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Racing, Health, and Self Care

So I have been putting off blogging about the NYC Half that I ran in March. I needed a lot of time to process how it went, and the circumstances surrounding it. 

NYC Half March 2016

(me, limping across the finish line)

I had a TERRIBLE race! My time was 3:07, or 14:19 per mile. That's a full minute slower per mile compared to last year. I was in So. Much. Pain by the end. I didn't purchase my finisher photo for this race, because I was ugly crying as I crossed the finish line. Well, okay, more like ugly sobbing. 

What went wrong?

For starters, I made the ridiculously stupid mistake of wearing my brand new, (christmas present) hydration pack instead of a fanny pack. I stupidly thought that without the water bladder insert, I'd be allowed to wear it. Alas, I was still forced to check it at the last second. My sweatshirt's pockets would only hold a couple of gels, so I had to leave behind more gels, my mid run snack, my cough drops, tissues, ID, everything. (I also had to run with my phone in my hand.) Totally rattled me. I felt completely unprepared.

I also made the mistake of letting the friend I drove in with provide breakfast. Her race breakfast was delicious, nutritious, and free (Thanks, Shayne!) but it was not my usual pre-race fuel. I am one of those people who needs a full belly to exercise, otherwise I feel sick and dizzy. So I was slightly hungry at the start, STARVING halfway through, and dead by the end. Just dead. 

The biggest reason that I had such a terrible run though, was beyond my control. It affected my ability to train for the two months prior to the race, and is still affecting my ability to train for anything else. 

Last year, after my six week challenge, I began to suspect that something was up with my body. I was eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly... and yet, putting on weight when I should have been maintaining it. My hair was getting frizzier, my skin was so dry that it was cracking, my nails were brittle. My libido (TMI) was hit or miss. My anxiety was worsening, and I was getting depressed, which is highly out of character for me. And I was SOOO TIRED. 

Anyone that is familiar with hypothyroidism knows that my symptoms were text book. However, it took me until February to convince myself that these were all symptoms of a larger problem, and not just aging/child-bearing inevitabilities. A simple blood test confirmed all this, but by that point, my half training had tanked. 

So I can complain all I want about how bad a race it was for me, but the fact is, I finished, and that's all that counts. 

Now that I have a diagnosis, I have a new goal. My goal is to stay as healthy as I can, and have as many good days as possible. Hypothyroidism affects more than just your weight- it kind of takes over your whole life. More on that in a future post. 

As far as racing goes- it can take up to a year to get your thyroid levels right. I had scheduled just one race later in the year, but I am on the fence right now as to whether or not I will run it. Getting my levels right HAS to supercede my running goals, otherwise I will be too sick to run. It's been frustrating to not sign up for races- SO many fun ones I have had to pass up. I just have to remember that self care is important too, and be gentle and forgiving with myself for a change. That in itself is a challenge! 

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