Watching Olympic Marathon Trials

Posted By MissyFoy

Monday, February 15, 2016

I actually watched the end of the men’s and women’s marathon trials races on TV Saturday.  I wasn’t sure if I could handle watching.  Ever since this neurological disease has knocked me down, it’s very hard to watch people run.  For a while, I couldn’t even stand to see someone running in the background on a commercial on TV.  It just hurt.

I watched the end, though.  It didn’t feel the same as it used to when I would watch a race.  I felt pretty disconnected from it … and I was kind of glad that I did.  I was able to enjoy seeing the athleticism of the athletes without having that desperate feeling in the pit of my stomach.  This was even more surprising because of how things went with my Neurology follow-up on Friday.

So, I cried in Neurology Clinic Friday.  I didn’t mean to … of course I didn’t mean to … I didn’t expect it.  I had a couple good days a few weeks earlier and maybe I had started thinking that there was hope that this would all go away and that one day I would walk out the door and just run off down the street just like normal, just like I’d done for years and years, that it would feel effortless, that I would feel strong and coordinated, and that I would be able to stop taking handfuls of meds every day, that I could sleep at night without worrying something would go wrong, that I could depend on myself to drive everywhere ….  Yeah, well, right from the beginning, the exam was so obviously abnormal that even I could tell how abnormal it was.  My husband was sitting in a chair on the left side of the exam room and I couldn’t look at him.  I thought I had held it together and then, bam, the tears just popped out like little water bullets.

It’s hard not to dwell on all of this, but I can’t help it.  Part of that comes from the nature of the problems I deal with, like pain.  It’s really hard to ignore pain every single day.  Some days are better than others, but I hurt every single day.  I set my alarm for 5:00 am every morning so that I can take a set of “pre-meds” for the day, go back to sleep for an hour, and then get up.  I do that so I can actually get out of bed without needing help because of pain, leg coordination problems, back spasms, etc.  I’ve actually just recently moved the alarm up to 4:30 recently so that I can start getting ready for when we change back to daylight saving time so I’m not making such a dramatic change all at once.  Even doing the “pre-meds” routine, it still takes me about two hours until I’m pretty functional.  The cold weather we’ve had recently has made it worse.  And, that actually gives me an idea for how I can explain what the stiffness and coordination problems feel like.  Do you remember going out to play in the snow when you were a kid and your hands got so cold making snow balls and such that when you came back inside, you could barely bend your fingers and had very little control of your fingers, like you couldn’t pick up something small or twist the cap off a soda bottle until your hands got warmed back up?  That’s how my whole body feels, but mostly my legs and back and abdomen.

I also have pain all the time.  It’s worse first thing in the morning and last thing at night (and sometimes in the middle of the night).  I have different types of pain.  My muscles always feel sore, sort of like I did a really hard workout.  I get muscle spasms, too, and they can be so intense that they have torn muscles and broken both superior pubic rami (the small bones in the front of your groin).  My back is tight ALL the time, 24/7, but it can go into spasm and there is just no way to get away from it, no position that helps, no massage, nothing.  I have to take some kind of gabaergic med to relax my muscles when that happens.  Sometimes, it just happens with no warning, but usually something sets it off.

Sure, there’s more, but I actually did not want to spend time complaining.  So, enough of that!

My original intent with this post was to discuss how I plan to share the training I did when I was competing.  I want to start with the year leading up to qualifying for Olympic Marathon Trials and then go through to when I shifted to ultras.  I’ll include workouts and times and races and all those specifics.  There isn’t room to put everything in, so I’ll try to pull out representative examples and include the good and the bad.  I’ll also try to include some commentary on how it felt to go through such a transformation.  Right now I’m thinking about starting out by posting two weeks of training, one from when I started training to qualify for trials, one from when I was at my peak of training and racing the roads, and one from when I had moved into ultramarathons.  I might change my mind, but right now that’s what I’m thinking.

Well, time for my nighttime meds and all that ….

For now, Happy Trails!



Feb 16th, 2016

4 Comments to 'Watching Olympic Marathon Trials'

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  1. Donna Tomlinson said,

    I am a diabetic (diagnosed at age 23 with Type I in 1980) and have been recently training for my second half-marathon. Saturday, I ran/walked (Galloway method) 13.1 miles and when I finished I had a good blood sugar and stupidly ate a snack and didn’t drink any water…nor did I take any insulin (I’ve only had diabetes for 36 years so naturally I didn’t think about needing insulin with a snack ; b ) Soon, I was struggling to cope with a BS of 433. So frustrating after a decent run and good control throughout that run.
    This experience caused me to Google something about running and diabetes which led me to your website. What you have written about training with diabetes in general is a huge help to me. Thank you for sharing what you have learned.

    As I read more, I was sorry to see that you have had a lot of auto-immune type health issues recently and wanted to see if you had been tested for the MTHFR gene mutation. When I had my most recent labs done, my homocysteine level was a bit elevated although not yet in the high category. But, my doctor suggested I have the MTHFR test and it was found that I have two copies of this same gene mutation (one from each of my parents). It’s not all that uncommon to have one copy of it…a little less common to have two copies. Anyway, it means that my body cannot produce the enzyme needed to break down homocysteine and also vitamin B9. It is associated with all sorts of auto immune diseases although, I don’t think doctors have necessarily found it to be something worth treating and sometimes they prescribe folic acid which is not good because it’s exactly what someone like me can’t break down….the useful treatment is a methylated form of vitamin B….there is a lot you can read about it online. I just wanted to suggest that you find out if this is an issue for you, because, if you can’t use folic acid…I believe your body is missing a basic building block for good health.
    I do not believe this is a quick fix for anything in particular, but is an underlying cause and over time the treatment may help optimize health…I would be glad to correspond with you more on this if it is of interest.
    All the best, and thank you again for writing about training with diabetes. Very helpful and useful information.

  2. Marc Scagnelli said,

    Hi Missy,
    I’m sad yet glad to read this. I’d called/emailed the other day and didn’t get through and was worried so the glad is knowing you are there and the sad is hearing how terrible you feel. I have a niece who is only 35 that has a really aggressive form of MS and has gone from perfectly healthy a few years ago to confined to a wheelchair and lost most of her sight. I think about both of you a lot and I just have no real concept of what it is like for you. People say they are blessed all the time but there is no explanation for disease and suffering. I just don’t believe in blessed or cursed as it implies that God controls these things and I don’t believe that. Stuff just happens, sometimes good and sometimes bad. But you have had way more than your share of bad and need some good. Yet I do pray for you and my niece, even just prayers to ease the pain and give you some happiness. I’m working again during the week but I want to come see you on a weekend if it will not stress you. I’m thinking and praying for Bob too. That is something very good, the fact that you have each other. Lots of love to you both, Marco

  3. MissyFoy said,

    Hi Donna,
    I apologize for taking so long to reply. Between all the time I’ve spent either dealing with medical visits or dealing with the aftermath of being exhausted (and honestly just feeling a bit apathetic about writing about running and other things), I’ve gotten behind on a lot of things! Thank goodness I’m not teaching this semester!

    Thank you so much for sharing the information on the MTHFR gene. I have gone through several complete panels of testing and I have an “idiopathic” auto-immune syndrome (idiopathic essentially means they don’t know and don’t feel like trying to guess any longer). I have a lot of positive auto-antibodies but just having the antibodies thankfully does not always mean that they are expressed (that they cause a visible problem). My main problem is a neuro chemical called GAD, Glutamic Acid Decarbolxylase. My body attacks it like it is a virus or something and so it is destroyed before it can be broken down into glutamate and GABA. Glutamate enters the Krebs cycle and makes a muscle neuron fire and then GABA makes it stop in a split second. your body can get around the glutamate problem in a variety of ways but without the GABA, my muscles stay locked up … or they seize up … or they spasm … blah blah blah. So, I keep looking for information on glutamate and it seems that the best ancillary treatment is to take taurine, a B complex, and Vitamin C. For the GABA, which is the gist of the problem, I take gabaergic meds (benzodiazepines, etc) and immunosuppressants, which includes transfusions of IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin).

    I take a lot of supplements now, in part because of my auto-immune problems and in part because of what the medications I’m on do to my metabolism. Between my meds and supplements I feel like a walking pharmacy whenever we go anywhere.

    I’m sorry that you had a bad after-run experience. It seems like there is the combination of a learning curve with the diabetes management and with how to increase your fitness without getting injured. It’s a hard balance; I know that! You’ll get there! I’m going to get better about getting training stuff up and will try to be consistent.


  4. MissyFoy said,

    Hi Marco!!!

    It was so great to talk to you the other day! We have way too much to catch up on – btw, have you seen Natalie’s peacocks yet? I’m sure Peggy is not really too happy with that. I haven’t met them yet, but I’ve seen the pics!

    Yeah, like you, I think stuff just happens.

    I wish I could make it to the ACC thing, but I’d be laying in the corner by 9:00pm!

    Love you bunches! Missy

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