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.

Shock Absorber Sports Bras Review + Giveaway

Disclaimer: Shock Absorber USA sent me 2 sports bras in exchange for this review.  As per usual all opinions are my own.

When Shock Absorber reached out, I was intrigued because I have been needing some new sports bras.  I’m pretty picky about them and have been wearing a few different styles from Lululemon & Oiselle and while I liked them, I sometimes notice they either feel too tight or sometimes I have to mess with them during a run so I was interested to try them.

They sent me 2 different bras, the Ultimate Run Bra & the Active Zipped Plunge. Both of which are more coverage than the bras I normally wear so I wasn’t sure how they were going to fit.

What makes Shock Absorber unique? From their website:

They are fast drying, durable, breathable and moisture wicking.

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So how does all that play out in reality? Well I’ll be honest when I first tried on the Ultimate Run Bra, I was a little concerned that it wasn’t going to fit properly.  I could barely get it closed and am already at the last set of clasps.  However, once I had it on, I actually forgot it was on, I didn’t have any issues with it being too tight or moving around at all.  I even wore it while running stairs when I was definitely breathing hard and on the 19 miles I ran at Gorge & had no issues whatsoever.

I’ll even go as far to say that even though it was soaked after my 19 miles, yes, I sweat a lot, it didn’t feel quite as wet as my other bras do so I’ll attest to their quick dry assertion.

For reference, I am wearing a 34B.  They have a huge range of sizes, everything from 30A to 40DD with E, F & G cup sizes.  They do follow the UK sizing, but I’d say that it was pretty accurate to US sizing as I wear a 32C/34B in normal bras when I’m not wearing a sports bra, which is practically never these days :).

When I got opened the Active Zip Plunge, I was a bit concerned that this was going to be some racy bra that’s showcasing the cleavage.  On me it wasn’t, it was definitely full coverage, but it was a slightly bigger size, 36B so it wasn’t quite as snug as I probably needed.

I liked the style and it was pretty comfortable, my biggest issue, outside of the wrong size, was that the bra I received had a piece of fabric at the bottom of the zipper that pushed into the bottom of my ribs, it made it very uncomfortable and didn’t look quite right.  I’m not sure if I received an older version of the bra because the photos on the site & Instagram don’t show that extra piece of fabric.

This bra, while cute on, wasn’t as good of a fit for me as the Ultimate Run Bra, which ultimately is the better choice for me, as an avid runner.

Shock Absorber also has a few other bras like the Active Multi Sport Bra that has sizes from 32B to 40HH.  The Active Shaped Push-Up Bra, which I thought was really cute, that comes in more standard sizes from 32A to 38D. And then there are 2 more Active Classic Bras to choose from as well.

Prices range from $59.99 for the Classics to $79.99 for the Ultimate Run Bra.   That’s a lot for a bra, but if it can truly help the bounce and you don’t notice that it’s on, it might be worth the price tag to find a good one.

Are you in Boston for the Boston Marathon?  You can find Shock Absorber at the Expo at Booth 2042.  They’ll have some awesome discounts for you there.

Not in Boston? Me either.  So here’s the part where you can win an Ultimate Run Bra.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway runs from 12:00am Apr 14 to 11:59pm PST Apr 18, 2o17.

No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited. 1 winner will be selected via Rafflecopter.  Open to US residents 18 years of age or older.  Must have a valid email address.  1 winner will select a Ultimate Run Bra from Shock Absorber USA in their size.
Winner(s) will be notified via email (if available) and/or blog post, and will have 24 hours to claim prize.  If original winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, an alternate winner(s) will be selected.
Contestants must comment on this blog post in order to win.
Runnylegs is not responsible for the failure of sponsor to deliver product or user error.

Runtastic Fall Fit! Instagram Challenge & Giveaway

As a runner, I tend to focus mostly on running, but strength training is so important as well.  But if you are anything like me, spending time on anything but running some how gets missed or put to the back-burner.

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The nice thing about the workouts on the Runtastic Fitness Channel, which you can subscribe to here, is that they are super short and really do work.

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Not only are there actual workout videos, there is a whole series of how to videos demonstrating the proper way to do different exercises.  Have you ever looked at a workout and wondered what’s a V-Up or what’s a Superman Pull?  Lunden shows you how to do both in easy to understand videos.

I love to do plank but it’s always good to do an exercise to stretch/workout the reverse muscles and Superman is a great one to do.  I’d never heard of a Superman Pull but it sounds pretty cool.

I’m working up to this since I’ve been dealing with a back injury this position is really challenging for me, but as I get stronger I’m looking forward to doing this like Lunden does.

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One of the best things about these videos is that Lunden is super easy to understand, she explains everything clearly and there are even a few moments in the videos where she gets off balance or loses her form, just like we do so you feel really comfortable knowing everyone has trouble with different exercises.

I’d love for you to join me for the 5 day Instagram Challenge starting tomorrow to kick off November.

Post a photo or video of you doing a part of each workout using the following tags: #RFCFallFit #RuntasticFitness #SweatPink @Runtastic @FitApproach @LifeLikeLunden and you’ll have a chance to win a Premium subscription to the Runtastic app.

I’m also giving away 4 Premium subscriptions for iOS or Google Play right here on the blog!

All you have to do is comment below telling me which of the 5 workouts above you want to try or you liked best.  I’ll choose winners via random.org on Friday, Nov 4.

I can’t wait to hear what you think about these workouts and which is your favorite! Mine?  Well I’m going to say anything that you need a pumpkin to do is pretty fun.

This post was sponsored by Runtastic through my partnership with FitApproach.

 

National Running Day: Why I Run #Team Nakamura Edition

I’m linking up with Jonesin’ for a Run to answer some questions about my running to celebrate National Running Day.  Now to see how my answers in 2016 compare to last year. And this year Sean will also be answering.  Ready? Set? Go!!

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Happy National Running Day! I’m planning 2 runs for today, #Runch with Smitha & the SoCal MRTT group & then another with Sean after work.  What are you doing to celebrate?

Potato Chip Rock, Mount Woodson Trail, San Diego, Altra Running, Procompression, orange mud, running4thosewhocant, lululemon

Feel free to play along and answer any of the questions in the comments.  I’d love to hear your answers.

Why do you run?

Jenny: Easy answer, it makes me happy.  Running has brought so many amazing people into my life and allowed me to go to so many amazing places.

Sean: I like the way it feels.  I like who I am because of running. I run as a lifestyle.  I enjoy the simplicity of running, the tranquility, the freedom that comes with running.  I race for the challenge and to see what I’m capable of and to prove to myself that anything is possible.  Running is my religion, my stress release, a way to quiet my mind, a way to connect with nature and is a very cleansing experience.  I could talk about my love for running for days.

How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

J: Well, interestingly enough, National Running Day, June 1 is also Sean’s 2000th day of his run streak so I imagine we’ll definitely be running 😉 and celebrating his streak.

S: Well it’s my 2000th day of my running streak so I’ll be running with some friends.

How many miles have you run so far this year? Do you have a mileage goal for the year

J: Let’s see, as of yesterday I’m at 670 miles for the year.  I ran 1269 last year and I have a goal of 1,500 this year.

S: 1,177.10 miles and I think it would be pretty cool to hit 3,000 miles but it’s not a critical goal.

What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

J: I’ve already run a bunch of races this year.  For the rest of the year, I’ve got 3 half marathons, 2 marathons, including running the New York City Marathon with the James Blake Foundation for my brother in law David.  You can donate here.  I’ve also got my first 100k in October and I’m on the waitlist for my first 50 mile mountain race as well.

S:  On the ultra side, I’ve got San Diego 100 on this Friday, Santa Barbara 100, TRT 100, AC 100, UTMB 170k, Tahoe 200, Cuyamaca 100k.  On the road side, San Diego Rock n’ Roll this weekend, Vancouver USA, New York City Marathon, Revel Canyon City.

Before I leave for a run I must have:

J: Chapstick, sunglasses & a hat.  If I’m running long, I’ll add in a bottle with Carbo-Pro & Ultima to get in some calories.

S: My shoes!

Do you track your runs?  If so what do you use?

J: I normally use my Garmin and then sync it to my Nike+ account because I’ve been tracking runs there for years.

S: Yes, typically on my iPhone and I use Runmeter Elite from Abvio and sometimes a Garmin

Who is your favorite running partner?

My favorite running partner

J: Sean of course!! We’ve had so many awesome running adventures.  But I also enjoy my runches with Smitha.

S: My love!

Whoo's in El Moro 25k

What races have you run so far this year?

J: Too many to write here lol.  You can see all my 2016 race recaps here. This year in addition to running in California, we’ve ran in Florida & Arizona as well.

S: San Diego 50 mile, Coldwater Rumble 100, Sean O’Brien 100k, LA Marathon, Gasparilla Half Marathon, San Diego Half Marathon, Old West 50k, Carlsbad 5000, Zion 100, Leona Divide 50 mile, La Jolla Half Marathon, Whoo’s in El Moro 50k, PCT 50 mile, Nanny Goat 100.

If you have to give someone one piece of advice about running, what would it be?

J: It’s never easy but it does get easier and more fun so definitely stick with it! And don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else, run your own race!

S: Listen to your body.

Describe your relationship with running in one word:

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J: LOVE!

S: Zen

I want to know why you run and what you are doing to celebrate Global Running Day? Tell me in the comments below.