18 Miles Strong

This morning was my 18 mile taper run, the first reduced long distance run before the race. Next weekend, we dial it back down to 14! I tagged along with a nice group of runners to enjoy a cool, misty morning. Now, I’m onto Christmas cooking, a little chicken noodle soup for lunch, followed by The Santa Clause movie night with friends and neighbors.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas!

It’s Time to Run a Marathon without a Stomach

January of 2016, I finished my 3rd half marathon post gastrectomy. In the excitement of race day, I decided to sign up for the full marathon in January of 2017. Halfway through 2016, I was starting to doubt my decision. With 5 marathons under my belt, I am well aware of both the time commitment and calorie burn required for the 4-month training schedule prior to race day. How am I going to actually do this? The answer is friends.

Over time, I have met many running buddies just as crazy as me. Actually, some of them are even more dedicated than me. They might even run 4 miles before a 5AM run. These are inspirational people with a passion for running and a healthy, active life. It was these same running buddies who have inspired me to run the full marathon. They have been there at 5AM on Saturday mornings, shoes laced up and ready to put in the long mile runs together as a team. This morning with their camaraderie, we completed our longest distance pre-marathon day of 21.8 miles. With that milestone, I can say I have trained through the toughest distance run required prior to race day. We will taper our long runs down to 18 miles next weekend, then it’s just maintaining a more normal running week. I am now both mentally and physically prepared for race day. My goal time is 3:30 still, my same goal with my stomach. We’ll see if I can break that time on race day.

Back in July, I got another “nudge” that I was meant to race the full this year. I  opened my monthly update email for the race, skimmed it for any interesting information and deleted it. Later that day, I get that same email forwarded from my husband with an email chain to him saying “Is that your wife?”. Of the 25,000+ racers from Jan 2016, someone randomly selected my photo to throw into the email banner. Yes, that is me on the left. If that doesn’t mean I was supposed to race this year, I don’t know what does! Race day is Jan 15, 2017, and I will not be taking the left turn for the half marathon.

For race logistics, I’ll tell you about energy gels and water consumption. I am able to eat gu while I am running with no negative side effects.  For me while running and actively burning calories, I never encounter even a semblance of blood sugar problems. Without my stomach, the gu is absorbed more rapidly during the race, providing a near instant energy boost. Whereas when I had my stomach, the energy boost was delayed 10-15 minutes. I plan to take 3 gus during my race and utilize the water stops. I do find that it is harder for me to drink water during races. Plain water continues to be one of the most frustrating food/drink items to consume on the typical day. Everyone with stomachs has the luxury of gulping down their water. I very patiently pinch the cup so it doesn’t slosh all over me, then keep running while taking sips to get it all down.

I am about 3 1/2 years post surgery, and have been able to gain weight. I describe to friends that I am fat and happy. I will never forget how weak I was when my weight bottomed out at 103 lbs (46.7kg). Going through TG recovery gave me a new appreciation for a strong, healthy weight. This morning, I mentally noted how impressed I was to eat a small plate of eggs within 3 minutes. In my early post-op days, I had some very bad experiences with eggs getting stuck in my throat and taking many hours to get down. I can enjoy sweets in moderation now, and I can eat a good portion of a meal at dinner in the same time others finish their meal. This doesn’t mean I have the capacity to finish the meal, but I can eat the leftovers later. I still depend on snacks, and have to take special care to prioritize eating on days when I burn a lot of calories. I found a box of prepackaged nuts for on-the-go at Costco with salted almonds, unsalted almond, and salted peanuts. These plus peanut butter crackers tend to be blood sugar savers for me on busy days. I’m not sure what people think during a work meeting when I bust out peanut butter crackers like a little kid, but I’m not bothered.

And since it has been so long without a post, I was going to share a few highlights from our year. We took a family vacation to Seattle, so here I am off the Puget Sound.

Kyle and I needed a couples vacation to rest, relax, and recharge. Thanks to our wonderful family back home watching our kids, we were able to visit the beautiful beaches in Aruba.

And none of this is possible without all the support from my loving husband.

Have a Merry Christmas, and I will post my post marathon highlights.