While engaging in the challenge by choice PhD exams, I was also training for Marine Corps Marathon. After a great performance, for me, at Vermont City, I was hoping for a strong training season to lead into another PR in October. From day one, this proved to be easier said than done. Training in the heat and humidity in Atlanta for a fall marathon is a very frustrating experience. I know what my training times “should” be for my goal race time, but heat and humidity force my times to be at least a minute slower. As a result, it’s hard to gauge whether my goal times are even realistic. I’ve had to convince myself that getting the miles in will be enough and the fall weather will shift my performance. When I visited Vancouver in August, I had the most amazing runs of my life in the spectacular, not humid, weather. I ran an easy pace at least a minute and a half faster than the pace I struggle to maintain during the summer in Atlanta. My attitude definitely improved after that. Also, my last few long runs in Atlanta have greatly improved and I find myself running with people who have been faster than me in the past. Still hanging onto PR land in my heart. Once again, this is all just a challenge by choice. Choose your suffering wisely.
No matter how crazy life gets, always leave time for health and happiness!
While the two main challenges of my summer were taken by choice, they were both greatly complicated by an additional challenge not of my own making; medical issues. STOP READING IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT LADY PROBLEMS (although, honestly, get over it; women have to deal with all sorts of shit and are strong as hell so don’t be willingly blind to our badassness). Without being too graphic, after 20+ years of a completely normal routine, my cycle went completely haywire sometime in January. It was very frustrating, sometimes painful, and a bit scary to be honest. Sometime after the amazing Vermont City Marathon performance, everything went even further downhill and I was feeling drained and uncomfortable ALL.THE.TIME. My runs were even more shitty than they should be simply accounting for heat and humidity, and what should have been a normal cycle. I highly recommend listening to the BibRave Podcast episode with Dr. Stacy Sims on optimized training based on gender for more on how this should go. My coach and friend Amy suggested that my iron levels were probably very low. After several appointments it was confirmed that my iron count was at the level of a starving child and I started on iron supplements to counteract some of the effects. Of course, this is just a band-aid to some underlying problem. After many appointments and expensive tests it was determined I have a uterine fibroid invading approximately 30% of the uterine cavity…oh joy. After struggling since January it’s good to finally get an answer but also shitty that I’ll have to have surgery of some kind in the near future. Some next appointments should determine how invasive this surgery will have to be and whether it can wait until after Marine Corps during the lower activity time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In the grand scheme of things, it could be WAY worse, and I’m already feeling much better due to the supplements and some other remedies. At this point it’s a waiting game and I feel physically and emotionally much better simply due to knowing I’m not going crazy. Marine Corps is still coming and I’m still chasing that PR. My uterus will just have to deal.