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Martini Fridays: Jerkface, the Fibroid, and Other Tales

Where's John Madden when you need him?
Where's John Madden when you need him?

Welcome to Friday, and this edition of Martini Fridays, where Adrienne Martini runs long and talks about Jerkface.

Apparently, I’m going to spend the entire summer—well, what’s left of it—re-arranging the training schedule. Week 4’s long run had to go on Thursday, not Saturday, which pushed Thursday’s NS: 5 miles (3,2) to Saturday, which, given how I’d re-arranged the rest of the week, made Friday a rest day. Confused? Yeah. Me, too. But I’ve been drawing circles and arrows all over my copy of the training plan so that I can keep track.

The long run was the first ten miler of this cycle. The middle two miles were to be at race pace. There were hurdles, not literal ones, mind, because I know I don’t have enough gazelle in me to run hurdles without breaking something.

Hurdle #1: What the heck is my race pace? My goal for this 13.1 is to come in under 2:30, because shaving 18 minutes of off my first half is within the realm of possibility, especially given that I spent a good 8-9 minutes of that race waiting for or occupying the porta-potty and another minute after than trying to get my dang skirt pulled back up.

I plugged my time goal into an online pace calculator—this one, but I reckon any will do -- and it spat out that I should run 11:26 miles. So mote it be.

During the long run, I managed one mile under 11:30 and five under 12. Not exactly what the plan called for but as close as I could get under the circumstances.

Generally, the circumstances were good. The weather was perfect because a cold front had blown away an especially cloying wave of hot and humid. I was as rested as I get and had eaten decently the day before. Plus, I had new shoes—and who doesn’t love a run in new shoes?

This week, there were clams. At last, our long national nightmare is over.
This week, there were clams. At last, our long national nightmare is over.

Which leads to Hurdle #2:  Despite the fact that I’ve been through four pairs of Brooks Ghost 6s and have loved every single one right out of the box, something about this new pair was just a little bit different. By the end of the run, I had a blister on my right big toe and between two of my left less big toes. After three plus years of running, I finally have my first blisters! Hooray?

(Also - it seems that Brooks will be phasing out the Ghost 6 because the price has dropped and I’ve seen Ghost 7s on the shelf.  First they came for my favorite socks and I said, well, a lot. Now they’ve come for my favorite shoes. Oh, the humanity.)

Hurdle #3 has been the summer of 2014. I’ve finally figured out what I don’t like about summer runs: I end up feeling like an overburdened sherpa because I don’t have enough pockets on my hot weather gear. By the time I strap on Herr Garmin, a pouch for my phone and house key, and a small handheld water bottle that also has a pocket for Gu, I barely have the mobility to hit the start button. Plus, my handheld water bottle just isn’t cutting it anymore because I was dreaming about a pool-sized cherry slushie by mile seven—and I really don’t even like slushies, cherry or otherwise. I’m going to have to add a waist belt with H2O, which means I’ll have even more crap on my person.

When did I start requiring so. much. stuff to run? And where is my support staff who travels ahead of me to set up water tables and nutrition stops?

But gear hasn’t been the biggest hurdle, really. It’s the other life stuff—the non-running stuff, if you can believe such a thing exists—that has been getting in the way this summer. The biggest of which is my uterus. And if you are at all squeamish about TMI, look away, because it’s about to get extra TMI-y.

TMI, ordered up.
TMI, ordered up. Do not Google pictures of fibroids, especially before breakfast.

I had my annual appointment of womanly fun a couple of months ago. I mentioned to my GP that my periods had moved from “annoying but not dreadful” to “unpredictable tsunami.” An ultrasound was ordered and a smallish fibroid was discovered. I’ve named it Jerkface, because it is one.

Last week, Jerkface and I went to a new GYN to discuss options. She mentioned endometrial ablation (NovaSure is the brand name she does, fyi), which is sounding more and more like it’s in my future, because the present situation is growing untenable and gross. Swear on a stack of Runner’s World, my first question was about how the procedure would affect my training for the Syracuse Half. The new GYN is not a runner, by the way, and I had to explain how far a half marathon is and what the training is like. She anticipates that I might have to take a week off from the hard workouts but easier runs might be OK a couple of days after. Or I could wait to have everything done after the race, which, eh. I don’t know. I’d prefer to do it sooner, like tomorrow.

Which is why I’m again throwing myself on the mother runners, some of whom have faced similar questions, I’m certain. What has your experience been? How have you handled your own Jerkfaces? And how long did it take for you to get back on your feet?

37 responses to “Martini Fridays: Jerkface, the Fibroid, and Other Tales

  1. just had a hysterectomy myself, also for the fibroids. I’m curious to know when folks were able to get back to running…i feel great on day 7, walking for an hour or more every day and very antsy to get back in shape…. Thanks for any replies!

  2. This is a well timed topic. I am also facing ablation which I’ve put on the back burner for a couple of years. The ‘fix’ of going back on BCP after having tubes tied is no longer working to control the flow. I had a thickened uterus (whatever that means) – no jerk faces that I know of. Great to read all of the positive responses regarding ablation. I’m now motivated to take action. Best of luck to you, Adrienne!

  3. I had an ablation about 10 years ago and, not exaggerating, it changed my life. I wasn’t a runner at the time and have since gone through menopause but my life was in chaos from periods. The procedure itself was simple and recovery time was short.
    Good luck and feel better!

  4. Ended up having my own jerkfaces (multiple) and was astounded at how much they could take over my life, and how they came about in the first place. I had 5 or six of them, the largest being about the size of a grapefruit and causing my abdomen to noticeably distend. After considering my options, I opted for a hysterectomy (especially given the size and my need for a permanent solution). Unfortunately, less invasive alternatives were not an option, although my hyst was done minimally-invasively. Miracle of miracles — my surgeon was able to do the surgery (all 5 hours of it) robotically. I had five small incisions and was discharged that very same day. Spent two+ weeks at home removing the anesthesia cobwebs from my brain and bounced back fairly quickly after that. I was walking about an hour each day almost immediately and got back into running 6 weeks after.

    Jerkfaces were making my running misery. I had to stop constantly to pee. Makes it kind of hard to train for any distance when you’re trying to find the next pit stop. Also, that bulky feeling is just so “meh.” It was only after my surgery that I could even contemplate bigger running goals. I did two half marathons in 2013-2014. I’m training for my first marathon now.

    Don’t let having to modify your schedule or have downtime bother you. Consider the longer arc of your health and well-being. I trust that after taking care of Jerkface you will be a better version of yourself.

  5. I had two fibroid procedures done – one when I was 43 and one again when I was almost 50 (one month early). Both times, I had an embolization (UFE) and although I had to have it twice as new fibroids grew, in both cases they saved me from those annoying periods or in between periods when I would experience Niagara falls, but not in the nice type of way. After the first procedure, I was out about 1 week and began running again, but the 2nd time took a bit longer (3 wks), but i had let them go too long the 2nd time and well, I was also a bit older and not in as good a shape. However, the first time I had it done in late May and ran the Chicago Marathon and the 2nd time, I had it done right after Thanksgiving and ran Boston – so no real worries there. You are younger than I was, so I’m guessing the healing time will be even less. I msut say that the 2nd procedure threw me right into full blown menopause and that has been harder to deal with in some respects; however, my budget for tampons and other such stuff is now only reserved for my 21 yr old daughter!

  6. I waited too long – and my fibroids invited all their friends to party along. Things got nasty. Like – carry a complete change of clothes in my car at all times, I had an entire drawer at work dedicated the the red flood, just awful awful stuff. I tried to wait it out, hoping menopause would hit and kill them……but ended up having a hysterectomy (the robotic laser kind) which was the best thing ever. HOwever – if you can head that off by doing this procedure, do it NOW. That tsunami of red will only get worse. Good luck!

  7. I had an ablation several years ago before I began my running life but I can tell you it is the best thing I ever did! My periods were unpredictable and at times I thought all the blood from my body was gushing out amidst the largest clots imaginable. I can’t imagine attempting to run at the same time. I can’t recall being down for any length of time. I may have had some minor discharge for a few days but no pain associated with it. I’d say do it ASAP and bleeding be gone!

  8. M- “perimenopausy stuff” was irregular periods, sometimes occurring 2x/month, VERY heavy, clots, etc. Going through super plus tampons in an hour, ruining underwear, clothes. Really debilitating for a couple of days. I always had pretty heavy periods, but it became intolerable once I was in my 40’s. (I am now 44). I had the procedure when I was 43. Best decision I ever made.

  9. We are a fibroidy crew! I had an ablation 6 years ago, and made it another five before needing a hysterectomy. I found the ablation easy to recover from (I think one week later I was running again, though carefully at first — I am built and run like you, if it’s helpful). And for the record, if you’re a candidate for laprascopic hysterectomy, I can also vouch for those — I ran a 5K 10 days after my laprascopic hysterectomy. My periods were tremendously lousy (as in, going through a large tampon every 10 – 20 minutes at the worst), so I will say it’s incredibly freeing to be done with that. Good luck! I know your misery.

  10. If you’re not having issues with it bothering you (i.e., extra cramping and/or bleeding), I’d put off any procedure until after your race. Also, get a second opinion.

    I had a bunch of fibroids removed about 4 years ago. The first doc told me I’d need a hysterectomy because the largest one (larger than a lemon) was in the middle of the uterine walls. I fussed over that diagnosis for months because I just didn’t want a hysterectomy despite not wanting more children. I was 40 at the time. My fibroids were growing at a kind of alarming rate, although my doctor was fairly certain they were benign. So I got a second opinion and the doctor was able to save my uterus. I did have abdominal surgery because laparoscopic was not going to work because of the inflexibility of my uterus (it’s not just my hamstrings that are inflexible!).

    My advice is, get a second opinion and put it off a few months if you can.

  11. An ablation was an option for me 8+ years ago when the tsunami hit and interrupted my busy life but I didn’t have a Jerkface. My grandmother died of ovarian cancer and having an ablation can make it even more impossible than it already is to diagnose that type of cancer so I went with a Mirena IUD instead. Not much of a period now. Yay! Can you just have the fibroid removed? (My BRF had that done and I think she was only recovering for a few days). Good luck!!

  12. Perimenopausy stuff? Can you say more? Would it be random bleeding from spotting to tampon-requiring and mood swings/breakouts? Didn’t even think about ablation….just have been wondering how much longer I have to deal with this! Happens even tho I’m on continuous bcp. Just turned 48.

  13. OMG! I too am facing ablation in the near future! I am also training for a half and have been told that I’ll be up and running in no time after the procedure.

  14. I also LOVE the Ghost 6’s. I just found another pair online in my size, and I tried the 7’s, just didn’t feel right to me.
    I would also recommend the ablation, although I had it done not for fibroids, but just “perimenopausy” stuff! My doctor told me the results are not always as good for ladies who have it done for fibroids. For me, the results were FANTASTIC. No.more.periods. This has been great for my running.
    I was able to run within a couple of days. I had the Thermasure procedure, with the heated balloon. It was done in my doctor’s office with sedation.

  15. Oh, that super sucks. I have no advice; I usually go for broken legs and sprained ankles for my running interruptions, so there’s no question if I could run on it or not. Good luck!

  16. Unable to provide input on jerkface, however do have suggestions on the hydration options. I recently purchased a Camelbak Arc 1 belt; it has one 10 oz. bottle, pocket for key. Nice, however at longer distances have found that I want water as well as Nuun, and also need more than 10 oz. Decided to go for a 2-fer; read reviews on numerous sites and found the Ultimate Direction Jurek Endure Hydration Waistpack. This boasts 2 bottles, 8 oz. each, and so both liquids are at the ready. Also has small holder for key(s), phone and Gu. The way the holders are configured, the bottles fit very snugly against the back and hardly move.

    Hope you are able to tend to your health and ease back to training with us soon!

  17. I had a “stalked fibroid” removed surgically with no ablation, and it made a HUGE difference in my life. My jerkface was very large, but only attached by a thin stalk so they did not do any additional tissue removal. I believe I was up and active in a day or two with little or no real discomfort. I agree with Carla- that if I had known how “easy” (if surgery is ever really easy) this was going to be I would have done it after the first tsunami instead of waiting a year or more.Hope it all goes well for you!

  18. I have a small jerk face residing on my uterus, but thankful he’s been pretty quiet these last few years. I work in a pathology lab, so see this type of stuff daily so no TMI here. 🙂 I hope you are on the mend soon, and totally agree with summer running and way. too. much. gear to carry.

  19. I had the ablation first week of April, life changing is all I can say. I was working out easy run day 2 after or day 3 if you count the day of procedure. Wish I had not tried everything under the sun for three years prior.

  20. Re fibroids – while I was considering ablation options, I was doing accupuncture and when I went back to my OB to discuss timing of procedures, my fibroids had shrunk to small enough not to cause tsunami situations and too small for procedure. Might not work here as you are looking for immediate impact….

  21. I, too, had an ablation two years ago. I think my dr recommended 2 weeks no running. I had some relief from it, but ended up with a hysterectomy last year. I’m happy I did that and wish I’d have skipped the ablation but that’s me. Ablation didn’t help other female members of my family either. Hope you are in the 90% it helps!!

  22. I’m sorry to hear about your fibroid. As for Sherpa-I’ve got your solution-I LOvE my Nathan race vest. It has a camelback type water bladder, pockets in the front for phone, gu, etc and it clips securely so it doesn’t jiggle around or chafe. At all. I’m a plus sized runner, chugging along in the high 12’s/low 13’s and sweat a LOT so the abailability of a lot of water is a huge plus! I actually plop in some nuun tablets.

  23. You manage to put a smile on my face every week. I love your writings!
    Have the procedure! I had it done 5 years ago as I began menopause. One of my best decisions I made and I recovered quickly within a few days. I wish it was this simple for other
    (old) lady issues.

  24. I had my ablation just over two years ago, right before I was set to run my 2nd half. My first question was also how it would affect my training. The procedure was fine, I took a few days off then resumed running as scheduled and did my race less than a month later. I felt great! No period sinnnce, so it has dramatically impacted my life, and my running, for the better. Good luck!

  25. I had the same NovaSure ablation five years ago. I was back running after three days…maybe not doing super hard runs for a couple weeks, but definitely easy runs were no prob. Five years later, the monthly visitor is back, but regular and pretty light and bearable. I highly recommend the ablation. Recovery is definitely not bad., at least it wasn’t for me!

  26. I had that procedure done 4 years ago, and nary a drop has been seen since!:) I felt great the next day, and while I was not a runner at the time, I was able to get back to my regular workouts in about a week. Obviously it varies person-to-person, but the recovery is nothing like you’d have for a hysterectomy. Go for it!!

  27. I was also considering ablation for some similar problems until I spoke to a friend who had it done and she was instructed NO exercise for 6 weeks following the procedure. She was allowed back to work and regular life immediately, but longer waiting for workouts. Be sure you find out exactly what recovery entails. Good luck.

  28. No comment on Jerkface. Just wanted to suggest trying the Saucony Ride. I’m on my 3rd pair since switching from Ghosts. (I love your writing. )

  29. I’m actually going to see my gyno today to discuss my options, has anyone gotten anemic from the excessive bleeding? I can barely run a mile anymore, and i used to be able to go out and do 4 without blinking too much

  30. I had the procedure done in 2010 & couldn’t be happier. I did wait the full recovery time and aunt flow hasn’t been back to see me since. My running partner had it done and ran soon after, and flow visits get on occasion, just not as bad as before. I think recovery time is crucial, but I’m not a doctor. The ablation was a blessing for me, I’d recommend it to anyone who has problems down south.

  31. I had it done 4 yrs ago–one of the best decisions of my life (after marrying my husband :D)! I took a week off (walking only), had spotting for about 2 months, then nothing since. I don’t have fibroids, so can’t speak to that aspect of it. Good luck!!

  32. Have the procedure while the fibroid is small! I too had a fibroid (this option wasn’t offered to me) and it grew quite rapidly to the point that I looked pregnant and had trouble urinating. I had a partial hysterectomy. While I wouldn’t recommend that procedure for you, it changed my life. No more periods? Yes please! I know many people who have had uterine ablation and have been very pleased with the outcome.

  33. Had this procedure 2 years ago after years of suffering with tsunamis. Kick my self for waiting so long. I had a very easy recovery. Done on a Friday. Ran on Monday 3 miles which was my longest run at that time. I would think your Doc’s guess about what you will be able to do is right on. Just do it!

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