I hate this game. I hate the one rule of this game dictating that whenever I finally start to feel healthy and normal and happy with my life and my level of activity, I get sick. Some random virus is constantly lurking in the wings, waiting until I am least on my guard and probably a tad stressed. It waits until the most inopportune of times and then, BAM, comes and kicks me in the teeth.
Six weeks before a marathon is not the time to be dealing with a cold or the flu or whatever the heck is going on right now. Six weeks before a marathon is when you're supposed to be running 18 miles on Saturday morning, eating lots of lean protein and complex carbohydrates, and rolling out that pesky IT band. Six weeks before a marathon is where I find myself right now, wearing two sweaters and not running on a 60-degree day in Denver. I am so frustrated! I honestly thought I could do this, could train and stay healthy and rock the Boston Marathon. That last goal is becoming so much less likely, and I am left wondering why. Is this all my fault? Shouldn't I have powered through all this medical B/S from the past few months, forced the miles out of myself knowing that I had no other choice? Earlier this afternoon, I had the thought that perhaps I expect too much of myself. Perhaps all these lofty goals of marathons and health are just mirages I conjure in order to set myself up to fail. Perhaps my mental expectations and my physical limitations are just so disconnected that there is no way to reconcile the two.
Funny story: this past Tuesday, a week after my so-much-fun colonoscopy and endoscopy, my GI doctor called me with the news that I have celiac disease. My intestinal villi are extremely damaged, and I am no longer properly absorbing nutrients, so hey, happy day, autoimmune disorder most likely brought on by my lowered immune response these past few years! Cancer just keeps on giving. So all of the intestinal issues that were limiting my runs (har har) these past few months are a result of an inability to absorb and process gluten.
Okay, great, celiac is manageable, nearly curable. All I have to do is completely eliminate gluten from my diet. Beginning right now, six weeks before a marathon. I acknowledge that being a celiac and an endurance athlete are not mutually exclusive, and, especially around Denver, many people run for hours at a time without ever consuming gluten. But it hasn't even been a week yet for me, and I am still in shock over the whole thing. I am still saddened every time I consider Chicago-style pizza or Colorado craft beers. The other thing is, though I have already begun living gluten-free, it will still take time for my body to heal. I guess there is a substantial bit of damage to my intestines, and while living gluten-free will eventually allow that damage to heal, it takes time.
So, like I said, I am just frustrated. I keep getting confirmation e-mails from the Boston Athletic Association, keep plugging away at my fundraising, and keep questioning my decision to sign up for this in the first place. Regardless of how well I have (or haven't) trained, I am going to be at the start line in six weeks, and I will do What Ever It Takes to get to the finish line in Boston. I just wish I was more confident. I wish I didn't have a cold right now; I sure wish I didn't have celiac disease. BUT. Here we are, and life keeps coming at me. These are my realities, along with the reality that I just don't have a normal immune system. That's just what is up. I would apologize for all the griping, but I am legitimately at the end of my rope with all of this, and I set this blog up to chronicle my running adventures, and this is one hell of an adventure. So, if you have any advice for a runner six weeks out from a marathon who hasn't gotten in any significant long runs (I comfortably ran nearly 10 miles 2 weeks ago...?) and suddenly has to change her diet and get over a cold at the same time, I am open to anything!
Thanks for checking in. P.s., the fundraising is still going!! If you haven't donated to this crazy, stupid challenge, now might be the time. Or tell your friends or go drink a beer for me or both. Right. Going to try and make it through this week... Good luck to you all as well. Peace.