Blood, Sweat and Pain

For those of you who follow me on social media, you may have seen me post about the fact that I’ve been dealing with what I thought were anterior shin splints during my marathon training.  Over the past few weeks, I have seen my orthopedist for X-rays and an MRI.  The good news is I don’t have shin splints! Nor do I have any form of strain, sprain, or stress fracture. Woohoo! I can keep training.

So at this point, you are probably wondering what the heck is wrong with me then.  It appears that the bone marrow in my left leg has increased its production of red blood cells to increase my O2 max. The doctor says that this is normal as my body is trying to keep up with the oxygen being expended by the increase in my training.  Normally when this occurs, people feel pain in their arm and it’s not as severe.  However since I’m also using my leg to run (duh), I’m really feeling the pain. I don't know smile

My orthopedist compared me to athletes who blood dope illegally.  They withdraw oxygen rich blood and then inject it back into themselves before an intense athletic effort.  My body is naturally increasing the amount of oxygen rich blood that I have available when I train.  Pretty cool to know how adaptive my body is. Before my hysterectomy I was always anemic so it’s kind of cool to see my body producing red blood cells en masse instead of bleeding them out.

bone structure and function

Here’s a bit more information about the importance of bone marrow from Science Daily.

Bone marrow is the tissue that makes up the center of large bones and is the place where new blood cells are produced.  There are two types of bone marrow: red marrow (also known as myeloid tissue) and yellow marrow.  Red blood cells, platelets and most white blood cells come from red marrow; some white blood cells develop in yellow marrow.

Red marrow is found mainly in the flat bones such as hip bone, breast bone, skull, ribs, vertebrae and shoulder blades, and in the "spongy" material at the ends of the long bones femur and humerus.

In cases of severe blood loss, the body can convert yellow marrow back to red marrow in order to increase blood cell production.

So basically, the yellow marrow in my tibia is being converted by my body back to red marrow.  As my body adapts to the increases in my training and O2 needs, the need for the increased blood cell production will subside and so will the pain.  In the meanwhile, I am taking a slow release long acting NSAID on an as needed basis to deal with the pain.  I am also able to KEEP TRAINING!!!

Have you ever had an injury during training? How do you stay focused as you heal or adapt to your body’s changes during training? How is your running going?

Marathon Training–Week 1

mcmheader

I have been maintaining 15-20 miles per week since the Marine Corps 17.75K in April.  However, this past week marked the beginning of official Marathon training.  I will be running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26th with my fellow Hysterrunner, Joy.  We are doing the Galloway method which builds in long runs and recovery weeks and peaks at 26 miles before the taper.  The belief is that by tackling 26 miles before race day it is less likely that you will hit the wall at mile 20-21.

This week’s long slow run distance was 13 miles. The weather was perfect – 62 degrees at the start.  We’re running along a tree-lined trail early on Saturday mornings to beat the heat.  As we both have several half marathons under our belt, this should have been a piece of cake.  However, we realized that without the crowd support it isn’t.  We did it though! As one of my Facebook friends posted afterwards – “Like a BOSS!” LOL!

Next week is a recovery long run – 5 miles – but I’m nervous about the 15 miler scheduled for the week after.  That will be the furthest I have ever run.  I’m sure that we will get through this training cycle one week at a time.

There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing that I have – Unknown

Dreaded Druid Hills Redux

Last Saturday, I ran the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K for the second year in a row.  For a recap of last year, click here.  This year, I wanted to run it again, especially since I was beginning to miss racing.

The hills were still dreaded.  Over the course of the race, there is a 123 feet climb. Seriously, absolutely crazy climbs.  Last year, I was too busy focused on getting up the hills to realize how twisty the hills are – there are some ridiculous spirals.

My focus was on finishing not on a PR.  I was glad for that as my time was 1:36 which was slower than last year.  One thing I didn’t do this year was wear my ProCompression socks.  A decision that I did regret later that day when my calves were on fire! From now on, I will #KeepItTight!

2014-06-28 11.59.06

Do you train on hills? How do you recover after a hot, sweaty run?

Self-Discipline

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1: 7

Running gives me POWER! But, it is important to realize that that power comes from the Holy Spirit.  In fact, it is when I run outdoors that I feel closest to God. Looking around at nature and listening to the natural sounds in my environment puts me in awe every time.

I also see running as a way of showing myself LOVE and appreciation for what my body can accomplish.

Las but not least, runners are definitely SELF-DISCIPLINEd.  It definitely takes discipline to commit to running on a regular basis.

holy spirit_cloud

This is the view of the reservoir along one of my favorite long run routes.  While I run, I really do feel like the Holy Spirit is running along with me like a happy little cloud.  I try to tune in to what spirit is trying to guide me towards while I run.

Do you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit when you run? How do you feel POWER, LOVE, or SELF-DISCIPLINE during a run? Do you link faith and fitness in your life?

Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month!

Endometriosis is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word, endometrium (en-doh-MEE-tree-um), the tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside of the uterus on other organs or structures in the body. – Women’s Health.gov

Surgery, including hysterectomy, is usually the best choice for women with severe endometriosis.  One of my favorite hysterrunners, an ultrarunner and my professional mentor, suffered from severe endometriosis.

endometriosis ribbon

If you will be in the Washington, DC area on March 13th, consider joining the EndoMarch on the National Mall in support of women with the disease worldwide.

Best Race Weekend Ever–BRF 2013

I did it! On October 12, 2013, I ran the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon and completed the 13 races in 2013 challenge! I promised myself that I would celebrate my new lease in life by running 13 races, including my first half marathon.  I ended up running FOUR half marathons!

BRF2013 finisher medal

What made the weekend awesome was not just the fact that I completed the race but that I got to run it with my run boos! Since it was a race in our own backyard, literally, we planned the weekend in a way to run well and recover well.  The girls met at my house at 7am to carpool downtown.  We were able to park at my job and walk over to campus.  The Dean had a special breakfast for all of the runners in his office where we had a great view of the start of the marathon, team relay, and 5K races.  The joy in this is that we got to use real bathrooms before heading down to the staging area for the half marathon.  A race without seeing a port-a-potty is a blessing for me!

On our way to the staging area, we stopped to cheer on the 5K runners on their way to the finish line.  There were quite a few Black Girls Run ladies out there.  It was great to show support to other runners even before we started.

The good and the bad of the start/staging area was that it was sandwiched between the turnaround point for the full marathon/ marathon relay route.  This meant ducking through runners already in the zone to get to our corral.  I was afraid that we would either get run over or throw someone off their game.  Neither would have been good.  The good thing about this start area was that once we were situated we could cheer on the runners while waiting for our corral to start. 

We started out together as a group with the knowledge that we would eventually split up to our own paces.  That being said, we all ended within a short time of each other.  Two of my girlfriends were running their first half marathons.  One of them like me is a hysterrunner who had run Iron Girl, Frederick, and now Baltimore.  So she too is now a Titanium Girl who completed the Maryland Double.  

BRF Collage

I may be biased but this half marathon was the best one out of the four I have run.  There was crowd support throughout the race not just in the start and end areas.  Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods and each neighborhood along the route had its own way of cheering and supporting us.  Because a part of the route runs around Lake Montebello and through our Twilight Tuesday route, it really was like running in our own backyard at one point! The great thing about this is that my two best friends stationed themselves to cheer at different points around the lake.  Then my husband and son were at the entrance/exit point. They ran with me from the lake for about a mile to coach  me on and keep me motivated.  Once they left me, the rest of the route really was all downhill.

The race food and fun afterwards was great.  But the thing that made this race weekend awesome is that afterwards we headed to the spa for ice baths and sauna time.  The day after I was sore but not as sore as I usually am.  Going to the spa after 13.1 miles was definitely one of my best ideas.

Have you had an awesome race weekend? How are you doing with your 2013 goals?

It’s RUNtober!!!

I woke up yesterday morning singing “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!”  It is one of my favorite months to run.  Last year, I spent most of the month of RUNtober on bed rest.  Not this year.  This month is going to be epic!  Why, you ask?  Because RUNtober is the start of Fall Running Season.  There are so many who have trained all summer for goal races in this month.  I’m one of them but before I tell you about that…

I ended September with Race #12. I ran the Run Wild for Autism 5K with my son through the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  Last year, this race was the last one I ran before my hysterectomy.  I ran it in PAIN.  This year, I ran an 11 miler on Saturday as a part of my half marathon training.  So I just had the goal of finishing for the 5K.  Since this was more for my son than for me, we were both fine with that.

Here we are before the race. What you can’t see is that we both took advantage of the free Starbucks coffee before the race started.  My son also had a couple of donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  Not the best pre-race meal but we actually had breakfast in the house before we got there.

2013-10-02 14.54.32

The race itself is simple with a few HILLS as the Zoo is in Druid Hill Park.  But, the majority of the race goes through the Zoo so you get to see it in a way that you don’t normally when you visit.  We ran past sleeping cheetahs and saw the penguins coming out of their home as they woke up.  Pretty cool.  The post-race activities are AWESOME and geared towards families, including of course those with autistic kids.  Zoo volunteers roam around the post-race area with live animals.  The best part as far as my son is concerned is that autistic families get to go to the zoo for FREE after the race.

2013-10-02 15.42.09

Now that you know how I ended September, let me tell you how I plan to celebrate RUNtober!  My goal race for this year – Race #13 of 2013 – is the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon on October 12th!  I am hoping to PR with this race.  My BRFs and I have been maintaining a 13 minute pace on our long slow runs.  Our ending strides have been in the 12 1/2 minute range so if we pull and push each other through I know a sub-three hour half marathon is possible for us.

Besides the half marathon, I plan to run 100 miles this month! I will be using the hashtag #RUNtober to document my runs on twitter (@doctornayaka) and dedicate my miles to end childhood obesity with the Saucony Run4Good app.  Feel free to do the same.  My crosstraining for September slipped a bit as I got my son settled and back to school.  Bikram Yoga and I are about to be reunited and it feels so good.

One more good thing about this awesome month – tonight I am going to meet my favorite Bad Ass Mother Runners – Sarah & Dimity!  I was featured on Another Mother Runner website in August.  It will be great to meet the brains behind the books and site in person.

How will you celebrate RUNtober?  Do you have a race planned this month? What do you like about Fall?

One Year as a Hysterrunner

But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

On September 20, 2012, one year ago today, I entered the hospital for a total abdominal hysterectomy.  I was nervous and scared to undergo the surgery.  I prayed to God that everything would be ok.  I am thankful that the tumors they found were benign.

After four weeks of primarily bed rest, I was able to start walking.  One of my walks was to cheer people on at the Baltimore Running Festival.  I was so exhausted afterwards that I couldn’t even get out of bed the next day.  On days like that I wondered if I really would be able to come back to running again.

One year later, I can definitely say that “with God all things are possible.”  I have not only come back to running but I am a full fledged hysterrunner.  I have run 11 races, including 3 ten milers and half marathons each.  Each and every day, I thank God for the chance to rebuild my body and treat it as a temple.  In a few weeks, I will be at the Baltimore Running Festival.  This year not with a cane chair to cheer but as a runner in the half marathon. 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.

From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.

What are you thankful for today?  If you have had a hysterectomy or other injury that has kept you from running, tell me about your progress in the comments.

Look ma, no girdle!

When I first came back to the pavement post-hysterectomy, I went on a quest for compression tights which would hold my weak stomach muscles and swelly belly together while I ran.  I even wrote about my quest and several of the styles I tried.  As the weather began getting warm, I panicked.  There was no way I could afford to buy as many pairs of compression shorts as I would need to get through summer running.  Plus, I have so many pairs of running shorts and skirts that I would hate to have them sit around collecting dust.  So I did what any good frugal fastinista would do, I found a way to wear them.  My secret was to wear a panty girdle.  I had a few which I had purchased in the Fall so that I could wear real clothes again after the surgery.  I hadn’t worn them since.  So I started wearing them under my shorts and skirts to run.  I tested them out on my shorter weekly runs and then an 8 mile long run.  They worked perfectly! They held me in without discomfort as I was still rebuilding my core.  I wore one under my skirt at the Baltimore Ten Miler and even though it wasn’t my best race I couldn’t blame my belly.  For the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K, I wore the one pair of compression shorts which I did purchase.  I would have worn compression shorts regardless of being a hysterrunner because…well it’s the DREADED Druid HILLS! But then the inevitable happened, I needed to do laundry and didn’t have a clean panty girdle to wear.

laundry day at my house_exercise

Laundry day at my house. Seriously, this is what it feels like!

So for the BWC, I wore my skirt and regular undergarments & I was fine.  I think between my core work over the past few months and recovery in general I can safely say I don’t need the extra support in my midsection when I run.  However, I do like compression garments for support and recovery of muscles during and after intense workouts.  So I will probably continue wearing compression tights or shorts on long runs.

Do you wear compression gear?  What is your go to gear for intense workouts?

Faith & Fitness Friday–Believe

Mark 9:23 –

Jesus said unto him, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

One year ago, I was excited about running my first 5K at the Baltimore Women’s Classic.  Today, I picked up race packets for 2 different races – the Dreaded Druid Hills 10K and the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K.  I would have never imagined doing this last year.  But, I have always believed in Jesus and that he will order my steps.  That belief has led me to overcome so much in the past year. I am truly thankful that I have become a hysterrunner.

2013-06-21 16.21.58

Are you racing this weekend?  Have your beliefs inspired you to be better? 

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!