Monday, May 9, 2011

Blond and Menopausal

If you know anything about menopause, you know all about hot flashes....power surges.....force fields.....  I have started wearing a bodybugg to measure my caloric output; I was fairly certain that all the heat my hot flashes generate also burn a lot of calories.  To my  dismay, I discovered that these high heat levels, that occur almost hourly, do nothing to increase my calorie consumption...just my discomfort!   Worse yet, in comparing my sleeping/at rest measurements with my daughter, I found she expends almost twice the number calories I do while she is slumbering....the same number that I burn when I walk the dogs!!!  Sigh....  Getting older isn't for sissies.

A little known fact about menopause is how it messes with a woman's mind.  I am not talking about the PMS type of rages or depression, though it certainly creates those issues also.  I am referring to that which is known as a 'menopausal fog'.  It is a general fuzziness of memory and cognitive functioning--like walking through a mental walking into a room, and having no idea why I went there, or telling a story, then lose track of where the story was going.  Forget about figuring out a tip; it just isn't going to happen without a calculator!   Put that with being blond....and it is a recipe for diaster, or funny stories, depending on what kind of menpausal state one is in at the time.

Last weekend I ran in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in conjunction with raising money to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I trained for almost six months, and though plagued with bio-mechanical issues, (fancy way of saying my body is falling a part),  I was ready to run the race with relative ease, and pain killers.

The morning of the marathon was cold and windy, with thunderstorms.  Meeting the Texas team in the hotel lobby, after-race gear bag in hand,  we got word that the race was on a one hour weather delay.  So we waited.  The minutes ticked away. Restlessly, we listened to announcements being braodcasted over the loud speaker in the start area and decided to head over.  Pushing against the wind, rain and crowd, we neared the start, where the 'fast' people were lined up and ready to go.  (In these large endurance races, participants are put into 'corrals' according to their speed.  The slowest are in the back so they don't get mowed over by the fast ones). As nervous participants pushed and shoved to get into the race area, the start buzzer sounded. The marathon had begun; the runners surged forward on the course. Those still trying to get to their start corrals knocked down fences and elbowed each other in desperation; the race had started without them, and in panic, they pushed their way into the melee....taking me with them.   So there I found myself, 8 pound gear bag slung over my shoulder, in the middle of the run zone, causing the racers to part around me like the Red Sea.  Thinking like a pro,  I did what any seasoned marathoner would do;  I turned and ran with these elite athletes, trying my best to look like I belonged.

That posing was short lived.  My pace was significantly slower than those around me, and skinny little hard bodies passed on both sides as the wind and rain pelted my face and whipped my poncho like a loose tent flap in a hurricane force gale.  To compound my discomfort,  I had a magnificent hot flash, and had to move to the left to shed some clothing.  Already burdened with my 8 pound, makeshift gear bag, I did not want to carry anything else, I left the discarded clothing on the side of the road.  (Rumor had it that it is collected for the homeless.)  My arms and shoulders were also starting to ache from running with my gear bag, which was just a hotel laundry bag knotted at the top like Santa's bag.  There was no effective way carry it, so I kept switching it from shoulder to shoulder, and sometimes gripped it around the middle like a sack of potatoes.  Clothes shed, bag in place and Ipod on, I began to run again, staying to the left, where the slower racers ran. Gradually people stopped passing me; I got into my rhythm and began to let my mind go as my legs carried me forward and my arms toted the bag.    Mind afloat and drifting, I ran like a lemming with the crowd, following  where they went....over the bridge, up a hill, to the left and onward...mindlessly running.

I must have finally achieved that state of mind called the 'runner's high' because before I knew it,  the finish line appeared in front of me, both sides of the street lined with screaming fans and photographers.  Amazed at how quickly the  miles had passed  and how strong I still felt, I knew that could have run longer and faster...even carrying that stupid bag!   I chided myself for setting such a slow pace when clearly, I was capable of much more!

As I crossed the finish line, proud of my accomplishment, excited about finally experiencing the runner's high, and already thinking about the next race (if this is how wonderful it can be), the announcer broadcasted across the PA; "Congrats to Sue with North Texas Team in Training for completing the 5K" !

Whoa~~stop the music!!  What did he say?

Then if hit me................true to form, I had gotten lost.....and had run the 5K instead of the half marathon.  Instead of turning left, I should have gone straight.  Instead of running 13 miles, I had run 3.5--I was ten miles short!!

I approached one race official after another, trying to get back on the course, but no one seemed to know the route.  By the time I found someone who could 'sorta' give me directions,  'but you'll have to run some extra miles to get there',  a good half an hour had passed.  It was raining hard by now, with tempertures hovering around 50 degrees; cold and wet, still clutching my heavy gear bag, and with muscles beginning to seize, I threw in my hat.  I was done.

So this goes down as not just a blond moment, but as a truly blond and menopausal one.....

No wonder I look so fresh....I had only run 5 kilometers! 


  1. Hahaha--sorry you didn't get to run your half marathon, but you had best intentions. Glad someone suffers from these mental lapses and hot flashes as much as I do. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I am glad you accidentally ran the 5K! Frankly, running can do a lot of damage, and we need you as a Sag Sista on the Northern Tier!! Great that you signed up, and were willing to go the half marathon, however!

    See you soon!!


  3. Sag Sista-

    When will you blog about your ride?

    Your Secret Friend