Somedays, most days, I feel really happy if I fit a run in.
Now a days, it’s not just about feeling happy to fit a run in, but it is fitting a run in whilst trying to maintain my health and well-being.
I had blood work done by Inside Tracker about 2 months or so ago. I have shared briefly about all the other testing that had followed, but never really have shared what I have learned and what I am taking away from the whole experience.
First, I feel it’s my obligation to note that I am by no means an expert of all, I am learning to be an expert of myself and that’s about it.
So back to the results. I learned a couple of things. I learned that test results can be really alarming when at first glance. Immediately after reviewing my blood work I had a melt-down. After talking with Ryan, a nutritionist/nurse, my ND as well as another health care provider almost immediately after, I realized that I was over reacting and needed to look at the big picture.
So what did I see when I stood back and evaluated it all? First, it is tough being a MOTHER RUNNER. I am not saying that runners who aren’t mothers are not tough, because they are. However, physically, being a mom is a lot of work and demand on the body.
My biggest concern after my results was if running was responsible for my wonky levels. The response I got back was yes and no. Yes, running takes a lot out of a person, it requires dedication and attention to details concerning healthy living, (eating, sleeping, rest, mental health). But, running isn’t the only thing responsible for my imbalanced hormones, month long periods, and feeling of dis-equilibrium. I am also a mom who chose to nurse. Ryan and I decided it was best for us to let Bodhi, my oldest, self-wean…which meant, he nursed right through my pregnancy with Trout and nursed almost up until his 5th birthday, yup. Trout, deserving the same accommodations, has been nursing since birth and apparently I make some really good tasting milk…because, he doesn’t show any sign of let up either.
Why do I continue to nurse?! I think it is such an in depth reason that requires more than I’m willing to type right now…suffice to say, that it is in my very bones that I do this for my boys…I never was breast fed and I know what benefits it brings as well as the undiscovered benefits that I am not willing to sacrifice for the sake of making others more comfortable with my choice or letting running take precedence over it.
Being a mother runner who has carried and birthed two boys as well as nursing for the last 6 years straight is incredibly taxing on the body. I am on the team that says nursing is more taxing physically than pregnancy on the body. With all this information and looking at my lifestyle and choices it is becoming more clear about why my progesterone is super low, (enter month long periods and heavy clotting), my testosterone is elevated, (I have never had so much muscle on my frame in all my life…add that to lower body fat and nursing…hello TESTOSTERONE), and just feeling not quite like myself.
I have more investigating to do to make sure nothing is of pathological nature. But, until that information comes I am learning to be a little more kinder with myself. I am not taking my results as a death sentence, but rather as a reminder that I am not super human and need to give and take where needed, (meaning trading in some of the strength stuff for more gentler strength conditioning like yoga or adding some supplementation to help boost my progesterone levels again). I am not willing to quit nursing, but I am willing to scale back running if that’s what it means to be the healthiest mother runner I can be now and in the future.
I hope that any of you who are dealing with the same problem or your own imbalances has the same support that I have had. It really does take a village to be a healthy happy human being. I am constantly learning new things daily and feel I will only be better for what I’ve gone through if that means I can help make myself healthier and pass that information along to others so that they might be inspired to do the same.
Hang in there all you running mothers. I hope that you feel empowered in your own skin, aren’t afraid of what your body has to show you, rather realize that it is a gift that will allow you to be a happier and healthier version of yourself in the future.