I am looking forward to tomorrow – April 1 – for SO many reasons. Yes, April means Marathon Month. But it also means March is over.
March 2017 has been the worst month of my life. From getting the worst possible news about Rags’ heart on March 3 and saying goodbye to him on March 8, to finishing my run on March 11 in excruciating pain only to find out I had pretty aggressive tendonitis in both shins and my right arch just 4 weeks before the Marathon, to 9 days & counting of “female problems” that began on March 23 and are really zapping my energy level, to just generally not sleeping well at all anymore…I need a fresh start.
I will say that I have embraced all this new “free time” (the guilt that comes with using that phrase still overwhelms me to the point of tears, but I’m learning to forgive myself). Because I’m not allowed to run right now, I go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning. One day this week I was there at 5:28am, waiting like a Black Friday shopper outside of Walmart for the doors to open. After work, I’ve been going to lots of yoga classes at Acorn Yoga in Oak Square (Brighton). I loved Yoga Sculpt even though I’ve only been once. I’ve also done POWERflow, CHILLflow, RESTorative and HEALflow. RESTorative was literally like 7-8 poses that we held for a long time each – it was so amazing on Monday night, still sore from Saturday’s 20-miler.
I am also giving myself a break if I sign up for yoga but am just not feeling it after work to cancel. Or if my alarm goes off at 5am and I can’t fathom getting out of bed – but twice I’ve turned off my 5am alarm only to lie in bed tossing and turning for 15 minutes and getting up to go to the gym anyway.
So I know I’m not overdoing it. For the first time in my life, I am listening to my body (and mind) if it tells me it needs a break. My #1 goal right now is making it to that starting line in Hopkinton on April 17 injury-free. I am doing everything I can to heal this arch (shins seems to be totally on the mend!), even if it means not taking a single running step until that day.
I do think my “feminine problems” are the reason I am so tired. When I donated blood on March 17, my iron was at the low end of normal, and was literally as low as they would allow it be in order to donate. I was given a bottle of iron pills but forgot about them. Six days later, I got my first period in 2 months. NOTE TO MEN OR SQUEAMISH LADIES – STOP READING IF PERIODS GROSS YOU OUT, but then also get over it because that’s biology. During one of our long runs at the beginning of January, I had one of my worst runs thanks to cramps, that feverish feeling I always get, and terrible fatigue. I looked at the calendar and realized that was going to happen to me on April 17, so I called my doctor first thing Monday morning and said, “You’ve got to help me make sure that doesn’t happen during the Marathon.” So she prescribed me birth control pills. I skip the sugar pills during Week 4 every cycle, and then don’t get a period. She said I’d get one in February as my body adjusted, but then wouldn’t get one in March or April.
Well, she was wrong. My body revolted. I didn’t get one in February but the one I’ve BEEN HAVING since March 23 has certainly made up for lost time. I have Level 11 cramps every day. I’m extra tired and extremely moody. While I had found myself crying less (and even going entire days without crying) about Rags as the days went by, I have been crying more in the last 9 days that I had the previous 9. I feel feverish, as if I’m coming down with something, but – knock on wood – I am otherwise fine.
When I woke up this morning at 5am, my body felt exhausted despite sleeping decently well – according to my Fitbit. I realized my exhaustion is probably due to low iron. The other day, I found that bottle of iron pills that the blood donation center gave me, and have been taking them daily. I’ve also had red meat the past 2 days in a row and am planning to have a burger tonight (I get tomorrow off from working out!). The good news is that I am exactly where I should be in terms of mileage this week – for the first time in about 3 weeks – and am planning to do my “long run” at the Mount Auburn Club on Sunday while the rest of my teammates run from there and back. This way, I still get to participate in the morning announcements, banner signing (we sign banners before every run for teammates’ friends and family members who are going through cancer treatment – and many of them are in their final stages. It makes me sad and mad, but also so inspired to run), and post-run breakfast and hot tub time.