Hello world, are you there? It’s me, Lindsay.
It’s been about 4.5 months since I’ve posted, which means a lot has passed and I’m not sure where to start.
Though the race happened a month ago, I guess it’s worth sharing that I didn’t run the Chicago Marathon.
Guys, this summer was crazy. Crazy busy, crazy exciting, crazy stressful. I don’t know how else to really convey it. When I last updated, it was mid-June and I had spent the majority of that month and the one before traveling. And I was tired and slowly getting into shape, but that was just the start of the end. I spent the better parts of July and August traveling, including weekends. I was away more days in August than I was actually home. When I was in the midst of it, I knew it was crazy and I was all over the place, but I don’t think I fully wrapped my head around how intense it was until I looked back at it.
I’m used to having a lot on my plate. I tend to thrive on it, actually. But I don’t always handle stress well. When it gets too much, I internalize it instead of working through it. I feel like I stew in my own thoughts and get paralyzed to take action, which only makes things worse. I felt like I never had a solid night’s sleep because I was constantly having stress dreams. It’s a good problem to have when your company is growing so quickly, there’s SO much (too much!) to do and tackle– and I want to make it clear that I’m not trying to complain about that, because I 110% love my job and wouldn’t trade it for the world, I’m just stating that it was hectic. Most everyone at my company experienced the same whirlwind…that still continues.
To give you an idea of the crazy excitement: in the span of just one week we opened a retail store (Chobani SoHo–you must go!), debuted our Olympics commercial and put on a huge local community celebration in Central NY (yes, exactly like the Olympics commercial), hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony w/ elected officials at the store, and I left to go to London for 2 weeks…for the Olympics.
Oh yeah, I went to the Olympics for work and it was the most amazing experience and one I will never forget. Maybe more on that later…
Right. So why didn’t I run Chicago? I’ve always held a full-time job and marathon trained, NBD. My training log in June and July pretty much tells the story. “Tired” might be the most frequently used adjective to describe the bulk of my runs and “workouts.” There are some “terrible“s in there, too. I was doing OK at hitting my weekly mileage, but the time I left for London was when I needed to start bumping it up.
Before I left for London, I told friends and family I wasn’t sure how I felt about doing Chicago. At that point in time, my body needed the extra hours of sleeping, not hours of running. I wasn’t excited to lace up my sneakers and run, and that’s usually the biggest red flag for me. I decided I’d use London as a test: often times I actually enjoy running more when traveling more because I love running in different cities and schedules tend to be a bit more flexible out-of-office.
Well, you can see how that turned out. I had been getting weird knee/IT pain that wasn’t debilitating, but awkwardly affected my gait. I was staying up way too late to tackle work on NYC time, then waking up 4 or 5 hours later to get my run in before starting the day’s events on London time. I. was. exhausted. Something had to give, as I mentioned back in June, that something wouldn’t be my job.
I remember the moment I was walking on Knightsbridge going from one meeting to the next, rushing to make it. I had struggled through my planned 8 mile run that morning and could only do 4 miles at a ridiculously slow pace. I called my mom and said “I’m not running the Chicago Marathon” and simultaneously burst into tears and felt a wave of relief rush over me. I couldn’t help feel like I was giving up on myself, but I knew it was the right decision.
Yeah, I could have still done the race and finished. But for me, that’s not why I race marathons. I know myself, I know I’m competitive and I’m not going to toe the line for 26.2 unless I know I’m able to give my all. I signed up for Chicago to break 3:00, and it just wasn’t going to happen this year.
I accepted it, and I moved past it. This year wasn’t my year, and I can say that with equal parts heartbreak and acceptance. I still continued to run lightly when I got home from traveling. I was in such a funk from being away from home for 16 days, I felt like if I stopped running entirely, I’d dig myself deeper into a funk. For a good month or so, I only ran to meet up with other people since that was the only time I was excited to run. Weirdly, that ended up being workouts and long runs, not easy runs. Fine by me, I just needed to get back to the point where running wasn’t another stressor in my life and I looked forward to it again.
I had mixed feelings when October 7th rolled around. I was in Philadelphia for work as I tracked my friend and training partner Alex, who rocked her way with a slight negative split to 2:58:41. I was so excited and proud of her! A 5 minute PR! Once that sunk in, I was naturally bummed I wasn’t there racing alongside her like we planned, and then I got a bit hopeful because I know I’m capable of that too…one day.
It’s hard to describe, but for quite some time since early summer I just haven’t felt like myself. I attribute most of this to the travel and lack of routine. I can confidently say I severely underestimated the effects both stress and lack of sleep have on my body. I’ve gained a good 12 pounds from my normal weight, which is a lot for me since I’m only 5’3″ and my weight typically stays within the same ~5lb. fluctuation. I got bloodwork done and I have an extremely elevated cortisol level (which is a hormone released in response to stress), for which I’m going to see an endocrinologist next week to start to figure out. My primary care doctor said elevated cortisol can often lead to weight gain, among other things.
The blood test also showed a high intolerance to gluten. I don’t have Celiac disease, but I’ve since cut out gluten from my diet for about 1.5 months now, and I already notice a positive difference. I had been getting really terrible and unusual stomachaches, but assumed they were from weird or rich foods from traveling, and my thoughts were constantly foggy/not cohesive, which I assumed were from lack of sleep. Both of these things have pretty much subsided now. I’d also say part of the reason I’m feeling better is because I’m eating less processed foods/desserts (gluten is in everything), but I’m going to keep consistent at it anyways. It’s not too hard for me, and I do notice a positive difference so it makes it easy to continue.
So what’s next? Since the middle of August, I’ve just been running however much I want to, when I want to. Some weeks, that’s around 30 miles, and others, it’s around 10. I haven’t even been keeping a log. I’m working at losing the weight I’ve gained, which isn’t going too successfully because I’ve never tried to lose weight before. I’m running by myself more frequently. I’m even going to the gym to lift and do core work! And most importantly, I’m starting to get excited about lacing up my sneakers again, and that’s all I can ask for at this time. So thanks for continuing to read (if you’re still out there!). As I get back into blogging, I’ve got some exciting news to share next time about some winter/spring races I’ve registered for already…yay!