Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Marathons Hate Me.

When I first started running over seven years ago, I decided, without having run any appreciable distance in my life, that I should run a marathon. My training was going well (even in my two-year-old Nike Shox tennis shoes...ouch) until I reached an eight-mile long run.  That was when my IT band decided it didn't want to play this game anymore, and I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon in San Francisco instead of the full marathon.

I went to a sports medicine doctor, PT for a few months, got some new shoes and started running anew. It would be four more years before I decided to attempt another full marathon, this time the Detroit Marathon in 2010.  Once again training was going rather well until my 18-mile run. By the time you get to an 18-mile training run, you're rather far along in your training. After my 18-miler I could barely walk. My old friend the IT band injury was back. I never ran my final long run, the all-important 20-miler.  The week before the marathon I could barely run two miles, so it's amazing that I made it through 26.2 (admittedly with walking most of the last four miles). It was the beginning of my second stint in PT.

In 2012 I decided to run the Green Bay Marathon. For the first time I was starting to get a handle on the IT band. For me successful training means shorter runs during the week, cross training, and using my foam roller regularly.  Despite my IT band's cooperation, my Crohn's wasn't quite as accommodating. I missed my 18-mile run because of some significant Crohn's issues, but I was able to complete my 20-miler a few weeks later (although later in the taper process than I should've done it). I felt great during the race despite the nearly 100 degree heat, but the race was canceled when I crossed the 15-mile marker due to the aforementioned heat.

Fast forward to this year, and I thought well, why not? Actually I had zero intention of running another marathon. When I decided I wanted to raise money for Alex's Lemonade Stand, the only race that really called to me was the Marine Corps Marathon, and here we go again. I am so inspired by Alex Scott and all of the incredible patients who have been helped by Alex's Lemonade Stand. The very least I can do is run a marathon.

At the 16-mile training marker, my IT band is hanging in there (knock on wood). What I didn't expect was to contract acute bronchitis. I got a sore throat and runny nose just over two weeks ago, and I just took regular cold medicine trying to knock it out. After a few days the sore throat/runny nose combination was joined by a cough. I was able to keep the cough under control for a week or so, but it just wouldn't go away. While I was running last week, my lungs were on fire. Every run, even my short ones, were brutal.

Despite that I took off for my 16-miler on Saturday, and it didn't go well. I ended up bending over coughing violently multiple times, and it just wasn't happening. I only got through four miles, and each and every one was brutal. The following day I decided it was necessary for me to go to Urgent Care if only to reclaim my training schedule.

My chest x-ray showed inflammation that the doctor diagnosed as acute bronchitis. He said he could hear fluid in my right lung, and he was very concerned about me contracting pneumonia with my Crohn's. So he decided I needed a steroid shot and a week of steroids, as well as an inhaler for a week.  And for what it's worth the steroid shot hurt. A LOT. 

I asked him if I could run, and he said, "You runners are crazy. I know you'll do it anyway, but just listen to your body and stop if you have to". All I heard was yes, although I am still coughing so much that I haven't gone for another run.

Because of my training challenges in the past I've built in some extra weeks in case I need it. I'm confident that I'll log all the miles necessary to reach my goal of breaking a 5-hour marathon. I've already reached my fundraising goal for Alex's Lemonade Stand, but I really want to shatter the goal. There's still plenty of time to donate, so please visit my page and donate for this amazing cause.

This weekend I'll log 13.1 miles in the Capital City River Run, one of my favorite races every year. I think I'll take my new inhaler along for the ride.   

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