A Time Out, A Diagnosis, and A Deferral

Sometimes, I have to do things backwards before things get aligned in my life. I’ve been wanting to blog about the Wineglass Marathon, and my adventures home in NY, but things have taken precedence. I promise I will get to it… soon.

On to other things that are first and foremost these days: a time out from running, a diagnosis, and a deferral. After three very different, and very challenging marathons this year, my body, my legs, my mind, all need a vacation, or rather a hiatus from running. I never want to quit running. I never want to give up on running. However, I know when enough is enough, and I need a break from running. I am allowing myself some mileage right now, but it’s minimal, and it’s to keep my sanity. I can’t imagine not running…

I have a lot of time on my hands since I’m not currently training for a marathon. A LOT of time. It’s weird. I stare at Murphy, and wonder what to do next. Mind you, my to-do list is the length of both of my legs combined, but Murphy is loving the extra attention, walks, and ball chasing time. I’m learning what to do with my crockpot, and reading so much more than I have in months. Being in a runner time out is this weird, limbo-like realm of my life. I took two full weeks off after running the Wineglass Marathon, and literally was going stir-crazy from all the down time. The ghost pains mirrored those of the ones you typically get during taper. My restless legs kept me from the much needed sleep I craved. I had headaches and was frequently wondering why I was so cranky.

Fast-forward from the day of Wineglass to two Saturdays later, and you find me hopping out of bed at 5:30am to get ready to meet some members of my training team for a run. A TEN MILE RUN. Who does that? Who does a recovery run of 10 miles after a marathon? Me. Yes, it was stupid. Yes, my legs rebelled, and I was waddling like a duck the next few days. I was back in a funk, and I hated it. I tried again that Tuesday and felt like I was running through a tub of peanut butter, backwards. My legs refused to go any faster. “That’s it,” I thought. “I’m done.” Imagine feeling like this humungous part of your life was just ripped out from under you, and you couldn’t ever have it again. That’s how I felt that Tuesday night. It was all I could do to not stop, and burst into tears in front of my teammate who stuck it out with me at that crazy crawl (it wasn’t even worthy of the word RUN.) My legs ached so badly I was afraid to even speak of it, with the fear of injury lurking behind the pain. I soothed my legs in a hot Epsom salt bath, and slept restlessly with my legs twitching away that night.

This little adventure solidified my decision to defer the Harbor Lights Half Marathon. My body has been through enough this year between all of the smaller races and three full marathons. I know myself well enough to know that if I don’t defer the race, I will push to my capacity, and in turn risk injury instead of allowing my body to heal as it needs to. Recovery is now my focus, despite the sour, sinking feeling in my stomach I have after hitting “confirm” on the deferral of Harbor Lights Half. Recovery is why I need a “runner time out.” My body needs to heal. I need to rest, and to sleep in after getting up earlier on the weekends than I do during the week for the past several YEARS. My focus during my “runner time out” is time with Murphy, friends, family, rest, and my nutrition. Watch for my runner time out posts, as I am sure I will have more to post about. I recently took another yoga class that forced my abs to shake like they were in Zumba class. Might as well get my core stronger while my legs rest, right?

Well, we’ve covered a time out and a deferral… on to the diagnosis. There’s a quote out there that refers to the fact that everyone is fighting a battle, and there’s no need to bring them down with you, but rather lift them up instead. I don’t share what I am about to share to seek sympathy, or attention. I am just sharing for awareness, as I know other runners out there are dealing with this also. I struggled the past few years with some pretty severe cases of bronchitis and sinus and or ear infections. I didn’t think too much into it at the time because I work day in and day out with children, who as we all know, can bring lots of germs that can make anyone sick.

Last December was the beginning of a different story. I started the training cycle for the Shamrock Half with my team, and got sick pretty early on into the training. Fast forward six months, and imagine having fought through several bouts of sinus infections, asthmatic bronchitis, the flu, and a recurring cough that wouldn’t go away. Imagine trying to train through all of this feeling like an elephant is sitting on your chest, and you are breathing through a straw… ALL the time. Imagine not being able to breathe, and having to stop mid-run, despite the fact your endurance proves you are more than capable of running miles upon miles without stopping. Imagine coughing uncontrollably before, during, and after a run.

Fast forward a few more months, and a few more conversations with several medical professionals.

asthma

Imagine your breath being knocked out of you, and every last dream of running faster than you ever have before just blowing away in the wind. Imagine those bucket list dreams of ever qualifying for Boston slipping away. I let those sad, hurtful thoughts roll around for a few days. I cried many, many hot tears. I got angry. I threw things. I took Murphy on several drives so he could stick his head out the window, and I could clear my head.

Then I decided I wasn’t a quitter.

Other runners have asthma. Mine had just gone undiagnosed for quite some time, and now I needed a way to handle it and move forward. I started talking about it. I asked questions. I got a “trusty” inhaler to carry with me on all my runs. I got another inhaler I have to use every day. I learned that I have to ask for help when I can’t breathe while running. I learned that I have to tell people that I have asthma so that they know if something is suddenly wrong, they can help. I’ve learned that I have an amazing support system. My running buddies, teammates, friends, and family have all stepped up to show their support for me through all of this. They have proven that I CAN still run despite the asthma diagnosis. I, again, just need to listen to my body.

As I take this runner time out, I will continue to reflect on what I can do to be a better, stronger, more fit, healthier runner. This new chapter in my life includes working on controlling my asthma, but it DOES NOT mean I will back down. I am still a runner. I am still chasing my goals and dreams.

Dear Boston,

We aren’t finished yet.

Because I am DR1V3N.

Live. Love. Run. PASSIONATELY.

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