Jeff Winters City of Lakes Half Marathon {Race Recap}

I knew I shouldn’t run it. When I woke up after only three hours of sleep. I knew. When I was having bad cramping from the cyst, I knew. When I felt cloudy headed and nauseated, I knew. As I drove to the starting line with a pounding headache and upset stomach, I knew. I just was being stubborn old Jess, justifying my bad decision by telling myself I would just being throwing money away if I didn’t show up, run the race and get my medal and beer glass. I knew these were stupid reason. Still, I lined up at the start and was off with the gun.

This was a small race and started fast. I got caught up in the crowd the first few miles, which were too fast for how I was feeling. But then I thought, the faster I run, the sooner it will be over and I can go back to bed. I knew better than that. I stayed in the 7:25-7:44 range for the first four miles.

That’s when the headache really started pounding again and my stomach started churning. I started to slow down. I even took a gel at mile five, which is long before I would normally take one. I also started to think about stopping around the half way mark when we ran by where I parked. This was the first time I’ve ever thought about just dropping out of a race. It would have been the first smart decision I’d have made that morning. Instead, stubborn Jess won out. I continued to slow down mile by mile (7:50, 7:56, 8:08, and 8:15).

Just after mile nine I had to stop. I wasn’t sure if I was going to throw up or poop, but I had to stop when I saw a porta-potty. Luckily I did neither but I gave myself a moment to regroup and figure out if I should just turn around. I was super hot, but had the chills. I wasn’t sure what was going on. That mile was obviously my slowest at 8:55. Still I trudged on.

At this point I just wanted to be done. I told myself just to run, not walk. Walking would make this last longer. The hills were getting more difficult. None of them were huge, but big enough to irk me. Mile 10 was my fast mile of the second half of the race at 7:58. Much slower than I started off but I was giving myself pep talks to get through to the end. At least I was closing in on the finish line, the last three miles at 8:08, 8:11, and 8:05. When I saw the finish line, I knew I had just enough left to sprint through. I flew past a man running in which elicited a laugh from the announcer as he announced me coming through the shoot.

My official time was 1:44:46 which is about an 7:59 avg pace. Definitely not a PR, but very respectable, especially for how awful I was feeling.

I grabbed my medal, beer glass and a cookie as I started the walk to my car. When I got in my car, I had to sit for a while. I had horrible cramping, nausea and dizziness. When I got home, I took my temperature to find I had a fever. No wonder I was super hot but had the chills. I was pale as a ghost and felt awful. I spent the rest of the day on the couch in and out of sleep. We were a little worried that I had gotten an infection from the cyst rupture, but when my fever finally broke, we figured I was in the clear. The next day I was still down, but felt like a new person a few days later.

Lesson learned, running post cyst rupture, is a bad idea.

Losing Myself and My Joy

I’ve been off the grid lately. To be honest, I’ve felt some blues the past few months. I haven’t been sleeping well and have been stressed and lonely thanks to a variety of things, including Josh having to work pretty much seven days/week up to 15 hours/day. That is no fun for anyone. A combination of factors that leads me not wanting to blog at all. After all who wants to read complaints?

Over the past several weeks I’ve taken a few steps to help myself feel like myself again, including getting rid of my Mirena. Did you know that side effects include weight gain, depression, acne, and ovarian cysts, among others? That might explain this solid 10 lbs that I cannot explain how I gained and cannot lose no matter what I do. Which has done nothing for my self confidence. It may also help explain these blues. Lucky me, I also got a tennis ball sized ovarian cyst that ruptured a few weeks ago. I apparently have a really high pain tolerance because I just thought my IUD had moved. Not so much. Side note: DO NOT run a half marathon a week after your cyst ruptures. It’s a horrible idea. More on that later.

I also saw my family doctor who prescribed me something to help me sleep. Some nights I wasn’t falling asleep until 2-3 am. Other nights, I’d fall asleep but wake up around 1 am and not be able to go back to sleep for hours. I had forgotten what a good night’s sleep was. Now I’m finally sleeping well again. I wake up and I’m a better mom. In a better mood and have more energy, not to mention more patience.

All of these emotional and physical things have definitely started to effect my running. Even before Boston, I started feeling like running is a job. It’s something I have to do, not something I want to do. There is no joy for me in it right now and hasn’t been in at least six months. My training for Boston was really hard. I didn’t want to do it. I had worked so hard to get there and then, I just struggled.

I have all these thoughts and concerns going through my head as I put off runs as long as I can before I make myself trudge out the door. I have to continue racing. I have to continue doing speed work here and there. I have to maintain my reputation as a ‘fast’ runner within our running group or among my loved ones. What will happen if I stop running? Will I ever be able to regain my speed again? Have I peaked? Will I have a great race again?

I don’t have the answers to these questions and I am sick of them causing anxiety. I don’t know if I will ever set another marathon PR. If I don’t, is it really that big of a deal? Who even cares but me? For now I’m trying to take care of me, outside of running. Getting sleep, spending time with friends and family and trying to take back my joy.


The battle of the belly

We are in the car for several hours which means I have nothing but open road to look at. I’m behind on my weekly training post but it seems like a lot of work to type up on my phone. Instead we’re going to talk about my continuing battle with my stomach. Or more specifically my digestive system. Not to worry I’m not going to get super specific.

Since Anderson was born my stomach has been increasingly sensitive. Over the past year it’s gotten so bad that there have been days that ingesting anything, even toast has me running to the bathroom. This obviously does not go well with running long distances. After having to emergency walk then sprint to the first ports potty I saw, I knew it was time to see someone.

About a month ago I went to the doctor. Telling her about my symptoms they decided to run an extensive panel of tests. Fortunately I am not a celiac, nor do I have any sort of infection, crohns or colitis. Unfortunately that didn’t give me a solution. What was suggested to me was trying a low FODMAP diet.

This diet basically takes out most of my favorite foods. Foods to avoid include items such as apples, peaches, watermelon, avocados, beans, legumes, asparagus, broccoli, wheat, dairy, sugar, garlic, onions, and peanut butter to name a few. Sounds fun right? This is a short version of the foods to avoid. 

I’ve started taking things out slowly. Dairy was the first to go because while I love cheese, sour cream, yogurt and ice cream, I know that they typically cause an upset stomach. I also took out peanut butter but was still having issues on my long runs. About two weeks ago I took out wheat. I broke down and bought some gluten free bread (gluten free is wheat free). Guess what? No issues on my long run last weekend. Thinking maybe it was a fluke, I ate regular bread the next day, it was a no go.

It seems wheat and dairy are primary culprits. Which is sad for me. But I’m going to do my best to not have either until after race day to really see if I feel better.

I also switched up my gels to Honey Stingers which are definitely easier for my to digest without the side effects. Fingers crossed I won’t have a repeat of Fargo in Chicago!

Colorado Half Marathon Training: Week Four

What’s that saying about the best laid plans?

I feel like all I’m doing lately is explaining away my failure to stick to my plan. This week was a doozy. Started off just fine. In fact it started off great. I had good, strong runs on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I woke up feeling awful. By noon that day, I was in the fetal position, under multiple blankets, shivering and aching. Even my teeth hurt.

For the first time in years, I was so ill, that I was home from work for two days in a row. My fever spiked as high as 103, before finally going down on Thursday afternoon. Needless to say there was no exercising.

Friday I went back to work and made it through the day before collapsing onto the couch that evening. Saturday was spent playing musical furniture with the kids’ rooms and napping after Anderson was up every hour on the hour the night before.

Then there was today. I was finally feeling about 80%. We spent the morning going to the grocery store and swimming. This afternoon once Josh returned home from his run, I was ready to hit the 11 miles on my schedule.

I was at mile 6.5 when I got a text from Josh saying Anderson, who had been sleeping for three hours (!), was up and refusing the nice fresh bottle I had left for him. Not just refusing but screaming his head off in the process. So I got to the seventh mile and headed home, planning on finishing up the final four after the kids were asleep in our basement.

Our treadmill, as it turns out, hates me. I was a quarter mile in, screeching halt. Blew the fuse, again. And again, and again. I finally conceded defeat and very grumpily stomped upstairs to the shower. There are few things that make me grumpier during training than my long runs being cut short unexpectedly.

Monday – 6 miles
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday-Saturday – Blah
Sunday – 7 miles

Next week better be my week. It’s a good thing I still have two months before the race. I hope you all had a great week in training.

Colorado Half Marathon Training: Week Three

Some weeks just don’t go as planned. Last week was one of them. My week in training was interrupted by illness. I was feeling good until late in the week, covering my miles and fitting in a little strength. Then Thursday hit…

Monday – 30 Day Shred
Tuesday – 5×1200 @ 7:57 for 6.75 miles
Wednesday –  6 mile tempo
Thursday-Sunday – Um, what exercise?

So yeah, Thursday I started feeling crummy. By Saturday it felt like someone was sitting on my chest. Which lead to no skiing on our ski vacation weekend. I decided I should rest and try to prevent it from getting any worse.  I felt much better by last night and did my missed 6 mile ‘long’ run. It was rough, but I got through it.

Anderson and Ella are doing much better, but Josh on the other hand, is a mess. He came home sick from work on Thursday. Being stubborn he ran on Friday and tried to snowboard on Saturday. He made it down two runs before calling it quits. After getting back to the condo, he spent the rest of the weekend in bed. He finally got some antibiotics and will be back to himself in no time.

I hope you all had a good weekend!