New Mom, New Adventures

January 03, 2017 Posted By: Mizuno USA

I am Krysten, Mizuno ambassador, runner, and creator of The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail

I realize that is a somewhat confusing title if you don’t have the back story, so let’s break it down shall we.

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Running

When I was 17 I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Long QT syndrome. At 18 I received my first pacemaker/defibrillator (aka the robot heart). And at 19 I decided to start running. It was a slightly backwards introduction to the sport, but I quickly fell in love.

I ran casually for years as exercise and as a way to stay healthy. I never tracked my pace, I never raced, I just tracked my heart rate and ran.

When I found out I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene (the breast cancer gene), that’s when running started to take on a bigger role in my life.

I made the decision to have a prophylactic double mastectomy at 27. And while searching for a way to make peace with the physical changes I was about to undertake, I signed up for my first Half Marathon. I crossed the finish line the day before I had my surgery. And that experience was a giant reminder that it’s more important to love my body for what it could do, rather than what it looks like. I walked away from that race completely hooked. Racing became a regular weekend activity in my world after that.

Over the next few years there was a lengthy list of misadventures, surgeries, losses, and life changes - but running was always my constant.

 

Robot Heart

The robot heart makes my running experiences sort of unique. For most of doctors it’s surprising that I run at all, and especially surprising that I run long distances.

I am not exactly breaking any world records out there. I will never qualify for Boston (even though I really wish I could). I am a solid middle of pack runner, and that’s okay. For me progress is often slow. It also tends to be regularly interrupted with surgeries and health changes. But even with all that, there is often progress!

Being out there isn’t something I take for granted. And it’s something I hope to be able to do for the rest of my life.

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Betablockers 

I mentioned earlier that progress is often interrupted by health changes. So here we are experiencing the status quo.

In September we welcomed our daughter to the world. And postpartum life has meant that health-wise things have to be a bit different.

I have been prescribed betablockers for the first time in 13 years, because I am at a higher risk postpartum for cardiac events. I am, however, allergic to this type of medication.

So I am currently repressing my body’s natural response with antihistamines. And trying to find the right dose of Betablockers to manage my Long QT.

As a runner betablockers are the pitts. They lower your blood pressure – leaving you dizzy and tired. And they affect your heart rate. My body can be working extremely hard, but my heart rate won’t climb like it normally would. Which means after a short period of time you muscles stop receiving the level of oxygen they need to continue to fire, and you are left feeling completely exhausted.

I have spent the past few months struggling on the drugs, and have just recently lowered my dose. I am feeling a lot better – life wise and running wise. But it’s likely going to take many months of experimenting, tweaking, and testing to get this piece just so.

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Babies

Having a baby adds a whole new level of awesomeness to your life. But figuring out how to balance caring for a newborn and fit in any kind of training is something I am still working on.

I struggled to get pregnant, so I didn’t run at all during my pregnancy. I took a full 9 months off, which is the longest I have taken off since I started running seriously 4 years ago. I also had to take extra progesterone during the first half my pregnancy, causing extra weight gain. Basically, I am feel like I am starting all over. I am out of shape and I am heavier than I have been in a long time. Running has been a slog for the past couple months.

I have been lucky, our daughter is a really happy baby. And recently she has started sleeping well. I am not as exhausted as I was last month. But I am prepared for the fact, that this may not last. Her sleep schedule definitely has an impact on how I feel while training, if I even feel up to training at all. I have been running about 3x a week consistently, but it is not always easy to get out the door.

Mom guilt is a real thing. My internal dialogue every time I lace up my shoes is “you shouldn’t leave her”. I often procrastinate for hours before I actually get the door, struggling and debating if I should go for my run or not. I know am better for taking that time away. But it is never easy.

She is just big enough now to do stroller runs. And we did our first run together last week. But soon the weather is going to turn. And pushing a 30lbs stroller, plus a 15lbs car seat, plus a 15lbs baby is HARD!!

Babies create a whole new balancing act to the world of training, and I am still trying to figure it all out.

My goal for December is get my long runs consistently up to 10km again. And then in the New Year I will kick start my endurance training.

The Chilly Half is slated to my first race back postpartum. I have no time goals for this one. I would just like to run 21.1km and generally feel good doing it. And in an ideal world I would like to be back to pre-pregnancy weight by race day.

The goals I hope to reach and the changes I want to see in my body aren’t going to happen overnight. So this next year will be dedicated to getting back to where I want to be. I will be writing and updating you regularly over here on the Mizuno blog each month.

 

Happy Running,

Krysten Bishop is a Mizuno ambassador
and creator of The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail

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