What's your marathon?
Updated: Nov 17
On November 6, 2022, I participated in the New York City Marathon. This was my ninth marathon. This was my third World Abbott Marathon. I won't lie.... I didn't really train. I didn't really think I was going to do it. The night before I sobbed in my hotel room because I was so scared. But what was I scared of? The pain? Yup.... there is physical pain that comes with running a marathon. The fear of being last or at the back of the pack? Yup..... I just had major knee surgery in March 2022 and hadn't even begun running yet. I just finished a half marathon dead last two weeks earlier. I knew I had planned to walk this race.
Well, the truth was.... I was afraid of being alone out there. Marathons give people a ton of time to think. My thoughts and emotions scared me. I'm 49.5 years old and in perimenopause/menopause. Guess what ladies, the anxiety and depression is AWFUL during this life change. This marathon was going to make me think of all the things I didn't want to think about. It was a lonely feeling walking along seeing these runners, feeling like I'm an imposter. They are running.... I should be (I actually did a walk run sequence for miles 2 to 5 or 6). Well, I wasn't. I walked along as fast as I could trying to enjoy everything around me. But as each mile passed, I would do the math as to how long the race would take me and that felt awful; I was trying to figure out in my head where my running partner (and best friend) was in the race was and that felt awful.
Somewhere around mile 14 I began getting dizzy. I knew it was my oxygen level. That scared me, but I was determined. I was over halfway through, and I knew I was going to do it. Somewhere around mile 21 I couldn't figure out where I was on the course. I was missing the MapMyRun app notifications in my earbuds. I was missing the mile markers on the course. I called the last person I called on my phone, luckily it was my running partner and not my mother (LOL). I told him I was headed to medical at the end of the race. I vaguely remember anything else I said to him.
Just a couple miles later I saw my husband cheering me on. I actually didn't recognize him immediately. It was then I knew my oxygen was really off. I told him I wasn't feeling right, and I was headed to medical at the end of the race. He said he'd meet me there. A mile later I crossed the finish line. I couldn't believe I finished. My oxygen was 88 when they checked it and it dropped to 81 when they got me laying down. It eventually popped back up, but it took some time.
So, let's face it..... I'm not as healthy as I appear to be. I had a TIA (mild stroke) in June 2020, Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency, COPD (from Alpha One), hypertension, high cholesterol, low potassium drops, vertigo, migraines..... just to name a few. On top of anxiety and depression that comes with health issues and menopause.
So, what did I learn??? First, NYC air quality is HORRIBLE; not good for an Alpha One patient. I doubt I'll do another race there. Second, thoughts are scary (and most important). We have them. It's just a part of life. We need to really look at those thoughts. What is just a thought versus reality. The mind is such an amazing organ that the medical field still doesn't know everything about. Our marathon starts every day when we put our feet on the floor. We will have thoughts.... We will have emotions and feelings. We need to be kind to ourselves in order to really understand what's in there.
Be kind to one another, Kristen