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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Tumultuous training

Phew. Wrapped up a marathon training cycle, and for once - I took no time off for injuries! I felt like my fitness and speed improved, but man, was this ever a tough cycle. Not in terms of running: I actually think the training plan was a little easier, since I was grouped with the low mileage bunch, a decision I wholeheartedly agree with. Rather, outside factors made the last few months especially tough.

  • I lost my grandmother unexpectedly. She was in her late 80's, but was in good health, and had actually begun traveling recently. Her sudden stroke was a sad shock. Our sense of loss is compounded my complicated family relationships that made it difficult to form and maintain a good relationship with her (no fault of grandma, who always answered the phone with "Gracie! My darling!" no matter how thorny relationships with my mother became). My grandmother and I had a lot in common, loved each other dearly - and besides that, she was an icon to me. She represented a lifestyle that embraced beauty, something my childhood sorely lacked, and gave me so much to hope for as a child. 
  • I also have been, as you all know, struggling with not just ill-health, but the trepidation the accompanies a long wait for a diagnosis. Receiving an ultrasound report that shows an unidentified mass that could be a carcinoma is, well, distressing. Especially when you have to wait a month for an appointment. 
  • Plus, let's not forget why I went to the doctor to begin with... I feel terrible all the time! 
  • And meanwhile, I am still on thin ice as far as my iron goes. I continue to lose iron at an incredible rate, and have to be diligent to maintain normal levels (as of last week, my hemoglobin has recovered, but my ferritin remains low and my blood work shows lots of baby RBCs and platelets, as my body works frantically to replace the ones I keep losing).
  • My duties both at church and as a board member of the Power Miler Track Club really picked up in the last month. Both services are ones I am happy to undertake, but let's be honest here - free time would be nice, too! I wouldn't call these late hours and extra events stressful (in fact, both are things I truly enjoy), it's just that a packed schedule with no down time isn't really the best way to refresh a tired, training body. 
These various inputs in my life have certainly made this training cycle challenging, but a lot of good occurred over the last few months, too. 
  • I finally began to benefit from the iron I started taking last fall. My iron stores were so low that it took quite a while before I began to feel improvement, but when I did, it was AMAZING. I am no longer constantly out of breath. I don't faint when I stand up. I am not quite as cold all the time. I can run long distances without getting light-headed. And finally, I can reap the benefits of training without feeling so exhausted that I am doing more harm than good. 
  • I do have a treatment plan for the endometrial mass that has been causing so many symptoms. After a visit to a gynecological surgeon, I decided to undergo a biopsy/hysteroscopy. I'll have the biopsy analyzed while I am in the OR, and the surgeon will then complete the surgery as guided by the pathology. Unfortunately, the mass just isn't identifiable any other way - it's not a fibroid, but what it actually IS is not apparent from imaging. But at this point, I really don't even care. I feel so bad so much of the time that I was practically begging the doctor to take it out. I'll schedule this for after Boston. 
  • Hey, I got faster! I don't know exactly how Boston will shake out, but it's undeniable that I have had a good training cycle. I had no idea how much my anemia was hurting my running, but now that I am on iron, I am running better than I ever have before! 
My hope for Boston is that I can put all of these outside factors aside and run well, despite the stressors, or maybe even channel them. And of course I'm worried about my health, so I also hope that race day isn't one of the days I wake up feeling terrible! It's just a week away, so I'll find out how I handle the day soon enough. Looking forward to it! 


  1. Long time reader -- just wishing you the best, Gracie!

  2. I'm glad you made it through this cycle without any injuries! That's worth celebrating. I've been thinking about you and that unidentified mass. Unsolved medical mysteries are STRESSFUL. It will be good to have the biopsy, get the mass out of you, and get back on the road to help and higher iron levels!

    I'm so sorry about the loss of your grandma. It's so tough to lose a beloved grandparent. I love how she answered the phone when you called her. What a dear, sweet lady.

  3. Wow - that is so much to deal with (and I'm so very sorry for your loss).

    And I would have also scheduled the biopsy/hysteroscopy for after Boston :)

    I hope that it is benign, and the issues it is potentially raising have an easy and quick fix. You're certainly running well enough with it!

  4. I'm so sorry for your loss, and am hoping for the best possible outcomes for you amid all these health issues.

    It's been great fun to follow you this training cycle and watch you kick butt -- your work ethic, humility, and good head on your shoulders make you easy to root for. You've been a favorite follow for me for a long time -- wishing you all the best.

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  6. I'm sad to hear that your grandmother passed away suddenly. And I'm even more shocked to hear about your upcoming medical procedures. I hope that it is benign. I have always admired how hard you work, and at how well rounded your life is. You aren't a typical running blogger (who happens to be fast) but, you do so much else. (travel, art, and an impressive career). I'm hoping for the best and have fun on Monday in Boston