Nashville Fun Part 3 – the nitty gritty


You can read post race and Parts 1 and 2, HERE, HERE and HERE.  in case you’ve been unconscious for the past 3 days.  your welcome. 

Workout – I actually kind of have a legit workout for today.  today was really hard not to throw on the sneakers and run out the door for a nice 10 miler.  I feel better than I have felt in 6 weeks and that is exactly why I should ignore what I have set out to do which is rest for 2 weeks.  not.  I resisted.  my three little kids made it easier to keep the sneakers away.  something about it’s not ok to leave a 2, 4 and 5 year old alone while I go find some endorphins.  I think they are being a little uptight, but whatever.  Instead I did 30 minutes of P90Yoga and 15 minutes of Jillian.  nice combo.  sweat.  stretch.  kind of happy about it but not really.  counting down the days until next weekend when I can run free as a bird.  feeling good that I’m sticking to my guns.  especially when there is a beautiful little stairmaster and treadmill down in my basement taunting me.  stay away you evil cardio machines.  pat on my back. 

So here’s my thoughts about these races that have happened into my life.  let’s number this one out.  these are not excuses.  these are mitigating factors that I may have some control over in the future.  or that will at least lead me to create better fitting expectations of myself that are challenging but not unattainable.  I still see 2:59:59.  or better 😉

1.  Too much.  Just too many marathons.  for this lady.  backing off for now.  and preparing to be more than ready for NYCM. 

2.  Lack of training.  I have the speed.  I have endurance.  I can run fast.  and I have faster in me.  but the training wasn’t where it needed to be.  The last and only 20 mile run I did was in the very beginning of March.  that’s not going to cut it for me in a marathon.  My highest mileage week was 58 miles.  That was the first week of March.  I had a great, hilly half marathon in February.  Then the running miles came to a massive hault to nurse shin splints/pain that started mid march after this race.  It was all downhill from there.  I probably ran 26 miles total from mid March through these past two marathons.  that’s not going to cut it for me in a marathon.  I worked hard in the time that I worked.  and I worked hard in cross training in the time that I had.  but it wasn’t running.  it wasn’t consistent.  my legs didn’t always feel good.  that hurt me mentally and physically.

3.  I did not adjust my goals.  I should have changed things around.  I should have been more fluid with my expectations and not held so tight to something when everything leading up to it wasn’t going as planned.  I probably wouldn’t have bombed so badly if my expectations were changed.  It’s just running.  there is always another race.  I don’t need to make each and every one like it’s the last one I will ever run.  learning that.  patience. 

4.  My health.  here’s the thing with the blog.  I share what I want to share.  and I obviously leave a lot of stuff out.  believe it or not.  I know I’m such a chatter box on here, but it’s only a little part of my life.  if you saw it all, you might be very frightened.  these thoughts may be neither here nor there, but in my mind, it makes a difference in my day to day life because I know how I ‘feel’ on a day to day basis.  I know how I feel when I am healthy and I know how I feel when things are a tad bit off.  I’ve mentioned before that I have hashimoto’s thyroid – which is fancy for autoimmune, hypothyroid disease.  my thyroid is essentially being destroyed by my own body and it is underactive, but managed by synthroid – a pharmaceutical drug.  long story short, this is something that I’ve been dealing with since my early 20’s.  a major inconvenience, really.  I have learned that this tiny gland controls A LOT of bodily functions and hormones (metabolism being a big one, but also lots of other hormones).  when it is not functioning properly, a lot of other things don’t function properly.  the one indicator my dr. uses to determine if it is functioning properly is called TSH.  if this is not in range, it tells them things aren’t right.  sometimes for me, I know that if the # comes back in range but is too far to one extreme, I start feeling symptoms of hypo or hyperthyroid.  another long story short is that I got really tired of my dr. telling me I am fine and my levels are fine when in fact they were moving to the high end of the spectrum, underactive symptoms.  I had increasingly been feeling not like myself through the winter, and my TSH levels kept moving in the wrong direction, but my doctor said it was fine.  I got tired of it.  I got tired of taking this one drug and wanted to know my other options of more natural ways to aid my thyroid function.  enter Naturopath.  I wanted more tests done.  The thyroid is part of the adrenal system and I wanted everything tested – hormones, more inclusive thyroid tests, yadda yadda – he got it done and he listened to me. 

come to find out a few weeks ago – just about everything he tested was off the charts abnormal.  all of my thryoid levels were off, indicating major hypothyroid, leading to an abundance of other things down the line to be ‘off’ –  seratonin was low, progesterone was really low, another female hormone was low, vitamin D was really low (a common one, especially for us new englanders who live like hermits and don’t get to see the sun year round), cortisol was high (the stress hormone – I can’t imagine why this would be through the roof, stay at home mom with laundry falling from the sky, trying to cook, clean and take care of the house and family, 3 crazy little kids (one of which is up at 5:30 everyday and screams at me from sun up till sundown, just love this terrible 2 year old stage) that need to go here there and everywhere and that want to play in dirt all day every day and I let them because it keeps them happy and busy….

iphone pics 760

I actually felt a little validated after all this that I was not going crazy and that there was a reason I hadn’t been feeling my normal self these past few months.  What this means in terms of running, I’m not exactly sure.  all I know is that to have optimum performance in anything, ideally your body as to be at optimum health, inside and out.  you are not going to run a marathon with a broken foot.  and maybe it makes it tough to run one with a broken thyroid too.  don’t know.  just a theory.  mine is broken.  it’s annoying.  and I knew it was effecting other things.  despite eating healthy and exercising, stuff wasn’t right.  now I am trying to fix it. 

Dr. Naturopath (who is also an MD, I wanted an actual medical Dr., who was also a naturopath, not just someone who went to naturopath school) prescribed some natural hormones and things to support my thyroid and help get things going on the right track.  mine is an autoimmune issue, meaning it’s just not going to get back to normal, but environmental crap doesn’t help it, and I have to keep the toxins out.  Sugar is one big toxin.  So he gave me some important “rules” – the top one on his list was diet.  Absolutely no sugar or processed white foods.  no biggie.  I can handle that.  then he says absolutely no chocolate.  blasphemy.  he must have seen the look on my face like I was going to jump across the table and break his neck because before I could actually say anything he said, and I can see you have a problem with that.  just a little one mr. doctor.  you are going to have to rephrase that last statement in a way that sounds like you may eat chocolate.  and he did.  I just can’t eat a lot of it, it must be dark and it must not be after dinner.  chocolate for breakfast it is.    

(sidenote – go with your gut about your health.  you know yourself better than anyone else.  seek more attention if you don’t feel like you are getting what you need.  I got major attitude from my Dr.’s office when I requested blood tests and actually wanted to talk about them and have them explained.  that’s when I got another opinion.  happy I did)

What is going to Change

This is the best part of epic failures and bad things that happen.  learning, growth and change.  with each little mistep and thing that doesn’t go the way I planned, I learn a little bit.  I change things around a little bit.  I move in a positive direction a little bit until the next mistep and learning experience.  I’ve learned a lot about how I train and how I need to train. 

1.  I need to listen to my body a little bit more.  I need to have a plan that works for me, but not live and die by a plan found on the internet.  as great as I think they are, I need to modify it.  I need to work really hard on the ‘work’ days and take it really easy on the rest days.  I wasted a lot of time during this last phase of training because I just worked every day.  And that doesn’t give progress.  I need to work really hard on the work days, and then really rest on the easy runs.  and those really hard days will lead to really good improvement.  as will the really easy days.  I need to incorporate more long runs and more tempo work into the long runs.  I love speed work and tempo work.  I’m excited to work it and make it count.  and recover on the off days.  and enjoy the recovery. 

2.  Strength work.  I know I need it.  it makes me a better runner.  that’s all there is to it.  more core work.  more leg work.  more everything.  it’s got to fit in the schedule.

3.  Stretching.  yoga.  rolling.  icing.  super important.  My hamstrings are so tight, and I could really feel it restricting my movement in this last marathon.  what a difference it would make if everything could move freely in the full range of motion.

4.  Reading.  thanks to many suggestions, I have Advanced Marathoning on it’s way to me.  thank you super speedy  read and learn.  so much info out there.  get into my brain.  🙂

5.  Pressure.  I fall towards the high pressure, high stress, high anxiety end of things.  knowing that about myself, I will always bring pressure to a race.  but I will eventually get it to a place where it is good pressure and not pressure that will crush me and lead me to give up if things don’t go right.  mental practice.  mental strength.  this is a hobby.  this is a hobby.  and I want to be good at it.  balance. 

5.  Coach.  I’m not actually hiring a coach.  I’m recruiting a good friend and neighbor who is an amazing runner and has willingly agreed to ‘coach’ me.  running is in his blood.  He ran for Yale.  He is a 2:40 marathoner.  His father is a 2:20’s marathoner.  he grew up around some of the best runners.  he’s conservative and smart.  He’s going to coach me.  give me guidance and knowledge.  this is good.  already I feel the need to ‘ask permission’ to do certain things, what races I should or should not run.  I have also been instructed by him to take these two weeks post marathon off and then just have 2 weeks of fun running.  Come June, I’ll start getting back into it.  which leads me to my next decision….

To run my June 3rd half marathon or not run it?  This was the half I was going to shoot for a new PR.  Will I be ready to run it physically?  absolutely.  Can I get a PR?  not sure.  My half time in nashville was 1:35.  that tells me I could do ok in a few weeks.  but how much fitness will be lost between now and then?  will I be ready for it mentally?  not sure.  I can’t really handle another bad race.  but, it could also be a fun 13.1 miles.  but, do I ever go into a run with a ‘this could just be a fun run’ mentality?  not really.  these are the wild and crazy things I think.  whoa.  I could downgrade to the 10K.  I’ve never done a 10K.  I’m not making a decision on it yet.  I am going to take these 2 rest weeks and see how I feel getting back into running in the second half of may.  and take it from there.

There’s my thoughts.  that wraps up the Nashville saga.  thank God.  you poor people have suffered through enough of this.  lets all get on with our lives, shall we?!?! 🙂



I don’t really have any questions for you, but I always want to hear about fun and exciting things going on out there and how running and training and any other hobbies are going!  Fill me in my friends!

Oh, here’s a question – who has read Advanced Marathoning?  Any other great running books to recommend?

About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

26 responses »

  1. I like your thinking on the work hard on the days you need to, and really REST and recover on those recovery days. So important to rest and keep those legs fresh (even though your mind wants to keep going. Boy do I know all about that and have had to learn the hard way.) You are such a strong, incredible runner that a lot of people look up to including myself! Stay strong and keep running smart! 🙂

  2. Wow what a bummer about the sugar and chocolate. :/ But I hope you get everything regarding your health figured out soon. Nothing is more important than being healthy … for yourself, for your husband, and for your kids!! 🙂

  3. It sure takes a lot to step back and look at yourself like that! Way to be, Msfit!!
    Running on empty is never good…re-fueling in all ways will be a great place to re-start!

    • It’s not always easy, but it definitely leads to improvements:) and thanks for commenting – I just checked out your blog – I love reading new blogs!

  4. Wow! What great insight! I am impressed that you have the self-awareness to evaluate yourself and your race performance with such deep understanding.

    When I got my copy of Advanced Marathoning, I immediately turned to the plans (of course!). But then I realized that I had no idea how to read it and predict my times/pace. So I (then) read the first half of the book and googled some pace calculations. I am curious to hear what you think of it!

    Good for you in recruiting a coach!

    • I will probably do the same thing you did and skip right to the juicy stuff!;) and then back track. I’m really looking forward to reading it. I hope your training is going well – you must be close to tapering?!?! Exciting:)

  5. I know you have alluded to your health issues before, and I wanted to say thank you for sharing more about it. Here is why – my 4 yo daughter has been diagnosed with asthma and while she may grow out of it, it may also be a chronic condition for life. Sometimes i look at it throught the lens of “oh how will this limit her, change what she could have done, etc.” Reading about you, your attitude and what you are able to accomplish despite and maybe sometimes because of your added challenges, reminds me that this is the approach I want to instill in my daughter.

    • I just tend to think we have the ability to overcome anything and attitude plays a big role in our ability to do what we want to do. Taking the time and energy to get what you need from doctors is so important too. It’s not always easy, but your daughter will work through it all amazingly with a great mom like you on her side, she is a lucky little girl – you give her a lot of the tools she will need to stay strong when she is older:)

  6. I also have autoimmune issues – I was diagnosed as hypothyroid among other things when I was at the peak of my competitive cross country skiing career. It took over a year to diagnose as all my symptoms were in line with overtraining 🙂 as you can probably guess. I had an amazing and supportive doctor that got me back on track in much less time than everyone predicted, herself included. I was able to place 4th in a national race by the end of the season against all odds. I attribute it to listening to my body, listening to my coaches and doctor, and above all believing in myself and my abilities. Although I had less training and a rougher year than most of the people who showed up at that starting line, I was tougher for what I had gone through and wanted it that much more. I truly believe it helped me as an athlete and a person and although I have times of feeling sorry for myself (don’t we all?!) overall I am stronger for it. I went through a year of disappointing races before understanding what was happening to me and it was vindicating to finally have a diagnosis that explained that. Continue listening to your body, it sounds like you are on the right track!!

    • Thank you so much for sharing!!! This gives me some hope:) I might shoot you an email because I would love to know how you handled it and got back on track – if you don’t mind? It’s tough dealing with hormones and different levels of things, all of which effect so many body functions. Good for you for getting through it and coming back stronger than before!

  7. I had a hemithyroidectomy at age 19 after a thyroid cancer scare (I literally woke up with a tumor as large as a golf ball that grew overnight – it is shocking to practically see cancerous cells divide). The tumor was, luckily, encapsulated; however, its large size pushed the remaining lobe into my vocal folds. To save my speech the rest of my thyroid was left intact when the tumor was removed, but this just means that T3 production is very sporadic – I actually went for years without taking synthroid and just dealt with hypothyroidism (ugh, dry skin and falling out hair!). But last year my TSH was 8 or 9 and I knew I had to get back on it – much to my surprise my terrible ovarian cysts vanished in a few weeks! It is astonishing how many hormonal feedback loops are linked to the thyroid.
    I think you’re making smart choices in seeking more information about how your body is affected by this disease. Wishing you luck in stabilizing hormones and neurotransmitters!

  8. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing about your hypothyroid condition. You go through so much and you are still able to get good workouts, feed and bathe the kids, and be a lovely wife.
    You must be Superwoman!

  9. You are a smart lady and I’m so glad that you didn’t listen to that first doctor when you felt that something was wrong. My mom has had issues with her thyroid that started with a feeling of, “Something just isn’t right….” Kudos to you! I know that everything will get better for you, running wise. You will get physically healthy and you’ve gained a ton of knowledge to propel you forward toward your goal. 🙂

    On a side note, I’m in Nashville this week for work, and I tried to run yesterday morning…my Garmin beeped at one mile and I could.not.breathe. Then I got dizzy and had to sit down on the ledge outside of one of the honky-tonks to keep from passing out. I am in half marathon shape but couldn’t handle it yesterday morning…I have no idea how you ran a marathon there! I think there is something icky in the air (probably just humidity that my Minnesota body isn’t used to) but just wanted to let you know that you are not alone!!

  10. It sounds like you’re on the right track to a more healthy (faster) you!! I’m sorry to hear about the health issues..that definitely can’t be easy. I’ve got some hormone level issues going on myself..not nearly as serious but just as depressing..just as I was hoping to start having kids! The only thing I was told to do was change my diet…not something my body is used to and doesn’t seem to like … especially as a runner. But I hope you continue to get healthier!

    I don’t know if you were soliciting advice, but I would suggest skipping the half. I know I can’t ever just run a race for fun, and I know if I see a time I’m not happy with even though *I know* it was just for fun..I’ll be a mess. I envy the people who can do races for fun! If you really think you can and won’t be too crushed if your time isn’t what you want, then just go for it. But based on what you’re going through right now I’d say skip it and just start a nice steady base of mileage for your goal marathon in the fall.

    I have one other suggestion…leave the garmin at home for the first few weeks back. It’s an excellent tool when you’re trying to hit paces in workouts, but on a daily basis it can be a very negative thing for some people (like myself). You tend to compare every single run and race yourself constantly. And it doesn’t give any benefit in the long run. Try to run how you feel. I say all this because I was exactly the same as you until recently and I believe it’s helped me. When you read Adv. marathoning you’ll get a better appreciation for this! So yes, I’ve read it..and continued to read and re-read during my marathon training. Sorry my comments are so long! I’ve got a thing for talking about running!

  11. I’m a big supporter of getting second opinions. So many people thing that what one Dr. tells you is the right answer and that you should listen no matter what. Not so! You have to be your own advocate. Way to listen to your body!

  12. Hello! I haven’t commented in a while but I’ve been loving your posts…just have so much to say that I haven’t had the time to comment. First off, don’t underestimate the fact that you finished both of these marathons in less-than-perfect conditions. I know lots of fast runners that just pull a DNF when things aren’t going their way. Love the workout suggestions. My trainer had me do a minute of squat jumps in between each super set of strength moves. Can barely move 2 days later. Did you ever see the podcast I mentioned to you in an old comment? It was about race nutrition? If not, listen to it…it’s really good. Lastly, one of my best friends has the same autoimmune disorder as you. She really struggles with it. I’m so sorry you are dealing with the ups and downs. Enjoy your bachelorette fun this weekend!!

  13. Aw, darling. I feel your pain about your thyroid problems. I ended up having my thyroid totally removed and resumed training ASAP, running a marathon 11 weeks later. Synthroid is a fickle duck. If you’d be willing to share what your naturopath suggests, I’d love it! My t3 and t4 levels are all over the place, and I’ll try almost anything (the jury is still out on pig hormone!).
    Good luck to you, I’m proud of you for getting back in the horse with adjusted goals 🙂

  14. Pingback: Long Runs and Trail Races « msfitrunner


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