The Lupron Diaries: Shot #4 and Running Update (and Victory!!)

The Lupron Diaries- (2)

Thank goodness, Shot #4 was painless like #1 and #2.  I made sure that I was completely relaxed, and other than the pinch of the initial stick, it was pain-free.  Ginger blamed #3 on herself, but I told her I was certain that it was my fault for being tense.

The timing of the shot sucked, though…I had a 5K planned for two days later, and if you’ll recall from my list of side effects that suck, I’m usually in for three days of joint aches that make any kind of high-impact activity pretty painful.  But I’d already paid my $35, so I was going to do this 5K, even if I had to crawl across the finish line in agony.

I was nervous, because Friday was a rough day.  My hips and knees ached badly, and ibuprofen was only taking the edge off.  On a side note, the sadness/weepiness and anxiety have been getting progressively worse with every shot.  It’s still bearable, so I’m not waving a white flag, but I’m finding myself crying a lot more and getting overwhelmed by small things/worrying about huge things that I can’t control (getting older, job stress, the never-ending passage of time, etc).  Joey has been an absolute rock through all of this; I have no idea what I’d do without him.

I was also seriously nervous about this 5K, because it was the first one I was going to do without Joey.  I was running it with my best friend Katie, but she had her own goal pace (which was a good bit faster than mine), so I was going to be doing this on my own (although it was encouraging to know she’d be waiting for me at the finish line).  Would I push myself hard enough, or would I just give up without Joey encouraging me to run a little bit more? Plus, this was going to be the biggest 5K I’d ever done.  It was put on by the Carolina Panthers’ Keep Pounding Charity, to benefit the Levine Cancer Center.  This wasn’t just some local 5K with a few hundred participants.  Nope, we’re talking thousands. Would I get stuck in a pack of people?  Would I be in the way, an obstacle for the “real” runners?  Would I get lost and end up in another part of downtown Charlotte entirely?

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling better than Friday; my legs weren’t hurting as badly, so I took 3 ibuprofen and hoped that’d hold me through the race.  Joey made me an egg over toast and a cup of coffee and I triple/quadruple/quintuple checked to make sure I had everything I needed in my race belt, that I had Katie’s shirt and bib, and that my playlist was all set and downloaded (Thank you, Amazon Prime Music!).  I headed her way and we were off!

We arrived (with only a minor snafu getting to the parking deck) in plenty of time to get a shot in front of the stadium before being shuttled to the starting line at the Levine Cancer Center.

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We stood around and stretched (and I agonized over being nervous), and then I noticed SIR PURR! Not only am I a huge Carolina Panthers fan, but (as you already know), I’m a huge cat fan in general, so I was super-psyched.  I actually dressed as Sir Purr a couple of years ago for Halloween.  I yelled “OMG, SIR PURR!!” and he ran right over for a pic.  Forgive the blurriness…Katie had picture-taking anxiety.

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The course itself was brutal; we started at the Levine Cancer center and ran all the way up Morehead street to the stadium.  The race organizer playfully called it “Mount Morehead,” but he wasn’t kidding; it was almost entirely uphill.  When we reached the stadium, we ran a lap around the outside, up the stairs, and into the north gate entrance.  Once inside, we ran a lap around the ground level concourse and then up the ramps to the 500-level (holy crap).  Then we went a short distance around the upper concourse and back down another set of ramps, out the players’ chute and through the finish line on the 50-yard line.  So, as you can see, the bulk of the course was uphill (especially those ramps).

It was SUPER crowded at the start line, which was overwhelming.  I kept freaking out and Katie kept telling me, “We’ve got this.”  She was a little nervous too, but kept it together and kept encouraging me.  Before we knew it, a horn sounded to start the race.  I do wish they’d told the walkers to make their way toward the back, because we had to do a lot of dodging people and running out into the road to get around walkers.  I kept up with Katie for two or three minutes, and I made it almost all the way through my first song before I had to take a walking break.  I tried to stay to the right whenever I walked so I wouldn’t be an obstacle to folks who were running.

I started to get discouraged right away, which sucked.  Normally, I would’ve had Joey there to say something at just the right time or to suggest that we run to some point up ahead and get my mind off the negative thoughts.  But it was up to me this time.

I set a simple strategy; run as much as possible through each song on my playlist, run through each mile-marker sign, and run through each intersection so I didn’t have to have a cop holding traffic for me while I wheezed my way across the road.  The scenery was pretty, and the day was PERFECT…maybe 60 degrees, a little breezy, and sunny.

I also made a commitment not to fall behind the folks around me; I focused in on a red-haired girl who appeared to be about my same fitness level and was run/walking as well.  It worked like a charm.

Until we got to the ramps inside the stadium.  I had to walk up all of them.  Plus, I had only been in the stadium once before, so I didn’t realize that there were two ramps per level. I got up the fourth ramp and thought I was done, and then I saw the door leading inside and it said “300 Level.”  Shit, I thought.  Shit, shit, shit, I’m never going to make this. But I kept on walking and tried my best to keep up with the cadence of the music.  I finally hit the top and I picked up running again.

I REALLY wanted to walk back down some of the ramps, but I told myself I wasn’t going to waste any downhill portions of the race (especially since there were so few), and I kept running.  Toward the bottom, my earbuds fell out for good (I’ve got to get some new ones), so I just took them out altogether.  Before I knew it, I saw daylight ahead and was running out the player’s entrance.  WHAT a rush that was…the same entrance that Steve Smith ran through, DeAngelo Williams, Cam Newton…there I was…dodging some lady and her toddler, but running through nonetheless.  I revelled in the moment for just a second, and then started scanning the line of cheerers for Katie.  I heard her screaming “look at the clock!!” and I looked up and it said 44:20.  WHAT?!!  I spent the entire race feeling like I was going to fail again at my goal (being under 46).  But here I was just a few yards from the finish line, and I was going to end up beating my goal by over a minute!

Katie snapped a pic of me:

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I was shocked and thrilled and exhausted.  My official time was 44:35.  Katie made her goal too (under 39).  And I ran over half of the race (at least).  Four months ago, I would never have believed I could’ve done that.  According to many of the online accounts I’ve read of women who’ve taken Lupron, I shouldn’t have been able to do that.  But I did.

Katie and I snapped a selfie, got our official times, snagged water and protein bars, and then sat in the parking deck for 40 minutes trying to get back out to come home. I also found that red-haired girl and told her I’d been trying to keep up with her, and that she did awesome.  Everyone needs to hear when they’ve done a great job.

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The ibuprofen worked like a charm…not one bit of joint pain during the run, and I haven’t had any since, either.  I even went with Joey and Indy on a celebratory lap around the neighborhood after I got back home.

On the technical front, I need new earphones and a new running belt.  I don’t have enough room in the one I currently have for my phone, ID and keys. My driver’s license fell out on the field while we were getting our official times.  I saw it happen, so I was able to pick it up quickly, but there’s always the chance that it could happen and I wouldn’t catch it.  I’m thinking of getting a Flip Belt; a couple of people had them at the race and they looked comfortable and secure.

On the “what’s next” front, I’m going to focus on endurance for the next couple of weeks rather than speed, because we’ve got two hikes planned over Memorial Day weekend (both in the mountains).  Our next scheduled 5K is July 4th, and I’d like to finish it in under 44 minutes.

I’m proud.  I’m proud that I managed all by myself.  Katie even offered to give up her goal and run with me, and I told her not to.  I’m proud that I picked up and ran again every time I felt exhausted.  I’m proud that I didn’t give up.  I’m proud that I’m not using Lupron as an excuse to stay on the couch, even when I don’t feel the best.  Endometriosis isn’t going to win this.  It’s not going to beat me, and it doesn’t have to beat you either.

Here’s my playlist in case you’d like to use it:

  1. Tik Tok – Ke$ha
  2. Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon
  3. Lips are Movin – Meghan Trainor
  4. Boom Boom Pow – The Black Eyed Peas
  5. Hey Mama – The Black Eyed Peas
  6. Toxic – Britney Spears
  7. Lose Yourself – Eminem
  8. Word Crimes – Weird Al
  9. Chariots of Fire – London Philharmonic Orchestra
  10. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  11. Bring Me to Life – Evanescence
  12. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  13. Wannabe – Spice Girls (I finished the race before this one started, thankfully!)
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The Lupron Diaries: Running Update

Today was the first of many 5k races we have planned for 2016.  We picked the Sunshine 5K for its proximity to our house.

Here we are, pre-race (you can tell because I’m still the same shade of white as my visor).

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I always get SO nervous on race days.  We’d planned to get up at 6 am so we’d have a chance to have some coffee and let Indy roam around in the yard before we had to put her back up to leave.  What ended up happening instead, though, was my waking up and noticing that it was already light outside, checking my phone, and seeing that it was actually 6:47 and we’d grossly overslept.  It was a good thing that the race was only five minutes from the house, so we did still have time to have a cup of coffee, and it was nice not to have to drive into downtown Charlotte to get to the venue.

I was more nervous this time than I have ever been before; I knew I was going to try to run as much of the race as I could, and we didn’t have the excuse of having Indy with us this time, so I was going to have to quit punking out and just run the damn thing.  I also hadn’t been able to work out Thursday because of some respiratory congestion (which I still had), so I was afraid that I’d end up coughing up a lung during the race and have to be carted away (by ambulance, of course) to the minute clinic.

Thankfully, my girls were already there when we arrived; we chatted a bit–or tried to, at least, over the deafening music.

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They’re both much faster than I am, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them, but I also knew they’d be waiting for me at the finish line.  I’d previously told Joey to go ahead and do his own pace, but I got nervous right before it started and asked him to stay with me instead.  He didn’t think twice about it.

We ran most of the first mile, and I made it through my entire first song without walking, which was heartening, since we’ve been doing the Mayo Clinic 5k program, which is comprised primarily of short run/walk intervals.  I had no idea how long I’d be able to sustain a run.  Our first mile was about 13:30.

The course was two loops through a neighborhood in Wesley Chapel; it was excellent weather and the houses were pretty.  However, they looped us through a nature trail that was quite narrow and had some slippery foot bridges, which made things rather precarious for someone who’s Lupron clumsy.  I’m also a little curious as to how the lady with the triple stroller managed, and how those around her felt when they were inevitably bottle-necked behind her for that entire section of the course.

My chest congestion was catching up with me by Mile 2 and I had to walk a good portion of that one and the third.  I almost started crying at 2.8 because I knew I wasn’t going to make my goal pace and it wasn’t fair that I got sick three days before the race and I hadn’t lost any weight and I felt like a loser and my house is a wreck and I’m barely even a functional adult anyway (and it just spiraled down further from there).  I told Joey I felt like crying and he said, “that’s going to make it hard to keep pace, and we’re almost done.”   And I saw the main road and heard the music at the finish line.  And we were at 43:30, so Joey said, “let’s run…I think we can make it!”

And we ran.  And then found out that you had to circle around the back of the parking lot at the venue and pass through a gauntlet of portapotties and dumpsters before crossing the finish line.  So we didn’t make it.  We came close, though!

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My girls were there at the end, cheering for me, and then we stayed and cheered for the last finishers.  I did get a race PR, even if it wasn’t quite as fast as I wanted.  And I got to enjoy the best part of friendship and marriage; having people who know what I’m going through pushing me to be successful and waiting at the finish line for me.  It’s hard to beat that.

Incidentally, here’s my playlist for whoever may be interested.  It served me pretty well.

  1. (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone -The Monkees
  2. All the Small Things -Blink 182
  3. American Woman -Lenny Kravitz
  4. Breathe -Prodigy
  5. Bye Bye Bye -*NSYNC
  6. Can You Dig It? -The Monkees
  7. Cocky -Kid Rock
  8. Without Me -Eminem
  9. White & Nerdy -Weird Al Yankovic
  10. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap -AC/DC
  11. Fergalicious -Fergie
  12. Flagpole Sitta -Harvey Danger
  13. What I Got -Sublime

My official time was 46:02, so one minute over my goal of 45:00.  All things considered, though, I’ll take it.

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The Lupron Diaries: Lupron Goals

Needless to say, once I made peace with the litany of terrible side effects I’d read about (even if half of them were exaggerated), I realized that I was going to need to adjust my weight loss goal to be a bit more realistic.  I’d only read one account of someone losing weight while on Lupron, so although I refuse to let myself believe that weight loss is impossible during treatment, I accepted the fact that I probably wasn’t going to be looking at completing my weight loss journey (to the tune of 50-60 more pounds) even if I was extremely diligent with food and fitness.  That was a tough pill to swallow, folks.  I’d already mentally prepared myself to bust ass and get myself to my goal weight come hell or high water, and now I was looking at having to dial that back (and maybe even accept that losing another 10 or 20 pounds would be a struggle).  After much cussing and crying, I re-evaluated and created a new set of “Lupron Goals.”

I decided that I wouldn’t express any weight-related goals in pounds. I know what I have left to lose, and I know that I want to lose as much of it as I can before we were to (potentially) get pregnant.  But I also know that giving myself a number at this point would be self-defeating if the Lupron keeps me from reaching that number as quickly as I want.  As a result, my goals (both weight-related and non) are not number-related accomplishments.

In no particular order:

  • RUN a 5K in its entirety.  I’ve got three scheduled over the next few months (4/23, 5/14, and 6/11).  I’m doubtful that I’ll be running the whole 5K on 4/23, but I do plan to run more than I walk. I’ve tried to become a runner so many times over the last ten years or so, but in the last year, I’ve actually committed and started seeing progress.
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  • Get paid to write.  I’ve wanted to do this for years, and now is the time to start making that happen.
  • Hike Mount Mitchell.  This is the biggie for me.  Joey and I love to hike and camp, and Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. For whatever reason, I feel like making it to the top will be my own way of saying that I kicked Lupron’s ass.  We’re tentatively scheduling the trip for my birthday weekend, which will be a week or so after my final shot.
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  • Not be an butthole to everyone.  Lupron moodiness is a real thing (I’ve learned since the first shot).
  • Not eat everything in sight all of the time.  Lupron hunger is also a real thing (more on all of this in a future post).

So, that’s it. No “be at a current weight by the end of the summer.”  No “stay under 100 grams of carbs every day.”  No “work out 5 days a week.”  I know what’s required to get across the finish line at a race and to the top of Mount Mitchell.  And every step I take toward that is a giant middle finger to the face of this drug that’s defeated so many women.

Blisters Suck and Quinoa Rocks

Shelli, shortly before a spaz attack

I’m going to have to figure out a good way to deal with blisters if I’m going to be successful at this running thing.  I put bandaids over my blister from yesterday and it hurts even worse today.  I didn’t let it stop me, though.  I heard electrical tape or duct tape works, so I’ll probably try that Saturday when we go.

Today is my Dad’s BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!  Happy Birthday, Dad!!!  You are most definitely the bestest dad in the entire world.  And, for the record, my dad is totally B-A.  Which is awesome:).

I tried Quinoa for the first time tonight.  It’s really easy to make…the instructions are virtually the same as for white rice, but you get something of much greater nutritional value.  It’s a 1:2 ratio (quinoa:water)…bring to boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  The taste?  Slightly nutty and corny, and chewy.  I thought it was fantastic.  And it’s cute, too, with the little curly tail.

I’ll have a pic of my dinner and a recipe for you tomorrow (stupid Picasa hasn’t uploaded it yet).

Now, time to take my tired arse to bed.

I Am A Runner

**cross-posted to my food/fitness blog, Eating Back to Good! )**

Hi.  My name is Melanie, and I am a runner.  I can’t run a mile yet.  Actually, I can’t even run ten minutes straight yet, but I am a runner nonetheless.  I am a runner because I run.  Not just because I want to run, but because I put feet to pavement (ok…to treadmill…seriously, it’s 100* outside with 110% humidity, and I’m not stupid).

I am a runner because I’ve almost grasped that moment where everything in my body is working in harmony and I’m humming along, feeling like I can conquer the whole world with the power in my legs and feet.  I am a runner.  I am a runner because, despite my frantically gasping for air (breathe through your freaking nose, you idiot!), being slightly off-balance, and mouthing the words to *NSYNC (thereby rendering myself a complete gym-dork to everyone around me), I keep on running.

I am a runner.  I am a runner because, despite the fact that I cannot seem to get my shoes and socks to fit right so that I don’t get blisters, I’m still going to run tomorrow (albeit probably with moleskin, bandaids, and duct tape).

I am a runner.  I am a runner because I know that, in some weeks, I’ll compete in my first 5K.  I won’t win.  I don’t expect to.  But I will finish.  And the next one will be easier.

My name is Melanie, and I am a runner.