Well, it’s been awhile, dear readers (I have to assume that there are at least two of you, if only to satisfy my ego’s need for recognition). I haven’t written since early April although if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (ask if you like) you’ll know that I have continued to run fairly regularly since my last blog post but I’ve had to adapt to some events that have popped up over time.
What have I been up to?
Since my last post I have successfully completed a couple of local races, including the Lorneville Loop (13K just west of Saint John, NB) and the Hartland Covered Bridge Run (10K). I still manage to run 3 – 4 times per week, and my average mileage is starting to exceed 20 miles per week.
I also helped to organize a local fundraising event for mental health and suicide prevention that was put on by my running club, a 5K walk/run event. It went well for a first time event and we’re hoping it will be an annual event in the Woodstock, NB area.
How did the Fredericton Marathon go?
But, you might ask, what about my Fredericton marathon (or half marathon goal) back in May? What happened? How did it go?
The short answer is that I didn’t run that race, despite my plans. It came down to two reasons:
Family obligations that crept up on fairly short notice which would have made the race an unpleasant experience.
A recurring health issue cropped up again and I decided to err on the side of caution and not run, as well as cutting back on my running a bit for awhile.
I’d like to talk about the health issue now, since it’s something that I haven’t found talked about much in the context of running and I’d like to share my experiences.
Kidney stones and my running
Back in October/November of 2014, I was diagnosed with kidney stones. I started to experience a painful attack at work one afternoon, something that had never happened to me before. Other members of my extended family have had this problem before, including my father, so it’s not something that I was completely ignorant about. Seeing a family member vomit into a towel due to kidney stone pain is something you remember as a kid.
After a trip to the ER, during which the pain escalated even further, x-rays confirmed the presence of kidney stones in both kidneys. After lying on my back, the pain receded tremendously and I was good to go home, with the understanding that I would come back if the pain got bad again.
Days passed and I felt relatively fine. I resumed a running schedule and in early January I started full marathon training in earnest, which I documented here at least once per week. It was challenging but I did not have any further kidney stone issues.
Due to problems that I experienced following my first attempt at a 15 mile run on a freezing Saturday morning, I took stock again and decided to scale back to the half-marathon. I’m in my mid 40s and that makes me a bit cautious. So I continued to do long runs after taking it easy for a week or two. I eventually did complete my 15 mile goal! And managed to run at least one trial half-marathon on my own.
I started a bit of a taper during the week before the Fredericton Marathon. Exactly one week before the Fredericton Marathon I had a wonderful 6 mile run, enjoying the increased warmth and sunlight that spring was bringing. I came in the house, feeling pretty good about things and then noticed something funny during a bio break. I wasn’t feeling any pain, but I was seeing something that I didn’t normally see doing a bio break.
So, back to the ER…
After more testing, etc., the on call doctor reconfirmed the original kidney stone diagnosis and gave me a better idea of the size. My right kidney contained a stone that was 11 MM long and 7 MM wide (hard to believe) and the left kidney had a stone that was at least 8 MM long, don’t recall the other measurements. And there might have been others as well.
Taking everything into account, including the doctor’s recommendations, I regretfully decided to defer my race registration for one year and I did not run at the event. This was unfortunate (no, actually, it sucked quite profoundly) for many reasons but I had to come to terms with this. I wanted to run a full marathon in October but scheduling won’t permit that, either. So, no full marathons in 2015 for yours truly. I’m over it now and I know that the winter training that I did wasn’t a complete waste, because:
I’m going to run two half-marathons this year, one in August and one in September. Training for the August race is going well, despite ongoing kidney stone concerns, and I plan to run the August race at an easy enough pace that I can recover quickly for the September half marathon.
And in other good news, my town now has an indoor walking track (no cost to use it!) which I will be using in the worst of winter as the outer lane of the track is reserved for runners!
My kidney stones are currently being treated. The treatment is gradual and will probably continue through the rest of the summer. Thankfully the stones have not caused me any pain and everything still works the way it should without any other symptoms since early May, so I’d say things are going well.
I’ll write a follow up blog post talking about running with kidney stones and how you treat kidney stones. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of good material online about this, so I’ll share my own experiences.
Further down the road
I haven’t given up my long term running goals. Someday, I will run the Boston Marathon, but it’s going to take a few years to get there. I enjoy my weekly running schedule, I still love races and I’m glad to have met so many great people through this sport. I’ll close with a photo of myself with some Twitter friends from the #RunAtCan chats after the Hartland Covered Bridge Race. Another health benefit of running.