My thought process began last week, after being informed by my doc that I was now taking a bit “too much” Synthroid, according to my labs. Until that point, I’d felt pretty great, with the exception of sleeping like a rock for 9-10 hours and feeling groggy for the first hour or so after waking. I was a bit skeptical of her conclusion at first, but then things started to feel worse.
Hyperthyroid symptoms aren’t exactly the opposite of hypothyroid symptoms. The body’s funky that way. With hypothyroid, your body doesn’t produce enough adrenaline and other energy-giving hormones to move you along to function at highest capacity. With hyperthyroid, the body dumps a ton of adrenaline into your system, so you’re in “fight or flight” mode all of the time, which, obvs, konks out your system, hard. So, sure, I’m going along, feeling skipperdee-dee because, for once, I have energy, until…KONK! And I did konk.
Christmas Eve morning, before packing up and heading down to San Diego for the holiday to see my cousins, I decided to fit in a quick 3-miler. Waking up that morning was, as usual, difficult, but I figured, once I got going, I’d perk right on up. After walking the dog for 30 minutes and after about five minutes into my run, I realized that there was no “perking” to be had. I felt like a lead puppet, that same, sloggy, lurching feeling I felt before this whole thyroid mess. My cardio system was working overtime, trying to move this huge, brick-like body along the concrete. I had to stop and walk a couple of times to get my heart rate back down. All in all, I finished feeling failed and worse than I felt before I started.
The rest of the week, I took a break from the running, opting instead to do more walking than usual, but it didn’t really feel like I was doing anything significantly helpful, fitness-wise, and that was frustrating. Finally, over the weekend I chose to get out there on an eight mile hike with the dog. I woke up that morning with a familiar groggy feeling, and, hitting the trail, felt significantly fatigued at first, to the point where, halfway up the out and back trail, I wondered if I should stop and quit pushing myself. Still, I continued the gradual climb to the top.
It was coming back, though, that the strangest thing happened: I felt energized! I sped back down the winding dust and rock with youthful, athletic zeal, so much so that I felt like I could have done the whole trek over again.
I decided I was going to get in at least ONE hour-long run before the end of the year. A friend of mine posted on Facebook, after finishing a six-mile run himself (he’s one of those annoyingly perpetually fit types who can sit on a couch for a year or two, get up, and run six miles at an eight or nine-minute pace without feeling any pain–grr), that running over three miles made him feel like a superhero. I was going to get my cape back, thyroid be damned.
My body fought the first three miles, even though I tried to keep it “slow and steady,” and a cloud of doubt began to rain little droplets of quit suggestions into my head.
“Maybe you should take some walk breaks. It wouldn’t hurt to walk for a couple of minutes.”
“You don’t have to go the whole hour. You haven’t run an hour in a while. Maybe do 45 minutes today, and build up to an hour again.”
“Maybe your body isn’t ready to handle this.”
But then there was stubborn ol’ me. There was the me inside that took me by my own shoulders and said, “No. You have been very caring and you’ve gone easy on yourself for months and months, always opting out of the harder version of the workout because you were afraid to ‘push it’ because of your health. You will feel worse if you quit. You are doing this full hour, no matter how slow. You will stay on your feet.”
Easy as anything, my energy came back. Not in epic, superhero proportions like it did my first run back after surgery, but enough to where I felt like I could keep going forever. I was in the running “zone”, the sweet spot, the point where running was fun again, enjoyable. Granted, I traveled much slower than my usual pace, but I hit the pavement for a full hour and, as I slowed down to a walk, I felt a wave of gratitude and pride of accomplishment splash over me.
I guess that’s how superheroes must feel all of the time.
Happy New Year!