I am writing this post today because I want to be 100% transparent with you. I know that it might seem from my YouTube videos that everything is just one, big pile of rainbows once you get your period back. Of course, that's not the case. It's been almost a year that I have been steadily getting a period and I am still not used to how accomplished I feel each time it happens. I have put a lot of work in to getting and staying healthy and I will do whatever is necessary to make sure that I keep it going.
That being said, I am not going to be racing this weekend in the trail race that I had signed up for over 5 months ago; the Sciacchetrail 47K. It's not a last minute decision. Back in January, my 6-mile runs were feeling fine, but the 8-mile runs felt like way too much work. Recovery was ugly, to say the least. I started to get some of the symptoms I had gotten back in December that can suggest that cortisol is high. For me these symptoms are painful periods, insomnia, blood sugar getting wonky, and feeling irritable.
This journey has always been about both amenorrhea AND overtraining for me. So, when it seemed that my cortisol was probably high and my legs were hurting again after relatively short runs, I could see where this could all easily go. I knew I had to abandon my plans to do the race.
This sucks. It sucks because I love to race in Italy. It sucks because I was looking forward to proving to myself that I can ramp up to an ultra after a couple of months of low milage. It sucks because one of my favorite ultrarunners, SALLY MCRAE, runs this race every year and is going to be here again. I really wanted to meet her.
I am tremendously disappointed in the fact that I am just not ready to "come back" again like I did in December. I thought to myself, "Jeeze, I keep telling everyone that they can be unstoppable. What kind of example am I setting?"
Well, I guess the example that I am setting is a realistic one. I am dedicated to my health even when I have to make the hard decisions. Finding out that one year is not enough time for my body to recover from the many years of damage I did is not easy. I have to be ok with this and proud of my choice to honor my body.
I have not stopped running. Since January, I have been getting my 6 mile runs in about 4 times per week. It's not much, but I have found that 24 miles in a week is about my sweet spot for not getting too tired, getting a normal period, and not having trouble recovering. My energy level is good, I'm sleeping well, and have no blood sugar issues at all. Sometimes I skip the runs and go hiking instead. I have found that as long as I can be outside, I'm happy.
I wouldn't trade that for anything. I hope you don't either.