Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Hard Decisions are Sometimes the Right Ones.

Hi everyone.

It is September 6th. And it is time for me to post something I've been trying to avoid. Partly because I'm ashamed, partly because I feel like a quitter, and mostly because this is truly something I do not want to give up. I've hated having to make this decision, and after feeling like complete crap about it I've finally come to peace with it (mostly).

After much back and forth I've come to my senses...and I've decided not to run the Chicago Marathon.

I truly can't express how difficult and brutal it was for me to finally call it quits on training. It took weeks of struggle to admit I should not continue training, and then more weeks where I lived in denial of the decision I knew was in front of me. But it's not just me in my body right now (talk about something else that's been hard to come to terms with)...and I can't make decisions without considering that.

Running the marathon last year was something I loved and I was so excited to do it again this year, and was even more excited about when I found out I was pregnant. I kept imagining myself as I was when I crossed the finish line last happy and accomplished I felt:

The nitty gritty of training...
And then came the actual process of training for the marathon this year, which has not gone well from day one. When my 'training' first started I was still in my first trimester and beyond tired all the time (pregnancy fatigue is like nothing I've ever experienced, even pulling two a day workouts last year). I would go to work, come home and lay down on the couch. I'd get up to make dinner, and be asleep by 7 - no exaggeration.

When that eased up and I moved into early second trimester I was able to get my runs in early in the morning - the only time I could run because I've also developed a complete intolerance to humidity, which doesn't mesh well with Chicago in July. At this point, I was also "behind" on my long runs. I altered my schedule to increase my long weekend runs by two miles each weekend (instead of just one), and that went okay for a few weeks. Aside from this annoying feeling of having to pee as soon as I started running, I was making the miles happen three times a week.

The only problem was that I was experiencing more and more SI/hip pain after my runs, and the longer they got the worse the pain was. And not soreness...actual pain. Lifting my left leg shot a sharp through my sacrum and up into my low back, causing pain into my right leg that threatened collapse. In addition to stretching and "legs up the wall", I decided to try to incorporate speed walking into my longer runs. But instead of seeing my long runs get longer, I completely stalled. I made it to 12 miles one week, and then after that my long run distances decreased instead of increasing. That didn't bode well.

As the weeks went, it wasn't just my hips. I noticed that regardless of nutrition/hydration, by six or seven miles my hands were so swollen that I couldn't bend my fingers, and my feet were swelling too. My lung capacity has slowly decreased as well because I'm carrying high, and combined with now outgrowing another size of bra, breathing while running is getting harder and harder and makes my heart rate slowly increase as each mile ticks by. The pressure on my round ligament has also increased, pulling on my low back and giving me the feeling of a side stitch low in my abdomen that pulls my posture to one side. And probably the most worrying thing has been numbness in half of my toes while running, as well as calf pain and soreness, all of which has me freaking out about DVT (blood clots in the leg). In reality it's probably just muscle tightness...but the number one thing I've learned about pregnancy is that all advice is designed to freak you out and make you think you're doing something wrong or dying.

In short...long runs were not going well at all. I can still manage a few miles at a time, but any effort over six or seven miles left me upset and depressed. I was putting so much pressure on myself to complete marathon training that running wasn't making me happy truly became something I dreaded every day. One day in particular it ended in me crying in the shower after my "run".

So I decided to drop the goal, and relieve the pressure on myself. Kind of. (Because wait, there's more.)

I still have to fundraise.

I'm not saying that because I'm mad or upset about it (I am not at all). I truly believe in the mission of Ronald McDonald House, and I have $500 to raise before October 1st.

In truth, I've avoided posting about fundraising in the hopes that training would "look up", but it's now September and I need to get at least $500 in the bank for the team, otherwise I won't be able to run for them in the future. I'm getting very nervous about the $0 balance on my team page.

I believe in #TeamRMHC. I believe in the work they do and I want to fundraise for them for many, many years and marathons to come. To stay on the team I need to raise money now.

If you are able, please consider donating here. If your company matches donations, please let me know so I can record that (and note that if you are a Zurich employee all donations from $20-500 are matched and I will take care of filling out all the don't have to do a thing!).

If you have any questions or concerns about donating or if you would like more information, just ask. I'm an open book.