Friday, February 6, 2015

When You Cannot Run, Part 2

Although I ran cross country in high school, I did not run it well. I was always the slowest girl on the team be it because of inadequate cortisol coverage or my extreme grass allergy. I am proud to state that I finished every race.

As years passed, I learned how to better manage my Adrenal Insufficiency so that I could run more successfully. I won 3rd place in my age group for a five mile race. I shaved 43 minutes off of my half marathon PR. I was getting fast. I was getting good. And I was loving every minute of it.

Then the Nightmare happened.

In the aftermath, I was told I could not run.

Then, I became scared to run.

I was scared to acknowledge how much my 2013 crisis had stolen from me. I was scared to admit that I had finally started to taste my dream and I might never taste it again. I was scared to concede that my recovery from my near death experience would take much longer than I wanted.

As the Nightmare continues to fade, I continue to regain my strength. My passion to run has been reignited. In December, I completed the last leg of the Dallas Marathon. I cried as I sprinted across that finish line. It represented a new beginning. I was returning to the sport I loved.

The very end of my 5.7 mile leg of the marathon in December.
I just happened to claim the leg with the torrential Texas downpour.
Shortly after the December race, I planned out my racing season. Hot Cake Hustle 5K in January. Hot Chocolate 15K in February. Rock N Roll Relay in March. And Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon in September. I have a plan! I have my races! And I am finally well enough to get back into the sport I love!

Yet the Hot Chocolate 15K is tomorrow, and I am sitting it out.

Last Friday, I suddenly came down with a 101.3 deg fever. Triple dose of steroids and lots of fluids allowed the fever to break in under 24 hours. However it marked the start of a "flu like virus" according to my doctor. This past week I have been wheezing and coughing non-stop. The past two days, I've had no voice.

I cannot express in words the frustration I have with my body right now. I'm not supposed to be sick. I'm supposed to be preparing for tomorrows race. The Hot Chocolate is one of my favorite races. This also marked the first year of finishers medals!

Want. So badly want.
I could show up to the race tomorrow. I have the bib. I could complete the race tomorrow. I'm stubborn enough to make it across that finish line. But I know that the risk is not worth the reward.

I have the bib. I have the sweatshirt.
I have my Olive Thief standing guard.
Instead, I'll sit this race out. I expect those running to return with awesome finisher medals, photos, and stories. I would be lying to y'all if I said it doesn't pain me to not attend. But I am going to choose to not dwell on that.

Instead, I will actively chose to focus my energy on my next goal.


  1. Hang in there Amber! I had a cold/bug the week before Xmas and only started running again last week! Like you, running is my passion. I wasn't able to run for a year back in 2013 and it really did stink (honestly, I want to use a much stronger word but I'll keep it PG). :-) I have SAI.

    1. Here's to more running days in our future!

  2. I had just started running last year when I had my first adrenal crises. I had 3 more criseses before my endo informed me I needed to stress dose before I exercised or ran. Needless to say I got scared &stopped running. Plus I don't like taking very high doses of steroids, I'm trying to lose weight & that makes me gain weight.
    So far since last April I've had 9 adrenal criseses. I've had adrenal insufficiency for 12 years with no problems at all. .started running, had the first 4,then they switched manufacturers on me and I've been fighting to stay alive ever since=(

    1. Hi Angela,

      Did they switch your manufacturer to Qualitest? If yes, GET OFF OF IT! I find that "medicine" to be more of a poison.

      And a normal human body increases cortisol production for endurance sports. They have done studies that show marathon runners to have cortisol levels in the 60's after a marathon, which is 3-4x the amount of AM cortisol levels. That's not them popping pills. That's what the human body should do.

      Also, less steroids does not automatically equal less weight. Many of us find a certain sweet spot where if we increase our HC dosage in order to complete physical activity, we end up loosing weight.

      I hope you can get to feeling better soon :( I know it's not fun to be fighting hard to stay alive, especially when the first couple of years went smoothly.

  3. Being on steriods is tough. You need them to live and sometimes to even exercise, but I have found when I'm on a higher dose weight gain is a challenge. I'm only 5 feet! Also, when my first endo had me on a very high dose I ended up with compartment syndrome, which is still a struggle for me every day. My new endo has me on the lowest dose possible, but I really have to be careful about stress dosing. Hang in there! OMG I can't imagine having one crisis never mind nine crises! Take care and don't push yourself too hard.


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