Martini Fridays: even the best of plans aren’t foolproof

This training cycle has not gone as planned.

I’ve tried to keep this running engine on its proverbial tracks. I really, really have. Two weekends ago, I went for a 10-mile run, just like I was supposed to. The morning was Goldilocks perfect: not too hot and not too cold. Just windy enough, with a few gusts to keep it interesting. I was at just the point in my audiobook that I wanted to keep running so that I can hear what happens next. This long run that more than made up for the demoralizing one from the previous week.

The weather for my last long run could not have been better.
The weather for my last long run could not have been better.

Heck, I’d even been hitting my tempo run goals — and discovered that I actually like tempo runs, which can only mean that I ought to pick up the pace. I finally felt like I was finally out of my mid-13.FUN rut.

And then I had surgery last Thursday, September 11.

Remember Jerkface, my fibroid? The one who has made the last year-plus of my life extra unpredictable? And, at times, extra messy? Last week, I had an endometrial ablation (NovaSure, for those scoring at home) in order to stop the madness.

Well, maybe stop the madness. I won’t know for certain until a few months have passed. I am cautiously optimistic.

I got all of my runs in at the beginning of last week even with various pre-op appointments with my GYN and the hospital. I had blood drawn. I pee’d in various cups, which has gotten harder with each passing year. I asked all kinds of questions about what was going to happen, as I do. The most pressing one for this column was: when can I run again? To which my doctor said, “Maybe do some walking for a few days when you feel up to it and see how it goes.” Which I interpreted as “by Monday you’ll feel great.”

I didn't take any pictures while passed out in bed, recovering. So I'm using this one instead, which is of both of my nurses.
I didn't take any pictures while passed out in bed, recovering. So I'm using this one instead, which is of both of my nurses.

My doctor, by the way, also seems convinced that I’m running a marathon in October, even though I keep reminding her that it’s only 13 miles. She’s not a runner, clearly, but is in all other respects a lovely person. We even go to the same local gym. It’s a small town.

Anyhoo, my GYN always does the ablation procedure in conjunction with a D&C, which might be more detail than you really want. But I know we’re all about the TMI at AMR so there it is. She also prefers to have her patients completely knocked-out for all of it, which, frankly, is my preference, too, even for simple stuff like having my teeth cleaned or scrubbing toilets.

I haven’t had general anesthesia for decades and had clearly forgotten how it sucks the life right out of you, especially on top of all of the other things that happened to my body while my mind was away. I knew I’d spend the bulk of the 24 hours after surgery in some quasi-conscious state while my system worked to figure out what in the heck had happened. What I didn’t count on were the waves of complete exhaustion that have colored the last week.

Other than the day of the procedure itself, I haven’t been in any real pain — and even the day-of pain was more like really intense menstrual cramps, which were easily tamed by ibuprofen. But I have been beyond tired, which I’ve only made worse by not giving up and lying down, thereby exhausting myself further, bursting into tears because I’m so miserable, and still not lying down because I’m an idiot. Lather, rinse, repeat.

On Monday, it was all I could do to teach two classes and get myself home, much less run. But by Tuesday, I was feeling zippy enough to give the stationary bike a spin and made it through the rest of the day feeling pretty good. Wednesday I did the first strength routine from 13.FUN. And on Thursday, I decided to see how the old running legs felt and to see if my uterus would finally fall out. The short answers: pretty good and nope.

I had just the right t-shirt for my first run back from surgery.
I had just the right t-shirt for my first run back from surgery.

I have zero idea how I’ll pick up the training from here. I don’t have the luxury of just starting from where I left off because the date of the race is too close and I haven’t a week to spare. I’ve resigned myself to giving up my more ambitious time goal, which was under 2:30, simply because I don’t think I can get all of the speedy miles and extra long runs in before race day comes - and I’m also pretty sure it’s not even a good idea to try given what I just put my body through.

I do, however, think I’ll be able to finish my half marathon, provided nothing too debilitating happens during the next few weeks. But given the way the rest of my training has gone, all bets are off.

So, mother runners, what would you do? Pick up the week that got skipped and cut the taper short? Or pick up from where the calendar says I should be and hope for the best? Or some third option that I’m not thinking of?

15 responses to “Martini Fridays: even the best of plans aren’t foolproof

  1. Do NOT cut the taper short. Skip a training week and adjust runs down if needed. The taper is more important to your performance and recovery.

  2. I am training for a half too and have been having some calf pain so I skipped some runs. Then I realized the date is getting close and I don’t know if I have done enough long runs. I may do one more long run at the very beginning of my taper just to be safe. I also have given up my original time goal. Don’t know if it is the smartest plan but I think I mentally need to do it. Today I did 11 miles and it did not go well. I want to have a better long run under my belt. But that is just me. Go with your gut!

  3. I am useless with taper advice, because i always ignore it. But! But! I second and third all those who say listen to your body post-anaesthesia. I once received wonderful advice from a surgeon friend of mine who said that I needed to stop expecting my body to do stuff it wasn’t ready for, and if I felt weird and tired from anaesthesia, i should rest. Not that I’m telling you to rest, just to listen to your body. Also, I love your posts. love. them.

  4. I just had the same ablation on the 2nd of September and although I’m not training for anything, I definitely feel slower and weaker on my daily runs. I’m getting tired of all the leaking too. I’m past the two week window where you can use a tampon but when I tried a tampon it didn’t absorb the liquid-y discharge so I’m stuck with a pad and then I just feel the draining while I’m running and feel drained as a result (not to mention the chafing that happens if I don’t lube enough). I would just continue to listen to your body and get whatever runs in that you can.

  5. Having had fibroid surgery twice, I can so relate. The first time I was in my early 40s and bounced back in less than a week. The 2nd time, I was 50, and well, it took a bit longer. Granted I’m a more experienced runner, but it still kicked my butt some. Remember though, you’ll be fine regarding that aspect of life. As for your training, I’m going against the grain a bit as I don’t think you need as long a taper as the half plan includes – so IMHO, I’d say you pick up from where you left off and skip one taper week. Good luck, and I enjoy your posts.

  6. Don’t touch that taper! 🙂 I would pick up where the plan is right now, but freely modify it to what you’re comfortable doing.
    And depending on how you feel, play the race by ear. You might surprise yourself!

  7. As others have already said, don’t skip the taper. Pick up exactly where the calendar says you should be, if you can manage those runs. I would also adjust my goals for this race.

    I had the same surgery about five years ago. Once I was recovered, it was like night and day compared to my pre-surgery life. I hope you have the same results!

  8. Definitely keep the taper. Stick with the plan as best you can, but listen to your body. You already know you can do the distance.

  9. I had a similar dilemma with this year’s half marathon, no surgery (thank goodness) but the end of the year teacher madness kept me from getting in all my long runs the month prior to the race. With 2 weeks away I debated whether to make it up or taper. I kept saying better to under train than over train and concentrated on the training weeks I had stayed on track. Although I had to adjust my goal time a little, I had a great race. Felt wonderful the day of and most importantly didn’t dissolve into a pile of exhaustion after 🙂 Wishing you the best for your race day!

  10. Definitely keep the taper! I recently had a minor back injury (nothing compared to have anything inside my body obliterated, but still) and I had to just pick up where I left off…which leaves me with a 9 miler this morning that I don’t I feel quite ready for. However, I’ve been told more than once ’tis better to under train than over train. You will do great!

  11. What Beth said: pick up where you left off, keep the taper. Your body is dealing with the stress and healing from procedure, anesthetic. Give it a little extra TLC and you might be pleasantly surprised with results. Pushing is high risk for fatigue, poor recovery, injury.

    Glad things are improving for you, even if slowly. I know anesthetic always makes me feel tired & odd for about a week, not sure if that’s just how long it takes me to process, but I’ve heard similar from others.

  12. Pick up where you left off, don’t skip the taper, skip the week before the taper. You are going to do great, training plans are not exact science, they are a plan & it doesn’t take too much research to find out that 10 expert trainers &’magazines will all have different plans for same distance all promising the same result. Chances are you exceeding one or even 9 of them because the AMR tends to be on the max end. Go out and have fun, & celebrate how far you have come!

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