“Listen to your body. Do not be a blind and deaf tenant.” – Dr. George Sheehan
For all you extreme runners out there listen to your body. I listen to my body when I am training but it is hard for me to fully tune in on race day. When the going gets tough I typically ignore. After I conquered 2 marathons in 10 days (yes this was on my bucket list, I needed to know how it felt to run on truly fatigued legs if I was ever going to run an ultra) my body was left mangled. I had the normal fatigue and pain that comes with marathon running and then some. My abdomen was tender to the touch and grew with pain whenever I attempted to eat or walk (it is getting better). On Monday I saw my doctor (a man I don’t care to see too often, it has been 6 years since we last met) to examine my body. After blood work and an ultrasound the results are in and I am going to live (yay)! I should not make light of my situation, it takes one hell of a runner to know when enough is enough and clearly I did not. My mother and in-laws think I am selfish and should think of my family before taking on these endeavors but it is who I am. I do think of my family (often) and I know I am making the right decisions for them and for me. I have always thought of myself as invincible when I run because I train, hydrate and eat properly. I care for myself and take time off when needed. However, after the 2 marathon extravaganza I was reminded that I am still human and I have limits. The body is an amazing thing. It can take us where ever we want to go and it can keep us from going anywhere.
Today my doctor informed me he found high levels of muscle enzymes in my blood. He believes my cramping is due to dehydration (causing my GI and colon to become inflamed due to a lack of blood and water during prolonged activity). The significant tears in my muscles forced most of the water and blood in my body to feed the muscles and repair damaged cells. Leaving my organs and GI track deprived of both. He also believes this is why I had trouble taking in fluids around mile 20 (my body was trying to warn me something was wrong and I needed to stop or slow down). Of course I did not listen fully. I slowed down a little and came to terms with not setting a PR. I began solving math problems to ensure I had not lost my cognitive ability. I could think clearly and speak fluently all the way to the chute. I knew I was hurting but it didn’t seem that bad. I have learned in this small experience to not take life for granted.
“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.” –