Friday, October 29, 2010

Update on Running and Life

I just realized I never wrote a Wasatch report. Because I had to DNF at Francis Peak, and determine my body is still healing.

However, after taking quite a bit of a break, and doing some "easy" workouts, I am feeling better, my energy is returning, and I am not having the same hydration issues I was having with POTS.

I am starting to think my main problem can be attributed to my adrenal glands having been very stressed out from my first year of grad school having very little sleep, maintaining a full race/boxing schedule, practicum, classes, etc. Basically burning the candle on 5 different ends.

I have had to be very careful in getting a lot of sleep since my body just seemed to stop working for a couple of weeks in July, and my energy has been very low ever since then.

I was sleeping for 10-12 hours on most nights for a couple of months, and still feeling tired. But now, I am finally starting to feel a bit more normal, although I have to be careful and make sure I get no less than 7 hours of sleep a night, so I am in bed by 9-10 pm nearly every night.

But I have started picking up my training again, not back up to quite normal for me, but it is getting up there and running is starting to feel like something I remember that I like doing again, I am training 2 x per week with Tandi, the boxing queen, and she is pushing me a lot, and has recommended some supplements to me that are making a huge difference, and I am not needing abnormal amounts of sodium and potassium to stay alive! This is good news! This means my body is tolerating activity more normally, I am not requiring super high amounts of hydration anymore, this is also good news, and I believe having my adrenal glands starting to work more normally, is controlling some of the POTS symptoms, and even eliminating the need for higher amounts of salt than normal, or at least reducing the crazy amounts that I was having to take.

I pretty much have had to take a position for the moment of doing only what is necessary for my school, practicum, research assistant job, and then doing some physical activity as my body will allow and I have time for, and increasing the amount and intensity at a rate that will not stress my adrenal glands. But right now, sleep is still more of a priority than physical activity in the order of what my body needs, so if there is a choice, sleep is still winning out in importance.

That is starting to shift and balance out. To my friends I have not seen in a while, I am still here, but I am being pretty low-key in life as my body heals. I am happy to say, I am seeing a beginning of a return to my normal self, and ultimately I think my performance is going to be much better than it was before all this stuff occurred, because it has been affecting my abilities to perform, and my speed during endurance events had been losing ground even though my abilities in shorter runs had been improving, and my intensity increasing, but that all was affected as well, when my body seemed to shut down in July.

I skipped out on the Ogden Valley 50 mile run last week, and that was a difficult decision. I had been planning on running it even up through about 8 pm the night before, but I changed my mind after I realized how far behind I was in completing some school work, some stuff for my job, and just that I had been so busy all week, that I was not even ready in having my drop bags and would have been leaving my house after hurrying to pack, and driving the 1:45 hours to Mountain Green, and then running on little sleep, and expecting myself to then make up for the time I spent running by losing more rest on Sunday to catch up with my life.

So instead, being very tired at that point, I decided to go to bed, forget about the 4th year of the streak I was on with that race, and it having been my very first ultra 3 years ago, that was a bit emotional to give up, however, I decided I need to instead focus on healing, and doing what is best for my physical and mental health, and in being able to graduate with my Master's Degree in May and still be alive when I am done.

So instead I realized, that for this year, if I am planning on actually being able to run any races, and survive the demands of my extra clinical hours I have to put in for my practicum, get my course work done, attend to my family's needs as much as I am able to so that my children don't feel abandoned, I have to make an effort to zone in on actually prioritizing and planning so that I can get the work done before hand, without losing sleep, so that if I run a long race, and lose a whole weekend in racing, and sleeping after a race to allow my body to recover properly, and not stress out about having to then catch up on the other obligations I have to get my work done for school, and risk losing ground with my health that is now returning. I need to protect the healing space that I have found.

This has been a mental shift for me, to allow myself to be OK with deciding, even last minute, if a race is going to jeopardize my health and my ability to complete the other demands I have for this year. I used to feel like a failure if I had to DNF, or if I had to decide to not start a race I had committed to run. But I have come to the conclusion, that the only person who really cares if I finish a race, or start a race is myself, and I am holding a measure of importance on something that in the long run, is expendable and will not negatively affect myself or others in how successful I am with life.

On the other hand, if I do not complete my coursework, or meet my obligations to my family, or RA job, or I sacrifice sleep because I am trying to do everything, including a race that I can skip for now, and run next year, than those consequences are actually of significance, and my priorities are not in the right place if that is so.

So, now, I have compromised. I was very sad to miss the OV 50 last week, but it was horrible weather in the end anyway, and I can start over with a streak of 1 next year, and that is that. But not running that race, has allowed me space to get enough things in order, to plan for being completely free to run the new Antelope Island 100K on November 6th, and have any work that I need to have done complete before Friday night, so that when I run Saturday, I can come home, and sleep as much as I need to on Sunday, and wake up ready to do the work I need to on Monday, without scrambling to play the catch up game, and being over tired, and putting myself in a risk for getting sick or moody as a result.

So next up is the 100K, and I mentally preparing and trying to get enough of life in order to not lose sleep over it, plus have my race stuff ready a couple of days before, so I can just drive to the start line and have fun!

I am also working closely with Elena on having a mostly wholefood diet, which is helping my GI problems go way by eliminating anything with Corn Syrup, or refined carbohydrates.... since that seems to be part of my absorption issues.... and that is making a difference big time!

I am taking a new supplement from Nu Skin/Pharmanex, called Vitality, that is making the biggest difference in my energy, endurance, and recovery that I have ever seen with any product! Tandi got me on it, and I was skeptical, but it is making a huge huge difference! I am not needing more than a normal nights sleep, I am tolerating physical activity more normally now, and things are getting much better. I am also on an adrenal supplement with adrenal tissue and b-vitamins, some digestive enzymes, and probiotics.

These have all eliminated my need to have higher amounts of sodium, and my weight is starting to slowly return to normal as well, as at the adrenal problems caused my weight to jump by about 15 lbs, and had caused a 10 lb weight gain during the whole year before, so now I am trying to slowly get my body to drop those 25 lbs, which is a slow process to figure out with dietary adjustments, and just getting my body systems working normally, and getting rid of the fluid retention that has been problematic with all my fluctuating hydration needs.

So, it is quite an interesting process, and things are looking like they are finally staying in a positive upward direction, and leveling out slowly.

I will update on what happens with the Antelope Island 100K next week, and see how my body responds to my first real attempt at a race, with a more positive chance at being successful since my Katcina Mosa DNF.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Call for Pacers

I really want to finish Wasatch next week. I have had some interesting setbacks this year with figuring out my strange body issues. I am figuring them out, but it is still a bit of a guessing game. I would welcome anyone who is interested helping me complete my goal of finishing Wasatch for the moral support. My body is on the mend, and I can run as long as I don't get dehydrated, and can keep my blood sugar stable, but I am still building my confidence back up after this year. It has been a hard year for races, and the DNF's are the ones I have learned the most useful in formation about what to do and not do to in order to be able to keep running and finishing.

So this is just a call out, for anyone that would be interested in helping me stay motivated and hopefully finish this one. I really want to finish, and having the issues on Katcina Mosa really was devastating for me, because I was well prepared, I just didn't know that I am sensitive to fructose, and when I am running that is what was interfering with my blood sugar. I did a long run on Timp, no fructose, and no blood sugar issues!

So anyway, this is I guess an emotional request to help keep me on speed. I want to finish Wasatch more than anything right now. There are a lot of things going that would make this a meaningful finish for me.

Friday, August 13, 2010

POTS Test update

 I heard back from Dr. Joy today, my POTS test came back positive, which means I for sure have POTS. The way they test for it is by having you lie down for 30 minutes and drawing your blood, and then having you stand up for 30 minutes and drawing your blood while standing. Drawing my blood while standing nearly made me pass out, which is a POTS response, not a fear of needles but an androgenic response. What happens, and what they test for is a change in norepinephrine levels when drawing the blood in the supine position vs. standing. If you have POTS your levels will be higher while standing due to an androgenic response. If you test positive then you for sure have POTS, if you test negative, then you can still have POTS. I tested positive, and my standing noepinephrine levels are over 2 x the reference levels, which is very high.

What this means for treatment, I have no idea. Dr. Joy says I am a strange case because I have basically learned to self-manage most of my symptoms and prevent them from worsening intuitively. All of the lifestyle things they would have me do I am already doing, and have been naturally drawn to because I have figured out how to make things better. She doesn't want to put me on a beta-blocker because I am a runner and she says I would hate it. She is consulting with other Dr.'s to see what my treatment options are, but in the mean time my symptoms are generally much improved with the sodium and potassium increases, and I will be working with Elena to figure out if there are ways to improve the blood sugar fluctuation issues during endurance events.

Overall, I feel positive that we are going to figure this thing out and that my running and ability to finish races will improve as we figure out what works and what does not.

Not diabetic!

This is good news! The blood sugar issues I have been having are part of POTS. When I have a stress response I release high amounts of epinephrine which causes an insulin response. This is why during some endurance events, I have blood sugar issues.

So now I will be working with Elena on figuring out a nutrition plan to help minimize this effect, and hopefully be successful at Wasatch next month.

Part of what seems to probably help is getting a lot of sleep before a race, and reducing stress as much as possible. I guess I will be adding on more meditative moments to my life. This will be interesting to try and do this during my second year of grad school!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kactina Mosa and Speed Goat 50K reports

 Well, I am not feeling much like reporting, because I am discouraged a bit at the moment.

The positive, I am finding out more at each race what works with my body, and in many ways improving my situation. On the discouraging side, I am finding out more about my body and how weird it is, and in a phase of a lot of trial and error. The problem is, one error that I don't know about can kill a race for me. That is what happened at Kactina Mosa.

I DNF'd last year due to dehydration after leaving Windy Pass, and I was determined to finish no matter what this year. But it looks like I have to modify my expectation for the time being. I am still in an experimental phase trying to figure out what works with POTS. It seems like I have figured out how to stay hydrated, but it also looks like I am probably diabetic.

I am still undergoing different test, and it is probably early stages, but I think Dr. J is likely to start me on medication on Wednesday. She is also going to do a POTS test, but my blood glucose is showing wild patterns.

It was two bottles of Ensure that killed my race yesterday. So now I know one more what not to eat piece. I decided to start at 1am, and give myself 2 hours extra so that I could take time at every aid station to accurately write down all my intake, because that is part of what I am working on with Elena to figure my body out. I felt fine and determined when I started out, and decided to take the first section moderately. I was surprised at how much easier the hills felt this year. I have been doing a lot of conditioning, core strengthening, and balance exercise, and it has made a huge difference. When I am feeling perfect, it means theoretically my speed on all my races should be faster. Much faster! My running time is actually faster, what is killing me are these metabolic issues that I am still trying to get under control!

I was fine until I got to about mile 17, the turn off to climb the toughest part of the course, Lightening Ridge. It was there that I downed a bottle of Ensure and started the climb. I also figured out since than the the Nathan Catalyst tablets I have been putting in my water are the culprit of my GI problems. They contain fructose, and I am not handling fructose. Anyway, I didn't figure this out until later but basically the Ensure made my blood sugar spike so high that I started having vision problems, and my heart rate jumped to 200 bpm. I had to stop and sit down until it slowed down, and then I could move again. This is how I had to get up the ridge, and about two hours later, I finally felt normal again. This is what I am figuring out my problem is. When I eat something that spikes my blood sugar, it is at it's worse at 30 minutes, and then usually by two hours it is normal. Actually, when I did my 2 hour glucose test I was hypoglycemic at 2 hours, even though I felt horrible, and am pretty sure my sugar spiked in the same pattern. I probably have reflexive hypoglycemia.

So I got to the top of the ridge feeling better, and made it down to Big Springs. I was hoping to make it to Big Springs by 8 or 8:30, but that first blood sugar episode cost me at least 1 hour. I started up the climb to Windy Pass, I had to be more conservative because I was not sure at that point what had caused my heart rate to go up so high, and I felt like I was near having a stroke. But my heart rate never spiked again. I felt like I was edgy with my blood sugar the rest of the race, but could manage it.

I got to the top of Windy Pass with Jeff, who had joined me at Big Springs, around 12:30. It was 2 hours later than I had planned on, but that is how much the Ensure cost me. The good news, at first, was that it started raining, and was cool, unlike the 100 degree heat of last year! So I was able to make good time coming down, until it started lightening and hailing! We had to take cover from the hail for a few minutes. When it passed I still was fine, but started to feel shaky again. I had stopped with the Nathan Tabs because I had figured out they were causing the GI issues, but I think I was not in taking enough Scaps. I needed to be taking in about 12-20 per hour, but was unsure of what was causing me to feel bad, so I was probably only at 8-10 per hour, and started to swell. In taking potassium water helped, and I got enough energy to get down to the aid station at Little Valley 20 minutes before the absolute cut off, and so I did the out and back after in taking another Ensure. I felt a little funny, but still not too bad, and left Little Valley at 4:30. I had 2:45 to make the cut off at the next aid, and would have been able to do it, but about .75 miles from the aid station, I started having problems again. I thought my blood sugar was low, so I ate a Honey Stinger, which probably spiked it even more, and caused me to throw up! My heart rate did not go up again, but I had a foggy head, and just felt horrible, and couldn't move fast. Again, at the 2 hour mark, I started to feel better again, but unfortunately I was still 1.75 miles from the aid station when I felt like I could go on again and it was 6:45.

A guy who is on Utah Valley Search and Rescue, and off duty, drove by me. He was just out exploring the road, and wanted to know where it ended. I said I didn't know, but if he would kindly take me to the next aid station, they probably did. I told him I thought I was having blood sugar issues, and he told me he is diabetic, and a nurse, and in school to become a nurse practionare and specialize in diabetes treatment. Wow, that was the perfect guy to come along! So he tested my blood sugar, and it was not super high, but it was at 136, and I had not eaten since I had puked about 2 hours before, and that is high for me, and probably was on it's way down in the same manner of fluctuation it has been showing.

By the time he dropped me off at the aid station I felt so great, I was helping them break down the station. My legs were not even sore, and they still are not. I know had I not been a victim of Ensure, I would have made it probably 2 hours faster, and been fine! I know I will be fine on Wasatch if I can figure out how to manage this blood sugar issue. It seems like I have the hydration issue under control, but now I need to figure out what works for my blood sugar.

Hammer Gels, and Perpetuem, EFS gel system seem to work OK. Honey Stingers spaced out seem to be OK. Anything with too much simple carbohydrates, corn syrup, etc is bad news!

So the good news is I figured this out before Wasatch, and am more likely to be successful. This is partly why I have done so many hard courses this last month, so that I can find out what is and is not going to work before Wasatch! I am encouraged that my legs seem ready to handle 100 miles, I am working very closely with my dietitian and Dr. to figure this out, and get my body working right. It is doing way better, but it is finicky, and sometimes I don't know what not to do, until it has already killed the race, like it did yesterday.

I at least made it 6 miles further than last year, and I will be back, and hoping that I understand my body better and have a successful finish next year! I am more hopeful that I can handle Wasatch today, I was depressed yesterday until I figured out that if I can avoid the wrong kinds of carbs, I will probably be OK. All of these issues are making running tedious because I have to be so scientific on my intake with everything, but it is better than not being able to run, so I will do what I have to.

Last week at the Speedgaot 50K, I did mostly fine, but Karl's course said the cut off was at mile 21.5, and it was actually about 2 miles longer, and all uphill! So I timed out, but I felt great at least. I didn't have any Ensure on that race! The only issue I had, was that I ran out of gels, and there was no drop bag where I needed more of them. So I got hypoglycemic and felt horrible until a girl behind me happened upon me and gave me some gels, my energy felt better after that.

So basically I am having to carry a ton of stuff on my runs, take in tons of sodium, potassium, and water, and eat the right kinds of carbs at least every 30 minutes. It is tedious and a lot of mental effort, but that is what I have to do if I want to get better at ultras, and keep doing them. That is what I want, so I will figure it out eventually, and when I do, I will also be running these courses much faster!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Floody, Flood, Flood

Yeah! It was sucky! My family vacation that is. We didn't go on any vacation, because Jeff got laid off. We were going to go to Disney Land, but then we were in search-o-job mode and when Jeff got an offer with Mosy two weeks ago we decided we could go on vacation this week, because he starts his job Monday.  We are glad most of all that he starts a job Monday, but we decided, since planning last minute Disney Land was going to cost a fortune that we would let the kids decide where to go camp.

They wanted to go backpacking because that is what we did two years ago, and despite the whining and moaning, they claim it was the best trip ever. So we outfitted us all, and when on down to Escalante. Only problem..... it decided to be a desert monsoon this week! That meant, the canyon we stayed in the first night, although out of danger because the cave we stay in is high, had flooded within a few days of us coming in. Calf Creek rarely floods, but it had. So the next day we hiked out since the weather was not looking great. It was a wise call because the Escalante and everywhere was flooding later.

We went to Bryce Canyon, and slept in the campground, set up the tent in the rain, and then it stopped raining. The next day we got 1 hike in at Bryce before the monsoon hit again, and then we ended up in Goblin Valley last night, and this morning.

It was a bit of a tiring trip. Some fun, but a lot of storm skipping, and too much driving. I am glad to be home! Off to bed and running the Speed Goat 50K put on by Karl Meltzer starting at Snowbird up Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Morning. The claim by Karl is that this race has no flat parts on the course. It is all steep up and steep down.

Let you know how it goes.

Night People.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Congrates to fellow local ultra runner

My friend John Bozung, who is the RD for Squaw Peak 50, Katina Mosa 100K, and the Katoola Snowshoe Marathon and 50K.  He is running number 300 on Saturday! Now I wish I was doing Des News this year, for road races it is one of my favorite courses, and it was my first marathon in 2007.

Did my trail work for Wasatch today. I survived the heat! I only need almost 2 gallons of water, 12,000mg NaCl, and 7,000mg of KCl, it seems like maybe we are figuring some things out! That makes me feel more hopeful!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New from Dr. J

So I went in to see Dr. J today. She says she thinks I might be in the early stages of type 2 diabetes because I am showing a lot of glucose intolerance. I hope she is wrong, but she ordered a 2 hour glucose test.

Second, she says "I have been discussing your case with all of my colleagues (which translates to you are a strange case that is a mystery to everyone)" not what I want to hear. But she is ordering some weird POTS test that they take your blood while you are laying down, and then having you stand up for a while, and take it standing up. She says in 17 years she has only performed this test maybe 3 times, and out of all the doctors I talk to she is the only one so far that knows anything about POTS, and can actually tell what is going on with my body.

Everyone else blew me off, when I said my glucose was raising over 120 points after I eat (within 30 minutes) because "everyone's raises!" Yes, but not over 120 points. She actually knows that is not a normal pattern..... ding ding ding.

Anyway, I think it still may have been an adrenal problem, so I guess we will see. But if she is right, she wants to start me on metaformin.

At least my body seems to be mostly getting better, and Elena's salt recommendations help, but now we have to monitor my blood pressure, because it does strange things to it. Why can't I have something normal, like.... I don't know, Rabies? There are shots for that!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Jeff Challenge

This is more spouse harassment than anything. See, we fight in our marriage because it is fun :) I told Jeff today "Be nice, or I won't fight with you anymore"...haha... love it.

But today I was egging him on, and told him I would challenge him in a 5 K run in Mapleton that we have traditionally ran in the past.... only I want to make it fair so I am going to run from Lindon to Mapleton first, and then race against him in the 5k.

OK, the fair part is a joke, but it is mostly to get some speed challenge when I am tired, and push it when I am already expended. This is my mode of training for Wasatch.

I am going to try to make my run from Lindon to Springville all trails if possible. Next weekend i will be running the Speedgoat 50K, a tough race, that the course profile looks like a messed up intestinal track, and then I will be running the Katcina Mosa 100K.

I am hoping these back to back races challenge me, and help me hone in even more on my hydration and electrolyte balance so I can have a great Wasatch100 time!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fight number 4... and salt makes a difference!

I did my fourth Muay Thai fight today, and wow! Salt made a huge improvement on my life. I did about 5000mg potassium chloride, and 10000 of sodium chloride total in my water solution, and in Scaps.

This is the first fight that I have not felt dizzy, it is the first fight that I didn't feel winded afterward, and I actually didn't even feel like I was that exerted after. The previous 3 fights I would get done and  just be dead and unable to move off the floor for at least 30 minutes.  The adrenaline rush would wipe me out.

Now I think my adrenal glands are not stressed anymore and are functioning properly with the supplements I am taking, and the added salt prevented me from losing energy and getting dizzy.

This was my best fight yet, and I think I have figured out a fluid solution that works for me, and should make my races also much better! I am adding 3 tablets of Nathan Electrolytes to a 32 oz bottle. These are new and similar to Nuun, however they contain close to 1000mg of sodium per tablet and they have sodium chloride, Nuun dose not contain chloride, which is a problem if you are doing endurance events. I found a potassium effervescent powder containing 408 mg per package. I drink about 3-4 20 bottles of just potassium water, and then about 6-8 Scaps, and 32 oz of the Nathan solution with 3 more packets of potassium in the water. The effect was amazing!

I am glad to finally have something that is working, not sending me to the ER, and probably will make my times a lot faster on long courses! I even ran right after the fight. I ran about 3 blocks (just under 1/2 a mile) to get some sushi, and ran back. That was just after the fight, and I wasn't winded, and was sprinting, and want to go for a longer run tonight!

I am very happy about this fight, I have been training a lot too, I know my technique has improved, but having energy, not getting winded, and not fighting vertigo sure made it easier! I have never been more nervous before a fight either. I felt nervous and was having a hard time not panicking this time. When I got up to the ring I saw Tandi, she was rubbing Vaseline on my face and headgear, and just thought "Warrior", Tandi is a warrior, she is watching and cornering, be a warrior, and suddenly I was.......

Thursday, July 15, 2010

And Elena says....

" Tara, you over react to everything! You changed everything too fast and so you ended up in the ER" and damn, she is right.

So now she is in charge of changing my diet to match my needs, and not all at once she says! It will throw my body into shock.

So the final goal is that I need about 5000mg of dietary salt per day, and 10000mg of dietary potassium.

For races I need 5000mg of salt per litter of fluid! Yikes! I said " Holy shit! That sounds disgusting" well, I didn't actually say shit there, I was just thinking it. Like is that more than Ocean water? But I said "OK, whatever, I don't care, if you say that is what I need then I will do it!" and then she says "That is why I like working with you, cause you will do it anyway!" 

So then she said I could do 2000mg of actual salt in my water, and take the rest in Scaps. This means that if it is hot and I am running that I actually need probably 10000mg of sodium per hour! No wonder I about died on Bear last year. I was getting about 600-700mg per hour and thinking I was fine. Nope, I am not the normal person or body.

For now we are just doing salt intake, and potassium will come next, and I will stop over reacting, and start letting Dr. J and Elena be in charge of figuring out my intake.

Other recommendations.

Compression hose while running to keep the blood flowing out of my legs

Ice vest or instant Ice packs in my drop bags to somehow where and cool my body temp down. And probably take early start times until I figure this out, so I can survive and not die in the heat. This is not to get a head start on everyone and advantage, this is until I can figure out my bodies needs and reaction in the heat.

So, look for faster times coming up. This has been the issue the whole time. I knew there was no good reason I should not be increasing my race speed when my actual running speed has improved by 2-3 minutes per mile!

I need more salt and potassium then is humanly possible I think!

On the mend!

Wow, OK, I will post more later. But this whole saga ended with me in the ER 2 times for IV fluids last week, and another day I was in my friends office, a CNM, for IV fluids. I slept for 4 days straight, thought I was going to die. I was taking a bunch of Adrenal gland supplements, and I still am, and finally Monday morning, I woke up feeling mostly better. I went and worked out for 90 minutes. I was tired, and rested a lot that day. Tuesday morning I felt bad for a while, but got on top of it, and ended up feeling great. By today, I was full swing! I have been working out harder this year, and seeing my running times fall because of this hydration issue.

Well, I don't think I realized how much energy I have been losing over all. Tonight, I just did a short 3 mile run with hill repeats. I was hitting a 5:40 mile downhill, with no effort it seemed, no lung or breathing problems, no energy problems. My body was in sync. So maybe I am not too bad of a runner after all! My times are much faster when I am all balanced out.

Thanks for the suggestion on Coconut water, I actually have been doing that, about 1 gallon of low-cal Gatorade  (which I hate because of the dyes and artificial sweetener, but for some reason it is working better than anything else, and I need to keep my carb intake lower), Scaps, and water. This all seems to be working, and I think I am getting better, like really better, better than I was before I crashed. The crash started a year ago when I DNF'd Katcina. Now I am hopeful that I will be able to finish strong, and have a good chance of a sub 28 at Wasatch!

YAY! Let's hope this trend continues!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New one!

Now I am actually seeing  a lot of improvement and sleeping, however, I think my body is wacked out and suddenly I am having major blood sugar issues. I think this is a response to my Adrenals being out of wack, and maybe a sudden shift in fluids. I am now on a bunch of Adrenal supplements, but right now my body is not handling carbohydrates well at all, and my blood sugar is sky rocketing as a result. It does better with physical activity, but I tell you, this is a weird weird problem! I am now monitoring my glucose levels, and tracking everything. I had to educate my NP on this problem, and what it is and how it is treated, etc. Really not a lot of clinicians even know this problem exist, and my dietitian and Dr. J are out of town. They are the only two people I know that know anything about it, but I am glad my NP listens too me and doesn't blow me off, or have a huge ego!

I think my body is adjusting, and hoping my adrenals will heal now that I am sleeping, but I am having to be very careful and rest a lot, but also have normal physical activity, because it actually is helpful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Running Issues, and Life Issues in General

I decided to write this note because I have had a significant piece of information, that just made most of my life make sense. I decided to share what I have found out, because I am finding there are other people who have this same condition, who are never diagnosed correctly and end up like me just thinking all the symptoms are in your head.

The reason I decided to seek care is because increasingly over the last year I have had worsening symptoms, despite overall feeling much more conditioned and generally healthy. I feel like there is no reason why I should not have cut off an hour off of each of my courses I finished this year. Instead I had major problems on the Antelope Island 50 miler and finished having to walk the last 4 miles because I couldn't breathe, not because I couldn't run!

I did the Grand Canyon run, and did fine until it got hot, and then had some heat issues, the next day I was having fainting/lightheaded/ear ringing issues, that were only fixed by Gatorade, and more Gatorade.

I knew to take in Gatorade because The two races I DNF'd last year, especially after the Bear 100 DNF, I had the same issues and thought I was going crazy after waking up in the middle of the night!

I have been working with a Sports Nutritionist for almost a year now, trying to figure out these problems, and we are getting closer, but she cued in that I am getting very hyponatremic after these races, which is probably why I also was getting sick in the heat, and my times have been getting slower despite my running speed getting faster.

At the Squaw Peak 50- I ended up taking in 1500-2000mg of salt per hour, I mixed salt directly into my water because plain water just goes right through me. I felt better, I didn't die even though other people around me were because of the extreme heat that day. But I ended up making it to the cut off at mile 33 just 3 minutes to spare! Even though my times were faster at the beginning then the previous year, the heat slowed me down that despite the early start, I took more than 1:30 hours longer to complete that part of the course.

After that I sat for about 45 minutes to recover from pushing my time the last stretch in the heat, up the 3.2 mile sheep creek climb. I felt fine after resting, and started up with my speed again, until running across Marc and John and deciding to finish the course out with them, because the were both really dehydrated. Marc commented on me having the whole kitchen sink on me that day, and the fact is I have started carrying a lot more then I want to on my runs because it is saving my self. I need more salt then is almost humanly possible to take in.

Something just wasn't seeming right. Recently I started having major blood sugar issues during the day. I have problems in the heat, I get dizzy a lot especially during conditioning when we are doing exercises that go from laying or sitting to standing. I have breathing issues, anxiety like issues, and get sick to my stomach all the time, even when I am not working out.

I actually have had these issues my whole life, at least since i was 12, but I didn't know how to tell people what was wrong with me. I thought it was all in my head, but after some of the symptoms started interfering with my performance so much, I could no longer think they were just in my head anymore.

So I went to see Dr. Liz Joy, at the Madsen clinic at the U of U, and although she is still testing me, and I don't have a positive confirmation on my diagnosis until some labs are complete, she is 90% sure I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). I had never heard of it before, and neither have most doctors. In fact if you do an EBSCO search you will be lucky to find 20 related articles. Elena had mentioned something about being tested for POTS at our last visit because I think the sodium issue is perplexing her. But I didn't know anything about it.

So I did some research on it, and suddenly my whole life is making sense. Like I thought I was crazy my whole life! I have been accused of being attention seeking for some of these symptoms, and so after that happened a couple of times, I learned how to control most of them. In fact many of the symptoms I have had in life, that I can't explain, I have just decided are in my head because everyone else told me they were.

So I am posting this, so that if you see this in yourself or kids, you may consider having them tested by someone who knows what they are talking about instead of living a life of being misdiagnosed, or even told they are making the symptoms up, or they are all psychosomatic. A lot of people suffer silently, like myself, because you get so used to compensating for the symptoms, and you are afraid to talk about them, and don't think they are real anymore.

Here is what is happening in the body: there are different forms of this syndrome, it is an idiocratic illness, which means it is correlated with different disorders, and many symptoms overlap, but it is a way of saying "we don't know why the hell you have this, we just know you do!"

Dr. J told me most people with this syndrome end up gravitating toward the things that help control the symptoms because they can't tell anyone what is wrong, and it is often misdiagnosed as a range of mental disorders because of the anxiety, depressive, and even bipolar like symptoms that it sometimes looks like, but does not quite fit. This is the story of my life, nothing quit fits!

Basically these are the symptoms I do have, and these are the symptoms I don't have.

 75%-85% of people with this syndrome are blond-haired, blue eyed females, and between 15-50 years old. It may be hormonally related because many people notice an onset of symptoms around menarche. In my case, I believe menarche was the start of these symptoms.

The first thing I read is that many people who have this syndrome have some degree of hyperextensible joints. While There is a a wide range of severity Eh-lers-Danlos syndrome is one that is most associated, and it can come in mild to severe forms. I have hypermobility in my arms, knees, and also the tendons in my ankles. This can also lead to higher rates of injury and sprain. Interestingly, I used to twist my ankles all the time, however this has not been a problem the last two years, I believe because with ultrarunning, I have probably gained enough strength, that I have better control of these parts of my body

Second the connective tissue in the lower extremities may have more laxity and be more prone to venous pooling.  While I do not have the most serious symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome the symptoms I do have are: loose unstable joints, hyperextension of some joints, easy bruising, and abnormal wound healing. I also have lower muscle tone despite training enough that I should be an elite athlete! Another condition I need to be tested for is osteopenia, or low bone-density, because it can be associated with this disorder, and I have a past history of an eating disorder on top of that. When I should have been making calcium deposits into my bones, I was probably losing bone mass! Yep, double whammy!

Third, associated with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome- nerve compression disorders, functional bowel disorders, and Premature Rupture of Membranes during pregnancy-  I have not been diagnosed officially with the first two- but after my research I found out all the weird muscle and nerve sensations I have in my extremities, probably fit, as well as digestive issues. Oh, and with my first pregnancy, I had Premature Rupture of Membranes as well!

The second syndrome I found associated with POTS is Arnold-Chiari malformation- also comes in different severity of symptoms. Basically caused the brain not being profused correctly, or hypovulimia. The symptoms I have that fit this association :headaches aggravated by valsalva maneuvers (laughing, coughing, crying, sneezing, yawning), Tinnitus (ringing in the ears- not severe for me, comes and goes and happens more when I am low in sodium), Dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, impaired gag reflex- I thought this was a side effect of years of bulimic symptoms, but it may be that i have just lost some ability to gag on my own because of this, dyspahgia (difficulty swallowing), Dyautomia (tachycardia, sycope), and polydipsia (extreme thirst), and hand weakness (comes and goes randomly for me, always thought it was odd)

The symptoms I do not have (thank goodness there are a few!) associated with these two are club foot, platelet aggregation (to my knowledge), vascular skin conditions, hearing loss, and swan-neck deformity of the fingers, also nystagmus, and I don't think I have sleep apnea. I don't think i have fibromyalgia, but I do have a lot of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.  Other symptoms I think I have- neuropathy- weird almost burning sensations in my arms and legs like- icy burn, tingling, numbness, that I want to run out! Stress incontinence and constipation are also associated.

Gastritis- while again, never diagnosed yet, I have bloating, nausea, burning sensations in the upper abdomen, premature fullness, discomfort with fullness, generally lack a normal appetite. Also IBS symptoms.

For Chiari symptoms- I have pain, weakness, and numbness in the upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands. One symptom that I do not have is sometimes with this syndrome people can not feel cold, heat or pain in extremities- I have feeling, just nerve issues, and muscle burning that is not really pain but just a sense of an urgency to have to move and work out the sensation!

One other auto immune autonomic ganglionopathy is associated with POTS. I have lots of these symptoms, but I don't know if this is one of the ones the lab is testing right now- severe orthostatic hypotension, syncope, constipation, urinary retention (my urologist says i am an enigma! After voiding, they can usually find 4-8 more cups of urine to drain out), dry moth and eyes. I do not have fixed and dilated pupils that is a possible symptom

"thoracic Hypovulemia- a person can either just not have enough blood volume, or in this case I may have normal blood volume, but vasodiatation that is too high, and not allowing pool to effectively circulate, or reduced stroke volume, especially in exercise- This can lead to low sodium levels, low profusion to the brain (which I am almost sure I have now! I will say why in a minute), and symptoms can worsen with heat and exercise, but running actually helps because you are moving blood out of your legs! my heart rate has gone abnormally high in the past with very little exercise and being conditioned, however, long distance running has improved this symptom.

Additionally- strange symptoms i have- I wake up feeling flu like every morning, until I get out of bed and move for about 15-20 minutes, then It goes away, I have feelings of anxiety when my brain actually is pretty calm, but the hypofusion to the brain can cause this, confusion and feeling disconnected from the world- mostly this happens with long period of standing still, or walking too slowly. I naturally move a lot when standing and talking in front of a group, and I always wondered why after being at Walmart I started feeling sick, disconnected, irritated, confused a bit, and just strange... it is because Walmart is a huge store, I am standing and walking slow for a lot longer than in other stores. This is why I hate being at Walmart! Now I know why, among other reasons :) It doesn't happen when running or brisk walking because my blood is being pumped out of my legs!

Insomnia- it has gotten very bad, but after talking to Dr. Joy and increasing my dietary salt intake to very high amounts I am actually getting some sleep for the first time in forever!

So because the brain is sometimes being hypofused many people can't get out of bed. There are a lot of symptoms like- loss of mental stamina, cold extremities, brain fog, and psychological burnout that are associated with POTS, and because some of the symptoms look like anxiety, and depression it is misdiagnosed. It can feel like a panic attack, and your mind may actually be calm. I always thought it strange to have panicky feelings, but also feel calm in my head. I have had anxiety around not being able to explain the symptoms.

Also, I am smart, and I remember things, but I can not always recall sequential events of my life history verbally without first writing it down and having something to look at. Like I forget large events such as surgery, when I am asked, until I think about it later. Like it would have been nice to tell Dr. Joy about the one outpatient surgery I had to clean out a staff infection in my knee.

I didn't realize until now, that it was probably significantly associated with POTS. I asked for them to give me an epidural for the surgery to clean out an infection in my knee because I wanted to watch (I know sick!). After that experience, I was grateful that I had natural births!

I started panicking (or it appeared like a panic attack) and having breathing difficulty as soon as the medicine went in my back. They sedated me, but after the procedure, I woke up in the operating room and looked at the blood pressure monitor and saw 75/15, the nurse saw my worried look and said "that's not right!" and I passed out again, and woke up a couple of hours later.

The next few days I had breathing problems, and panic like reactions that i could not explain. I believe now, it was related to the medication causing severe hypovulemia, and I was actually experiencing such low blood profusion, that my brain was not being oxygenated correctly.

I also can not take medications that I now realize probably the reason, is because I experience too much vasodialation, and low blood profusion.

The medication that i have found that works, works right away, or not at all. People have thought I was crazy, but the reason is that the medications are increasing my orthostatic pressure, which allow me to stand up and not lose energy throughout the day, instead of the things they are normally used to treat!

I won't go into my whole life, but throughout my life I have had these strange sensations, and panic-like reactions, and now that I think about it usually happened after being out in the heat, probably drinking water but not enough salt, and more often while on the lake or doing water activities, to amplify the sodium loss! People thought I was doing it for attention, or having a panic attack. It was neither! I was likely very hyponatremic, and have since learned that always adding salt to my water, prevents this, and minimizes the panic feelings.

The most effective treatments are salt, exercise, caffeine, water, and stress management. Interesting that i have been intuitively drawn to all these things, and I can't tell people why I like running, I just do, but there is probably a physiological reason why.... My body is actually running better while I am running! I actually think more clearly, more creatively, and get a lot of my ideas while I am on a run. I have more spiritual moments while running. I have too much anxiety sitting because of this reaction, and it is hard for me to feel grounded while sitting in a church, or classroom. I feel more spiritually connected while running in the mountains, and partially probably because my brain is just working better and able to relax.

So I just wanted to write this, because I have been invalidated, and even harmed in some cases, from people not understanding my symptoms. I believe it may be a large factor in having struggled with an eating disorder for so long. Even after I talked to Dr. Joy, people who have no knowledge of my history, started telling me I must have the wrong diagnosis, and I should not trust this Dr.! Why? Everything she said made sense, no one else in my life has given me a diagnosis that makes sense. I have tried to fit myself into differential diagnosis, that don't seem quite right. This one fits! And almost too much!

I never looked into it before I researched this but I have all the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, feelings of fear, even when I am not afraid, feeling separate from everyone- none of these were a psychological disorder, they are all associated with low blood volume, and low sodium balance, but everyone wants to put you into a mental diagnosis, and so you actually do start having anxiety because of it!

So now I am figuring out the sodium issue, and having better running experiences, I hope I can continue to find things to improve the symptoms, and get back to being able to perform and improve at the level I want to. But now you know, my drive to run is probably actually preserving my ability to function, because it would be hard for me to get out of bed otherwise. Managing the symptoms usually keeps them from getting worse, offers improvement, and sometimes gets rid of them. Although, with my history, they are unlikely to all disappear, but at least be manageable with the proper treatments.

The biggest one, is I do have to take more daily sodium in than I thought was humanly acceptable! Forget low-sodium diets! I can't get enough basically. I have to talk more with Elena about it still, she is on vacation, but for now, I am doing over 5000mg per day and adding an additional 1000-2000mg for every hour I exercise, especially in the heat. I am doing heat training carefully to improve my ability to run in the heat, and also figure out more specifically how to manage my need to drink salt water, and in what concentration! In general, I am finding I need to have some electrolytes in my water all the time, or water by itself is dehydrating, and makes the symptoms worse!

So bring on the salty food baby!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

POTS and salt intake! May cure my problem!

I took 800mg of Scaps and gatorade before bed last night, and that was the first time I have slept through the night for about a month!

All these symptoms I have that are probably related:

I wake up feeling like I have the flu every morning and feel horrible until I make myself get out of bed, and then it goes away after 20 minutes

Breathing problems that come on with heat and activity

recently hypoglycemia

feeling like I have a panic attack that last for 2 weeks


anxiety that doesn't seem related to anything, and comes on randomly

heat issues with exercise

sodium absorption issues.

and even the two medications that seem to be the only things that help- Aderral and Welbutrin, are sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of this condition. I have always told people anti-depressants work differently with me, and either they work right away and make a difference, or the don't work at all. No one believes me. But if they are working with this condition, it makes sense because it is effecting my othrostatic pressure, and it is that, not the anti-depressant mechanism that is making them work.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome

This is what Dr. J thinks I have which would explain why I can't seem to stay hydrated, and need abnormal amounts of salt, the hypoglycemia I seem to be having, general fatigue and insomnia, and anxiety, concentration, and other issues. 

Treatment: more salt, exercise, and caffeine

Geez, everything I am already doing! I hope we can figure this out. I am getting annoyed by it.  But I am reading things about it being debilitating, and I am not debilitated, probably because of my lifestyle, but it is seeming to make my long runs difficult because one of the symptoms is that I don't do well at all in the heat right now. She took about 10 vials of blood today, but I guess I am increasing my daily salt intake even more. We will see if that helps. I need some help, so I can do the rest of my races this year without dying! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Can I do sub 28 at Watach?

I have been discouraged this year because I have had so many problems with heat, hydration, hyponatremia that it has slowed my speed down. However, at least I haven't had to drop like I did two races last year, because I am figuring some things out. So I am getting more serious with my dedication to heat and hill training now. Plus, I am doing personal training 2 times per week, and boxing.

My second issue, is I seem to be having strange blood sugar issues. I am seeing Dr. J tomorrow, and hoping she has some answers that will help me fix some of these things. But I am kind of hitting myself in the head today wondering if my years of disordered eating habits are just now showing up. I take pretty good care of myself, but it is frustrating when you have health issues you know you did to yourself, and you start blaming yourself for being such a nimkumpoop for so many years. I know I would never be as hard to anyone else because it is a lot more complex than that, but damn, I can honestly say I wish I had never gone there. I know there are a lot of reasons why it wasn't my fault that I ended up there, but it is still hard to not be hard on yourself.

All I can say, is I am glad I am not there now, and I hope I can figure this out, so that I can kill Wasatch. I would love to hit a sub 28 for my first 100, and actually make a time goal for once this year!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

WS100 New Record!!

Wow! Can I just say Wow! I really don't care about the world cup! (sorry soccer fans), but my eyes have been glued to the computer for the last few hours "watching" the progress on the Western States 100! Geoff Roes, once again, amazing slayer of CRs! He beat Scott Jurak's previous 2004 record by nearly 30 minutes, coming in at 15:07:04! And then Tony, holy shit! Only a few minutes behind Geoff, coming in at 15:13, still over 20 minutes under the old CR!

I am just continuing to be amazed by this guy, and I also have met him. He is a humble Alaska boy, that just came out of nowhere and started winning! I manned the aid station at the finish line at the Wasatch 100 last year. He took Karl's old CR by close to an hour, and then Karl also beat his old CR but came in 25 minutes after Geoff. That was the most amazing thing to see. An hour after Geoff finishes, his pacer stumbles in looking more beat up then Geoff.

Two weeks later, at the Bear 100, he sets the record for the new course. I DNF'd at mile 45 of Bear. This year I am running Wasatch, and if I can work my school stuff out Bear, but Bear I may have to drop if my course load and other things I have make it so missing my class is not an option. I will be sad, but I am at least doing Wasatch!

Congrates to Tracy Garneau 19:01 the female winner. After the website mistakenly had her as dropping the race she apparently did not and one! 5 more hours and this race is done. 

I also want to know what is up with Hal, he has dropped to 16th.

Exciting race!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A deviation- About me

What the hell, I stole this from Shelly, cause it was fun reading hers, I need a break from technical writing
1 My earliest memory is ...
I was at my Great-grandma's house in Park City. I remember all the ash-trays in her house she was a chain-smoker. I liked to play with the ashtrays. I remember her babysitting us, and she would always make peanut butter cookies because my dad loved her peanut butter cookies. Alice Mills was her name.

2 My school report usually said ...
I wanted my teachers to approve of me, but I went through phases. I always had mostly As until my last year of highschool, then I was in this shitty place with ED and had a therapist that should go to hell.

3 When I was a child I wanted to work for ...
I wanted to be an Air-force pilot

4 My worst job ever was ...
Working at the "Malt Shop" in Ephraim Utah. The owner was psycho!
5 My first romance ...
umm, I don't know. I had little romances growing up, but they never lasted long. I would say my husband is the person I really fell in love with. We are going on 14 years. We actually met 14 years ago on the 4th of July

6 My most treasured possession is ...
My kids

7 My mother always told me ...
"Never say never", " I will see you next year at 2 o'clock", "You can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you can't wipe your friends on the couch", " You can never get there, you will always be here",  yeah, now you wonder why I am strange! She can also belch the alphabet forward and backward in one breath/belch.

8 I've never been any good at ...
Focusing on just one thing

9 If my life were made into a movie I'd be played by ...
Helen Hunt

10 I wish I had ...
Speed, as in I could run faster

11 I wish I hadn't ...
lost so much time to letting other people control my life, and living in self-destructive behavior, life is a lot better when you love yourself!

12 My guiltiest pleasure is ...
I don't know, why should I feel guilty about it? If I want to do it, I do it, and I don't feel guilty. I am done with guilty!

13 My best trait is ...
I'm honest and direct, and a bit of a smart-ass

14 My worst trait is ...
I obsess about a lot of things

15 The book that changed my life was ...
"Born to Run" Chris McDougall

16 It's not fashionable but I love ...
going everywhere I can barefoot as much as possible, despite the fact that my feet, that were once pretty, are now pretty ugly because of all my running adventures

17 If I could live anywhere I'd choose ...
Escalante Utah, damn, I love the wilderness there!

18 I'm happiest when ...
am running in obscure places

19 My #1 all-time celebrity crush is ...
John Wayne, yeah I know, he is a dead fat man, but I just love old Westerns.

20 My #1 all-time favourite movie is ...
"Twister" with Helen Hunt...... my favorite line "Can I drive?" as they are fighting "No!", "Then would you!"  Or "Sense and Sensibility" - " If you can't say anything agreeable, you will kindly limit your remarks to the weather!"

21 I really dislike ...
bananas! Seriously, I hate it when people bring them to class, the smell gives me a panic attack and automatic gag response!

22 I often wonder ...
about a lot, that is the problem, I am interested in too many things

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Congratulations to Lisa Batchen-Smith 2500 miles in 62 days!

 A week of amazing athletes and courage from the Western Region!!/video/video.php?v=1508012141721

Congratulations to Lisa Smith-Batchen and Sister Mary on there last day for Running Hope Through America. They ran in her home state Teton Valley in Idaho 50 miles in their 50th state, in 62 days! The guys standing behind Lisa are my friends Jarom and Heath Thurston, two great guys who helped organized the run her in Utah when Lisa was here on June 7th. It was 2 days after Squaw Peak, my sister had had a baby that morning (I was her midwife), and I had a class, but I still managed to get to the park in time to run the last 4 miles with Lisa, and then I caught a ride with Jarom back down to Utah County because I had been too tired to drive up to class and Jeff had to bring me to school that day.

It was great to get to hear more of their journey as we took them to Dayne's house to clean up, and then drove them to the airport! What a neat couple of ladies! I feel blessed to have been able to catch that little end of the run with them! What an amazing accomplishment 2500 miles in 62 days!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Court McGee, the next Ultimate Fighter Champion!!!! From Orem, Utah!!

Court "The Crusher" McGee, and Kris "The Savage" McKray!

We take this deviation from running to talk about UFC!!! The gym was buzzing all week, as Court made it past the semifinals to fight for a 6 figure contract in the UFC. Our very own Court from Orem Utah. Court cornered me in my first fight. He has overcome some significant challenges in life, and he is one of those people who is humble, but good at what he does and confident.

He trains at RIVEN , the Academy, where I train, and he teaches MMA classes. He is precise and has a strong wresting background. He had one controversial split decision loss, and thought his chance at a UFC contract was over, but then he came back, and dominated! His fight record 10-1 against Kris 6-0. Court dominated the first round by maneuvering himself for several take downs, and kept himself on top when they hit the ground. He obviously had the first round.

And then the second round, he had the same story, but with just over two minutes left, threw Kris against the cage, and won by submission! Total Crusher! Wow! The gym was roaring, and Court was in tears as he stated " I want to dedicate this fight to anyone who is struggling tonight!" And what an example, makes me want to get off my lazy ass and train! I mean really put everything into it, except I have to finish grad school. But wow! I am elated, and I didn't even fight! Go Court, you are the man!!!!

Read about Court, and his triumph over substance abuse :

Inspirational guy!!

And here is a write up of his win!

A night on the town

Tonight I went to a birthday party for a friend from SPEAK (students promoting eating disorder awareness and knowledge group at the U of U). I found it really funny that it was mostly made up of people recovering, recovered, or having something to do with eating disorders, probably most of us suffering from major anxiety issues, and the name of the joint "Fat's Bar and Grill".  Ok, it was a good place, and good food. But I am still laughing about it, laughing because I am having some major anxiety issues this week about some things, and I ended up there.

I am having some breathing problems when I run this week, and I hope I am not getting exercise induced asthma! I think it may be just still recovering from Squaw Peak, but damn, it is annoying! I have had it ever since Squaw Peak.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Salty Blood?

Or lack there of. I actually really like my dietitian ever since we got past the "Ultrarunning is normal" argument :) Or something like that. I like going in and talking about race nutrition, because it is helping me a lot. However, I am astounded at learning how much sodium my body requires especially when it is hot. I did about 1500mg in the hottest part of the day at Squaw Peak, and still managed to gain 9 lbs of water weight. Elena is telling me this is because I am still hyponatremic, and with the symptoms post race I was having she is right. They were much better than previous races, but I am looking having to increase my intake to 2000mg per hour in hot weather, and replace 2000-5000mg of sodium within an hour of the race, plus continue taking scaps at high amounts for 3 days post race, so that my body is not stressed out by lack of fluid. She is also requesting that I get an electrolyte panel after an event that I feel wiped out at. I am going in to see Dr. Joy in two weeks, I am learning a lot that I never knew about sports and nutrition, and that it really does impact performance!

Last year at Bear and Katcina Mosa, not only did I not intake enough water (probably half of my hourly needs because I believed misinformation that the body only can absorb 24oz per hour) I also was probably getting 1/4-1/3 of my hourly sodium needs. This almost landed me in the ER 3-4 hours after Bear, when I woke up so hyponatremic that I was panicky, dizzy, nauseated, disoriented, and delusional. My husband having me gulp down over 32 oz of Gatorade in one sitting is what helped.

I am learning a lot of vital information that can mean the difference between a good race, a finish, and a DNF, or even a medical emergency. It has been well worth investing into good nutritional counseling with someone who really knows what they are talking about!

What do I do besides run?

So Friday, I got together a bunch of my friends, and we did a Blessingway ceremony. What is a Blessingway? It is really a stolen Navajo tradition of the major diety, Changing Woman, who represents change and the ceremony is done to honor a families new hogan, a mother as she prepares for birth, or other major life changing events.

However, to not disrespect a culture that I do not have permission to practice their ceremonies, I will say that in the midwife tradition, a Blessingway is done to honor women. Many times we do it for new mothers, but in my little circle of friends we started doing it a few years ago and every once in a while revisit the ceremony to honor ourselves as woman, and the work that we do in promoting social justice and change. It actually started on my 30th birthday, when I held a burning for my eating disordered clothing and persona. After the burning, I held a Blessingway to honor the changing woman in myself and my friends.

So when my friend Becky opened her new birth center last month, Cheryl and I got the ball rolling for our new program, and various other friends of mine whom I saw as being in the role of Changing Woman at this time all came to my attention, I decided it was time for another Blessingway. It was good timing too. I had spent the week at a summer institute class on systems of sexual abuse. A very good class, that presented a balance look at offender and victim treatment, but also somewhat of a triggering class, that left me angry a couple of days, and I will admit struggling a bit with my own distorted thoughts. But I got through it. I was pissed on the way home Friday, the stupid downpour of rain combined with traffic made me late to get back to Utah county to pick up my friends who were coming up with me.

Cheryl, my friend Kat, and my new apprentice, Kendra, plus Kendra's 7 year old, Raven, and myself, all piled into my car, and we drove up to the birth center to meet Becky, Adriana, Marcie, and Marcie's daughter. We told our usual hilarious, and somewhat grusome birth stories, had some good laughs, and then had a good ceremony that I had written the day before while trying to tune out some of the stories that a therapist was telling of different offenders accounts. I have heard worse stories, but lets face it, abuse is just not fun to listen to , and I will listen to it if it is people i am working with, but I don't need to keep random stories in my head of bad things I don't need to hear more often then I already do.

We started by smudging the whole birthcenter with some white sage I had bought at the Native American Trading Post in West Valley the day before. Then we stated our intentions as we little red candles around the room. After stating and supporting our intentions we closed the circle, and then we wrote down what we wished to release in our lives and put the paper in the burning bowl. After that we bound our wrists with a red cord to honor our sisterhood, and remember to take our bond and empower other women through our work in our lives, and then we all shared beads we had brought to represent ourselves. We cut the cord, which then became the string to make bracelets with our shared beads, and went out and burned the contents of the burning bowl, which was actually a turtle shell because Becky's bowl had broken.

After the ceremony we had a feast, and talked and laughed and decorated ourselves with henna. The common theme I kept hearing was that we are all a few misfits who don't fit into the Utah culture, and it seemed that everyone really needed that community connection of unconditional acceptance and openmindedness to hear different beliefs and points of view in the world. I think it was a healing night for everyone, and I feel like it was great timing for me. I needed that connection.

I went outside to collect my turtle shell I had left out to cool down, and caught a guy throwing it in a trash can. I politely asked him why the hell he was moving my turtle shell, to which he replied he thought it was trash. I found out he was the building manager and he gave me a line about any fire at all being against building code, and a bunch of crap. (Like burning scraps of paper, in a turtle shell, in a downpour, on concrete is going to burn down a building? And what was he doing there at 10pm on a Friday?)

At any rate, I rescued my turtle shell, and we had a great night, and I was happy to connect with some friends I hadn't seen in a while who share common views in life, and to introduce some people to each other who had never met. It is great to have things like this to connect with other women, and what a great way to welcome the new center and wish success on it, and for the metaphor it offers to Changing life, and Changing Woman! We could all use a little Changing Woman.

I have had a lot of things going on, including having to change my practicum for next year, and now I am probably looking at holding all of our meetings for our new treatment groups in Salt Lake, which I am fine with. More the reason to give me hope that after graduation, I might have a reason to move outside of Utah County! I really would rather live in Salt Lake County.

I did a random thing last week, and decided I need to reign in my thoughts and anxiety issues, and connected with a therapist I haven't seen in like 14 years. I really am pretty much a stable person, but feel like i have to maintain my anxiety level, and having an outside person that I am doing nothing else with professionally, would be helpful. I specifically decided to start working with her again because I don't want to work with someone that has anything to do with EDs, I want to only work on meditative and mindfullness things that I know how to do, but it is easier to do when I am accountable to someone. So we will see how this goes. It is kind of a strange feeling actually, I was a way different person at 17-19 years of age. But I guess we will see how it goes. I am really pretty stable in life, but I have to keep my anxiety in check, or my thoughts get out of control.

Now I am off for the summer, and waiting on 2 more June babies, and then I am going to do a desert hike in July, pace/crew at Badwater, and get ready for some fall races. Wasatch 100, getting closer all the time!

Goodnight, I am turning into a pumpkin.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Wahoo! Just had to show off our new logo!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Squaw Peak 50- 2010

   Well, that was probably the most interesting race I have ever had. I had debated back and forth whether or not to take the early start. If you are expected to finish the course in over 15 hours you have the option of starting the race 1 hour early to give you extra time to make the cut off at Little Valley by 2:30pm. Last year I started with everyone on time, and made the cutoff by 45minutes, my time after that was slower going up Windy Pass, and I ended up finishing in 16:12.
     I thought I would be much faster this year. I have been working on my core muscle strength and am a lot fast up the hills, however, the snow reports said there was quite a bit of snow, and I wasn’t sure how I would do on snow, so in the end I chose to take the 4am start just in case. I was a lot faster going up all the way to camel pass, and I was fairly quick going down to Hobble Creak, but once the sun came out it got hot very quickly, and I must have slowed down a lot. Many other people did as well; it was not a good day for the heat!
     I have been working with Elena to figure out some of my energy problems during race events, and the biggest thing we figured out is that I need a LOT of salt. The minimum amount I need when it is not hot is 750mg per hour, and if it is very hot 1500mg per hour is sometimes what I need. I have been getting hyponatremic and this messes with my carbohydrate absorption and dehydrates me, even when I am hydrating. In fact, I end up retaining a ton of water, and have breathing problems in some events as a result.
     So this time I was prepared to hydrate, fuel, and salt myself properly. I end up deciding to carry 72 oz of water on my back because I have such specific hydration and fueling needs, that in order to stay at an optimum performance level, I have to have all my stuff with me between aid stations.
    This worked well, and the only problems I had were the heat. I don’t handle heat well, and need to do more training in the heat! But because my electrolytes were OK, I handled the heat better than I have in the past, and I did have to stop a few times to sit in the shade and cool my body temperature down.
     I felt like I was moving pretty fast, and so I was disappointed when I got to the Sheep Creek aid station and discovered that even with starting an hour early, I was going to be racing the cut off! I had 1 hour to go 3.5 miles up Sheep Creek Canyon! It would be tough, but doable on a good day, but in that heat, it would be a push! But I did not want a DNF, so I pushed, and arrived at Little Valley at 2:29, one minute before the cut off! Once I hit the last downhill, I ran as hard as I could.  I checked into the aid station, checked out, and the walked up the trail for a few minutes to stop and recover.
    Quite a few others had done the same thing it was so hot, there were a lot of us pushing the cut off, and leaving the aid station and then recovering a bit up the trail. There is no final cut off, you just have to reach Little Valley by 2:30 and be out by 2:45.
    Pushing it in the heat wiped me out, and the last 16.4 miles of the course are not just a mere 16 miles! You have a 6-mile ascend, in the heat to the dreaded Bozung Hill, where you gain about 1500 ft in 1 mile. Most years we skirt around Windy Pass, but this year there was too much snow, which means you have to summit the mountain, and add about 1 mile to the course. I had to sit for a while and to recover, and then I was moving slow because I felt like I was going to fall asleep! I just needed to close my eyes. By that point, everyone else had passed me because I had taken so much time to recover, and the sweep came upon me. I explained I was taking a 5-10 minute nap and then I would move much faster.
    That was all I needed, I closed my eyes, and then five minutes later felt awake, and I started running uphill. I felt great, and thought I would be pushing to still hit under 15 hours, but could maybe get under the 16-hour mark. But as I started winding up the mountain I came across Marc Colman and John Wojciechowski, who were seriously dehydrated and hyponatremic. They were both looking really bad, and trying to help each other up the hill, and quite a sad site to see! I decided two guys who were puking every 10 feet taking care of each other didn’t seem like good idea, I was going to have to push hard at that point to make under 16 anyway, so I told Marc that I was just going to hang back and finish the course with them. This was about mile 35.
    Gave Marc one of my pulls, and tried to find some form of electrolyte he could keep down, and was glad I had over prepared for myself, and had a lo of stuff with me. At that point, the extra weight was with me. We slowly made our way toward the hill, stopping every few feet so that they could recover and not over do it. Once we hit the hill we had to stop more often, and it took us about 3 hours to get up that hill, with John throwing up right and left. I was seriously worried about him. But we tried to make the best of it with good conversation and joking, and by that point the sweeps had caught up with us, and all five off us slowly made our way to the aid station. We got into the aid station about 7:45 pm.
     After resting a little and getting some fluids, we decided to try to make it down as far as we could while it was still light. At that point, we weren’t dealing with the heat, and so Marc and John were able to move faster. We booked it down pretty quickly, and only needed our lights for about the last 2 miles from the parking lot. My legs and energy were great, but my feet were not! There had been a lot of mud from the melting snow, and my feet were wet most of the last half of the course. The top of Wind Pass is full of rocks, so between wet feet and rocks, I could tell I was developing some large blisters on the bottom of my feet.
    I was fine going down the trail except for some rocky patches, and then I was dealing with horrible pain on the bottom of my feet! But I suffered through it and ran down to the aid station, where Marc’s and John’s wives’ were very happy to see them, and Marcs wife took all of our gear so we wouldn’t have to carry it down the road the last 4 miles to the finish line. John looked like he was starting to feel worse again, and all of us were happy to be almost done!
     We left the Big Springs aid station about 20:20, and made it to the finish about 23:18. As we turned the corner to the finish chute, we lined up side by side, and ran the last 100 yards and crossed the finish line together. Finishing had been a group effort, and we had pushed each other through the end.
      Marc and John got some much-needed IVs, and I was tired at that point. I had been out on the trail for over 18 hours, and awake since 3 am that morning. I also had been with laboring clients half the week, and had not had a lot of sleep, so my body was ready to shot down at that point.
    The blisters on my feet were so big, I got sick to my stomach trying to walk on them, and so I had to ask some one to drive me around to my car. I got home, and my hips were sore from pushing down from Windy Pass, and I couldn’t bare to look at my feet! Ouch! I thought I would never walk again normally! But during the night my hip pain went away, and my blisters have shrunk in size enough that I can hobble around!
     That will probably go down as the most memorable Squaw Peak in my book, and I made some good friends in the process.
    I should mention that both Marc and John and experienced runners, and John has had 9 Wasatch 100 finishes. Bad days can happen to anyone, no matter how experienced you are. I wish them speedy recovery, and had a good time getting to know them better.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Training for ????

Conversation of the day. A few minutes ago I was reading Karl Meltzer's running blog, and his explanation of his broken radius. Reading about the Speedgoat 50k and how tough of a course it is, of course got me interested. So I jokingly said to Jeff " I think I am going to run it, a week before Katcina Mosa ( a really tough 100K)! The Speedgoat has about 11,000 of elevation gain, Katcina has about 12,000 ft.  I said I thought it would be a great training run for..... he cuts me off " Everything is a training run for something! What are you training for that is not a training run!"

"But think about it, I could run the two back to back and it would be great training for Wasatch in September!" and then he ask " What is Wasatch a training run for?"..... "It is training for Hardrock!"...... " What is Hardrock training for?".... I think about it for a minute "Hell!!" I said!

So then of course I had to sign up for it, and my rational is that if I can do those two tough courses 7 days apart, I will be more ready to run Wasatch 100 and Bear 100 14 days apart! See, it is perfectly logical..haha

So my current "training" schedule for the year is as follows:

Squaw Peak June 5th
Hiking down in Grand-Staircase Escalante July 2-5
Pacing and Crewing Badwater July 11thish or around there
Speedgoat 50k July 31st
Katcina Mosa 100K August 7th
Wasatch 100 mile endurance run- September 10-11
Bear 100- September 24-25
Ogden Valley 50m Last weekend of October

and I am considering running a new 100K on Antelope Island in November if Jim Skaggs puts it on for sure.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Windy Pass

So today Jeff turned 36, 4 years away from 40. That is a little bit freaking me out cause I don't feel like we are getting older. In fact we are probably more active and extreme then we were when we got married. It has been almost 14 years ago that we met. Strange.

So yesterday we went to the Utah Symphony, and it was good, but damn, I hate sitting for long periods of time! So it felt like a message today to go for a 8.5 mile run up part of the Squaw Peak 50 course! We ran from the Big Springs parking lot up toward Windy Pass. I wanted to get a feel for how the snow was going to be this year. I was hearing report of anywhere from 5 to 10 miles! I wanted to go all the way up to the pass, but I was running out of time today, so we only got about 4.25 miles up from the parking lot, about 1.75 short of the top. We started up the snow fields, which were big and slick starting past Shingle Mill, and it was just going to take too long to get up and down it, for the amount of time we had before we needed to be back. Bummer :(

But the trail up to Shingle Mill, is wayyyy better then last year! It is mostly smooth, and not rutty, and not as rocky! It was nice. On the way back down Jeff almost ran into a big bull moose! That was exciting! Luckily we didn't pull a Meltzer and have a moose start running after us! Also I figured out how to make the SD card work in my GoPro Hero camera, a little micro running camera that I bought for R2R2R, but the SD card wouldn't work! Then I looked online and figured out how stupid I was! I was not pushing the card in far enough to lock it into place.

It takes OK pictures, but you have to be close and still to hear and see the video. But I am taking it on Squaw Peak with me next week! I felt encouraged that I did not get sick in the heat. Elena told me I am probably getting hyponatremic. I thought I only needed between 300-500 mg per hour, and it turns out that I really need about 971mg per hour. This probably is the cause of my energy problems, absorption problems, and I am dehydrating by retaining water but not utilizing it, which also is probably messing with my carb absorption. Today I took 6 Scaps (about 2000mg) and desolved them into a 72 once bladder. I did not get sick, I felt fine in the heat, and I was moving a lot faster up and down hills! And I did not replace carbs at a high rate, so I am thinking that electrolyte imbalance is my main problem. This would probably also explain why I get breathing problems and feel like I have fluid in my lungs during the last part of a lot of races. The fluid is storing in my tissues, which means in my lungs, and it is horrible!

So next week, to avoid any problems, I plan on carrying my 72 oz of water, and desolving Scaps into it. It seems to work well, and I think I absorb them better directly in my fluids! Elena is a genius! I hope this shows in my time for Squaw Peak! Today I was strong and felt like killing the course!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Snow On the Mountain

I am dead tired! I should be in bed, but I have too much work to do. I am panicking over how this month is going to work. 4 people due in the next 3 weeks, research to catch up on, programing and marketing material to get done, and I am hoping for a good time at Squaw Peak next weekend. The only problem is,,,,, THERE IS SNOW HALF WAY DOWN THE MOUNTAIN!!!! I don't care what some people think about people who use poles on courses! I am using poles from Little Valley to Big Springs! Seriously, Bozung hill is going to be like downhill skiing up a technical run! I am trying not to think about it. I am just going to move fast, and if I puke, I will puke up the hill and keep moving fast! I am determined to make under 14 hours this year! I want to do it so I am more confident about my ability to finish Wasatch and Bear this year! I don't want to be a wanna-be cool ultrarunner! I want to be a 100-mile respectible time, finisher.

I am working my ass off. I am training privately 2-times per week, going to boxing classes as much as I can during the week. This helps my speed in running believe it or not! I am upping my milage.

But this week I am frustrated, because I have too much to do. And have these clients who can't decide if they are in labor or not. It is not her fault, she is probably more frustrated. I am not the pregnant one! But man, I have so much to do, I am afraid of not being able to get it all done. It is causing me major anxiety issues this week.

I made an appointment to see Dr. Elizabeth Joy yesterday, I can't get in until June 30th because she is out of town, but she specializes in sports medicine and eating disorders. Even though I have been behavior free for a while, I still have some digestive issues from a long-term eating disorder. So I am going to go see if she can offer me any tips on increasing my performance level, gut absorption, and correct some energy issues as well.

If I would have been directed to Dr. Joy and Elena when I was really disordered, I might not have as many problems now! I am a bit resentful at not being told there were these resources when I was struggling a lot, when I had even asked about them! My first dietitian was a bitch, seriously. She hated that I ran, and told me that yoga was the only acceptable form of exercise for people recovering from eating disorders. Now I am as recovered I think as I could be, even though I think I will probably always fight the eating disordered thoughts when my anxiety level is high, but I am recovered enough to ingore them, I do not identify myself with an eating disorder, and i have better things in my life that make it not worth wasting time listening to ED thoughts. For me this is the definition of recovered. It does not mean I am totally free from the long term psychological effects and physical effects that may linger, but it does mean I don't have a lot to "gain" from wasting time on an eating disorder. Running is more important to me, and I respect and appreciate my bodies ability to run. So I want to take care of it the best I can, and not do further damage to my bones, GI tract, stomach, and other organs.  It already causes me to have more problems with energy, and having to be much more careful then most people around me to be particular on getting a high amount of calories, sodium, and carbs, at closer intervals, then I think I would other wise have. So this is why I am going to see Dr. Joy.

I wish I could see her before Squaw Peak, but Elena has been working with me more specifically on nutrition planning for specific courses. This is very helpful! It also reinforces the value of nutrition and taking care of my body in my head, and reinforces staying recovered.

One thing I noticed about the word recovered, is that people are sometimes too black and white with it. I have gone back and forth myself on whether I should say recovered, or in recovery. But lately, I have decided to say recovered, because I have so many things in my life that detour me from wanting to give in to ED thoughts or "cravings" that I can't really imagine going back to that life. Even if I were to have a slip-up at this point, I am open and honest enough with myself and others, that I really doubt I could be in a place to support myself having an eating disorder. So now, I say recovered, but I am still cautious about my thoughts, especially when my anxiety flares up, and I start panicking about everything in my head.

I really wish Oprah would focus on this shit, instead of people inside of their illness! Oprah, you suck!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Crazy Racing and Weather weekend

So I must say, 4 days in a classroom from 8-5 is mentally and physically and emotionally draining! Seriously, it was a good conference, just four days in a row was too much! Four days of talking about eating disorders, I got done Thursday night and didn't want to hear the word eating disorder again. I am over it now :) But I was tired! I had been having to get up and leave for Salt Lake at 5am every morning, I had gotten home everynight and was having to push to get our website up enough to look like a real business. And really, I was tired! Plus I have been having some major anxiety issues lately to keep in check.

So Friday morning, I got up to go to the Kidarelay. I had taken my old mountain bike to be tuned up, and Jeff picked it up on Monday, but I really have been so busy, that I couldn't throw in biking this week! So I just went down to Lincoln Beach and decided to go for it. I felt silly being the only person with a mountain bike on a road race, and I was definitely slower! But I just went with it, and all was well, until I got about 10 miles out on the first loop, and my chain broke! There I stood holding a broken bike chain in my hand, trying to decide what to do. My first thought, I am a better runner anyway, so maybe I should just run the 25 mile loop! But then an aid van came around, and Mahagony Thurston sent her road bike over for me to use. It was way easier to ride and make speed then on my mountain bike.

I did the first loop after being delayed for 30 minutes, took about a 30 minute break and then headed out on the second loop. This time I was feeling the lack of being on a bike. I don't think I have ridden a bike for about a year! No time to fit it in with running and boxing and grad school! But I made it around in a little less than 2 hours. I decided to take a break though, and went and took a nap for about an hour. It was obvious to me that I was drained from this week. I woke up feeling great, and headed out on a third loop and actually my butt didn't hurt as much the third loop. But then I got a text from someone thinking they were in labor, and the wind had really picked up the 3rd loop.

I had planned on going out a fourth loop to get over 100 miles in biking, but decided if I was going to possibly have to leave to a birth, I needed to rest a bit. So I slept for a couple of hours, and started the 12 hour running part.

The wind had really picked up by the time the run started at 8pm. It was a 3 mile out and back course that I would be running all night. But after the first 6-mile lap, I had to leave to get ready to go to a birth. First time I have had to leave in the middle of a race because of a birth possibility. As it turned out, things ended up dying down, and there was no birth. However, it was late enough that I decided I wouldn't get enough laps in for it to be worth the drive back to Lincoln Beach. Ended up being a good decision because the race was canceled in the middle of the night anyway due to the wind!

I decided that I would sleep a few hours, get up, and go run the Timp Trail marathon. I had signed up for it about 6-months ago, but thought I would miss it after I decided to do the Kidarelay. So I got up, and went out the door to a downpour! I decided to hit the startline anyway! I actually felt fine, I was just slow due to the biking I think. I could not run at my normal speed, but my legs did not hurt. However, it was a downpour at the startline, and then we hit snow about 2 miles up! I was still fine, but very wet. Then we hit the pipeline road up around Grizzly pass. It was a mudslide! I did OK, until the descent and then my gloves were no longer good enough, and my hands were freezing and getting frost bitten. I got to the aid at mile 6.55. I called Jeff and asked him to bring me some dry gloves. But then, I just decided, I felt like I had enough for the week!  A long conference, a lot of setting up business stress, the event the day before, little sleep. Physically I was fine, but I just didn't want to handle the cold today. If Squaw Peak is this bad, I will finish and not quit unless the race director pulls me off the course, but this was a training race, and I felt like I had enough training for the weekend! Squaw Peak is in two weeks, and I want to be fresh and recovered, and hit under 15 hours this year. That is going to take  a lot mental prep to hit under 15 I think! I really want to hit under 14, but there is a lot more snow this year, and I have a feeling Windy Pass will be a slower section then it was last year. I think I will carry poles from Little Valley to Big Springs!

So I guess you could call it a DNF, but It is because I just decided I had had enough, I needed to relax, I need to clean my house, I am going to the Art Ball with my brother Stephen tonight! I needed a little recovery space, and so I just didn't have the drive to torture myself in a downpour of snow and cold rain, and the slippery mud!

But my friend Brian Beckstead won the race, in 4:12! Amazing time considering the horrible trail conditions! I don't know how many people finished, but I know it was very cold and wet at the lower elevation, and it only climbed from there! I am imagining there was a high dropout rate!

I am getting excited for Squaw Peak in two weeks. That is one of my target races to do well at this year, and I don't have a big week before that, so I think I will be ready! I already am, I just had to pick my priorities this weekend. I didn't want to risk getting sick this weekend because I was so exhausted, but this is a great course, and it is in it's first year, so if they hold the race next year, I will be there, and hopefully the weather will be better! Wow! What a rotten weather weekend for races!