The Hardest Decision I’ve Had to Make – Damn Adrenal Fatigue

Athletes' Village

I’ve been avoiding this blog entry for nearly a week.

I didn’t want to write it. I didn’t want to face it. I didn’t want to admit it. I didn’t want to tell…anyone.

Yet it was last Tuesday I made up my mind.

Monday I had a strong indication.

And though hard, my mind is at rest, and a weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and that’s how I know what I am doing is the right thing. I truly believe that there are whisperings of the heart – steering us in the right direction – we only need but listen.

I’ve decided with much much much consideration to not run Boston this year.

I know many of you have obviously put 2 and 2 together with my posting the condo on my page and elsewhere. Some of you had even inquired about my running Boston as soon as you’d seen my listing. I didn’t respond. I didn’t answer. I avoided your direction questions all together.

Why?

Partly because I was in denial. Partly because it was too fresh, and partly because I didn’t feel it was the most appropriate way to let you know. Writing a blog entry about my decision was the least I could do. So many of you have followed my journey, and I didn’t want any of you to think I’d made a rash decision. Anything but.

This has been by far one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.

To bring you up to speed quickly…

Between 2007 and 2008 I lost more than 60 pounds. You know this.

Until then I’d become a couch potato. I was still the caring fun-loving Jenny I am now, but I lacked the energy, drive, and self-confidence to really do anything remotely physical – though I longed to.

When I lost my weight and experienced accomplishing my first “athletic” goal (a 5k in the early spring), I was instantly hooked. From that first 5k I went on to run many more. Then 10ks. Then half marathons. Then sprint triathlons. Then hiking with friends. Then competing in figure. Then, then, then, then. You get the picture. I lived and breathed to be active.

Heidi and I

Looking back one of my fondest days was filled with physical activities. I shared this not too long ago with my Hormone Specialist. I’d gone out one morning for an 8 mile run. To prepare for a race? No, it was just for fun. Upon returning home, I sent Dakota off to school. I then met my friend, Heidi, at the gym for weight training and more cardio. To me that was fun. I enjoyed lifting, and I loved lifting at the time with my friend. After training we decided to go hiking. Again, fun. My body loved it. I loved it.

That day stands out in my mind as being one of my favorites because I remember how strong I felt. How eager. How unstoppable. How willing and how blessed to be healthy enough to keep going. That day was special.

Fast forward.

I have since run 3 marathons. I know what training for a marathon is supposed to feel like. I know the time and dedication it takes to prepare. There are no shortcuts. You have to put in the miles. While there are many who are so much more dedicated than I am, I still put in my miles. I never really focused on tempo runs, sprints, and track repeats. I just ran. It’s what I loved to do. Running came easy to me. I know that now. I know there  are many who only dream to experience the feeling I had while running. Though taxing at times it felt effortless and enjoyable. I was the go-to girl if anyone needed a filler for a relay race, and I was always happy to step up to the challenge. I loved running.

I ran St. George in 2009 (3:49:58) , Top of Utah in 2010 (3:42:41) and because of my time at Top of Utah, I qualified and ran Boston in 2011. My time was 3:47:27. Now again, I know many of you are so much faster than I am. I’m by no means “fast” by running standards, but I was fast enough on the Boston course to qualify me again (at my age) for this year’s race.

I contemplated at first whether or not I should sign up for 2012. It wasn’t long after Boston last year that I hit an all-time low health-wise. It was then I discovered (after increasing energy lags, depression, and anxiety) I suffered not only from Hypothyroidism, but it was the result of Hashimotos. I also discovered at this time I suffered from Adrenal Fatigue. Both conditions were new to me. They finally provided answers to why my body was starting to feel the way it was, but it didn’t necessarily make healing any easier or quicker.

My Hormone Specialist increased my Armour dosage for my Hypothyroidism, and he gave me a slew of other vitamins and minerals to take to help my adrenals – none of which were prescription.

He prescribed more sleep, less cardio, more “zen”-like activities, less stress, less caffeine,  and more simplicity. He asked me to evaluate my life, my schedule, and to simplify where possible. He told me to focus moderating my starchy vegetables, eat mostly alkaline above ground growing veggies, limited grains, and lots of lean protein. He advised against Paleo for me (being I’d lose too much too quickly). But he enouraged me to avoid sweets – and that included artificial ones – to help regulate my insulin levels. It all worked together – like a spider’s web – one thing affecting the other. I needed to approach healing my body as a whole. I couldn’t focus on one area and not another. If I wanted to feel like I did a couple of years ago, I needed to make several changes.

This was hard for me to hear because everything I’d done up to that point WAS healthy. I was active. I ate clean. I included healthy cardio. But part of the problem was I overdid it. I’d depleted everything. I was tapped out, exhausted, and running (literally) on fumes or what was left of them anyway.

It was during one of our first meetings I told him about that “speical” day I’d had with my friend Heidi and how I longed to have more mornings/days like that. It was then he faced me with the reality that that was my body “then”. This is my body “now”. I may never get back to that place – no matter how fit, athletic, and conditioned I am.

Energized

His honesty hurt, but I wanted more than anything to prove him wrong.

It was then too I told him I decided to run Boston this year. He wasn’t thrilled. He knew he couldn’t stop me, but he advised me to listen to my body. Only run it if I were on the road to recovery.

I knew that if I didn’t register I would regret it later. So I did. I registered.

Then I tried to do what I could before training hoping my body would recover enough to handle the intense training ahead of me. Doctor’s orders. I didn’t want to jeopardize my chances of running. I knew what I was up against, and I needed a fresh body.

As January approached, I’d printed off the program I’d wanted to follow. It was from the “Advanced Marathoning” book. It was part of the FIRST program. With three marathons under my belt I wanted this one to be the first where I really focused on hitting a new PR. This was going to be the race I included tempo runs, sprints, and track repeats. I had it all laid out. My goal was to hit 3:40 or at worst 3:45 on the course. A 3:40 would be my all time best. A 3:45 would at least be more than 2 minutes faster on the Boston course, so either way I would be happy.

I headed out early January with high hopes…

…only to quickly discover it was hard. Everything was hard. Running was hard. Breathing was hard. Keeping a tempo was hard.

I tried again two days later. Again, hard.

I started second guessing myself. Was it really harder this time than it had been the three times before, or was I just remembering it wrong? This time it felt so much worse. I swore it. Something was off. This couldn’t be right.

I decided to try a long-run. Go slower. Surely that would feel normal. The only reason the other two runs were painful was because I wasn’t used to training at that intensity, right? So I went out for a long run…

…and it was hard too. I couldn’t last. I was breathless after only a few miles. I had to walk. I never walk.

I decided my body was tired. It was then I decided to take off nearly a month from ALL CARDIO and give my body a complete rest. I’d never done that. I’d never cut everything out. I was willing to try, and I’d hoped that with each cardio-less day my adrenals would strengthen and would be ready for me to pick things back up in February. I figured if I continued to push myself the way things were going I’d only cause more damage. So, I rested from all cardio for as long as I could justify.

I wanted to believe it would help.

And I think to some extent it did. When I reintroduced cardio back in to my schedule, I was jumping at the bit to do it. My short runs (the few that I’d completed) didnt’ feel too bad.

So then I went out for a long run…again. I had many to make up.

It was awful. I made it 5 miles and had to walk. I was in pain. Literally. Everywhere. I cried and cried. I hoped no one saw me as I walked home because I was so ashamed I couldn’t finish. I was the “runner”. I was the one who ran Boston. I was the one who was running Boston. And here I was, crippled from the lungs out.

I still didn’t want to give up.

My friend and I decided to run the canyon not too long after that. I loved running downhill. It came easy to me. It was running the downhill Halloween Half that both she and I set new PRs for the Half Marathon that qualified us both for New York. Running downhill would be easy. I needed to get one good run under my belt so that I could feel good about my running program. We went out early that morning, drove up to our typical spot, parked the car, and started down. We ran down for 2-2.5 and then headed back up the other way to make sure we got enough miles in. This is what we’d done the season before and it had been a breeze. At 4 miles, I again was slow and breathless. I told Sarah to run ahead. I’d continue on, and she’d catch me on the way back down the canyon.

I never did see her again that day. We were supposed to run 15 maybe even 16 if I felt good. At 11.25 (exactly) and after many walks, stretches, and tears, I finally called Greg and asked him to come pick me up. I had pain that originated in my ankle and ran up the right-side of my leg, to my hip-flexer, and back to my glute. It was excruciating. I was done.

That day I’d hoped to go back up and finish the rest of my miles. I didn’t. I was out of commission.

Keep in mind last year after I ran Boston I felt strong. The very next day I was out and about walking the city by foot with a blister. Even with all that I felt good, healthy, and able.

After my 11.25 mile painful run, I was beat. I was sore, and I was injured. It took me 3 days to heal.

During this time I’d also started seeing a Sports Physical Therapist. He was going to help me run. He took me through a number of stretches and exercises. He helped me with my form. He taped me, massaged my leg, and tried to instill the confidence that was waning at this point.

Was I still a runner?

My hope was deteriorating. Time was beginning to run short. I could see the deadline approaching much more quickly than I’d like, and my concern grew.

But I still had hope – at least some.

Last Monday I hit the treadmill at the gym. We had fresh snow on the ground, and I hesitated to run outside in the dark. I didn’t want to risk twisting an ankle and injuring it even more.

I ran 2 miles on the treadmill. By the end I was hunched over, feet on the permiter, doubled over trying to catch my breath. I wasn’t even sprinting. I was running fast, but not fast enough to explain my breathlessnes.

What was going on?

I stopped.

The next day I tried again. I wrote the day before off to coming off a long weekend with my best friend, Cami, and our irregular schedule. My sleep schedule had been off during the weekend, and I thought perhaps it was that and the fact that my diet was different and the altitude change that affected my run. I continued to search for answers or explanations.

Tuesday I ran one mile, and it happened again.

There was no denying it.

Something was wrong.

Tuesday was a hard, hard day. I’m not too proud to admit I cried a lot that day. It was the day I knew I had to make a decision.

I felt like my body was giving up on me. Or was it the other way around?

I was so mad that I could not do the one thing that had come so easy to me before. I longed for that feeling. I could almost taste it. Yet every time I’d attempted as of late I could never get “there”. I was healthy, strong, and fit. If anyone could do it, I should be able to. Yet, attempt after attempt I was forced to evaluate my training program. I’d already eased up on it so much. My FIRST program I’d initially been following had been replaced by the easist training program imaginable and even with that I was struggling.

That morning upon returning from the gym I sat down to read up on what was going on with my body. Why was I so sluggish? Why couldn’t I run? Why was I so fatigued so immediately after starting? Why was I breathless? Why did my legs feel like huge bricks when I ran? Why was I so heavy on my feet? Why? It was then I came across an article (or something) that brought me back to my Adrenal Fatigue. It mentioned that runners with Adrenal Fatigue have a difficult time drawing enough oxygen in to their lungs to refresh their muscles. With this lacking their bodies are exhausted. This was me. There was no short-term easy bandaid approach fix either. There was no guarantee. It could take a month. Maybe two. Could even take a year. Who knows. Most runners get it back, but there was no guarantee.

So Tuesday I wept and went considering the difference scenarios in my mind.

  • Should I just run it and hope for the best?
  • Perhaps the energy of the crowd would sustain me the entire race? That’s what I’d been hoping all along.
  • What if I couldn’t finish the race? Then what?
  • What if, even worse, I collapsed from trying to push too hard and was carried off the track?
  • What if I suffered long-term consequences because I didn’t listen to my body?
  • What if?

The “what ifs” continued. I was overwhelmed with concern and worry. I wanted to believe I could do it just like I had every other time for every other race, but my training up to that point told me otherwise.

At some point you need to listen to reason and your heart. I was at that point. While I wanted to listen to my will, my mind, my drive, and my determination to push through, in my heart it didn’t feel right.

There is a point when you need to make choices that are hard.

They might not be the choices you want to make. They might not be the “popular” choice, and they might be difficult to live with. People my second-guess your choices. You might even. Every day since Tuesday I’ve been second-guessing mine.

It’s hard to let go of something you want so badly.

Who gives up Boston? I’ve asked this of myself more times than I can count, and it still makes me sick. Just saying the words out loud brings tears to my eyes.

I know there’s a strong chance I might never have this chance again, and that frightens me and hurts.

But I also know that my health is more important than any race – even if it is Boston.

I want to believe Heavenly Father is speaking to me through those quiet whisperings in my heart.

The end.

My friend put it best,

“Jenny, you have already run the Boston marathon. That is something most runners dream of doing but never have the chance. You have done that. And to top it off you had an incredible run, a great time, and you qualified at Boston for Boston. You don’t want to ‘taint’ your experience. You don’t want to ruin that memory. You don’t want to injure yourself to the point that you never get to enjoy running again.”

Her words help me every time I start second-guessing my decision. Yesterday I had to remind myself of that no less than five times. It’s still hard. It’s still fresh, and it still hurts. It pains me to think of not being there with the 27,000+ runners.

But I won’t be. Not this year.

 

31 Responses to The Hardest Decision I’ve Had to Make – Damn Adrenal Fatigue

  1. Kristen March 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Thank you so much for your honesty and willingness to share your journey — both the triumphs and the challenges. You are such an inspiration to me and so many others. I think you hit the nail on the head with these lines:

    “There is a point when you need to make choices that are hard. They might not be the choices you want to make. They might not be the “popular” choice, and they might be difficult to live with. People my second-guess your choices. You might even. Every day since Tuesday I’ve been second-guessing mine. It’s hard to let go of something you want so badly.”

    I wish there were magic words that I or someone could share with you. I very much agree with your friend’s words at the end of this post. For what it’s worth, I’ll also offer you the following that I am taking strength from in the midst of my own challenges/struggles:

    “A winner, a champion, will accept his fate. He will continue with his wheels in the dirt. He will do his best to maintain his line and gradually get himself back on the track when it is safe to do so. Yes, he loses a few places in the race. Yes, he is at a disadvantage. But he is still racing. He is still alive. The race is long. It is better to drive within oneself and finish the race behind others than it is to drive too hard and crash.”

    This is from the book, The Art of Racing in the Rain, which I just finished yesterday, and is obviously a metaphor for so many things in life.

    Sending you encouragement and comfort! Be gentle with yourself and be well!

  2. Kim Maloy March 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

    Jenny,

    To an extent I can understand how you feel. I have never ran a marathon, let alone the Boston; what an accomplishment you have in that! But, when I met my husband he introduced me to cycling and I love it. We would go out for hours and just ride, through the country, over the hills, under the canopy that the trees make on those windy country roads; it was amazing & exhilarating.

    One day he and I left for a ride, we didn’t make it 3 miles and up a very short climb before my legs were noodles and I had no oxygen; I had to turn around and go home. I too have a day like yours that I remember, I went out for a ride by myself and rode and rode and rode; it was the longest and best feeling ride I’d had by myself. I started having pain in my left shoulder but couldn’t figure out what it is, after many tests and an open lung surgery, I was diagnosed with a very rare and potentially fatal lung disease caused from mold. After 7 years of harsh medications, numerous bronchoscopies, ct scans, xrays, hospitalizations, etc I was 50+ pounds overweight and couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without being out of breath. Ultimately I had to have the whole upper lobe of my left lung removed.

    I thought life would always be awful from that point on until I found the gym. You have been much inspiration to me during my journey, for that I thank you. I appreciate your honesty & transparency during your own journey; one that still continues. I have lost over 50lbs, competed in one figure show, jogged two 5k’s and on the 10th of this month I’m getting a new bike. I’m ready! I know it will take time for me to get comfortable riding again and I fully realize I may never ride like I once did but I’m going to give it a try and if I can’t do much then I’m going to enjoy some small rides along those country roads again.

    Keep your chin up Jenny, you are a blessing and you are blessed!!

    Gratefully,
    Kim Maloy

  3. Karesa March 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Your amazing accomplishments are greater than any thing else in life
    I have never met you but see you and your life story on face book as such a inspiration to my self and others. Be so proud of all that you have accomplished and you will be OK trust all the advice you give us..

  4. Pam Baldwin March 4, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    Listen to your friend. She said it best and what I was thinking as I read the blog. You have already accomplished what many other people have not. Be proud of what you have done in the past and look forward to something very different. You can still enjoy the great outdoors by hiking instead of running for example. Try looking for completely new experiences as you go forward. After all, you have a wonderful family that you love and that love you. Live your life so that you will always be around for them. Good luck!

  5. amy March 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Jen, bless yourself…

    I’m dealing with something similar. It’s good you have a hormone specialist, but it’s surprizing that in this day-and-age, that state-of-the-art menopause science is not widely disseminated. The endocrine system is so complicated, and frankly, the medicine is new. I finally found this book, and would recommend it as a 40th birthday gift to every woman I know… http://www.drmarinajohnson.com/EBook/OutlivingYourOvaries.aspx

    and Thanks for sharing… this stuff is so discouraging, and it’s good to know I’m not alone.

    Amy.

  6. Katty Birchall March 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Great and such a honest post Jenny!! You are a great GAL, great Mother Great human being with that said you are an inspiring person and a great writer . Everybody has at some point to sacrifice somethIng we wanted so badly for the best of our health kids etc and specially for a good quality of life!! I admire you and Im always see myself in the majority of your posts and your blogs , so just want to say THANK YOU cor helpIng me and so many more women out there! You are notgoing to run Boston this year but we are goig to have the Great Jenny, the possitive , the Enthusiastic GAL that you are !!! This is just a little stone in your path , everything is goig to be fine, now Enjoy your Sunday and the blessings that you have around…. Keep up the good work my Gal !!! 😉
    Take Care,
    Katty B.

  7. Jill Morse March 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Jen, I want to thank you for your thoughtful insights! I appreciate your words always. I am a 45 yr old mother of 2 boys, a full-time emplyed speech/language pathologist, and a fitness enthusiast. I did my first competition at 40 and my second at 42. I did my first figure competition because I wanted to be the most fit I could be! I loved the physiology behind training and dieting and how you can really transform your body. My second competition was sort of a knee-jerk reaction to my mother’s death. My mom died almost 4 years ago, after a 7 year battle against breast cancer. 8 days before her death, both her and I thought there was still hope to find a drug/treatment to save her life. Watching my sweet loving mom die was the life changing event that gave me some perspective. I did tha second competition to “distract” me. It did that, but really postponed a lot of grieving that was to come. Looking back now it all is so clear. Your words about competing were oh-so true. Finding your way after a competition is hard, but finding your way after a death of a loved one is the hard thing. I have learned that when I think things are hard, or trying or bad- that really they are just a path to learn about yourself and your life. I run now for one reason- it is HARD. It never gets easier for me- I do it so that maybe someday it may be somewhat easier. Still with that said, it is not the”hard” I have experienced with not having my mom. It is all about perspective. Sometimes you just have to take a few steps out of your life to see it clearly. Compare your hardship to journeys others are on now. See their “hards” and see your “hards”! Count your blessings, name them one by one! Blessings and peace to you on this part of your path!

  8. Robyn Rasmusson March 4, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Jen thanks for sharing such a personal story. You have accomplished and inspired so many. I believe you are stronger now for hearing Gods whispering and following. I will still follow you you still inspire!

  9. lani March 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    I’m SOOOOO glad you’re listening. Making this decision proves what a strong woman you are. This was a very difficult decision to make. Hugs to you. Keep listening and more answers will come.

  10. Corley Fichera March 4, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I know what you’re feeling. Not so much having to decide about the marathon but about the feeling of having strength and endurance… Making it through a tough workout and feeling tired and looking forward to the next.
    I have been going through some significant stress over the past years and it hit its max starting around November. I slowly noticed a decline in my ability and endurance. I took the last month off and tried to return this week – hanging my head and sucking wind after the first mile. Then went on to do weights and I was super disappointed there too.
    I totally believe your body can take a toll from stressors cortisol surges in your body. I am trying to be positive. It tooke quite some time to get to this point (with all the stress) and its not going to just go away bc I took a month off. I am going to try to be super positive. Go in with a small goal and keep going from there. My head got in the way of the enjoyment of exercise this week bc I wasn’t where I was suppose to be. I am going to loose my expectations and just enjoy again.
    I urge you to check out the mayo clinics information on adrenal fatigue. Google adrenal fatigue and look for the Mayo source. I also have hypothyroidism – and as my levels were swinging up and down and I’d find it easy to gain and loose weight I do know the struggle of “something is just not normal” but as a health care provider, I also know that we struggle to put a name with something. When sometimes its just taking expectations away and letting your body recover.

  11. Kim March 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Thank you so much for your honesty and sharing here, this post.. I recently made the decision to never step on stage and be judged again and its been full of 2nd guessing but the heart won’t let me rescind. Funny I was expecting 100% peace from either decision – to do it or not, and really its more about seeking the healthiest of the 2. Thank you for vocalizing the struggle I’ve had in my head.

  12. Paula March 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Jen – I am so proud of you for making the hardest decision, I know is not easy but just remember your health is the most important thing and your family too. You have a very young family that needs you more than ever. Maybe taking a break from running it will make a huge difference in the future. You should be proud of all the accomplishments you have done so far. Take care of yourself and your health. Once again, thank you for sharing.

  13. Karen in California March 4, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Wow Jenny !
    I’ve been following your blog for over a year now. You are an amazing gal.
    I had noticed your blog tone had changed and your enthusiasm was missing. But figured you were just busy with every day life as a Mom and Wife. I admire you so much for your changing your couch potatoe life to your current life. I know what you mean when you say your still the fun loving Jenny as you were before the transformation.
    Never was a truer statement made. Just amazing how people treat you different with weight gain or loss. When the real person / beauty remains inside. That makes me sick to my stomache. Ok, enough of that.

    I was critically ill last summer. Mostly with heart issues, phuemonia, unknown virus that attacked my heart and body. I made it after 5 weeks in the hospital. Ended up with a diphibulator/pacemaker and lost about 50 lbs by the time I left. ;-)) I contacted a Holistic / Western Medicine Dr. via talk radio. Gave him a very brief synopsis of what I went thru and the first thing he said was I needed to get my adrenal’s in order and that could take a year or more. He said I needed to do that before I worked on anything else. I had no idea what an adrenal was. Thank goodness for the Internet. It’s been 9 months and I feel great. I have a new priority list, a re-newed marriage which was much needed (32yrs) and an all round new zest and love of life. This all needed to happen. Stress is deadly !

    Again you are such an amazing gal and I look forward to your posts and recipes and “you” but please take heed to what your body is going thru.
    A positive attitude is half the battle and listening to your body (and Doc) is the other half. Thank you for your brutal honesty, it must have been so difficult for you but releasing too. You have a wonderful family and BFF. You are blessed as we are for your presence.
    Karen

    http://www.normshealy.com go to optimal recommendations. Also has a live radio show Thursday’s at noon pst on Kwto Springfield, MO you can call in and ask questions. I listen with a pen & pad in hand !!

  14. Danielle March 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    Hi Jen,

    I can relate in a way… This week I’ve come to realize I have adrenal fatigue myself. I ride to and from work and I love it! It makes me feel wonderful and I have never felt fitter in my life! I’m overworked right now though(10 hour days 5 days a week for the last 8 months) and its finally taken its toll. I tried riding home and almost had a panic attack… for me my adrenal fatigue stems from emotional stress as well. I had to decide to give up riding for now, and its been tough. I had this high goal of getting my body to lean state for the summer and I feel a little like that dream has been taken away. I haven’t gone to the gym all week as I’ve just not had the energy. I’m told though that you can keep weight training but you need to do it in a proper manner so you don’t stress your system. I was just wondering if you had any suggestions? I usually do a 4 day split upper/lower and lift as heavy as I can but I know I will need to cut back for a couple of months. This summer was supposed to be the summer where I feel like I finally have the strong fit looking body I’ve always wanted, and I’m definitely struggling with having to take it easy! Funny because back in the day I’d love any excuse to not have to exercise! Any advice you have would be SO appreciated, in a way its nice to know there are others going through the same thing!!

    Cheers,
    Danielle

  15. Sherrie Fazzio March 5, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    Jen! Your story sounds similiar to mine and mine also happened in the last year. In January this last year I was having to take 2-3 hour naps in the middle of the day. I met a PA who specialized in biodentical horomones. He did labs and put me on biodentical horomones and armour thyroid. I was also on progesterone, testosterone, b12 injections, and vitamin D. Throughout the year I felt all right, could maintain my CrossFit times (I’m a trainer) and kept pretty much around the same PRs. So I didnt excel in the gym, but I didnt fail either. I just never felt that “wow” factor he told me I would. He’s a great PA, however I had a very strong feeling in December that I needed to see my midwife/OB. I’m not pregnant, but I figured she of anyone would be knowledgable in dealing with horomones. That was the best choice for me! She took me off of everything except my B12 injections and vitamin D. She also took me off of wheat and gluten (wheat bec it is genetically modified and gluten bec it can interfere with the absorption of vitamins and nutrients in the gut). I was concerned about being off my Armour. She told me that I had to be careful with Armour because in short, bec they dont know the lineage of the pig, they dont know how potent the doseage is in each pill. Anyway, being off everything for a month so she could see what my baseline was, was extremely difficult. I was exhausted I thought…due to thyroid. My times were as slow as people 20 years older than me. I went from being in the tope 10 to the bottom 20 every day. I cut down on everything, dropped my days from 5 to 4 at the gym and just took it nice and slow. Sometimes I didnt finish all of the rounds, but I was patient with my body, knowing something wasnt right! So I got my labs done one month after being off everything and my thyroid levels actually came back okay, along with everything else. In that month I had been researching adrenal fatigue bec it so closely mimics hypothyroidism. I read in several articles that when you have both, you need to treat the adrenals first. If you treat the thyroid first, your adrenals have to work overtime to catch up to the thyroid, so it compounds the problem. Anyway, I went to Herbs for Health, which a friend of mine owns. He put me on an adrenal support that I take at breakfast and lunch. Oh WOW. Do I feel tons better! I showed it to my midwife and she approved it and recommended a few other things, but I feel like I’m getting back to normal. My naps went from 2-3 hours a day to 20-30 min, but if I feel like I need a bit more, I sleep for up to an hour. My WOD times are getting back up there. I still go nice and slow if I didnt sleep well the night before or if I feel tired, but overall I really have felt SO much better! I think it was probably a combination of getting off the wheat and gluten as well bec now I am absorbing the nutrients from what I am eating. I’m not quite back up to normal, but 10x better! SO I am now on B12 injections, vitamin D 5000 IU daily taken with a good fat, adrenal support 2 daily, calcium twice daily, magnesium complex 4 daily, a prenatal just bec I was anemic and I need the extra vitamin, Super B complex, zinc, folic acid, and some dark green powder I mix with juice. It REALLY has made a difference. So hang in there! There’s hope for sure, it just may take some time! Are you taking anything then for your adrenals?

  16. Carmon B March 5, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    Jenny,

    YOU ARE, THE ACCOMPLISHMENT!!!

    … Whatever you do thereafter is a bonus, no matter how big or small!

    As much as it is hard to take a step back & reassess & realise, we are only human. We have wonderful temples (our bodies), that do us proud, we in turn must worship it more & in all different ways. Even if it means finding another way to help it heal, (if not vigorous exercise, zen like exercise).
    For the years ahead, will appreciate us more, for taking heed now.

    I have hit a fork like this in my path too, just recently. I will not lose heart, but, take the lesson & be kind to myself, for tomorrow is another day to enjoy!!

    Thank You for your blog & sharing of your journey. I know I am not the only one, grateful for your time & effort! Take Care!!

  17. Stacey March 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Jenny, thanks so much for the post and for pouring out your heart to us. I can relate to the adrenal fatigue, I have suffered from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue badly for 5 yrs and tho I’m much better now, my fatigue that comes from being overly active rears its ugly head and often puts me out of commission from the gym, which breaks my heart every time. It IS more important to listen to our bodies than to achieve that next fitness goal, but it doesn’t make it any less painful. I understand, and am sending you love and prayers. xoxo

  18. Robin Johnson March 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    You are making the right decision..Boston isn’t going anywhere and there will still be time to run it!

  19. Johanna B March 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you so so so much for posting this!!!! I have gone through something similar & it is so encouraging (even if emotional) that there is another active person that has/is feeling the same way I do. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone, and that it’s not all in my head.

    Hugs, prayers & hope for healing 🙂

  20. Shelley Schuss May 7, 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    I’ve been going through the same thing, I had gone to a naturopath and was given something to support my thyroid and my adrenals. I ran out and took them once in a while.
    I tried running over the weekend and felt like I was running through mud, I just couldn’t do it. I went to a health food store and bought something for my thyroid and something for my adrenals and started yesterday, today I managed to do the stair-climber for 30min without stopping! So frustrating since a month ago I had finished a 10K, I knew I could run but just couldn’t do it.
    I’ll keep you posted as to my progress.

    Good luck!

  21. Jenny Conner February 26, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    I feel like I’m reading my autobiography. There are so few people who understand what I’m going through right now. But I could have written this. How are you now?

    • Jen March 3, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      I am so much better now Jenny. It was a long and hard road, but the key is not to give up. Find solutions. Believe you will. and persevere. 🙂

  22. melissa June 25, 2013 at 1:29 am #

    thanks for posting this! I am going through something similar (minus the Boston part). it’s hard. I’ve already done one stint of 3 months with no cardio but walking. I am finally getting back and to be honest, I am not sure it’s long enough.

  23. Stacry September 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

    Jen,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve been struggling
    with hormone and thyroid issues and just diagnosed with adrenal fatigue too.
    So comforting to know that I’m not alone. Currently seeking help from a holistic Dr and have been given lots of supplements as well. How has that
    worked for you? Hope that you post and share more about your journey with this! Thanks again.

  24. Jacq May 17, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    I know it’s much later, but just wanted to send out another thanks for sharing your story. I was tearing up reading this because it hit home so closely. Thanks for providing some hope that recovery is possible!

    • Jen May 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

      Oh my goodness I am so glad. 🙂

  25. Elizabeth July 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

    I’m reading this a bit after the fact and I hope that you are well and perhaps even back at it. I can completely relate and haven’t yet been able to give in just yet (although all the reading says I should). I have severely low cortisol, Hashimotos, high EBV numbers, possible Lyme/coinfections, candidiasis and who knows what else at this point! I am an avid hiker and am really struggling with the word “NO”. I live not too far from Shenandoah National Park and the hikes there are amazing. The entire process is so good for the soul, but likely not good for my health. I’ve made good friends through my hiking group and I’m having a hard time with the fact that, if I stop, they will move on without me. There have been many tears shed already over this and I guess I just need to find the answers.

  26. lauren September 16, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    Reading this.. a bit late..but in tears. I too am a marathoner with one in 34 days… and have been experiencing what I think to be adrenal fatigue. I ran boston this past spring 3:01, but since about mid February, I have been experiencing continualy increasing fatigue..increased HR for all running efforts, lack of motivaiton to run but fear of not running.. Curious what you have done dietary or to aid recovery? How you found a dr. to diagnosis you ? thanks

    • Jen September 16, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

      It’s so good to hear from your Lauren. Oh man you are in my prayers. I was heartbroken. Seriously, who gives up Boston, right? It sounds like you can totally relate. It was hard. But it was the right thing to do. Read about my blog entries on here about adrenal fatigue. I wrote about what I did. Basically, rested more, took my training down a notch, started eating more, and tried to laugh as often as I could. Stress can wreak havoc, as can too little food, too much exertion, and just too much everything. Find balance. Relax. My doc told me to take up zen like activities. I’m not a yoga person, but I did try to tone down my life a bit. It’s hard though. And it takes time. Cut back on the caffeine and stimulants. That’s a biggy. Write my any time. I’m at jenny.dee.grothe@gmail.com. My heart is with you. BTW GREAT job on your finish. 3:01 I can only dream of. Wow! And where are you from? My doc is Dr. Porter. I also see is tech Josh Arnold who I like just as much. They are Provo.

  27. Sam October 7, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    Jen, just got around to reading your story, as I search the internet for my own answers. I too was diagnosed earlier this year with Adrenal Fatigue, after years of being diagnosed with Hashimotos. I chose to run two marathons two weeks a part to try and qualify for Boston. When my doc found out, he was not happy. Well, ultimately…I paid the price. The second marathon was extremely painful. I didn’t understand what was happening. After mile 11 my whole body was on fire, especially from waist down. I don’t remember ever having pain like that before. I am freaking out a bit, I don’t want this to be the end of my running, I can’t imagine life without it. I hope you are well and on the road to recovery. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Jen October 12, 2015 at 6:35 pm #

      How long ago did this happen? I am feeling so much better. I have learned so much since then. For one, I am really careful about too much HIIT, too little sleep, and too little food. I am also more careful with caffeine. I can’t say that I don’t take it, because I do, but I don’t take near as much as I used to. If you are still in the midst of this…give it time. You WILL heal, and you WILL be running again. I promise!!!

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