How menopause effected my running

Date: 16 September 2020   Author: Energise Me

Menopause can sometimes seem like a bit of a taboo subject. But since it affects at least half the population we think this needs to change! Leading the way, our CEO, Julie shares how the menopause affected her journey doing the couch to 5k.

 

Now I am a runner!

So I vlogged about my #Couchto5k experience. I graduated and I say tongue in cheek I’m a runner now!

My running shoes were developing holes in the soles so I had promised myself new running shoes if I graduated from #Couthto5k. With professional assessment and advice from Alexandra Sports I bought some new shoes that I was eager to try out on the day of purchase. You know that new shoes feeling, right? I was sure I would run further and faster but I didn’t. I was running on my own. Pete was playing golf. So I did my 5 mins warm-up, still using the #Couchto5k app. I was feeling good, positively bouncy in the new runners.

I had to be kind to myself and find the positives. I had been motivated to run. I had got out there and tried

Fifteen minutes in, blood sugars hit the floor. Not unusual for me but it hadn’t happened whilst running before. I was 20 mins walk from home. Long story but in the end, I remembered my son was training in the park a few minutes away. I sat down for a while, drank some of his water, recovered and walked home. I remember in my vlogs that towards the end of the #couchto5k programme, I said that I felt confident that I could run for 30 minutes, that I had overcome the mental challenge of whether I could run for 30 minutes. Here I was, only 15 minutes of running and I’d had to stop!  It would have been easy for me to beat myself up. I didn’t, I chose to write this run off and to try again a couple of days later.

A couple of days later and a second run in the new runners. Felt confident and then, twenty minutes in this time, the ‘brakes’ went on. Not blood sugars this time. I just couldn’t carry on running. My legs had given up. What was going on?

 

I had to be kind to myself and find the positives. I had been motivated to run. I had got out there and tried. I had run and walked for over 30 minutes. That counted for something. I would try again.

Since then, I have run on many more occasions and everything has been fine. I recently enjoyed an interval set on the Nike Run Club, just to mix things up and try something different. I have run with the #Couchto5k app, with music and without music. I have measured my run in distance. I’m still not at 5k but it doesn’t matter, I’m running. One night, I had what felt like a great run where I managed a strong finish up hill. I think most of my colleagues heard about that one! I’m a runner?

 

So what happened after graduation?

I know about my tendency towards low blood sugar spells (I am not diabetic) and have for many years chosen nutrition that can help me manage this. But I think something else might be at play. Menopause. I asked myself why I questioned if I should write about this experience. Is it because you don’t hear people talk about it much? A subject that feels uncomfortable. Why?

For my part, it was hard to hide the symptoms, my face suddenly goes red and colleagues could see the change. That and the fact that I was throwing the window open and sticking my head outside to find some cool air. Even in winter! So, we have talked about it in the office. We have laughed about it too. Indeed, one colleague bought me a desk top fan as a leaving gift. Best gift ever! Much easier than rushing to a window and throwing it open.

I don’t need to stop running because I’m not designed for it, I’m not a runner.

Menopause

Most people know about common symptoms such as hot flushes. I am not sure most people know about the many other symptoms. I certainly didn’t because my experience is that it is rarely spoken about. My friends have commonly spoken about hot flushes and disrupted sleep and Alpro Soya based products were flying off our local supermarket shelves after one conversation!

It was a friend who mentioned that the joint pain that I was having, and that was so strong that it woke me up at night might, be linked to menopause.  I confess I was sceptical but as I looked into it more, joint pain and fatigue are symptoms. Is this why I found it difficult to run on these days? I can’t categorically say but it is an explanation that makes sense. I don’t need to stop running because I’m not designed for it, I’m not a runner.

These days, menopause helps me to explain lots of things. Forgetting what I am going to say halfway through a sentence, my butterfly mind fluttering in different directions and hayfever which started about 3 years ago. I need to find out more. I need to learn more. So, I’ve started listening to podcasts and reading about menopause to see if there are changes that I can make in my everyday life that will help me manage my symptoms better. What I won’t be doing, is asking myself again if this is something I should be talking about or writing about!

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