Recovery Run: 2019 San Diego Half

This is my 4th time running San Diego Half Marathon. It’s a fun & fast race in downtown San Diego.  You can check out my previous recaps here.  2016, 2017, 2018

I signed up back in August of last year & I had high hopes for a big PR here. As we know, that didn’t happen due to the hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis & the subsequent lack of real  training since Javelina. But that’s ok, I’ll get there.

So I honestly wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. I haven’t run anything over 4 miles in weeks, since Surf City Half so my bigger concern was how would my body handle the jump in miles.

This past week I’ve run more than I have in a week (outside a race) in a long time.  It might not seem like a lot but I ran 9 miles this week before the race.  In February, I ran a total of 49 miles with Surf City Half & about 20 of that pacing Sean at Franklins, which means I “ran” 16 miles the rest of the month.  I also took up riding at Soul Cycle and in the last 2 weeks I’ve racked up 6 rides & plan to continue on with 2 rides a week for the foreseeable future.

Now back to the race. Sean & I picked up our packets on Saturday at the expo.  It’s still in the same place on the harbor.  It was a touch cool & cloudy but no rain.  SD Half does their bibs in order of when you register and since I registered the first day, I had a very low bib number.  I also was surprised to see I was in Wave 2.  I normally am in Wave 4 so I don’t recall what I put as my projected finish time. Maybe 1:50?

We grabbed our race shirts & legacy gifts.  This is our 4th consecutive year of running so we got half zips as our bonus gift.  Unfortunately they were all out of men’s smalls so they told Sean he could get a different size.  Since we know he’ll probably never wear the shirt, we passed & the poor volunteers didn’t know what to do. You are supposed to get 2 shirts lol.

The expo as usual is pretty small so we didn’t really stick around, instead heading to get lunch, some yummy acai bowls from Everbowl.

The race always takes place on the time change weekend so if you enable text messaging they will send you a reminder text to change your clocks to spring forward.  That’s a nice touch.

Race morning! We got up a little later than last year, around 5:30ish, I was already up, but Sean’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet.  We left the house at 6:08a & were downtown by 6:15a which was probably the fastest we’ve ever gotten down there.  Hitting all green lights & having barely any traffic really helps!

We walked down to the starting area.  As per usual they start the race right in front of the convention center.  I needed to meet the Arete ladies for a quick photo & meet-up so we did that first before dropping off our bags & heading to the corrals & port-a-potties.  It was a beautiful morning, no marine layer and we got to see a great sunrise.

It was nice to meet some of the other ladies in the group, since I’ve been off I haven’t gone to many of the meet-ups since I joined the group in January.  Side note, I was so excited to join this group & to really work on my speed & goal to BQ & then I had all these issues pop up just as the group was getting started.

And I’ll be honest, knowing how fast all these ladies are, was really intimidating. I feel like I’m kind of the weak-link in this group even if I wasn’t dealing with medical things.  They all finished within minutes of each other & I was about 30 minutes back.  But I can’t be too hard on myself, I went from barely running to running a half averaging just under 10 min pace with the last 3 miles being the fastest of the whole race. At Surf City, I could barely breath & I averaged 11:45 pace.  Again, I digress.

Sean & I headed back to gear check to drop off our clothes.  I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it, I always bring a set of fresh clothes to change into after the race, I hate being all wet after the race.  And sports bras take forever to dry so I had lots of warm, dry clothes in my drop bag.

We headed back to the start, hit up the port-a-potties.  This year they had it done right so that there weren’t lines on both sides of them.  There was a porto in the middle of each section so that you could only enter from the sidewalk.  Finally!! In the past it was total chaos with people lining up on both sides.

I got a quick selfie of Sean & I and then we headed to our respective corrals. It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning with the sun peaking out & for once, no marine layer!  Normally this race is so humid, but it felt really nice, in the mid 50s.

I was a little nervous before we got started not knowing how I was going to feel but once we got started I got into a grove.  For once I didn’t feel like I started out too fast, I just kind of followed the other runners & didn’t weave in and out too much.

One of my favorite parts of this race is the first 3 miles running by the harbor.  We pass the Midway, there was a Disney Cruise Liner in port that morning.  As we head over to Harbor Island you can see my favorite view of the city & it was spectacular that morning with the sun behind it.

I ran the first 3 miles with no issues, I stopped for water at the mile 3 aid station & then from there I started run/walking.  I ran to mile 4, took a short walk and then tried to do mile repeats with a short walk in between.

We run down to Liberty Station, which I always enjoy as well.  By now it started to get cloudy but it wasn’t humid.  I remember thinking how I was sweating but my shorts weren’t soaked & sticking to me like they normally are, lol.

I made it to the 10k in just over an hour which I was happy about.  From there I just kept chugging along, mile 7 came up fast, then we did a quick climb on mile 8.  I started getting a cramp in my oblique around this point so I walked to stretch it out a little at the mile 8 aid station.

I was getting a little tired by this point,  but I kept moving.  I walked the short steep hill, ran to Washington Street & ran/walked the big hill.  One day I will conquer this hill, this year wasn’t it.

There were a bunch of Milestone Running & November Project people who were running up and down the hill with runners which was so cool.  The only bad part was that they were all running down right where we were running & I like to run on the very far left so I had to keep moving over to let them run back down.

In any case I finally made it to the top, in a lot less time than it seems like I normally take (11:45 for that mile & in the past I think I’ve taken 13/14 minutes).  The next section I have run many times with the #run619 group & I always think about them when we run through this section past the Hillcrest sign down to 6th Ave next to Balboa Park.

The last 3 miles are mostly downhill & I knew that Kari @grrrlrunner was going to be near Balboa so I was looking for her.  She was with her son & got this photo of me running by!  So nice of her to wait to see me!

From there I was starting to get a small cramp in my right quad, a place I’ve never felt any issues before, maybe all the spin? and I was getting hungry.  I didn’t have any CarboPro in my pack so I didn’t really have any calories on this run except one muir energy around mile 11 which was really too late to start eating.  I’m the worst when it comes to fueling, which is why I normally just use carbopro so I can drink my calories.  I drink a lot so it works good for me.

In any case, I had to get to the finish so I powered on. I was getting closer to the spot where they can stop you for the Trolley to pass.  I saw 2 Trolley’s stopped & waiting and was hoping I could run fast enough to miss them.  And phew, I was the last runner they let go by before stopping runners.  I have been lucky, I think I’ve only been stopped once in the 4 years I’ve run this race.

I just kept pushing, and then finally I could see Petco Park .  At this point I was following a lady in a Oiselle team shirt and I wasn’t sure if I could pass her or not.  I followed her down to the turn off into the park.  We went through the tunnel & then I was like time to finish strong & while I expected her to push to the finish, I must have pushed harder because I passed her after we got on to the baseline.

I finished!  It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t super slow either!  24 minutes faster than Surf City & I felt 100x better.  I can only get stronger from here!

So overall, I like this race.  I’ve done it 4 years in a row, it’s pretty fun, it’s fast, it has a cool finish line where you finish inside Petco Park.  They give out nice gift bags at the end, we use our reusable bags year after year.  This year we got a friar bobble-head & a book about one of the Padres players that made to the Hall of Fame.

The medal was really nice this year, a huge softball size medal with the Gaslamp sign on it.  They abandoned the idea to do the 4 part series medal they started last year after hearing that people didn’t like that idea.

We’ll be back, but maybe not next year, I really want to run Antelope Canyon so it might be time to change it up :).

Passion Fit Review

I received an outfit from Passion Fit to test & review for this post through my association with FitApproach.  As always my opinions are my own.

Follow your passions, be fit and the rest will follow…

This is the motto of Passion Fit, the brain child of fellow Sweat Pink Ambassador, Reena Vokoun.  Her lifelong passion for health, wellness & fitness along with the desire to help others pushed her to give up her corporate job to create this company.

In addition to selling her own Passion Fit line, she also has work-life balances courses, teaches fitness classes in the Bay Area & does wellness consulting amount other things.

I have been testing out the Passion Fit capri leggings and fitted workout tank for the last few weeks.  I’ve put them through the paces between short runs, playing in the snow & spin class.

I picked the capri’s to try because I loved the patterns.  This pink & turquoise paint splotch print was a perfect fit.  I picked the matching turquoise workout tank to match, because um, matchy, matchy right?

The capri’s are a touch more high waisted then I normally wear but they were very comfortable.  I picked the size small, which was definitely the right size, for reference I’m typically a size 6 in other exercise gear.

The four way stretch fabric for both pieces is supportive & feels really silky.  It feels good even when sweaty.  Each piece is custom made so they patterns may vary slightly but it’s kind of cool, a made to order clothing.

The tank has a dipped hem which means that it’s slightly longer in the back than the front.  I didn’t notice this much at all but one thing I did notice is that it never moved.  There was no riding up when I ran.  It has a nice snug fit which I like & has a full back.

In addition to capris and the fitted workout tanks, Passion Fit has sports bras, full length tights, hoodies & quoted racerback tanks.

“Check out the new Passion Fit online boutique for stylish, comfortable, affordable and high-quality activewear and accessories! Receive free shipping and 10% off until March 20, 2019 when you shop online at passionfit.com/shop and enter the promo code: PASSIONFITSWEATPINK.

 

Listening to my body

This post is going to be a bit different than my normal race recap or product review.  I want to share my experience with listening to my body & how it helped me these last few months.

I started noticing something was off after I was sick in November.  I did Javelina 100k at the end of October, ran the Los Coyotes Ragnar Trail with Team SweatPink and then was sick for a few weeks (including a trip to the super smoky Bay Area).  I thought it was just a normal cold & it seemed to be.

In December I had some issues with breathing while running, I was chalking it up to being out of shape after being sick.  But it was starting to get worse.  I could run as much as 3 miles straight but on the longer runs, I felt like I was breathing through a straw.  My neck and shoulders were so tight & I was having trouble catching my breath while just sitting on the couch.

I was starting to get nervous which of course increased the anxiety I was already feeling. Towards the end of December I finally made an appointment to see my doctor but I couldn’t get in until late February so I waited & things started to get worse.

I was feeling fine for the most part, except for my heart would race occasionally when I was just sitting down, the neck & shoulder pain was getting worse & I was still having issues with my breathing, mostly when running but sometimes at rest as well.  I would have to think about breathing something I should not have to do.

Finally after one of my runs, where it was really bad, I said something on Instagram and some people offered up some explanations, iron deficiency, too much sugar, gluten intolerance &/or other allergies.  So in early January I reached out to my doctor via email & asked if we could do some blood tests because it was still over 6 weeks until my office appointment.  She agreed that was too long to wait and I went into the lab to get some blood work.

What came back was that I was slightly anemic but that wasn’t my doctors biggest concern.  The bigger issue was that my thyroid levels were way off.  I got 3 calls from the doctors office that day and an appointment to see an endocrinologist.

I went back to get more blood drawn to do more thyroid specific tests.  I was googling everything, initially I couldn’t tell if it was hyper or hypo thyroid but as the test results came back, I was able to determine it was most likely more hyper.

So what is hyperthyroidism?  It occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine.

Symptoms can include:

  • Unintentional weight loss, even when your appetite and food intake stay the same or increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Skin thinning
  • Fine, brittle hair

I had some of these symptoms, the racing heart, the anxiety & nervousness (this had been going on for a while, I literally had to lay back in the front seat any time I drove with Sean because of anxiety that we were going to get into an accident.) and a slight tremor in my hands.

When I saw the endocrinologist, she said that you didn’t have to have all the symptoms but that by the results of my tests & what I was telling her, she was pretty sure that I had a hyper thyroid & more specifically Graves Disease.

Graves Disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. With this disease, your immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to make more thyroid hormone than your body needs.  It is unknown why it occurs, but it is very common, with more than 3 million cases every year in the US. It is treatable & I’m pretty sure that I caught my issues pretty early in the process.

My doctor ordered a few more blood tests to confirm her diagnosis but she put me on a pill called methIMAzole immediately to help with the symptoms.  She said there were a few side affects to watch out for, specifically a rash but I seem to be ok and I’ve been on the medication for 3 weeks now and feel so much better!

The endocrinologist was shocked that I had done Surf City a few weeks prior to my appointment.  She was like most people wouldn’t have been able to finish.  Well as Sean said, I’m not most people.  And in talking with my primary care doc she agreed. Most of the people that they see are not exercising & they have to tell them to vs someone like myself that has a long history of endurance training.

I’ll be honest, running was scary during that time, but I didn’t completely stop.  I cut back but still kept moving.  Before my appointment with the specialist I googled hyper thyroid & running what seemed like a million times. I found maybe 2 -3 posts that did not have info that I wanted to hear.  It took me a year to get back to running, I lost 10 pounds in a week (I didn’t lose any weight during the 2 months I was dealing with these issues),  I couldn’t even run a 5k.

I had just gotten into OCC in Chamonix & the Vermont 100k.  I had a bunch of races already on the schedule and I was super nervous I wouldn’t be able to run them.  But I could walk forever & feel good so I knew I might have to go slower, but I could still go.

It’s been 3 weeks since my diagnosis & I have 7 races in the next 5 weeks on my schedule.  I might not be super fast, but I will finish each and every one!

I wanted to write this blog to share my experience, which was very different from the very few blog posts I was able to find about running with hyperthyroidism & /or Graves.  I don’t know the background on the 2 ladies who shared their experience, where they like me with lots and lots of races of all distances on their resumes or where they beginners?  I don’t know.

Now, this is is my personal experience, I have continued to run/walk/hike/spin, etc. throughout this whole experience.  I have my doctor’s blessing to run/walk LA Marathon which she thinks will be a good indicator to see where I am after 5 weeks on meds.  I didn’t tell her I was doing a 24 hour race the week before, oops! LOL

If you experience anything similar to what I did, I fully recommend visiting your doctor to discuss and do tests if necessary.  I am grateful that my doctor listened to me & gave me the opportunity to have testing done without an office visit.  I really believe that if I had waited things could have been a lot worse.

If you have or had Graves/Hyperthyroid, I would love to hear your experience.