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How Running has Prepared Me for Infertility Treatment


Yesterday, I received a big box. A box that can and will change my life. Because other than a packing slip with a ridiculous price tag, that box contains my IVF injection medications. Thankfully, I am a runner, and I have learned some major lessons to help me on this journey.

Quick Plug–don’t forget to enter the Hello Fresh Giveaway! I’ve been able to open it up to Canada!

When we had our meeting with the doctors at our IVF registration, as we talked about all the injections and the need to mix and fix the injections, it seemed more than just a bit overwhelming, but still with a little bit of space. Yesterday, as I held that box and thought of the work that was to come, all that was to come, sh** got real. 

I now have 2 weeks exactly before I start my injections. If my mom were here, she would be talking about midpoints (she loooovvves a good midpoint): we are at the midpoint between starting injections and our registration appointments. I wanted to share with you all again a post that I wrote in 2014 during training for the Twin Cities Marathon. While Marine Corps Marathon changed the course of my life in many ways, training for Twin Cities profoundly changed me

As I get closer to the start of IVF, I remember just how running has prepared me for infertility treatment. @suzlyfe

Rereading this post gave me shivers. It still rings so true, even with everything that has happened over the past two years. What follows is the original post.

Two and a half years ago, I had never run further than 5 (maybe 6) miles. That fall I had suffered some really terrible peroneal tendonitis (like, I couldn’t run out of the way if a taxi was barreling down Broadway at me. Also, this was when I lived in NYC). But I had already made up my mind that I was going to do the half marathon with Team Challenge at the end of the school year (also the end of grad school for me).

My first half marathon finish line. VA Wine Country Half Marathon 2012

My first half marathon finish line. VA Wine Country Half Marathon 2012

I’ve written about my running history some in the past, most notably, this post that I penned for National Running Day, about Why I Run. I often mention my little tag line of “moving beyond expectation,” and combined with the “why” of why I run, I think you will understand why I decided to go after the marathon. A) Honestly, I didn’t know if I’d ever be in this kind of shape again, but most importantly b) to believe that I can move beyond expectation.

Now, this is obvious. But stay with me for a sec longer.  I promise this is more than just a “duuur, we get it, post.” Or, at least I hope that it is.

Yesterday, in the comments, (and thank you ALL for your confidence and support! SO MUCH PRESSURE!) AnnMarie mentioned how the month of September helped her to realize that she was capable of more than she ever thought. Compound that with the fact that I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday (just an appointment for a referral from my GP) where I had cause to mention that in the next year or so, Alex and I will likely need to start trying to have a family. Now, originally, all of this behbeh talk was to wait until after residency, but then upon consulting with my gyn-endocrine-fertility specialist (yup, I’ve got one of them too!) we decided that we might want to move that up a year. At least the discussion. At the time–this being maybe 3 months ago?—I was really taken aback—the thought that I might be trying to have a CHILD in a year? HOLY ____ (insert whatever you like in the blank).


But it wasn’t so startling just for the sheer fact that I might be trying to get PREGNANT in a year (That part, I’m honestly still coming to terms with). It was the fact that we are going to have to be prepared to put my body through the ringer—again—in order to do so. Beyond the child itself, beyond the finances, beyond the decisions, I have to be ready to accept that my body, this vessel that I have only seemingly just NOW gotten under control, is once again no longer going to be mine. And that I will know it going into it.

Classic pre marathon face

Classic pre marathon face

And that is terrifying.

I went to yoga last night, and one of my favorite instructors was teaching, and I’m a sucker for her, so I took her class, even though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do the peak pose (I can’t really do forearm stand because of my rotator cuff. Long story, but it is just really weak). Well, that class ended up bring out a whole new side of me, to the point that I was doing the squished-up cry face during final shavasana (not totally crying, but definitely getting there).  Tanya was talking about “decide now” and “pick up your feet” ie the idea that a) you have to decide to start, b) if you don’t ask, you likely won’t receive, and c) it is ok to be uncomfortable.

Decide now, and if you are uncomfortable, that is OK #infertility #running Click To Tweet

Well, I would agree with that. Any of us who have run and trained for goal, really, know that it is ok to feel uncomfortable. And it got me thinking, in this very roundabout way, to how taking on this marathon was my next step in getting comfortable with the upcoming discomfort that I’m sure will be me trying to get pregnant.

Another good option, IMHO

Another good option, IMHO

However, you know that between ice cream, pickles, and constant hunger, I’m basically already there in acting like one. Plus I demand that Alex rub my feet. So yeah. But seriously.

I ran/run/will run because who would have thought that I, with all of the crap that is wrong with my body, would be about to run my second marathon? That I could do it healthfully? I took a step, I made myself uncomfortable. I set an intention, and I have worked my butt off to follow through. Sure, I could have made myself more uncomfortable, but I found the threshold of my discomfort and comfort, and I played in that space until I was ready to push it more, and I felt that my body was ready. And now I feel that I am, at least for this. Growing a human inside of me is a bit different.

But you know what?

For the first time, perhaps ever, I actually believe that there might really be a chance, that it might be possible. After all, I did the seemingly impossible by running a marathon. I’m not saying I will be able to do so in the end, but for the first time, I know that I will mentally be ready to apply myself to that challenge when I get to it. Mentally, I am not ready to be a mother yet. But I am mentally ready to take on the challenge of transforming my body so that I might do so.

But if they make me do speed work, they have another think coming. Also, I call the ice cream. And the pickles better be from q. Runger is real even when you aren’t running.

yogurtland froyo

When has your experience working towards one thing opened you up to being ready for something else?

What is something about your future that scares you, that you know you will need to prepare yourself for? For me, it definitely getting and being pregnant, and once again losing that control over my body.

Thank you as always for your support and love! Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

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