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.


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 some rain clouds moved in!

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


One Response to “my doctor says running 50 miles is ok…”


  1. Up we go | Trails2Brews - May 18, 2015

    […] the coming of some big adventures for both of us. The Virgil 50 miler for Shme and something else fun for me – The need to climb and gain elevation became pretty […]

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