The Boston Marathon is mere four days away, and with that, I’m seeing lots of posts about running Boston, wanting to run Boston, and aiming for that BQ. (In a fun twist of events, I booked Monday off work for an extra long four-day weekend so I can have some buffer time in finishing my kitchen, and this means I’ll be able to stream Boston from my house!)
When I came back to running in 2013 I was quicker than I had been when I started in 2010. Not crazy fast, but solid middle-of-the-pack or faster, and could lay down some solid speed intervals without too much pain.
After running my first marathon, and then nearly running a PR of my marathon split in the 50k, thoughts of running a BQ started to dance in my head. Could I do it? Maybe 3:45 would be more reasonable and then I could run Chicago. I was very focused on time and started to burn myself out. I gained weight seemingly overnight, got injured, and had a rough couple of years when it came to running.
I took a break from running for most of 2016, returning in 2017 as a Lole ambassador, and to lead a half marathon group with the goal race of the Calgary Marathon. Since returning to running, I’m noticeably slower than I was. My pace is easily 1 minute per kilometer slower and speed work isn’t easy at all.
When recapping my race yesterday, I touched on my blood pressure concerns (I’ve been getting readings of 151/121 which, yes, is concerning high for someone who is otherwise exceptionally healthy), and that’s one of the main reasons I’ve backed away from pushing myself too hard. I’ve noticed as soon as my heart rate hits 165bpm I have a difficult time recovering and feel like I can’t catch my breathe.
And so, with this new twist, running for PRs or even attempting a BQ push (a totally arbitrary time, we should remember) isn’t something I can consider at the moment.
Initially, I didn’t want to blog or say much about my high blood pressure until I had some kind of diagnosis, but this is proving to take longer than I’d hoped (but probably a normal time-frame) and I also think it’s really important to bring awareness to heart disease (of which my family has virtually no history of, which is why this is such a surprising concern for me). Heart disease is known as the silent killer, because I feel fine and yet something isn’t right. Many people were shocked when Bob Harper suffered a massive heart attack as we have an ideal that heart disease isn’t a problem for healthy people, and yet it can be.
Making peace with needing to run at a lower effort, and such, a slower pace, isn’t easy. I feel that because I’m leading a running group, I should be near the front of the pack, and I should be able to push myself.
I should, I should, I should…..
As frustrating as this is, I’m trying to give myself grace. As a problem-solver, I like to be able to fix things, but I can’t (and, honestly won’t) take a pill to fix this.
I am working to continue to exercise and reduce sodium in my diet (although, the connection between hypertension and blood pressure isn’t quite as direct as we once thought: It should be noted, however, that even though the study found no statistically significant association between blood pressure and sodium in the diet, those patients who were hypertensive consumed significantly more salt than those without hypertension—suggesting, as other research has, that salt affects people differently) (it’s also difficult to reduce sodium when I already eat mostly fresh foods to begin with). I’ve started taking potassium and Coenzyme Q10 (as they’re believe to have a positive impact on blood pressure) and am working on meditating in the mornings before work. While I wait for my 24 hour blood pressure monitor, I’ve purchased a Qardio cuff so I can monitor at home and have information to discuss with my doctor in the future.
I suppose this turned more into a post about my health than being slower, but it’s a good thing Thursdays are for thinking out loud.
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