Archive | May, 2015

rub some dirt in it

30 May

Eric wrote a blog post a while ago about that expression–rub some dirt in it.  It’s an interesting one to me.  It’s funny because every time this infertility crap starts to get “real,” I want to just run away to the woods. And we usually do.  “Rub some dirt in it” indeed.

This week has been kind of tough.  We are officially in the throws of the next injectable cycle.  Yay…  We have a new drug to try this time around.  Fun fact: it’s made from pig urine, which I try not to focus on too much. It stings when it’s injected and for a minute or so after it really hurts–apparently if you mix the drugs and let them sit for 10 minutes and ice the spot, it hurts less…but that shit still smarts (another expression I find hilarious).  Oh yeah…and you mix the drugs yourself.  I still have a really hard time believing that we are receiving needles and various medications in the mail (via a special, infertile-people pharmacy–who knew those existed??), then we are trusted to mix shit together and inject it ourselves.  I am just thankful Eric can give me the shots, because I can’t imagine doing them myself.

Luckily, my doctor completely heard me when I said I hate needles (*total sarcasm*).  We are also adding an additional injection this cycle.  When I questioned why (I managed to do it without the whine-y whyyyyyyy, but in my head that’s totally how I asked it), she pretty much just said that we’re on the I-don’t-really-know-what’s-wrong-with-you-so-we’re-on-the-can’t-hurt-might-help-plan.  Side note: She called me an “anomaly” which would normally make me happy except in this case being “unique” is totally not a good thing.  *sigh*  But what’s another shot in the stomach, right? Apparently this one also hurts. BUT this shot doesn’t start til sometime next week-ish…it’ll all depend on how things progress.

So I’ve been, in my not so humble opinion, taking the nightly shots like a champ.  I am determined not to be a baby…I sobbed for about an hour after my RE appointment thinking about how I didn’t know if I was strong enough to do this again…then I remembered all of the other things I never thought I’d be strong enough to do and that had a decently sobering effect. Also I needed to get my sorry ass ready to lead a group run.  Man the responsibility of leading those group runs has saved my life more than once…  I cried the first night of shots, but haven’t since.  I just close my eyes and bite my shirt and take some deep breaths and try not to be too sad that our baby making is not only un-sexy but also now painful.  I got my first bruise from night 2 of shots (last time we did shots for 20-some days, so that’s encouraging)…

Yesterday night, a possible monkey wrench got thrown into the plans.  So there’s nothing to do but keep injecting myself and go for blood work and wait for those results to see if we’re OK to keep going or if this cycle is a bust.  Which is lame.  But worrying about it gets me no where, so I’m trying not to think about it (much).  Any time my body wants to start reacting the right way and stop being an “anomaly” would be all right with me (and us).

Despite the crappy week, I’ve been running. Every day, it’s the last thing I WANT to do (because eating potato chips while watching Househunters would totally make me feel so much better), but afterwards I feel so much better.  Maybe because of the actual physical activity, maybe because of the woods, or maybe a combination of the two.  Running is the one time when my brain is (mostly) shut off.  I mean…when you’re doing speed work, all you can think about is your lungs burning or your legs needing to pump faster if you’re going to hit your splits.  When it’s 85 and 100% humidity, it’s all you can do to keep wiping sweat out of your eyes so you don’t trip and fall.  When  you are cruising through the swamp that is Black Creek Park and realize that every time you stop, you are getting bit by mosquitoes, which is like another needle stick, and fuck that shit, RUN!!!!

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The woods calm me down.  The trees, the fresh air, the dirt, the animals, knowing my body…my broken, fucked-up body…is carrying me through some amazingly beautiful, amazingly perfect places and situations.  It all reminds me that life is not bad right now.  And even if this doesn’t work, even if we never have a baby, I can still go hit a trail and feel a sense of deep peace.  This weekend we are camping.  I am beyond excited.  Excited to be inspired by amazing runners.  To support people while they are putting their bodies through hell all to accomplish big goals.  To sit by a campfire at night with Eric and Picasso and just be.  To run on some beautiful trails.  To hike with my guys.  And to hopefully have a lot of “lost myself” moments…

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my doctor says running 50 miles is ok…

16 May

This past week, we had our first RE appointment in about 6 months–it was a lovely 6 months in which I tried (quite unsuccessfully) to forget about my impenetrable, apparently-useless ovaries.  I was enjoying the needle-less-ness, but I also knew that since I require a ridiculous amount of monitoring (so we don’t blow up my innards with the drogas), summertime was probably a good choice to start said drogas again if we were giving it another go, that way I could not miss work.

Last time I was there, my RE had basically made it seem like IVF was our best bet.  I’d pretty much told her that wasn’t an option, so I went into the appointment on Thursday planning to confirm that my body is, indeed, irreparably broken and biological children will never be a “thing.”  We left with a new plan to try a different injectable medication (the one that stings when you put it in your stomach…joy) and the potential of additional shots to my thighs.  “What’s next when this doesn’t work,” I asked.  “You will get pregnant this time,” she said.  I wanted to tell her that we should make a bet of some astronomical figure.  She’s said this to us a lot of times…we’d have a house full of little kiddos running around if she’d been right.  Can you sense my optimism??

In any event, we were discussing other things that could help–alternative medicine (do what makes you feel good), herbs (can interact with meds, so they’re a no-go), diet (low-glycemic is best–lame–what about an all-potato diet???), and exercise.  So here’s how that part of the conversation went:

Me: So I know we’ve had this conversation before, but I just want to clarify again…running…

Her: Yes.

Me: Like a lot of miles?

Her: Yes.

Me: Like 20 or 30 miles at a time?

Her: Sure. Anything you want.  It isn’t going to interfere in any way.  I just got my personal training certificate. Trust me.  You’re good.

[Me in my head: Did you get your personal training thing because you can’t get me knocked up, so you are looking for a back-up plan to this whole RE thing?]

Me: Even if we’re in the middle of medications?  I can still run that much?

Her: Yes. Yes. Definitely.

Me: Cycling? Lifting??

Her: All yes.  Now AND when you are pregnant…with some modifications when we get to that point…

So part of why I was waiting to make a decision on Virgil Crest 50 Miler was because I wanted to talk to her again. [The other reason, of course, being that I do not want to run in the dark in the woods because the boogey man and walkers are obviously waiting for me…which just means I need to haul some ass and be done before dark.]  Also I was hoping my body was going to spontaneously fix itself and we’d just get pregnant on our own, without needles, ultrasound wands, incessant blood testing and dreaded, unromantic IUI.  But after a 5 month no-major-medications (just some minor ones) period of time, no miracle has occurred.  Alas… I’m glad she cleared me for running (again).  And I know there are people who are going to judge me for the decision to keep running, to tell me I shouldn’t be running and that I must not really want to get pregnant or I’d stop because they think they know more than my doctor does about our situation…and to them I say:

When we first started trying to conceive 5 years ago, I put things off because “we could get pregnant.”  I changed things because I thought I could magically force my body to ovulate–we changed our diets, we changed our exercise habits…in 5 years, we’ve tried an awful lot of things (including cutting back my runs to 15-20 miles a week, a couple of different times).  For those first 3 years especially, I counted how far along I’d be if I were to get pregnant frequently and made decisions about events, particularly about races, based on what might be.  Five years ago, major decisions were made around our future brood of kids–our house, our cars, our vacations, and especially my races…  And now I just feel silly for wasting time and counting chickens before they were hatched.  I can’t live like that anymore–so if we ever get pregnant, then we will change our plans–we don’t change our plans because we might get pregnant.  I can’t live in the what-if realm anymore.

At this point, I have been following [loosely] a plan I created to train for Virgil for about a month.  It’s been going decently well.  I need to get my weekend mileage up and figure out why I want to puke/crap my pants every time I run hard, but I’ve got plenty of time to get my digestive system on board with the new plan.  This morning, we met Ben at 4 am for “hill” repeats out at Hi Tor’s Clark’s Gully.

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Photo from Ben Murphy

It’s basically a half mile straight uphill on loose stones, roots and rocks…then you go back down.  Repeat.

A half mile of this...over and over and over...

A half mile of this…over and over and over… Photo from Ben Murphy

Ben looking much too happy to be climbing and descending a mountain at 5 am...

Ben looking much too happy to be climbing and descending a mountain at 5 am… Photo from Eric

My second time up the “hill,” I held back tears as I told Eric how Virgil was clearly a terrible idea because a mile and a half in, I was already dying and we were moving SLOOOOWLY.  I got over myself then, blasted down the mountain, back up and down 2 more times, then Eric and I sat in the creek for a bit while we waited for Ben to finish his workout.  My legs felt surprisingly good afterwards, although my brain was still whirling about Virgil…

Coldest water EVER.

Coldest water EVER.

So I was still feeling a little disappointed with my performance this morning. Then on the way home we started extrapolating the data–in 4 miles of “running” this morning, we had a total of almost 5,000 feet of elevation change.  Virgil has 22,000 feet.  So that means if I ran 16-18 miles of the route this morning, I’d cover the entire elevation of Virgil’s 50 mile route.  Now, I’m not naïve enough to think that Virgil will be “easy,” but this morning was a big confidence booster (once I got out of my own head and just went with it).  When I look at some of the other runs I’ve done, I know I am perfectly capable of it–it will be very slow, but it’s well within what I can do.  And if I continue training the way I’ve been, there’s no doubt in my mind that I can finish Virgil–or any other 50 miler I want to.  It looks like barring a miracle pregnancy, I will be “running” (can you call it that????) Virgil in the fall.

I used to think that my obsession with long distance runs was forcing my body to do penance for not working right, but now I see that it’s actually just an affirmation that, while it may not do everything I want it to, it sure is pretty amazing.  And while I might hate it for some things, there are a lot of things that I love it for…carrying me through beautiful places being one of the most important.

View from the top...as some rain clouds moved in!

View from the top…as some rain clouds moved in! Photo from Ben Murphy

crash course in mountain biking

7 May

Eric surprised me last week with a brand new fat bike!

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If you’ve been following along, you know that my biking skillz are lackluster at best.  I never rode much as a kid, I’m not sure I ever had a bike with gears or hand brakes, and I am terrified of getting hurt…something about being on a bike, which is further from the ground and faster than running, makes me feel very injury-prone.  However, I’ve heard it’s great cross-training, and I love being out in the woods…so I was trying on my regular mountain bike, and Eric kept insisting that I’d be more confident on a fattie.  So he bought me one as a surprise.  And what a surprise it’s been!

Eric and his buddy fixed her up for me on Friday, and we immediately took it out for a ride.  Since Friday, I’ve been on the bike 4 times, for a grand total of 20+ miles.  So far, I haven’t broken anything, although I have a plethora of bruises, scrapes and scratches.  It has been a crash course–literally.  I’ve fallen more than I ever have, but on the plus side, when you are falling off your bike so often, you eventually become (slightly) less scared of biting it.  Although today there was one point in time when I thought to myself that maybe I was tempting fate since I have yet to seriously injure myself.  I’m hoping all the weight lifting we’ve been doing has made my bones very strong…I think that’s how it works???

In any event, I am enjoying it.  I have some things I need to work on:

  • Gauging the amount of space I need–I keep hitting pedals and handlebars on stuff because I forget that I am on a bike or something…I have to get better at spatial relationships.
  • I need to build up my endurance.  Funny I can run for hours on end, but I can’t handle more than 45-50 minutes of cycling without getting massively tired.
  • Going up hills…I am so much better, but really steep hills are still tough, and I have a tendency to come up out of my “saddle” (it’s like an instinct really) and apparently that’s bad…also when I don’t make it all the way up a hill, when I fall off, I end up crotch shotting myself because my legs are too stubby.  And then I almost skid backwards down the hill, which will be special if/when it ever happens.
  • Keeping my feet in “neutral” so I don’t kill myself going over crap on the trails…thank goodness for big tires or I’d be wiping out even more than I already am…
  • Being more confident

However, I’ve been making some decent progress:

  • I don’t always ride the brakes going down hills.
  • My butt only hurts for the first 5 minutes of a ride…then I forget I’m hurting because I’m too busy focused on not injuring myself.
  • I can ride up small hills (I think having more and better gears is probably a major reason, but I’m not going to discount just plain, old practicing and getting stronger).
  • I often make it through the “tricky section” of Badgerow Park–a series of trees that are so close together that there is really no room for error followed by an uphill–the trees mean you have to kind of take your time, so there’s no chance to build momentum to get up the hill, which is my MO for hill riding.  I hear Heather’s voice in my head each time directing me to “look where you want to go” and I make it through the trees 98% of the time.  The other 2%, I hit a  handlebar or pedal on a tree and fall off.  Or, like I did tonight, I get my foot stuck between the pedal and tree.  I don’t even know how, and I probably couldn’t do it again if I tried.  Sometimes I wish I had a camera crew watching me at all times for moments like that one–where I was stuck and trying to figure out how to get out of it…I fell for the record. haha.
  • I rode over a big (probably small actually ha) log going down a hill, then all the way up the hill on the other side.  I haven’t even attempted it in the past, because you can’t ride over crap when you’re riding the brakes down the hill.  Monday, I tried 3 times–I could get my first tire over, but got stuck and then fell over.  I quit trying as I extracted myself from the brush after I wiped out bad the third time.  Today, I tried and made it over my first try!!! But I got excited/surprised and promptly fell off.  The next three times, though, I made it over and up the other side!!!! The trick, I discovered, is to be fearless–you just gotta get enough speed going and not give a shit if you fall and hurt yourself.

And I can’t help but think that maybe this is just a bigger metaphor for life in general…Go all in when you get to the scary hill, don’t worry about getting hurt (injuries almost always heal anyway), and you might just make it over the obstacles.  And if you’re lucky, you come out the other side grinning.