NYC Half Marathon Weekend and a Bit More About my Diagnosis

 

Pre-race corrals

 In my last posts, I didn’t talk about my NYC Half experience. I was feeling a tad overwhelmed about my early menopause diagnosis. I’m sort of settling into that news still. A part of me is very relieved to know why I’ve been so off since November. Another part of me is feeling freaked out and old before my time. I realize the latter is silly, but that’s my feeling nonetheless. A lot of this post is more about my diagnosis followed by a wee-cap of my NYC race and trip. 

Leading up to when I started feeling sluggish, my periods were very regular. However, I had been experiencing night sweats for quite awhile. Since my blood tests were coming back normal on the related hormones, the thought was that perhaps I had a metabolic issue related to nutrition. So it was recommended that I front load my eating during the day. I didn’t really do a terrific job following that since dinner with my husband tends to be my largest meal of the day and I like it that way. 

In October, I ran the Wineglass Marathon. Training went well for that race, and all the way up to mile 21 when I bonked (a fueling fail on my part), it was a great race. I even had my period during the race. 

But since I missed qualifying for Boston by 16 seconds, my coach and I devised a plan to try again at the Kiawah Island Marathon a few months later. At first, training went very well. Then the mild injuries, getting sick and a perplexing slow down began. By time I was supposed to be ready to go for the marathon, I was feeling like crap and very discouraged. I had a few workouts when things went ok, but most of them were in a range of “meh to shit.” If you’ve been following along, you know I cut the Kiawah marathon short mid-race and ran just the half (which officially gave me my first DNF). For about six weeks after, I limped around with a series of mild injuries and would get winded while running at recovery paces. I thought maybe it was overtraining (which is entirely possible, but now I’m doubting it). My last normal period was late November. It was perhaps lighter than usual, but I didn’t think much of it because I’d been marathon training for half the year. 

My training after Kiawah, once my injuries subsided, has consisted of mostly easy runs with a few stamina workouts each week. Most of these have gone fine, if slower than I’d like and at a higher heart rate than previously for similar paces. But I continued to have the odd workout where everything felt off. Particularly when I was running in the heat of Florida in early March, I struggled way more than seemed right. I know it’s normal to have a bad workout every so often, but this seemed different. 

By mid-February, I was starting to have hot flashes in the day. That’s around when I worried that my uterine fibroids might be causing the trouble. My primary care doctor had mentioned back in May that she felt a largish one during my annual exam. So I found myself a new Ob-Gyn who specialized in laparoscopic surgery in the event that I needed them removed again. When I previously had the surgery, it took a long time to even walk without pain. Laparoscopic procedures are minimally invasive with quicker recovery turnaround. 

I fortunately got an appointment right away, and the doctor didn’t feel anything regarding the fibroids, but she took some blood and scheduled an ultrasound. I do have fibroids, but they are very small and not in need of removal. I don’t know what my primary care doctor was talking about (this is the second time she felt growths on my that weren’t there when I went to experts for the follow up). The fibroids are not likely to get bigger because my estrogen levels are in the crapper and high estrogen makes them grow.

My blood tests indicated that I am in menopause, not peri-menopause. We’re not sure why it happened so rapidly or so young, although there are a number of possibilities — the amount of training I’ve been doing is among them, as is my past life of excessive drinking. In some ways, I’m lucky I didn’t go through years of suffering from the symptoms. Hopefully the hormone treatments will get me feeling much better. I know mentally I feel better. Oh, and my new gynecologist is an avid runner. She could kick my ass in the 5k since she runs it in 20 minutes at age 51. (Doesn’t everyone athlink their doctors after they mention they’re runners?)

All of the above was the long explanation for… my race at the NYC Half kind of sucked.  

Central Park during my Saturday run

 The race was post-blood test but pre-diagnosis. I had a really great run Saturday running through Central Park. Maybe too good. I wasn’t expecting anything close to a PR at the race as I’ve only been easing back into training, but I didn’t expect the slow pace I ran the half to feel so hard. As in, I wanted to walk starting around mile 4 and had to talk myself out of it every. single. mile. I had my first positive split half in a really long time. And I basically felt unwell the whole race. 

I eked out a sub-2, but barely and was almost 12 minutes over my PR. I felt really lightheaded when I finished. I was also disappointed. It wasn’t so much the time as it was concern over how poorly I felt. I’d really wanted to soak in the awesome race atmosphere, and instead I spent the race locked in my own headspace. 

The days after the race, I felt fine, which was frustrating. Of course, I blamed myself on the bad race by assuming I was mentally weak. I really need to quit being so harsh to myself — especially as it turns out my poor body has been undergoing a major upheaval these last few months. 

I guess I’m glad that my primary care doctor misdiagnosed my fibroids because I never would’ve pushed to get a gynecology appointment when I did. My gut said something was wrong, and I’m really glad it is what it is rather than needing surgery or having a life threatening illness. 

I’m still reading up and trying to ignore some of the anecdotal stuff I ran into regarding some women who say they are much slower runners post-menopause 😦 . I’m feeling optimistic about my hormone treatment. 

I did skip an 8k race I was signed up for yesterday. I decided that I didn’t mentally need to have another lackluster performance before I gave hormone therapy a chance to do its thing. Instead, I had a very nice run solo. 

Scene from MoMA… dude, I feel ya

Scene from MoMA — it was disconcerting seeing patrons just walk by. plus this seems uber uncomfortable

Scene from MoMA

 Other than my NYC Half performance stinking, I did have a good trip to the city. Somehow we ended up in a junior suite at our hotel, and the room was giant. We had two great dinners, one at Quality Meats and another at Quality Italian, both of which I highly recommend. We also went to Num Pang for lunch, which is a Cambodian sandwich shop​, and Maoz Vegetarian for a falafel salad, both favorites. On Sunday, we had some free time before our train and so we went to MoMA. There was a live exhibit of people laying around called Plastic that was kind of fun. 

Up next is the Disney Star Wars half. By then, I should be benefitting from my meds, although I expect the humidity will be a shock to my system. Since I am planning on doing photo ops this race, my coach suggested I do some fartleks between stops if I felt up to it. I think this sounds like loads of fun. I’m in corral A, so I hope to be among the first in line to see BB-8. 

I hope everyone who celebrates has a wonderful Easter, and even if you don’t, I hope you’re having a lovely day!

 

Our room at Hotel Elysee

  

Balcony below our room

  

My Num Pang Japanese yam sandwich

  

Saturday’s Central Park run

  

Saturday’s Central Park run

  

Tableside made cannoli at Quality Italian

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Still basking in warmth

Or maybe melting a bit. It got up to about 87 yesterday. I still did an 8 mile run with strides in it, and it actually didn’t feel all that bad. The breezes help. I guess I’ve acclimated. 

I’ve now begun stalking the NYC weather for next weekend. It looks like s chance of rain and temps of high in the mid 40s, lows in the mid 30s. I hope the rain stays away. I’m not feeling terribly optimistic about this race despite my training going well. I’m not sure why. Except for my history with unpleasant races when I have a time goal. If I can just manage to not get nauseated, it’ll be a win. It should be a fun weekend regardless. 

We had an extended family emergency, so my husband and I were enlisted to dog-sit. Poor us, no? It’s good that my husband’s work gives him a lot of flexibility. We come to Florida a few times every winter, but we’ve never stayed this long. A perk of being empty-nesters. I did get depressed when some 20-something guy said, “I want to do that when I get to your age.” Ugh. So much for denying middle-agehood. 

Dog walk



I signed up for a fall marathon! I chose the Wineglass Marathon (over the closer to home Mohawk Hudson). I keep seeing/hearing good things about this race. The hotel situation seems crazy already. I reserved a place but it’s definitely not my first choice. I’m going to keep looking around in the hopes someone cancels their reservation. 

Tomorrow is a 12 mile long run with the last 10 minutes at race pace. Then it’s a mostly easy-paced week except one leg turnover workout midweek to keep my legs fresh for the race. We’re taking the train into the city Friday afternoon with two friends and then seeing a matinee of the Book of Mormon on Saturday to keep me off my feet. I forget where I made dinner reservations for Saturday night but I do know they have roast chicken (with kumquats!) and potatoes on the menu for my pre-race meal.