Running through water

Let’s talk a little bit about chemo and running. After all, I’m totally an expert now after one dose chemo and not even having hung tight until the second dose. Whatever. Anyway, about chemo and running.

It is like running through water. The first few steps of each run I feel amazing. Weightless. Like I am gliding effortlessly along. Then WHAM! Hello wall! I need to read up to understand exactly what I am experiencing here, but basically I seem to go from running easy to the feeling of trudging through a fluid far more viscous than air within a few minutes. I wonder if it has to do with my blood counts? Bio majors, feel free to weigh in!

For those of you who are running or have run while pregnant, it kind of reminds me of the last run that I did during my 34th week; much harder than I think it should be and littered with more walking than I would typically think acceptable.

I am doing my best to maintain perspective and I’m even trying not to get embarrassed when I walk up some of the big hills. [I’m using Kai and Bob as my excuse for needing to walk up hill. P.S. – Chris, Bob needs air in his tires still.] Nevertheless, I can’t help but demand more from myself. I can feel a huge improvement in my energy levels four days out from chemo versus three days out, so maybe the runs will return to the low end of the spectrum of normal runs as I get farther out from the last treatment and my blood counts hopefully approach reasonable levels. Either way, I’ve made it out three out of five days so far, so I at the very least I am collecting a lot of data points to draw conclusions from. For now I guess I just leave my watch home, run my favorite three miles untimed, and act satisfied with the effort.

This running for the sake of running, without regard for pace is such a huge paradigm shift for me that I’m having a lot of trouble coming to terms with it. [You noticed?] I’ll get there, no worries, give me some time.

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7 comments
  1. jillybean222 said:

    Ha, I didn’t even make it through my first trimester x3 running so there is NO way I’d be running while battling cancer…you are superwoman!!! How long between treatments? Is it going to be one of those situations that you start feeling “normal” again just in time for another treatment or will you catch a little break in between?

  2. Yikes, that sounds like some sort of daily simulation training for the final wall-hitting miles of a marathon (except, well… a whole hell of a lot more frustrating). Do the chemo docs have any insight on this? Whenever I have a health question I pretty much just type it into the letsrun forum and see if anybody else had a similar experience (of course, there are plenty of trolls on letsrun so I do this at my own risk)… although with health stuff reading too many forums and too much misinformation/hearsay might just mess with your head… but this thread seemed interesting: http://www.letsrun.com/forum/flat_read.php?thread=2344487 … the third and last posts in the thread/Jenny Goellnitz might be worth checking out.

    You are staying so level-headed and unhysterical through this. People like to throw the word “inspirational” around all willy-nilly in the blog-world, but the fact that you are staying calm while balancing cancer and an infant is truly inspiring.

    • Brit said:

      I’m already well versed in Jenny Goellnitz and her blog! She has some great advice and inspiring stories.

      I’m not doing anything special, just the stuff that needs to be done. I don’t really see it as an option to not do chemo or not take care of Kai, so I’m just doing what I need to do.

  3. Lisa said:

    I’m so inspired by the fact that you’re still getting out there. I’m glad running can provide a time for you to think, unwind, and do something you love — even if it does feel more challenging. Yes, leave the garmin at home! 🙂 No sense in stressing about pace.

    • Junsen said:

      brit, i just stumbled upon your blog from prneeitst (oven fried green beans seems so silly after all i’ve just read ). I just want you to know that I’ll be thinking about you as you travel this cancer journey .I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 13 weeks into my pregnancy with my third child. after surgery, the (amazingly intelligent) docs at Duke and UNC determined treatment was necessary and I had chemo while pregnant. they promised me by baby would be completely safe, which he was. I had surgery again when he was six weeks old .so i guess my point is, i can imagine, somewhat, what you are going through and I know how tough it’s going to be .but i also know how strong we mom’s can be .and i know that you are going to get to the other side of this with flying colors. Your blog is inspiring, and I can tell that you are too. Much love to you and your family. Take good care, and I’m going to be following you to see how great you are doing.your newest fan, kellyps those aforementioned oven fried green beans look amazing. i can’t wait to make them hopefully when i do, it will send you some good vibes to keep feeling great and getting healthy.

  4. Natasha said:

    Continue to fight the good fight! I haven’t been through chemo but after my liver transplant my blood counts ( specifically white blood count) dropped and my energy was the biggest side effect. Walking up stairs would wipe me out. Eventually they started me on neupogen to increase the counts. Neupogen is very common for chemo patients ..the side effects suck but may be an option. Keep up the sense of humor and your positive attitude!

  5. I am impressed that you are still getting out there and running. I’d like to think I’d be able to do the same but let’s face it – I’m a pro at making up BS excuses when I’m feeling lazy with not legit reason not to run. Seriously, you impress me! That being said, mentally adjusting your outlook on running and such is not easy, I’m fighting it right now – take your time, do your best to enjoy it and screw what the rest of the world may or may not be thinking about any changes you make with running {ie, more walking, lower miles, etc} – you’ve got a lot going on in life right now!

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