Monday. Four days in a row of feeling pretty good. Friday did my walk/slog along the rail-to-trail. Saturday I did a 45 minute walk. Was supposed to be a hike but the trail I picked wasn’t that high it was crazy windy and it got dark early. But I was feeling pretty good and happy not too push it too far. Then came Sunday.
Sunday turned out to just glorious. The weather was about 55 degrees and sunny. The wind had died down. It was the most perfect day for a ride. I started to map out my route on mapmyride.com and was ready to don my riding togs when all of a sudden a little voice said to me “Go for a run.” Huh? A run? Why the heck would I do that? I slogged on Friday, I walked on Saturday. Neither one of them were anything to write home about other than time on my feet. I haven’t ridden my bike since last Saturday and don’t forget this is ALL about the bike. I like biking. This is a good day for biking. I have my stuff on. I have a map ready. “Go for a run.” No, the schedule says bike, I have to bike, I have to do a bike every weekend — those are the RULES!! “Go for a run.” And without my telling them to do it, my cycling pants changed into running pants and my running shoes found their way on my feet and I was in the car heading to Reservoir #6 on Talcott Mountain ….. unbelievable, but okay I was on my way.
On the way to the reservoir I came up with an absolutely BRILLIANT idea. I would run the four miles around the reservoir and then head up the mountain trail to Hublien Tower. That would be a mega hike (unrunnable for me). Then I would come back down and run some more until I was done. I had no real expectation or plan. For all I knew I would do 30 minute walk and turn around. The weather was so nice that I was forced to park in a secondary lot at the other end of the Reservoir. But that lot set me at the top of a hill and I set out for my run going downhill. And then I didn’t stop.
It was bizarre. I was running in the woods. Real running. I had to stop every so often to catch my breath but I was watching my heart rate monitor like a hawk. My HR monitor was now working correctly because I actually followed instructions and got it wet before putting it on. Not just two dabs of water – I ran it under the faucet. That must have been what had been causing it to go so freaky. It was working fine and all my numbers were just like the old days. I FELT 100% FANTASTIC. It was a miracle.
So I started out slogging at HR of 123 and then picked it up to the 130’s (breathing hard) and then into the 140’s to 145. 145 is my 10k race pace HR. I actually can’t maintain that right now but it felt like my old 145. I’m working hard, I’m pushing. So I would hang at 145 for about five minutes or until I couldn’t stand it and then I would walk until my heart rate got down to 123. As soon as it said 123 I would pick it up, hang in the 130’s for a bit and then back up to 145. I continued this pattern for pretty much the whole time. There was no science to this. My little voice was telling me what to do. I was training Joan Benoit style — by feel. It felt good so I did it.
I hit the trail to Hublien Tower. I’ve always chickened out on this trail and turned around because it gets steep so quickly. This time I told myself I would hike until I got to the top. Lo and behold a little way up the path another path sprung off and it was flatter so I went running on that one. The trails were covered in leaves and there were the annoying rocks and branches under them but my feet felt light and I was navigating well. I felt like I was out in Arizona training camp — pushing off the little rocks — short steps so if I trip the other foot would be there to catch me. But I was moving okay. Not breaking any land speed records but I had energy and was moving. It was a miracle!!
I ran around and through a lot of mud and instead of getting upset I was happy. The sun was in my face. The woods were beautiful. An occasion dog hiker would go by and everyone was in a great mood. I soon found myself finished with one trail and onto another. The day was gorgeous. I was feeling great. It was truly glorious. I really like running if it is not on a gerbil mill like central park. I like unknown territory. I like the thrill of possibly getting lost.
I ran for 1:40 minutes. Of course not straight running but more running than I’ve done in a long time and even my walk breaks were with good effort. I came home, stretched. I was very happy. This is good news. This bodes well but I’ve had good days before. I’m not going to get cocky. I’m going to take it one day at a time.
It occurred to me that we have a lot of different muscles we have to build. From the Beck’s diet solution I have ripped off the term “building the stick-with-it-muscle.” But now I realize a need for me to build my patience muscle. I know I’m not where I want to be physically and I probably won’t see that for awhile. But every day I have to work on the patience muscle. Read each day for what it is.
I did a little research on the internet and found a support group for people with thyroid issues like mine. It was amazing to find a group who truly understands everything I’m going through. To them my symptoms are normal and understandable. With their help I’ve been doing a little more research into my numbers and trying to understand a little more of what I am dealing with. So today’s lesson was all about T3, T4 and TSH.
There are plenty of websites to explain all the functions of the thyroid but suffice it to say it manufactures two hormones T3 and T4. http://www.endocrineweb.com/thyfunction.html Is a good and simple website to explore.
I do not produce T3 or T4 but I take a pill to replicate it. It’s called Synthroid. Apparently that seems to be working because my T4 count is 1.33 which is well within the normal range. The problem is there is a 3rd hormone called TSH or thyroid suppressing Hormone. apparently my TSH is out of whack. I want this number to be nice and low (between .4 and 4.5). My number is very high 16.8. When your TSH is high and depending on your T4 number it can be indicative of HypOthyroidism and you can feel tired, gain weight, brittle nails, dry skin, coarse thinning hair, intolerance to cold, or memory problems. What was I saying? Oh, right, basically your furnace is not burning. When your TSH is low and your T3 high that is the opposite and can be equally dangerous that is called HypERthryoidism and you can experience fast weight loss, excessive sweat, fast heartbeat, or nervousness/moodiness. They are both bad. (Though I wouldn’t mind feeling a little Hyper).
So I’m taking medication to get my T4 and TSH in line. The problem is it takes about 2 months for the dosages to get up to level in my system. I haven’t quite figured out why one day I feel good and the next I don’t but I figure it has to do with the levels and not being maintained.
Meanwhile, my iron is low 19 (recommend range is 10-291) and my Vitamin D is low (but not as low as it used to be) 15 (recommend range is 32-100). So the combination of low Iron and Low Vitamin D coincidentally have the same symptoms as… yep, HypOthyroidism.
And the final ingredient to this fine cocktail is estrogen. As I am entering menopause (which can be accelerated by the drugs I am taking) I have to figure out how to replace those hormones as well (or maybe not — I’m not sure yet). Much to research and much to learn.
So my plan for training is to be opportunistic. On the days I feel like I can go out and run a trail, that’s what I’ll do. On the days I want to crawl into bed and be a snail, that’s what I’ll do too.
But the one muscle I can work on every day (and every minute) is my patience muscle. The best way to work the patience muscle is through meditation.