phosphorus levels are fine. My doctor also ordered a bone scan, and it took almost four weeks to get these results, so I’ve been pretty anxious. When I got the note yesterday that the results were back, I almost was going to put off opening it until after my race in the event it was bad news. 

My nerves won out, and the good news is that my bones are normal. Freak out abated. 

It’s hard to not worry about the long term damage I might’ve done to my body. But in a way, I’m glad for this concern because it’s what I bring up when the nasty little voice in my head tries to tell me that it would be so nice to have a glass of wine, to just unwind. I like being healthy. Whatever temporary relief my drinking provided was short lived because it would be enjoyable for a day or two before I would spiral out of control. I didn’t like being a slave to my addictions. So, whatever happens race day, it will be a testament to how far I’ve come. 

I’ll be wearing these Hoka One One beauties for race day. The model is called “Odyssey”. I think it suits my journey. 



20 thoughts on “From Wino to Wineglass Marathon

  1. So how is Mind Gym? It’s one of the few I haven’t read, and I’m 3 wks to race.

    Re hypoparathyroidism….I have it b/c one parathyroid was removed during my thyroidectomy for thyroid cancer 2006. What I was told was that with low parathyroid, it’s not just calcium and magnesium you need, it’s vitamin D3. Without enough of that, docs told me you can take in all the cal/mag you want but you won’t absorb it. Suggest you ask.

    I take a rx D3 (daily) called calcitriol (0.25mg which is ~1000 IU, generic of Rocaltrol which is $$$) and also take 1000 IU OTC D3 daily (so I get ~2000 IU of it). Low calcium as I had post surgery is very scary – cardiac risks, numbness, tingling….the osteo risk is a longer term thing. Also keep in mind that iron competes w calcium for absorption (don’t take simultaneously).

    I find calcium citrate is what I absorb best. (magnesium taurate is what I use for mag, but it’s $) Even with all my cautions, it’s hard to keep my calcium close to even the low end of the range (most recent test was actually IN the range!!).

  2. Darlene says:

    You are amazing with all you have gone through and achieved. I am pretty confident that you will BQ pretty soon. GL. I have Hokas now but I just wear them for long runs. I haven’t raced in them My brooklyn half will be the first time. I’m on my 2nd pair – mine wore out so quickly. Do yours?

  3. Karen @ runningfifty says:

    This was a wonderful, insightful post. Absolute best of luck at the Wineglass Marathon. How perfect if you qualify for Boston at that race. I’ll be looking forward to reading your post about the experience. Have a wonderful time- unintended but actually appropriate pun noted ;).

  4. I hope you have an amazing race this weekend! I’ll be rooting for you from NYC. Glad to hear your bones are in good shape and ready to carry you 26.2. Love that your shoes are “Odyssey.” Fitting indeed! Now go out there and crush it!

  5. Brave girl, beautiful post.
    I did think it was kind of ironic you chose Wineglass, but in like a beautiful bittersweet way. My heart breaks thinking that even after 10 years you had a health scare related to your prior actions that you have come so far from. I am so glad you are alright.
    Good luck good luck!! I hope this race brings you everything you need from it! Can’t wait to hear how it goes.
    Nice Hokas btw. I have been a convert for 6 months now, and they are life changing!!! Takes some of the fear out of the pounding!

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