Showing posts with label menopause. Show all posts
Showing posts with label menopause. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2022

Book Review: Next Level--Your Guide to Kicking Ass, Feeling Great, and Crushing Goals Through Menopause and Beyond

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

About 10 years ago, I was finishing up a yoga class, talking about running with one of the other participants. Another woman came up to us and joined in the conversation. She turned to me and told me that I should enjoy running now because, after menopause, I wouldn't be able to run anymore. I didn't hear the rest of what she said because I was so stunned at this declaration. I looked at her as she spoke and realized that she was exactly what I didn't want to become in my older years. I was still feeling great. I couldn't imagine that happening to me. I vowed that it wouldn't. 

For sure, in my mid-50s, there was a period of time when I really struggled with my endurance.  Fortunately, my strength workouts never suffered. I adjusted my expectations, cutting back running to 3 days per week and adding run/walk intervals into my runs to help me complete those long distances. I continued strength training and added a day of CrossFit to my weekly regimen. I also began to adjust my diet, finding that more protein and fewer refined carbs gave me more endurance and stable blood sugars. After a few years, things settled down for me and to this day, I continue to enjoy running the way I did prior to menopause. Albeit, a little bit slower.

A friend sent me a copy of Dr. Stacy Sims' new book, Next Level. Sims is an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist who studies female athletes and performance. Next Level is geared to woman experiencing perimenopause and menopause. It's an amazing read--empowering and oh so helpful. I feel as if I have found my new training bible.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Runfessions over Coffee

This May has felt like the longest month ever. Between the inclement weather and the never-ending cold and flu season, I am ready for summer. Since it's the last Friday of the month, it's time to runfess. Marcia hosts this monthly cleansing of the soles and I've been ready to head into the runfessional for a while now! Grab a cup of coffee and join me, Coco, and Deborah while we runfess over coffee!

Cocoa is a great listener. Plus she wants some coffee...

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

9 Things No One Tells Runners About Menopause

No matter how much we wish we could avoid it, no woman gets out of this life without going through menopause. The average age for menopause is 51. Perimenopause, that fun period of time when things start happening, can begin 10 years before that. Cue Tammy Wynette singing "Sometimes it's hard to be a woman..."

While perimenopause was like being an adolescent all over again--mood swings, hot flashes, acne, and heavy periods--I did some of my best running during those years. Who PRs a marathon and a half marathon in their early 50s? I did. I was running so well that I thought I'd be able to snag a BQ!

Yeah, not so much. My body had other ideas.  Here are 9 things I've learned about running with menopause. It's time to talk about it.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Coffee Talk

It's the start of a new month and that means it's time to sit down for a cup of coffee! I don't know about you, but I so enjoy my morning coffee with a splash half and half. How do you take your coffee? Let's chat!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Slowing Down is Hard to Do

"Don't take my speed away from me,
Don't you leave my legs in misery,
'Cause if you leave me, then I'll be blue
Slowing down is hard to do...." 
adapted from Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up is Hard to Do

"Come a come a down dooby do down down..." After last week's disastrous 10k where I had to take a DNF, I've done some sole searching. My mantra since being diagnosed with RA last year has been "finishing is winning". I've felt pretty good about my other races so far this year, but I'm not completely satisfied with how I've run them. Even using the run/walk intervals, I've struggled with pace towards the end of my races which tells me that either I'm running my intervals too fast and/or I need to work on conditioning.

I could just slow down, too. I could. One problem, though, is that I can't get my head around those slower finish times. I know I should just get over it. My head knows it. My heart feels it. But legs just want to go.

If I want to regain some of my speed and finish my races with a time that I can be proud of, I need to train with focus and discipline. The "winging it" method of race preparation that I've done my whole life clearly is not effective for me anymore. While I don't mind using a formal training plan for a full marathon, I've never done anything like that for shorter distances.

How I long for the good old days when the miles came easy! I'll just keep singing corny lyrics in my head and give it my all. I don't know how to do it any other way.

I've had 2 major health events over the past year: my diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and menopause. Double whammy! Coincidence? Not at all. As it turns out, that drop in estrogen was like flipping a switch, turning on the RA machine. This all makes sense to me since I really experienced a decline in endurance towards the end of last year. What does that mean for me, as far as running is concerned?

Menopause causes declines in estrogen and testosterone which make it tougher to build and maintain muscle. Fast-twitch fibers decrease too. The lower levels of estrogen make it tougher to process carbs leading to abdominal weight gain (the "menopot"). RA causes fatigue and achy, inflamed joints. While the benefits of exercise for post-menopausal women as well as people with RA are undisputed, modifications need to be made in training regimens. Strength training takes on even more importance. When it comes to endurance training, the rule is to train smarter, not harder.

I have a 15k and 2 half marathons planned for the remainder of the year. I don't plan on DNFing any of them. So what are my plans for fall race training? None of this will be a surprise to any of you since I've been doing most of it already. The big change for me will be discipline and attention to pace, similar to what I did to prepare for my 4 marathons. No more winging it.

How did I do this week?

1. Strength training twice weekly: I'm working out at CrossFit on Tuesdays and Thursdays with Steph. Coach Kate programs our plan and we see her on Tuesdays. Those days are more typical "CrossFit" with intervals. On Thursdays, we work with Coach Sammy Jo and it's all strength. It's actually really nice to have the two different coaches working with us!

Deadlift max 135# today
2. Speed work once weekly: This week on Thursday, I turned those run/walk intervals into speedwork. I pushed my paces to 8m/m for 4 minutes and walked for one minute x 4 intervals. I wanted to do 8 intervals total. I guess it was a little ambitious, but it's a goal. I could slow down my speedwork intervals but I think I'll try to stick to that pace and increase the number of intervals. I'm trying not to think about marathon training 2 years ago when I was running mile repeats at 7:30 m/m. Things have changed in a big way for me.

3. One long slow run per week: Because of my race last Sunday, I moved my long run to Monday and did 8 miles using run/walk intervals. I repeated that same run today. Last Monday's run felt great. Today was a little more challenging for me because I'm having a mini-RA flare with inflammation in my hands and feet. It took a good 3-4 miles before I actually felt ok. While I was upset about my increased effort during those initial miles, as things eased up a bit, I started to feel my mood shift in a more positive direction.

Last Monday
4. 2 shorter distance runs of 4-6 miles per week: Ideally, Tuesday would be a tempo run and Saturday would be a shake-out run. I had a great 4 miler on Tuesday but Saturday's 4.5 miler was really tough in spite of the perfect running conditions. My joints ached and my feet were flapping on the ground, again due to the mini-flare I'm having.

Saturday was cool but beautiful
5. Yoga 1-2 classes per week: I made it to the yoga studio on Wednesday and felt good.

6. Continue morning anti-inflammatory smoothies with added protein: I continue to "drink the rainbow". No red smoothies this week though. Time to bring back the beets!

My plan, while not earth-shattering, feels right. Fingers crossed that I see improved pacing and endurance. Any armchair quarterbacks out there? Feel free to make suggestions. I'm all ears. Even when the conditions are perfect, as they have been this week, running with RA and post-menopause is a challenge. Due to the unpredictable nature of this disease, I realize now that as much as I prepare, my run could be a crapshoot. All I can do is the best I can do that day.

Training for anything? What challenges have you encountered as you attempt to meet your goals? Any suggestions or things that I might have missed?

I'm linking up with Holly, Tricia, and guest host Sara for the Weekly Wrap. To everyone in the path of Irma, stay safe!