This weekend, I will run my first half marathon since 2018. The last half marathon was 6 days before my first endometriosis surgery. While visiting friends to run the St. Luke’s Half, I spent as much of the day before the half marathon as I could curled up on the air mattress, in agony. I wasn’t sure if I would even be able to finish the race. I did, and the last few miles were full of scream-whispering “f***” and taking a beer from a spectator at mile 11, then immediately regretting it. Will I ever take a beer from a stranger again post-2020?!
A year ago I was prepping to virtually interview Ellen Bass after getting news that I would be able to have a surgery I desperately needed with 5 business days to prepare. I do not recommend such a short amount of time to prepare to be out of work for 4 weeks in a short span of time. Why was I having surgery last minute? The scheduled surgery was cancelled due to COVID-19. So many of us in the chronic illness community lost access to care and procedures during the pandemic. So many of us lost more than the ability to travel.
Here we are in 2021, in a different place. The race is very small, and I filled out the symptom questionnaire earlier today. I have A, B, and C goals for Sunday. No matter what, because as Nick reminded me, conditions always play a factor—I’ve come a long way from the pre-hysterectomy-and-second-excision-surgery crippling pain. I finished up mile repeats in my last big workout, cruising within 30 seconds of a mile time trial in December. As the greats say, LFG.
In honor of all the physical and emotional work I’ve done to live with endometriosis, here are some things I’m proud of in this training cycle:
- I adjusted training runs as needed. I haven’t had pelvic pain since the excision and hysterectomy in May 2020, but I still follow my hormonal cues and adjust my intensity depending on if I am in my menstrual, follicular, ovulation, or luteal phase. Alissa Vitti and Dr. Stacey Sims can teach you a ton about exercise and your hormonal cycle. My acupuncturist, pelvic floor physical therapist, and orthopedic physical therapist have all been yelling at me about this for years.
- I was able to note small joys in most workouts: the park blooming! Daffodil season! Feeling stronger in the recovery reps during speed workouts! So many doggos! There were definitely still runs with an “ughhhhhh”, so I put on Kesha/Lil Nas X/K Flay/etc. and just did it. Getting in some long runs with my friend Maura helped too.
- Caring much less about how much faster other people are in easy paces. I generally run at the “high” end of my easy pace. Honestly, I still have concerns about fatigue and my hormonal balance, so I’ve accepted that I’m not going to crush my paces every time, especially on easy runs. The easy runs exist to build muscular endurance. I enjoyed them!
Books I’m thinking about/recently read:
- One Life by Megan Rapinoe
- Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like “Journey” in the Title by Leslie Gray Streeter
Stay sweaty and glittery. Black Lives Matter.