Tag Archives: thyroid

Happy 1 Year Running Anniversary to Me!

Happy 1 year running anniversary to me!

There's no point in celebrating an anniversary if there's not cake involved.

This week has been so busy at work. I’m really sorry to have just completely vanished from the blogging and twitter world.  I was so busy that I completely missed my 1 year running anniversary!  Thanks to technology, I can share the embarrassing details:

I may be slow now, but I was really slow then!

Yep. That was Week 1, Day 1 of Couch to 5K.  I decided I wanted to run but knew I couldn’t do it on my own and that program was a life saver.  I made a lot of mistakes, like running ever single run on a treadmill, but the guide times were crucial because I never really played sports or ran before.

I remember thinking I’d run my goal race (Clarendon Day 5K on 9/25) and maybe a few more but I’d never aspire to run more than 3 miles. Only crazy people would want to run for longer than that! I did the 9/11 5K as practice – I had a horrible cold and was totally miserable – and was TERRIFIED to run Clarendon Day.  I ended up having a really good time though. I was thrilled with my time of 33:54. I figured I’d run a 10K sometime in the spring… maybe another 5K.

But then Suze talked me into the Rockville 10K in November and I had fun doing that, even though I’m pretty sure I got through the race on adrenaline alone.  Prior to the race I’d only run more than 3 miles twice – once I ran 4 and once I ran just over 5.  We did the 10K with a 4:1 run/walk ratio and came in at around 1:09.  I’ve only run 2 10K’s and this is actually my PR.

After this I was hooked on running but had no idea what I was doing training wise.  I ran the Jingle All the Way 10K – it was crowded, freezing and pouring – in December.  I started training for the GW Parkway 10 Miler in January. I tried to do every run as fast as I could and not surprisingly I ended up with some IT band problems in February.

Coming back from the IT band problems led me to discover some heart/thyroid issues I didn’t know about.  I didn’t get an awful lot of quality training in before the 10 Miler but I finished it and I’m proud of it.

I ran a series of 5K’s in my neighborhood in April and knocked my 5K PR down by nearly 90 seconds.  My goal of taking it to sub-30 in 2011 is still possible – hopefully at this year’s Clarendon Day (yes, I’m going to use that super big downhill to accomplish my goal – I’m crafty like that!).

You know you've run a PR when your finish pics all show you staring down your Garmin!

Also accomplished in my first year of running: running as part of a relay team for the National Half Marathon, completing the Warrior Dash, running my first trail race as part of a marathon team at the North Face Endurance Challenge and starting to run with a group/coach so I can get to my half marathon goal without getting hurt.

I can’t believe that I’m a month into training for my first half marathon.  I can’t believe I got the guts to train with a group and I REALLY can’t believe the workouts I’ve pulled off in the short period of time I’ve been working with them.  It’s been an amazing confidence builder and I’ve met some awesome people.

So here’s to my first year running. I can’t wait to see what year two brings!!

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Three Things Thursday: Super Mega Awesome Day Edition

Today is shaping up to be an awesome day in a pretty big way!

Thanks winking puppy! I think I will!

Super Mega Awesome Thing 1: I had a doctor’s appointment today and I’m officially done taking my heart medicine!  The palpitations that were still bothering me a bit last month are pretty much gone – only bothering me about once a week – so there’s no need to continue with the medicine.  The doctor said it may be another month or two before they’re gone completely but things should be feeling much better from here on out.  Talk about a relief!  I also get to cut my thyroid medicine in half again and I don’t have to have blood drawn again until August.  While the doctor was super late (I used the table for stretching and yoga while I waited haha), I totally forgave her after she gave me happy news.

Super Mega Awesome Thing 2: I took today off from work since I didn’t know how long my doctor’s appointment was going to last.  It was done relatively quickly so I have the whole day to hang out. Yay!  I went right from the appointment to the gym and got in a good treadmill workout. I normally hate the treadmill but today I decided to throw in some intervals to keep from getting too bored.  I did a quick warm up, turned on the View, and then did a slow quarter mile – increasing the treadmill speed by .2 every quarter mile for a full mile.  When I reached my top speed, I did an extra lap  and then decreased my speed by .2 every quarter mile for another full mile.  Including a warm up and cool down I ended up covering 2.5 miles and it felt like it went by really quickly.  Maybe it was because Neil Patrick Harris was on the View. He’s so funny.

I followed up the treadmill workout with some lifting.  This is huge for me since I’m terrified of lifting at the gym.  It turns out absolutely no one works out at 11:15 am on a Thursday so I had a great time by myself in the weight room – though I completely stuck to the machines.  I did arms and back since I’ve been doing a lot of legs at home.  I’m so excited that I got this workout in – especially since I was supposed to do some lifting with Katie this morning and I slept through my alarm after a migraine kept  me up most of the night.  Boo for that but the workout is done and I feel pretty great!

Super Mega Awesome Thing 3:  I’m going to the Healthy Living Summit in August!

I might have skipped a track workout to make sure I got a ticket for this event!

I’ll be rooming with the delightfully super mega awesome Allison from Happy Tales Blog, Jess from In My Healthy Opinion, and Jenny from Feet of Fancy.  I’m beyond excited to meet these lovely ladies.  We’re already putting together plans to dance like flailing octopi (octopuses??)  so if you’re in the Philly area make sure you check us out! 🙂

I hope everyone is having a great Thursday and is staying cool.  The current “feels like” temperature in DC is 106. Holy wowza, this is going to be one hot summer!

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Running and Breathing… at the Same Time

Back to the grind. I’ve returned to exercise in a big way. I love having a plan to follow and while the “plan” I posted last Friday didn’t have much rhyme or reason to it, it was nice to have a guide to follow. Work has been kicking my butt lately and if I had to plan anything out after a long day in the office I’d probably go home, lay on the couch and eat ice cream (which sounds pretty good right about now).

  • Saturday 5/21: 2 miles to loosen my legs back up and remember how to breathe. Done!
  • Sunday 5/22: WARRIOR DASH with Suze! (Recap & Pictures)
  • Monday 5/23: Rest/Sports Massage (Note to self: Don’t purchase a massage on Groupon. The negative reviews will scare you away from ever using it).
  • Tuesday 5/24: Group trail run with the NorthFace Endurance Marathon Relay Group Done!
  • Wednesday 5/25: Test out the Pacers distance run (eeep. Nervous!) Done!
  • Thursday 5/26: Cross train: Bike, Stairs, Weights Will be headed out to do in 2 hours.
  • Friday 5/27: Rest
  • Saturday 5/28: Yoga

I’ve exercised 4 out of the last 5 days (5 out of the last 6 if you’re reading this after 6:00 pm) and have been sleeping so much better.

Sleepy puppy spends too much time getting his workout on.

I haven’t been logging a ton of miles but every mile has felt good.  It’s such a relief to finally see a noticeable difference in my heart rate and breathing.  On Tuesday night, I went out for a run with my North Face Endurance Challenge teammates and we kept it conversational, something I was never able to do before! We did a muddy lap around Roosevelt Island and then a few miles on the Mount Vernon Trail, in a great area where it’s nice and flat along the water.  It was so much fun.  I was shocked when I looked at my Garmin data and saw that my average HR was 161 (new readers, that’s super duper low for me!).

Last night, I joined Suze for the Pacers Distance Training Program speed/hill work at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  First of all, let me just say that the views in DC never get old.

This memorial is HUGE. I never realized how big it was until I got right up next to it last night!

This isn't bad scenery to admire as you huff and puff up hills

(Source)

The running group was great. They were all extremely nice people and the workout was hard but not so much that wasn’t fun.  I did have some problems with breathing/my heart rate was I tried to do speed work but I guess for short bursts it’s not so bad.  Weirdly, I really enjoyed the hill repeats – though my butt is super tired today.

It sounds really run-geeky but I’m looking forward to starting my half marathon training program in June. I need some workout structure in my life!

Do you work out better with a plan or are you able to self motivate?

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TGIF! Featuring a 90’s Throwback!

TGIF! I am so excited to see Friday.  It’s been a long week! I’m off to see my parents in a few hours to celebrate Mother’s Day but wanted to drop in with a little update before I go.

My friends from the 90's are happy it's Friday

Let me quickly admit that I love Beth’s post today, where she breaks out 5 things that are making her happy and I’m copying her. I hope she doesn’t mind.

1) I’m cleared to be exercising again! My thyroid levels are looking better and the heart palpitations that have been bugging me should be going away soon.  I can actually take less thyroid medicine, which is awesome but I still have to stay on the heart medicine for another few weeks. Last night I celebrated with some resistance band work, though not much because I had a really heavy dinner and didn’t want to make myself feel sick.

Cue Snoopy and his happy dance!

2) I may be running the North Face Endurance Challenge Marathon Relay on June 4th!  We’re around90% certain we can get a 4th person for our team before the prices go up on Monday.  This was kind of totally a whim decision but one that I’m really excited about.  I haven’t ever done a trail race and a 6.4 mile introduction doesn’t sound horrible.  It actually looks pretty awesome and I think I know a few people doing the marathon or 50K so it will be a fun day.

Yes, I just went there.

3) I’ve found my training plan for the Rock N Roll Virginia Beach Half.  I’m using Runner’s World Smart Coach and am really excited to start.  I have to keep reminding myself that there would be no point in starting things up so early just because I’m excited and there’s no point in risking injury just to tweak the finish time by a teeny bit of time.  My current plan is to run for fun in May and cross train heavily.  Then I’ll start the actual training at the very end of May.  I’m going with a 13 week program, which some would say is bad luck but I think will be awesome. I’m thrilled with the plan’s potential.

4) There should be a giveaway coming up in the next few weeks on the blog. I actually have a pretty important blog related announcement coming up sometime soon, but I haven’t had time to sit down and get it put together.  Something just kind of fell into my lap and I’m excited to share it with everyone. 🙂

5) I’m off to spend a quiet weekend with the parents! I know I mentioned that in the beginning of my post but I’m so happy to have some family time on the books for this weekend.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. I hope everyone has a great weekend!!

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I’m Not a Doctor and I Try Not to Play One on the Internet

The number one question I receive from blog readers is “My heart rate spikes really high when I run, what should I do?”.

My answer is always going to be “Call your doctor immediately.”  And it’s not always well received. 

It’s hard to think about your body not doing what it’s supposed to.  And it’s harder to think about it when it’s a major organ that’s malfunctioning and making you feel uncomfortable.  But if you’re noticing something doesn’t feel right with your heart then something is probably wrong.

The primary function of the heart is to supply blood and nutrients to the body. The regular beating, or contraction, of the heart moves the blood throughout the body. Each heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses traveling through the heart. In the normal heart these electrical impulses occur in regular intervals. When something goes wrong with the heart’s electrical system, the heart does not beat regularly. The irregular beating results in a rhythm disorder (1)

If you feel sick you stay home from work or school. If your body is hurt you need to respect it.

Even if you’re experiencing something you can “push though” you could be doing damage to your body.  I adapted to running with a super high heart rate – I ran slower, I took breaks to let my heart slow down – and though I was running, I wasn’t running my best. I felt shaky and sick after long runs and had no appetite from the adrenaline surge that came with a rapid heart rate.  Ultimately I realized that my adapting was basically skewing my HR data – the slow downs and walk breaks were bringing my average beats per min down but the speed it was going when I was running was still way too high.  So I saw a doctor.

And remember, doctors aren’t perfect.  For years, I thought I had breathing problems from allergies or sports induced asthma.  I went to my general practitioner and said I have a hard time catching my breath exercising and they handed me an inhaler.  It took a lot of work to figure out that wasn’t the cause there was such an easy explanation.  A tachycardia is a fast or irregular heart rhythm, usually more than 100 beats per minute and as many as 400 beats per minute. At these elevated rates, the heart is not able to efficiently pump oxygen-rich blood to your body (2).

There are just so many possible causes for heart problems – some include:

  • Heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Poor blood supply to the heart muscle due to coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), heart valve disease, heart failure, heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy), tumors, or infections
  • Other medical conditions such as thyroid disease, certain lung diseases, electrolyte imbalance, and alcohol or drug abuse
  • Emotional stress or drinking large amounts of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages

And your main symptoms can vary.  Some include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sudden weakness
  • Fluttering in the chest
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting

Feeling dizzy and lightheaded is no fun

I’m always happy to talk to people who are scared or worried about how they feel. If you have specific questions about how I deal with my situation, I’m happy to answer those too.  Just think, if you’re soliciting help online you can probably get better advice from a doctor 🙂

Resources on Heart Rhythm Disorders:

  1. EMedicine Health
  2. Thyroid Hormone Disorders
  3. Medline Plus
  4. American Heart Association
  5. Mayo Clinic Heart Rate Calculator

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April Wrap Up

April was a fun month, even though it was kind of chilly and really rainy!

I can't wait to see the May flowers after all this rain!

April was a fun month.  It started off with a huge 5K PR at a local race series that runs through my neighborhood.  It was a lot of fun and I was really excited.

I started taking heart medicine to fix the heart problems I’ve been having over the last few months.  It’s been great for my health but very hard for my body to adapt to exercising on the new medicine. I’m starting to notice it getting easier and I’m looking forward to seeing that continue.

I volunteered at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler.  The 10 miler was so hard for me but I was really proud to finish.  I know I can only get better at running longer distance!

So many bananas!

Done done done!!!


I started going to boot camp in mid-April.  The workouts are tough and leave me really sore.  I’m not super in love with the teacher but it’s only a one month class.  I know that strength training will help me running so I am trying to learn to embrace it.

I ran 3 more 5K’s in the Crystal Run 5K Friday series, 2 of which were in the rain!

Yay, I finally got over my fear of tripping over the timing mat and took a good finish line pic!

You know you've run a PR when your finish pics all show you staring down your Garmin!

I set another PR at the 4th 5K.  Two PR’s in one month! Pretty impressive! I’m already planning to blow it to pieces this fall after my half marathon training.  I can’t wait.  Hear me now, I will break 30 minutes in a 5K this year!! 🙂
I also had a great month on the blog! My traffic continues to go up every month and while the number is still tiny it’s nice to see that there are a few people who find these stories interesting!  And in April, I wrote my most viewed post When Can You Call Yourself a Runner and was blown away by how awesome runners are.
April’s been great but now I’m ready for May.  I can’t believe how quickly this year is going!! Towards the end of May, I’ll start training for my half marathon – Virginia Beach in the beginning of September.  I am so excited!
I hope everyone had a great April and hope your May is even better.  Do you have any big plans for May?

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Crystal Run 5K Friday Week 3 Recap: Not Too Proud To Walk

I have been a bad, bad blogger.

I’ve definitely been a bad blogger lately.  I didn’t do a single bit of exercise between the 10 Miler and last night’s 5K and I definitely needed the break.  This hasn’t left me with much to talk about on the blog.  I figure it’s better to talk when I have something to say 😉

Quick health update: Another reason I’m a terrible blogger is that I forgot to mention in my 10 Miler post that I was absolutely cleared by a cardiologist to run that race.  I also promised that if I started to feel faint I would walk, which I did – a lot.  It was definitely a scary experience but I was not putting myself in a near death experience to finish that race.  I’m still taking the heart medicine for another few weeks so I’ll be running more cautiously and making sure I don’t have any more blood pressure issues.  I started the thyroid medicine that I’ll basically be taking forever and that should stop my heart from going nuts and should generally make my life much happier.  Apparently, the form of hyperthyroid that I have is an autoimmune disorder and it’s also been weakening my muscles.  It’s a good thing I blew off the boot camp in March because now that I’m getting my body under control that will be so useful!!

5K recap: So last night the BF, Suze & I headed over for the 3rd Crystal City 5K. I went to this race with no plan other than to try to finish as close to exactly 3.1 miles as possible and to not have any chest pain.  I aim really high LOL.  I felt fine during the first mile and Suze and I clocked it in around 9:58 (and I crossed the 1 mile marked just as my Garmin was beeping! Double win!). Go us! But just like during the 10 Miler, right after the first mile I started to feel my heart doing something funny so I moved move to the side and decided to walk until I felt better. I took a walk for about 3 or 4 minutes and felt better so I took up running again for a few. I took one more walk break for a minute and then ran all the way past the mile 2 marker (which also coincided perfectly with my Garmin!) and all the way past the turn around until I felt like walking again.  I took about 2 minutes walking and then ran the rest of the way back.  I finished Mile 2 in 12:28 and Mile 3 in 11:20 and the last little .13 at an 8:46 pace!  I finished somewhere in the 34 minute range, which was really surprising because I ran the whole time last week and finished at 33. With all of that walking I only added an extra minute. I guess when I was running I was really moving!

The most exciting part: I only ran an extra .03 last night! Such a huge improvement from the extra .14 I ran the first week!

I have an awesome finish line pic, but I can’t seem to download it right now.  I’ll post it as soon as I can get it.  I’m hoping I’m able to run more next week but if not no big deal – I’ll try to get that perfect 3.1 in distance! 🙂

I know a lot of you had great races this weekend – Congrats to Suze, Beth, Lauren, Tina, & Lee (if you’ve raced and I didn’t link to you I’m sorry, I’m just going off the top of my head here!) on their PR’s! And best of luck to Dorothy at Boston on Monday!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

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