That which does not kill us, makes us stronger. - Nietzsche

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

running and mah ovaries

Have I mentioned before that I have PCOS? I can't remember. Anyway, I do. It stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and it's a fairly common (betcha know at least a few people who have it) and not-always-well-understood sort of a thing.

Anyway, part of the awesome thing about running is that it seemed to keep a lot of my symptoms well under control. I even impressed the crap out of my doctor. Well, running and cutting down on carbs. In a year, I managed to lose 35 lbs, get my high cholesterol down to the "normal" (high side of normal, but I'll take it) range, and get my blood pressure from high down to the low end of normal. Running is also the thing, a couple of years before that, that led to me being able to say buh-bye to anxiety meds.

Yes, all those things are the wonderful result of my hormones being wacked out.

Wellll, I had everything under control. Then I started training for an ironman and put my body through all kinds of stress and started eating more of whatever the heck I wanted, because it's so very hard to NOT do that when you're voraciously hungry after an hour of not eating. And then I finished the ironman, and it was Christmas, and I was sick, and I put my body through more stress by getting Lasik, and then I was sick AGAIN, and then I changed jobs and now I'm working three jobs and....yeah. I didn't realize how much I was putting myself through when it happened.

The result: hello, PCOS flare-up. I am tired. Absolutely everything I do feels like it takes 1.5 times as much effort as I estimate it will. Cholesterol is back up, I have headaches, my stomach gets bloated on a regular basis, the anxiety has returned, and I gained ten pounds in pretty much no time. I can't locate anywhere that they went except my stomach.


Might that explain some sluggish runs lately, and my even-though-I'm-trying-to-ignore-it-s l o w e r pace? It just might.

So I'm working on some things - meds (I hate meds, but really, I was feeling like a barely functional human for a minute there), diet, and not being hard on myself anymore. And ignoring others who advocate being hard on oneself in the name of motivation. And, again, looking more outside myself while still trying to make myself better.

The good news is that after just a couple of days, the crazy talk in my head has definitely turned down the volume, I can sense my energy trying to make a comeback, the hypoglycemia (a symptom that has never ever gone away, and was 10,000 times worse during IM training) is not rearing its ugly head, I did a 9:30 mile today that didn't feel half bad (just one..but still!) and if the scale is to be trusted, I've dropped 3.5 lbs of that extra weight.

I've never tried to cut carbs (has to do with insulin resistance, a major feature of PCOS) while training for a marathon before. I'm experimenting and I do know I haven't eaten nearly enough the first couple of days of diet tweaking, probably because when you feel like crap and you're kind of afraid of food making you feel like crap, you do that. Or, I do that. You caught the anxiety part, right? So this will be a lot of trial and error, but I'd love to figure out how to get everything back under control and possibly help others with the unhappy hormone curse to do the same.

The other good news....being very very hard on myself means that I'm starting with a high baseline, and I'm coming to realize that what looks like a screaming hot mess to me looks like a pretty functional human to others. Not optimally functional, but doing better than a heck of a lot of people. I've been doing pretty well with hanging in there and realizing that I'm not going to bring my world crashing down.

So, there's that. A more intimate understanding of my insides. *cue "The More You Know" music*

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