Marathon Training: Week One

May 7, 2019 sees us at the end of the Struggle Buster Trio’s first week of marathon training. It didn’t go as well as we had planned.

This past weekend was suppose to see Stephanie, Anita and I continue our training together with a long run on Sunday. But it didn’t work out that way.

Stephanie and I hoped to PB in Saturday’s race

Stephanie and I ran in the Run for Epilepsy on Saturday. We had both hoped for personal best (PB) times on this flat and fast 5 km route. I had abdominal pains that started on the Thursday before, which gradually progressed in intensity for the weekend. I have been diagnosed with diverticulosis, which, given the location of my pains, was likely flaring up again. It had been almost a year since my last flare up, and this one was particularly bad. I decided to tough it out and see what happened.

I have diverticulosis

Diverticulosis is a condition that develops slowly as you age. Doctors aren’t entirely sure, but they think the condition is the result of being overweight, inactive and eating a low fiber diet. That was me for most of my adult life. I was obese from my mid 30s to my late 40s, up until about 5 years ago. My unhealthy lifestyle caught up to me in a big way. I have diverticulosis as one result. And I think breast cancer and liver problems were also a result. I know my weight, unhealthy diet and inactivity increased my risk for developing such things.

What happens to cause this condition is that the bowel wall weakens. Any increase in pressure in the abdomen can push on weak spots in the outer wall. The inner lining of the gut then pushes through the weakened areas in the intestinal wall, creating little balloon-like pouches. It’s like little hernias all along the gut.

Mostly, people with diverticulosis have no symptoms. Many people don’t even know they have it. I found out by accident when I went for a routine colonoscopy. My mother died of colon cancer over 10 years ago. Her legacy is for me to go for routine testing every 3 to 5 years, as there is an inherited component to colon cancer. During my first colonoscopy, they found the diverticula in my bowels. I had no symptoms then and hadn’t had any flareups before.

My diverticulosis became diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is when those little bowel out-pouchings become inflamed or infected. Again, doctors don’t know exactly why this goes from diverticulosis (no symptoms) to diverticulitis (inflamed and painful), but there are certain risk factors. These risk factors are lack of exercise, obesity, smoking, genetics and some medications, including anti-inflammatory medications. I am now active, no longer obese, and I don’t smoke. I had been taking ibuprofen for my knee lately. So that may have been why this time? Who knows. I have taken ibuprofen before without issues. It is just a guess.

The pain started in my lower left abdomen on Thursday night and radiated up the left side and across the bottom by Friday. It varied in intensity over a couple of days…sometimes feeling not too bad, sometimes making me wonder if I should go to the hospital. Thankfully those “maybe I should go to the hospital” pains were short and infrequent. I was still determined to run in the 5 km race on Saturday. I know… I am stubborn like that.

See your doctor if you have abdominal pain

I recommend that anyone with abdominal pain go to see their doctor ASAP. I have been through this before, I knew what had worked for me in the past and I decided to wait and see if it would get better. Had it gotten worse, I would have gone to the hospital. I’m stubborn, but not unreasonable.

The 5 km Run for Epilepsy was on Saturday

On Saturday, I took some ibuprofen for the pain. I know… WRONG! But it was handy and I needed something. I dressed in my run gear and headed out to the start of the Run for Epilepsy with my husband.

We met Stephanie at the stadium. She looked tired. She was up at 5:00 am to take her daughter to swim training and had a grueling week at work. So, we were both not in great shape to try for personal best times in a 5 km. But we tried.

Stephanie, my husband and I at the Run for Epilepsy

The Race Start

Stephanie took off like a shot when the gun went off. I tried to keep up with her and did manage to run a 6:15/km for the first kilometer. Then Stephanie picked up her pace and my pace slowed. In my mind, I wished her well, good speed and a great time. Then I watched as she sped away and increased the distance between us. I settled into an uncomfortable pace of 6:30/km for most of the rest of the race. However, the last kilometer found me struggling and my pace dropped further.

The Race finish

I finished with a time of 33:17. Stephanie was the third woman across the finish line with a time of 30:27. Neither of us got a personal best. But we were happy with our times given the condition we were both in. Despite our tiredness and pains, we ran good races.

Stephanie and I showing off our 5 km finisher medals at the Run for Epilepsy Race.

My husband ran a good 10 km race and crossed the finishing line with a time of 40:15, receiving the prize for second place.

My husband crossing the finish line after 10 km at the Run for Epilepsy
Receiving the second place award.

Post-Race Recovery

After the race, I went home and rested. Stopping at the pharmacy on the way home, I switched my pain medications to Tylenol. Tylenol is much more compatible with diverticulitis. Having not eaten since Friday trying to settle down my diverticulitis flare up, I was feeling weakened. I made some jello to set by suppertime and heated up some chicken broth for lunch.

I put myself on an all liquid diet to help settle it down, yet give me some nourishment. Stephanie, Anita and I had 10 miles to run on Sunday yet. I needed something to keep my strength up to run the next day.

Then I napped most of the rest of Saturday.

Our Sunday Morning Long Run just didn’t happen this week

Feeling weak when I woke up on Sunday, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to run 10 miles. I opted to just run in the Cinco de Mayo 5 km Fun Run that was happening that day. I organized this run, so felt a little obligated to at least try to run it.

Colorful runners at the start of the Cinco de Mayo 5 km Fun Run. I am the shadow taking the photo.

Anita was also not feeling well and was exhausted from her insanely busy week at work. She texted us to let us know she would not be running that day. So, Stephanie decided not to run either, as she was also exhausted.

This is not like the three of us. We rarely, if ever, back out of long runs. We know how vitally important they are for our training. So, you know we were not feeling well this weekend.

Stephanie and I ran the 5 km Fun Run.

I probably shouldn’t have run. At the 2.5 km turn around point, I was feeling exceptionally weak. I think my electrolytes were messed up because of my fasting and drinking a ton of water the past few days. Plus, my bowels were not working well, so would also mess up my electrolytes. I walked for a bit to recover at the turnaround. A fellow runner, Nancy, stayed with me to make sure I was okay. I ran in slowly for the last 2 km.

At restaurant where we finished the run, I stayed for an herbal tea and enjoyed the company of all the runners. Anita had also joined us by then.

I went home, rested again and ate some bland solid food, which made me feel better. Stephanie and Anita also took a rest day, spending time with family. We listened to our tired bodies this weekend.

We are all much better now and good to go for Week Two!

I am happy to report that we are all doing much better now. We hope to get our runs in this week. It is still very early in our training, so we aren’t worried about one missed week. We are determined to continue our training.

This next week, we will be tapering so that we can race in the Fire Fighters 10 Mile Road Race on May 20, 2019. It should be a good race, as always. One of my favorite events. I will let you all know how the next week goes. And I will certainly be blogging about the 10 mile race in 2 weeks.

Until next time, happy running!

Follow us in our trio’s crazy adventures as we train for our first marathon.


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