Sometimes we need major life crisis (or in my case, health issues) to remind us to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and move forward with life. But sometimes those situations take you all the way down and completely out of the active things that you love and enjoy each week.
This week marks twelve weeks since my total hysterectomy in November. (Oh yeah, by the way, I had some major surgery to remove my internal girly parts. Now you’re all caught up. 🙂 ) Six weeks of that time was spent with a strict no exercise and certainly no running order from the doctor. You know when they say, you never really realize how active, or in some cases, how inactive you are until you are not allowed to do the things you love to participate in each day?! YEAH, that’s totally legit!
Before surgery I was pushing myself to get in the best shape that I could for race season. We ran through the brutal North Florida heat and humidity. I pushed myself to continue on my nutrition and weight goals that I had begun in January 2016 and I had even crossed the threshold of gaining some speed in my training runs. I did all the abdominal work that I could get in and the much
needed REQUIRED squats that I could to be able to help myself with simple unassisted tasks as going to the bathroom and showering. Thankfully all that pre-surgery work paid off and according to my doctor, helped me to recover much quicker than others having gone through the same major surgery.
Six weeks ago I was finally able to get back to the pavement, which I was chomping at the bit to do, but with caution and an abdominal support. Basically a velcro belly girdle for women to hold everything in place and prevent jostling and jiggling. I was, after all, planning to run the Tallahassee Half Marathon on February 5th in my hometown, Tallahassee, FL. The race was looming over my head because the course is very challenging and my time to get enough training in was passing by the minute.
The first several weeks were brutal, I mean B-R-U-T-A-L! I had undergone major surgery and my fitness level, and certainly my running capacity, had significantly diminished. It was like starting all over again to regain my gains. On top of that I was struggling physically because my body was no longer producing the much-needed hormones required to assist me in my workouts and even day-to-day activities. And those training runs, GRACIOUS! If you have ever experienced a hot flash, imagine having a hot flash every 10 or so minutes for 5-6 miles. It beat me down, like way way way on down.
The first four weeks back were terrible. I found myself almost in tears after every run to know that I had lost a whole 2 minutes off my pace time and that getting myself up tough training courses some days felt completely impossible. Giving myself a break, as many would and have said, just wasn’t good enough in my mind, but I gave in several times and allowed the suck to happen. Courses that I had run before with ease, now were making me their b*tch.
Two weeks ago I finally found a hormone therapy that was a complete game changer! No synthetics, but an all natural, made specifically for me, Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy. After 4 days I was back to feeling somewhat normal and my long run on the weekend no longer left me feeling like I was a rookie out for an untrained first run. I could now push my pace for training runs and workouts, and feel better when teaching class for clients in the early hours.
Yes, I still use a few supplements to get me through, like my nuun Active hydration and my new-found supplement love, Blonyx! Daily I use the Beta Alanine and I have recently began using the HMB Sport for recovery assistance. I love this brand! When I am using it I feel like it allows me to push beyond my normal endurance level for tough workouts and training runs. I’ll take all I can get, and thankfully this product keeps delivering for me. It’s worth noting that I have only been on the HMB Sport for a few days, but I am hopeful that supplement offers the same positive benefits as the Beta Alanine has. I will say, for those interested in trying the Beta Alanine, there is a slight flushing effect from the opening of the capillaries the first several uses, but that does dissipate after a few days.
Now fast forward to the this last week of training and let me say that while my mental anticipated outcome and my physical anticipated outcome are certainly not even in the same chapter of the story of this race, but my determination is the first line of the preface. I’m thankful for the fact that after only 12 weeks I feel completely able to get out and run a half marathon. I’m thankful for a strong support system of family and friends cheering me on. But most of all, I am thankful that I didn’t give up on myself when so many times I wanted to quit and throw in the towel. It is in those moments of digging way down to the core of why you are doing something or participating in something that you find the true hero of your story, YOU!
So this Sunday I will line up with a few thousand of my hometown fellow runners and embark on the toughest half marathon to date. It will also be my 17th half marathon! So I plan to tap into my family heritage, with a little Luck of the Irish and sheer German determination, and I WILL cross that finish line upright at some point on Sunday morning.
I leave you with this . . . Go forth for toward your own goals and just remember, when life tries to knock you down, pick yourself up off the ground and go RUN it out or keep moving forward like the determined empowered person you are deep down. When we believe in ourselves there is nothing we can’t accomplish!