Welcome, ICLW folks! A quick update on who I am and what I'm up to:
Hubs and I are 29, married 2.5 years, trying to conceive one year (ahem, one year tomorrow. More on that later). I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure in November of 2011. We just finished a round of Menopur stims last week with zero ovarian stimulation success, so now I'm back on daily estrogen and hoping that my next cycle is more encouraging.
The only positive thing about my Menopur cycle being a total bust is that I was given the go ahead to run the full marathon this weekend. AND I DID IT! I still haven't fully wrapped my head around it, but yesterday I ran 26.2 miles! You obviously need to hear every tantalizing detail, so here it goes.
The Marathon was in Cleveland (not exactly a hot spot, but the timing worked). I drove up Saturday with a couple of girlfriends - one is a brand new runner and doing the 10k, the other is one of my coworkers/running buddies who I ran a half marathon with three weeks ago. She wasn't racing this weekend, but came along to be our support / carrier of our stuff / cheerleader/ etc. We met up with another friend in Cleveland, who was also running the marathon (her first as well!).
My nerves for this marathon were OUT.OF.CONTROL. I was freaked the heck out. I had never run more than 20 miles before and the weather was predicted to be 100% sunny and 78 degrees by the time I was going to be halfway done. That's a beautiful day to WATCH a marathon, but a terrible day to RUN a marathon. I was also nervous because my hormones have been all kinds of crazy after being on the stims last week and only back on the estrogen tablets for a few days. That's bound to have an effect on running 26.2 miles, right?
Enter: Morning of the race. I had a terrible night's sleep and we were up by 4:30 am. After driving downtown, frantically searching for port-a-potties (runners will understand), taking some pre-race photos and wishing each other good luck, we were off. It was already 62 degrees when we started, which is a little warmer than ideal but still fine.
My friend and I are at vastly different paces, so I ran by myself the whole time. The first 10 miles were fine. No complaints. Felt strong. At around mile 10, the sun was blazing pretty hard and I started to feel a little tired. Still, I was fueled by the fact that my two friends not running the marathon were going to be waiting at mile 12 to cheer me on. I kept my pace just under 10 minutes per mile for the first 10 miles.
Mile 12: Feeling pretty fatigued and overheated. I kept looking for my friends to no avail. I passed the point of where they said they'd be, so I figured I missed them. BUMMER.
Mile 13: Two familiar faces come running down a side street, screaming my name. They found me! I felt so rejuvenated and excited to see them! Totally gave me a boost right when I was getting really tired.
Miles 13-15: The full and half marathon split to different courses by now and the crowd really thinned out. It seemed like I was running out there by myself. The miles felt really long and the heat was becoming an issue. I started taking two cups of water instead of one at the water stations. I was able to maintain a decent pace, but definitely slowed it down to about 10:15/mile.
Miles 15-17: Ugh. My legs started to feel very heavy. I decided to walk through the water stations to make sure I had enough time to get every drop. Pace slowed to about 11:05 mins / mile due to the walking at water stations
Miles 17-22: OH. MY. GOD. Every surface of my body was pouring sweat. There was no refuge from the sun. No wind. No shade. My legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each. I walked longer at each water station. I slowed down more and more. I poured water on my head and down my back. EVERYTHING hurt.
Mile 22: I remembered at this point that I was planning to run on rage and frustration about fertility when I ran out of steam. So I dug deep for it and it just wasn't there. Or I couldn't find it. I wanted to give myself a pep talk, but the only thing in my brain was "make.it.stop.make.it.stop.make.it.stop."
Mile 23: I saw a kitten on the side of the course. In a moment of delirium, I stopped running, crouched down, and pet the kitten. This lasted about 20 seconds until I remembered that I was running a marathon.
Mile 24 - 26: Pure willpower. That's the only thing that kept me going. My brain was essentially useless. The only thing I could do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. You would think I would be energized by being so close to the end, thinking "Sweet, only two measly miles left! I could do that in my sleep!" That thought did not happen. Two miles seemed like an absolute eternity.
Mile 26-26.2: Glorious, beautiful downhill finish. I cruised at an 8:42 pace, encouraged by the awesome crowd support. When I was ALMOST there, my two friends saw me and started screaming my name and cheering.
Crossing the finish line was surreal. I couldn't believe I'd done it. I was so happy to be done. So relieved to not be running. My eyes teared up a little, kind of in awe of my body, but the physical pain I was in took my attention away from my emotional experience. My final time was 4 hours, 33 minutes and 32 seconds, for a final pace of 10:26 per mile. I was really hoping to finish it in sub 4.5 hours, but considering the heat, I'm chalking it up to a success. I learned later they had raised the heat-advisory flags when I was at mile 15. By 10 am, the "feels like" temperature in Cleveland was 89 degrees. They had twice as many runners treated in the medical tents as usual, due to the heat.
I'm hurting pretty bad today but I took the day off work to recover. I am SO GLAD that this marathon is over. But I'm also SO GLAD that I did it. I feel amazingly accomplished and proud. I swore yesterday I would never run another marathon ever (I think I said "I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever even think about ever running another marathon again. Ever."), but... we'll see. That feeling is pretty awesome. And I'd maybe like to do one with better conditions because I know I could have done so much better.
I know this post has very little to do with fertility, but I had to update about the marathon. My dark depression from last week seems so far away; I'm in a much better place. Not sure if that's because of the estrogen or just NOT being on the Menopur, or maybe even being on a prolonged runner's high, but I feel infinitely better about life than I did last week.
Tomorrow is our one-year anniversary of trying to conceive, so we'll see how I feel then. But for now I'm going to bask in the glory of my accomplishment. It feels good.