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Monday, July 22, 2019

Baby on the way!

If you read my last post carefully...all the way to the end! you know that I'm pregnant! And how this whole story developed was, well, super duper dramatic.
Where I left off before my sudden silence, I was scheduled for uterine surgery to remove and biopsy a mass that couldn't be diagnosed via ultrasound. I had been in incredible discomfort for months, compounded by debilitating anemia due to the associated blood loss, and I was eager to have the surgery.
Curiously, my symptoms abated before the surgery. In fact, I called my doctor to wonder if maybe the surgery wasn't even necessary? "Maybe the intense marathon training was taking a toll on your body, and you've improved now that you aren't running," she suggested (this was during my week off after Boston). "But regardless, we have to biopsy that thing. It's a potential carcinoma." So, I dutifully prepped for surgery, and the morning of the procedure reminded myself that the post-op nausea would be worth symptom relief. But...I hadn't had any symptoms in weeks.

I was in my hospital gown about to get my IV when my doctor came in with the news. "I can't believe it, so I had them run the test twice," she said. "We have to cancel your surgery: you're pre-op pregnancy test came back positive!"

I was floored. I started hyperventilating. This was the last news I expected to hear! I have "known" for years that I could not get pregnant due to a combination of several health conditions. Well, amid the most challenging of circumstances, somehow this little baby succeeded! I have a hunch that the high-dose hormones I took in a failed attempt to control my bleeding this winter and spring actually worked like fertility treatments. But still - how one gets pregnant WHILE ACTIVELY HEMORRHAGING is still beyond me (and my doctor).

15-week baby bump in my Boston jacket...
pregnancy hormones are making me all
sentimental and I bought a jacket this year
after I realized I'd run the race pregnant! 
I had the super awkward task of calling David sheepishly and asking to be picked back up 15 minutes after he had dropped me off for surgery. So much for a cute way to tell your husband you're pregnant...we kind of spent the next day or two in shock, but then reality sunk in. This was a high-risk pregnancy. My uterus is...crowded. I don't just have a baby, I have fibroids and I still have the large mass! I decided to go quiet on social media and the blog for a while, to give myself time to tell friends and family: and for that, I wanted to wait until I saw my doctor to actually quantify my risks. As it turns out, you don't really see doctors early in pregnancy (I didn't know: it's my first pregnancy, and my mother never had a doctor for the six pregnancies I observed!). While I did an early ultrasound and requested my thyroid be checked right away, I didn't see my doctor until the end of June: which was also the beginning of my second trimester. So sorry for the silence.

At first, I was excited to hear that all appeared well, and I would be removed from the high-risk category. I mentioned some fairly alarming symptoms I'd been having, but my doctor seemed unconcerned and told me that they'd probably abate as the second trimester progressed. Unfortunately, just a week later, I proved her wrong; without going too far into it at this point, I have a very rare but dangerous complication called uterine incarceration that necessitated a visit to the ER, a catheter, and an emergency procedure. At my follow-up two days later, I showed improvement, but I'm not 100% out of the woods. The uterine mass (which my OB thinks is a submucosal fibroid) is to blame. This is frustrating and worrisome news, but some sort of complication is not unexpected given my age and health. Instead of letting that worry me, I'm focusing on the positive: I'm grateful that I have good healthcare and the prayers of many loved ones!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Boston by the numbers

Time: 3:00:21. WHY.
Pace: 6:52
Garmin distance: 26.35. I don't think that's bad at all for a race of this size, and it's exactly what I thought I'd see. I am usually much better at tangents, but it's tough at a large, crowded race to do that.
Cadence: 186. Hallelujah, I am finally running a better cadence!
Fastest mile: 6:29 (mile 16, big downhill)
Slowest mile: 7:19 (mile 21, heartbreak hill!)
Bib number: 8578
Finishing place: 2676. So, I read several places that in Boston your goal should be to "beat your bib" since your bib indicates your qualifying placement. You want to move up places. Obviously I beat my bib by a lot, because I didn't run a good race at Rocket City to update my time (I registered with an "easy BQ" from the Buffalo marathon, off a short build-up after my stress fracture, so I was hoping to improve my waive/corral based on Rocket City in December. However, I had a terrible race, so I didn't move up too much). What this does show you is maybe why I felt like I was fighting through crowds the entire race: if you "beat your bib" by close to 6,000, then you probably had to pass close to 6,000 people through the course of the race (estimation, obviously). No wonder I felt like the race was congested!
Finishing place, gender: 177. Hm. Maybe I'll break 150 some day. If I ever run Boston again.
Training cycle: 11 weeks
Days off: 0, amazingly.
Training mileage: 700 miles
Average mileage: 63.7 MPW. I was in the "low mileage" group on our team workout calendar, and I think that suits me just fine. I only had three weeks that hit 70, and they just barely hit 70! I definitely felt like 60-65 was better for me than 70-75 would be. Now, since our training plans aren't individualized, there is a lot of leeway within each group: for example, it will say something like "1-2 mile warm up, 3 - 4 repeats of 1.5 mile at tempo, 1-2 mile cool down" or "rest day or 40-60 minutes easy" - so while I was in the low mileage group, I got higher mileage than some of my teammates, who may have opted for the shorter option most days. Probably 55 mpw would have been too low, so I think I mostly hit the sweet spot.
PR by: 5:57
PR from: 2012 (I am choosing not to count RnR New Orleans, since I still have my qualms about its actual distance, but if I did, it would be a 4:17 PR from a month and a half earlier)
Recovery days after: Six days off totally, followed by three days of very easy and short running, before easing into a pretty benign workout. Despite the fact that my legs felt completely torn apart by the end of the race itself - I could not even WALK after, although a surge of adrenaline hit a few hours later and I merrily waltzed up 100 stairs in the T station rather than take the escalator - I felt recovered pretty quickly after this race. I have a hunch that having oxygen in your muscles may enhance recovery, too. Perhaps!
Ferritin in December: 8
Ferritin two weeks before Boston: 27! Could be better - I think athletes aim for 40 or higher - but this is a magnificent improvement!
Hemoglobin in February: 10.3 (This is after being on iron for 3+ months)
Hemoglobin two weeks before Boston: 12.3! Thank you, iron, for turning my running around!
Weeks pregnant on race day: 4