See You In December

Today’s Happy Note: All your wonderful comments on the marathon! ¬†Each one has been like a little gift in my inbox. ūüôā

This post is ALL over the place. ¬†I have a lot of random thoughts floating around, some blog-related, some not, ¬†and I just need to get them out! ¬†So here goes…

I am feeling pretty good by this point! ¬†For the first 48 or so hours after the marathon my quads were super sore — I could hardly walk! ¬†But today they feel fine, almost back to normal. My left knee is really bothering me though and something feels not quite right, so I am going to see my doctor about it tomorrow. ¬†I have to talk about blood work and lab results and stuff too so I’ll be there anyways. ¬†The Health Services offices are kind of my second home anyways.

My iron levels are still low and my INR is completely off so boo on that. ¬†It seriously makes no sense: two weeks ago my level was in the normal range, now, on the same exact dosage, it’s way too high. ¬†I thought science was supposed to be predictable. ¬†Grrrrrr.

So: iron. I actually am not taking any supplements or eating iron-rich foods right now, while they do various tests to determine the exact source of the problem (although I think it’s pretty obvious: I am a woman of reproductive age who takes blood thinners. ¬†Duh).

My appetite has been raging since the marathon. ¬†I have been trying not to overeat and to just be mindful of my hunger levels and intake. I haven’t been explicitly “exercising” so much, although I did run 2.5 miles yesterday to try and loosen up my legs (it didn’t work, sadly) and today I had my easy yoga class then lifted weights for 30 minutes. ¬†I’ll increase things slowly. I get really antsy if I don’t move around a bit anyways.

Some Thoughts on Marathoning!

I absolutely loved training for and running the New York City Marathon.  I worked hard and it payed off on a tough course.  I trained a lotРprobably more than someone needs to for a first marathon in order to finish, but I am not a beginning runner and I also had a time goal.  I trained five days a week, and typically did yoga and strength once or twice a week as well.  It was, admittedly, exhausting.  In the future, I might do less speedwork and more yoga.  But overall, I think my plan worked relatively well.  I had peak weeks of 68 and 57 miles (although the 68 was sort of an accident, because I had two long runs in one week).  In the end, it feels so good to know that my hard work was all worth it.

My official time was 4:19.42, which is a 9:55 pace. ¬†I am still sort of in shock that I ran 26.2 miles at a pace under 10 minutes per mile! A marathon is exhausting and¬†exhilarating¬†at the same time. ¬†At the end I felt like I was going to collapse, but I also felt the happiest I have felt in a long time. ¬†It’s sort of a strange duality!

At first, when I finished, I thought “that was really fun but also really crazy; I’m never doing another marathon again!” But I think I might have already changed my mind. ¬†Four hours of intense pain isn’t really that bad, when you think about the benefits. ¬†Even better is the feeling of accomplishment. ¬†I want that feeling again. ¬†I am already looking up marathons in spring!

I loved doing the marathon, but training for it was a complete and total time-suck. ¬†I did not have as much time to focus on my studies as I wanted, and quite frankly, if I wasn’t running, I was usually eating or mentally exhausted — not studying. ¬†I have some studying to catch up on and a veritable mountain of LSAT studying to get through before December 11th. ¬†I took the October test and did well above average, but not exceptional. ¬†In order to get into the law schools I am interested in, I need to significantly raise my scores. ¬†I have a (very expensive) tutor, a mountain of practice tests, and books about strategies up the wazoo. ¬†I have been trying really hard to blog every other day or so; I love it, it is a good outlet, and I love having so many wonderful blogging friends. ¬†But with that said, it does take up time too. ¬†I am going to take an extended break until the December 11th test. [Edited to Add: The test is¬† indeed December 11th.¬† I made a mistake the first time I posted this!]

Hopefully this will help me to reset some priorities, figure out my goals, have time for studying and LSAT review, and give me a break from some of the craziness that is happening in my life right now.  And I will come back a better, more dedicated, fun blogger!

By no means am I stopping blogging!  I just need to take some time off while I get through the bulk of the rest of the semester and this LSAT test.  I have big dreams for the next year (or three, wink wink) of my life, and a little work now will pay off a lot later.

I might have some guest posts between now and then —¬†if anyone wants to do a guest post about anything related to mental health, physical health, running, eating, or whatever, let me know (email me at caronaeh [at] gmail.com)! I am also trying to talk my parents into writing a guest post. ¬†I know it sounds boring, but they are medical professionals, and I think that the world of health blogs is, ironically, sorely lacking in perspectives from actual health professionals. ¬†My dad might be writing about coconut oil (he thinks it’s bad; I think it’s good).

I warned you that this post was all over the place. ¬†Hopefully I’ll be more organized when I come back from my break! ¬†I don’t think I will be reading blogs, but we’ll see. ¬†I am going to miss you all so much! ¬†Feel free to email me — I’ll definitely still be checking my email!

Happy Thanksgiving!  See you in December!

Something Is Not Right

Today’s Happy Note: Catching up on most of my schoolwork. ¬†Okay, so the actual act of doing the work isn’t “happy”, but having it done makes me happy. ¬†So there. ¬†I deem it worthy of a happy note. ūüôā

Sorry to have disappeared on you friends!  I truly wish I could blog every night and it makes me sad that sometimes I have to hit the books instead. I have quite a lot of reading this semester, but not a lot of assignments.  This means that it is quite tempting to put off the reading, but then when the assignments come around, I would be screwed.

I know I have talked about priorities before (blah, can’t find the post), but I have been reorienting myself the past few days. ¬†School already was a priority, but it needs to be even more of one. ¬†I just kind of need to grit my teeth and get it done. ¬†Meh.

Anyone else out there feeling mid-semester blues/overwhelmed?

I saw something fun on Angela’s Blog today! ¬†Apparently, it is National Love Your Body day today. ¬†I’ll get to that in a minute…

First, I have some training notes to catch you all up on!

1. Monday: I did an easy 25 minutes of weight lifting followed by my easy yoga class (it’s for school). ¬†The instructor wears sweatpant booty shorts. ¬†He is a man. ¬†That is all. ¬†My body was grateful for the easy day.

2. Tuesday: Was supposed to be nine miles of speedwork. ¬†I really didn’t want to do it during the day and¬†finally¬†set out around six, planning to stay on the streets. ¬†But it just didn’t feel right. ¬†My body was moving in all the wrong ways — my lower legs seemed to be doing something completely different from my knees, which were doing something completely different from my quads. ¬†You get the picture. ¬†I listened to my body! ¬†This is something that I have really struggled with in terms of exercising, so I was proud of myself. ¬†I cut the run short and did four miles, with 5×100 strides in the last mile.

3. Wednesday: I figured I would just get in my nine miles today. ¬†But. ¬†Again, something wasn’t quite right. ¬†Mostly, I was terribly tired. ¬†I couldn’t seem to get out of bed in the morning or after my afternoon nap. ¬†So I just did my easy yoga class. That was it. ¬†Taking it this easy is hard for me! ¬†I feel a lot of guilt. ¬†But I know that taking the rest is a good idea.

I think there are three reasons why I struggle with guilt when I don’t workout hard everyday:

1. I tend to have an all-or-nothing mindset. ¬†I feel like I’m either completely sedentary all day (in reality, this isn’t true) or insanely active. ¬†I struggle to find an appropriate balance.

2. I overexercised at an unsustainable level for years — I think this is tied to the ways in which I was active as a child and adolescent. ¬†From when I was four until I was fourteen, I was a gymnast. ¬†The last few years of that, I would practice about 20 hours a week. ¬†Then in high school, I did diving, track, and swimming (sometimes at the same time). ¬†I would often be working out for hours a day — senior year, I swam for 3-5 hours a day during the fall season. ¬†Thus, my expectations for physical activity were shaped unrealistically at a formative age, and thus it is truly difficult for me to understand that not working out that much is okay — normal people in the real world do not typically work out for more than two hours a day. ¬†Even an hour is more than enough. ¬†I think that, for me, mentally, moderate exercise is actually best.

3. I still feel the need to “make up for” everything I eat. ¬†I probably eat slightly more than the average 20 year old female college student (although really I have no way of knowing this). ¬†But I really am running a lot, and I also have a significant amount of muscle mass. ¬†Regardless, I feel like if I don’t run 6+ miles a day, I am just another slovenly, greedy American who overeats and doesn’t move.

A few weeks ago, L pointed out to me that I would never say the things I say to myself (in my head) to another person. I would never, ever be that cruel to someone else. ¬†So why do I do it to myself, over and over again? I don’t know.

I think this post is going in a slightly different direction that what I intended. ¬†That’s okay though, since these are the things I need to talk about. ¬†FYI: the rest of this post is about weight and related health concerns/body image issues. Please feel free to skip this part.

I typically weigh myself every 1-2 weeks. ¬†Sometimes I go even longer, maybe every 3-4 weeks. ¬†I am not obsessive about it and don’t record it or anything.

But.

I did weigh myself this Monday and a pattern clearly emerged. Or maybe the pattern has been there for a while but I just noticed it. ¬†Whatever. ¬†Thee point is simple: I have been gaining weight at a rate of almost exactly 1 pound per week since leaving the hospital. ¬†It’s been just over three months, so approximately twelve weeks. ¬†I have gained 12-14 pounds. ¬†I was already a few pounds over my “happy weight”; I would estimate that I have about 17 pounds to lose at the moment. ¬†This is very scary for me. ¬†Very scary for me.

The reason it is so terrifying is that, as far as I can tell, it is something that is either largely or entirely out of my control. Something is wrong in my body. ¬†I know my body and I know when something isn’t right.

Well, something isn’t right. ¬†This weight doesn’t make sense. ¬†I should not have gained 14 pounds since I left the hospital. ¬†Not only have I been training for a marathon, but I have also been fairly careful to keep my eating in check. ¬†I stopped taking birth control as soon as I was diagnosed with my pulmonary emboli. I am not a doctor (in fact, I pretty much suck at science in general), but to me, it seems like the birth control was doing something in my body that was good, and now that it has been taken away, something is going unchecked and rampant in me.

I saw the women’s health Nurse Practitioner at my school a few weeks ago (is it weird that there are a grand total of zero gynecologists for a college student/grad student population of like 30,000 students????). ¬†I basically told her the same things I am telling you guys. ¬†Something doesn’t make sense. ¬†I want to know what is going on. ¬†And, unlike many health conscious young people, I have no aversion whatsoever to medications. ¬†I would happily take several medications, daily, if it would fix this. ¬†I already take about four medications a day — I have several more types too. ¬†I joke to people that I have my own pharmacy. ¬†Taking pills really doesn’t bother me, nor do I feel like I’m somehow polluting my body. They’re pills. Scientists made them to help us, for the most part. It actually kind of bothers me when people get all purist and shit and say “oh, I don’t take pills, I don’t put chemicals in my body, I treat things naturally.” ¬†Great — it’s really nice to know that you have never been burdened with serious medical conditions that require drugs. ¬†I am so happy for you.

Okay, so that was completely tangential. ¬†I’m a writer. ¬†What can I say. ¬†I like talking.

Getting back to the main storyline here. ¬†The NP I saw referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist. ¬†I called her office a week or two ago and she isn’t taking new patients until January. ¬†I am not trying to wait that long, so I got a referral to someone else. ¬†I will schedule the appointment tomorrow. ¬†Hopefully, it will be in the next few weeks. ¬†This is causing me a lot of anxiety, as you can tell. ¬†I want to get to the bottom of it. ¬†Fast.

Unfortunately, medicine doesn’t always work that way. ¬†Our bodies don’t always work that way. ¬†Sometimes they do not want to reveal their secrets, even when their secrets are hurting us. ¬†I hate how medicine is simultaneously so scientific and so unpredictable. ¬†Anyone else find this duality unsettling?

My guess is that, starting after the marathon, we are going to have to do some serious screwing around with my diet and medications.  Probably accompanied by some serious blood tests.  I may have a weird adrenal disorder.  I may have PCOS.  I may not have it.  I may have pre-diabetes.  I may have some bizarre hormonal problem.

So, things are complicated. ¬†I know that’s a really lame conclusion, but it’s all I have for now. ¬†And I need desperately to share my struggles. ¬†Thank you for listening! ūüôā

One other note: Any inquiry into/treatment of my hormonal/adrenal/endocrine problems is severely constrained by my history of PE and accompanying clotting disorder.  I cannot take any hormones.  I cannot take anything that might interfere with my Warfarin.  I cannot take anything that  might predispose me to further clotting.

I truly am sorry for unloading all of this on you guys. ¬†But I just need to get it out there. ¬†USB has been amazing about it all — I never would have thought a love interest would be interested in my bizarre medical problems. ¬†Especially not when they make me fat. ¬†But he listens to me and soothes me and tries to help me in whatever way he can.

So.  The Love Your Body post shall be saved for tomorrow, I think.

I’ll leave you with my latest purchase! ¬†I’m going to be wearing these on marathon day!

Katie is giving away a massive amount of Artisana. I want it.  Bad.

Anyone out there, by any chance, happen to have a simultaneous history of PE and PCOS/unidentified endocrine disorder? I know it’s a long shot — I haven’t met anyone else with this combination of problems. ¬†But if you have had similar experiences, I would be thrilled if you would let me know your story!

For everyone else, what is the most frustrating health experience you have had?

What are you grateful for about your health?

I’m grateful for my body’s tremendous ability to untangle its clots. ¬†Seriously. ¬†The clots are long gone by this point.

Super Spectacular Really Good Yummy Pancakes

Today’s Happy Note: Spending time with my wonderful cousin before she moves to San Francisco.

Today felt both really busy and really lazy, at the same time.  Do you ever have days like that?  Sort of an odd feeling, I guess, but also kind of pleasant, because I wind up feeling both energized and relaxed.  I spent the morning making (and consuming) awesome pancakes,  the afternoon teaching a band of very sweet high schoolers, late afternoon with my cousin and her husband and then LSAT studying (mostly the dreaded logic games), and the evening working out.  I squeezed some grocery store shopping and tv watching in there and that was my day!

I like to procrastinate my schoolwork until Sundays. ūüôā

Let’s start with the pancakes!

I made these up on the spot and they turned out splendiferous. ¬†They were soft on the inside (that “ohmygoshthisissopillowy soft” not that “thisissosoftitmustberaw soft”) but crisp on the outside. ¬†Thick, with plenty of volume. ¬†And made with totally wholesome ingredients, and not a lot of added sugar at all. ¬†Basically, these are love, in protein pancake form (I am only calling them “protein pancakes” because the “base” is mostly protein-y and not carby — they are not some weird health food or anything, I promise!)

I was stupid and didn’t measure things out precisely or write the measurements down but this is roughly what it was:

1/4 C peanut flour (yes, I know this is a blog “fad” but it is an awesome fad that I actually like)

2 Tbsp oats

1 scoop vanilla hemp/whey protein powder (half serving)

1/2 Tsp baking powder

1/2 Tsp cinnamon

2 Tbsp flax meal

1 whole egg

1/4 C pumpkin

Water (as needed) to thin out

Earth Balance or butter, to coat the pan with

Combine all dry ingredients, then add in wet ingredients until pancake-consistency is achieved (I know, I am really scientific). ¬†Heat the butter in the pan (you don’t need more than a teaspoon, at most) and when it starts to pop, dollop on your batter. ¬†I made three generous ‘cakes.

Top with more butter, real maple syrup, and fruit or nuts of choice.  I used sesame almonds!

Don’t let this up close picture fool you. ¬†These pancakes are generous. ¬†Also, far more nuts than that were involved. ūüôā

This morning meal made my day. ¬†Bonus: it kept me full for five hours of teaching bleary-eyed high school seniors. I needed a meal with some serious stamina and this was it! ¬†I have not made a “real” weekend breakfast in a long time. I forgot how much fun it is. ¬†It’s nice not to have oats or yogurt or a smoothie for once! ¬†Mmmmm. ¬†Now I just need some bacon and we’ll be all set…

I got home from my afternoon shenanigans around 6:00. ¬†I was technically supposed to run 8-10 miles, since I had skipped out on yesterday’s run, and tomorrow’s run isn’t going to be very long (10-12 miles). ¬†But I just was not feeling it. ¬†I don’t think it was a matter of laziness, either. ¬†It was a matter of “I need to have some oatmeal with nut butter and lie on my bed and read blogs and snuggle up in my fleece blanket right now“, in all actuality. ¬†And so that’s exactly what I did.

I find it sort of odd that oats with nut butter and melted dark chocolate and maple syrup are my comfort food.  But hey, there are worse things.  These are all whole foods.  Delicious whole foods.

What’s your idea of comfort food?

BUT after a few hours of winding down, which my brain/body needed, I felt ready for a workout. ¬†Normally, I am an all-or-nothing girl and I either feel like I have to “waste” my day by eating poorly and not working out or have a hardcore workout and eating perfectly. ¬†Silly, right? ¬†By this point, I genuinely wanted to run, but was feeling anxious about it, because of said all-or-nothing mindset. I felt like, “how can I go run now if I have been lazy all evening? ¬†Aren’t the two mutually exclusive???” ¬†Um, no. ¬†Duh, Caronae.

I ended up having a lovely workout! ¬†I lifted (arms and abs) for about 30 minutes then ran a slow, easy five miles, which was exactly what my body needed. ¬†Sometimes I just need my brain to shut-up so that I can listen to my body. ūüôā

All in all, a lovely Saturday.

And I’m looking forward to making tomorrow a lovely Sunday. ¬†And then having a lovely week.

Thanks for your support yesterday about my “busyness” — for lack of a better word. ¬†I truly don’t think I could do it without you all as friends. ūüôā

On the schedule for Run Write Therapy Life this week:

~Long run (tomorrow)/Long run eats

~Easy college student dinners

~Mental/Physical Health Intersections

~A fun announcement about the site

Should be a fun week!  Stay tuned, friends.  Goodnight for now!

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