Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I want my mommy.

Yes, it was one of those kinds of runs.  So, if you don't want to be depressed, read no further.  However, it might be entertaining to some of you.  I'll go ahead and answer the question that got 99% of you here in the first place:  Tim is okay.  He has an appointment at Bloomington Bone and Joint Clinic in the morning.  He ran a 5 mile tempo tonight and it didn't hurt while he ran.  That is huge.  At least he can run!  That's all it would take to keep me happy.  And he ran well...negative split the course with a nice 5:57 for the last mile.

Okay, for the four of you who are left...my run today was BAD.  AWFUL.  One of the worst EVER.  Well, that may be being a bit hyperbolic, but, trust me, it was a whopper.  14 miles on the schedule.  Last week, my legs felt really dead on my Tuesday run, and I figured it was a result of not recovering from Sunday's long run.  I ran 20 this past Sunday, and tried to do damage control with an ice bath.  And I didn't do anything yesterday.  So I was hoping for some fresher legs, at least.

I wanted to wear the TENS unit, as it provides so much relief while I run.  However, I'm getting injections tomorrow, and I need to be able to tell him exactly where the pain is.  That meant I needed to feel it today.  Bummer, but it was the right thing to do.  So I went sans TENS, but I did take water.  I didn't want a repeat of last Thursday, and it was 72 degrees out.  That may seem nice (and it is), but I'm just not used to it yet.  The only thing good about this run is I was able to wear a sports bra and shorts.  The thing I hate most about winter running is the garb that must be worn to survive it.

So I set off for 14 miles--water in tow, dressed appropriately, and without my TENS.  I felt good for about a quarter of a mile.  Then things started to go downhill.  Yes, that quickly.  My abdominal pain was there, on both sides, and it was severe quite quickly.  Usually, it's more gradual--the right side starts, then the left side slowly joins in.  Not this time.  It was like a lightning bolt on both sides.  So, before I even made it past 16th street, I was bracing for a painful run.  Let me take you through it mile by mile.

Miles 1-3:  Bad abdominal pain, and somewhere in here I realized I had some really tired legs.
Miles 3-4:  All of the above plus some profuse sweating and beginning to feel overheated.  By the end of mile 4, I wanted to stop.  Uh oh.
Miles 4-5:  Okay, I don't know if I can finish this.  It feels like something is eating through my abdominal muscles from the inside, I'm burning up, and my legs to don't want to go.
Miles 5-8:  This is when the bottom began to fall out.  I was talking myself through every quarter mile due to the ab pain, and began having cramps in my right calf.  I've never had this happen during a run.  A mile or so later, I was having the same thing in my lower back.  Bad, bad cramps.  I was drinking water this whole time.  I decided that, if I made it to mile 8, I could stop if I wanted.
Miles 8-10:  Well, I made it to mile 8, and realized that I'd set up a stupid reward system...as I was still miles from home.  I had to either knock on a door to call Tim or make it home.  I kept running, and I couldn't believe how badly I felt.  I actually was starting to get a little confused.  Was I running 10 miles?  No, 13.  Wait, no, it's 14.  I honestly began to feel sleepy.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  I looked at my watch and saw something like 8.6 miles, and was very confused by that.  I thought I had already run 10.  I was clearly hypoglycemic.
Miles 10-12:  The abdominal pain let up a little bit here, but everything else in my body was in alarm mode.  Legs were screaming, I was pouring sweat, extremely thirsty (and drinking the whole time), and I began to cry.  Yes, cry.  I surprised myself with that.  It's like it happened without me realizing it.  My calf continued to cramp.  I just wanted to stop.  What is this, a marathon?  Toward the end of mile 12, the ab pain got very bad again.  I began to ask God to have mercy on me.  To please, please make this pain stop.  I can't take it anymore.  I just...can't.  You really, really need to make this go away.  It didn't.  It actually got worse.  And I was still crying.  But, I was also still running.  In my head, I kept hearing this voice...actually the voice of my mother.  Who is very much alive.  But it had a spiritual quality to it.  "You will be strong" she said over and over.  My mind was very fuzzy at this point, but I kept hearing her say it.  And so I took that as a sign that I should keep going.
Miles 12-14:  The first mile of these two was pretty bad, but the last mile home was just plain awful.  A mile is an extraordinarily long way when you're in pain, dehydrated, hypoglycemic, and overheating.  I kept closing my eyes while I ran, then opening them to see how much further I'd made it.  That makes no sense, of course, and is a little dangerous...but that's what I did.  I kept myself going by telling myself that Tim would, any minute, be coming out to look for me (I had no idea of my pace, as I didn't have the energy to look, but it felt like I was crawling).  I made it to 13.75 and had to force every step from there to 14.  My Garmin clicked over to 14 about 100 meters from my house.  Usually, I'd just run the extra.  Not today.  I heard that beep and stopped dead in my tracks.  I shuffled into my house, and I was done.

I was greeted by Amelia, who said, stunned, "Mom, what happened to you?!"  I could hardy respond, and she went back to playing Wii.  I uttered to Tim that I'd had an awful time, and he recommended an ice bath.  Before I did that, I weighed myself.  I knew I had been sweating a lot, but the number would tell.  I was down six pounds...SIX POUNDS...compared to pre-run.  And that was taking in fluids the whole time.  So I took an ice bath while I gulped a Gatorade.  After that, I came in and immediately ate an ice cream sandwich.  Then a bowl of mac and cheese...and I finally felt human.

So what happened?  Well, we know why the belly hurt...but all the rest?  I started to worry maybe I was overtrained or on the verge of injury.  I had eaten well that morning, as well as hydrated before I left.  How did I get so dehydrated?  Then I remembered something:  I've been having night sweats.  They occur as a result of a mediation I take.  And the last week, and particularly the last three nights, I've had some really severe ones.  The kind that completely soak the sheets.  So I think that played a huge part in me being so dehydrated (as well as the higher temperature).  I should have taken a gel with me, too.  My miles are higher than they have been in a long time, and my glycogen stores are just depleted.  So, I managed to bring together dehydration and hypoglycemia on the same day.  Put that with stabbing abdominal pain, and you've got a crying-for-your-mommy type of run.

Tomorrow is a rest day, and even if it weren't, you couldn't pay me to run.  I'm happy to report that, after that run, I am ACUTELY AWARE of where the abdominal pain is, so I should be able to guide Dr. S during the injections quite well.  Trying to stay strong.  This, too, shall pass.


  1. I lost 8 lbs. on Sunday, 4 today. For some people, temperature shifts are brutal. Welcome to my club!

    The good news for you is if you are tough enough to get through what you're doing now, the marathon will be nothing. In fact, this post reads just like a "marathon gone bad" story, though they usually end with walking.

    Should you get some resolution to the abdominal pain, there's nothing to stop you from running a really fast marathon.

  2. That's what I keep telling myself, Bill...survive this and a marathon will be easy.

    I've always thought of myself as a better warm weather runner...but this year I'm struggling in it already.