And a Confession…
Honestly, I have been writing this post in my head for several weeks. But it has taken me months to even get to the writing the post in my head part. I was never sure if I would actually post about this. Before I get to the advice part of the post, I need to provide some background.
You all know that I started to run off and on back in 2008… the off and on portion continued through 2009. Then in 2010, I started to actually track all of this running stuff (which has since evolved… totally different post). As such, I consider January 4, 2010 as the day I started to run.
Running went very well for me in that first year. In 2011, I had a number of set-backs that I had to deal with. I dealt with injury and failing to hit most of my goals and getting sick far too often. But I kept running.
What most people don’t know is that in the middle of 2011, I went on birth control as a way to combat some skin issues (Read really bad acne). It solved the skin issues but it caused a new issue.
Since going on the birth control, I have noticed that when I run, I tend to feel insanely nausea towards the end and after the run. I know I have mentioned often that my blood sugar tanks. Now, I am not a doctor so I am not positive if that is what is happening but the symptoms I experience seem to be in line with what a lot of diabetics feel when their blood sugar drops. Since diabetes is in my family history, I am aware that I may become diabetic at some point in my life but at this point in time, I am not.
Now, this feeling seems to ONLY happen when I run or have a very hard workout. Eating candy after the run sometimes will offset the nausea feeling to some degree but for the most part I just feel miserable once the runner’s high wears off. And really, I don’t WANT to have to eat candy after running. I have experimented with several different foods/drinks after running and nothing really makes the feeling go away completely but the candy does help… most often I just choose to feel miserable instead of eating candy.
When I first started to do long runs to prepare for my first half marathon, I noticed then that on the longer runs (usually 7 miles or more) I would get this same feeling. At the time, I wasn’t sure what it was but after one such run, I made myself an almond butter sandwich and felt instantly better. Hindsight, I probably needed mid-run fuel since I ran for more than hour but I was still such a novice that it didn’t occur to me. I never take mid-run fuel. Every time I have tried to my stomach cramps horribly and taking deep breathes usually becomes painful from the stomach cramps which makes running a race rather difficult. So I have since given up on mid-run fuel and stick with water only until the race is over.
I know a lot of people would disagree with that decision but I can run through feeling nausea but not the stomach cramping… so let’s move on
I started to notice, shortly after going on the birth control, that I would get that nausea feeling after pretty much every single run, even some of my runs that are less than two miles. Pace doesn’t seem to change whether this feeling happens or not either…
In trying to figure out what was going on, I analyzed my running in 2010 and my running now. Going on birth control is really the only change that happened. My diet is the same as when I started to run. In fact, I am still eating the same lunch I would eat back in 2010 when I took up running (mostly steamed veggies and whole wheat pasta with some parmesan cheese). Based on that, I have come to the conclusion that the birth control is doing this. My thoughts were further confirmed when a girlfriend told me that when she was on birth control, it would randomly make her feel nausea.
I have experimented a LOT with different foods (and beverages) before and after running and nothing seems to work. I have also tried eating at different intervals throughout the day and having a snack an hour before my run and that didn’t help either. Pizza does help (oddly) but I don’t want to eat pizza every day… well, ok fine, I do… but it’s not healthy.
Pretty much this entire year, in the background, I have been trying to find a solution outside of going off the birth control. I have essentially tried to keep this a secret for the most part. Not because I am embarrassed but… I don’t know… maybe I don’t want to look like I am making excuses.
I am kind of at my wits end here. I love running and I want to start to building a stronger base (has anyone noticed that I tend to max out my daily run at 2-3 miles… yea… this is why) and I want to do more 10 milers. I also have plans to run another half but this nausea feeling after I run is seriously affecting my training. At this point, It’s kind of like Pavlov’s dog – Run makes me feel like $hit for the rest of the evening. That feeling is now making it increasingly more difficult for me to get out the door to run. It is no secret that I have been running less over the past few weeks despite my 10 miler coming up. I miss running but every day when I consider going for a run I think about how I am going to feel after the run and I know that really $hitty feeling will be there and so I just don’t run
The only reason I am still on the birth control is because of the skin issues but at this point, I am starting to feel like this is affecting my running way too much and I just don’t like it. I have been just dealing with it but I cannot deny that it does affect my getting out there more often. Not only that, but it also affects my ability to strength train after… because really, once that nausea feeling takes over, I am pretty much done…. In fact, I usually end up crawling into bed a LOT earlier (well… earlier than normal) just to make the feeling go away.
So ladies, I am curious, do any of you have this issue? What did you do to combat the issue?
I intend to test my theory by going off the birth control for at least two months (I know it takes a while to work its way out of your system) and see if I am feeling better and if the skin issues return. My hope is that this will once and for all confirm or disprove my theory. And I am fairly certain that if the skin issue does not return that I will just stay off the birth control.
Any advice is greatly appreciated!