But What if I Get My Period?

Ever since I decided to train for the ING NYC Marathon I’ve hit a mother load of questions. I discovered an online forum on the NYRR online training program and have found that the people there are not only inspiring but they’re helpful as well.

When I first signed up I started threads like: “Newbie. I’m not sure what I was thinking.” I wrote out my story and how worried I was about running 26.2 miles. They came back to me with some of the most inspirational stories. I seriously had tears in my eyes. It pays to be honest and upfront. After that, I felt a little better. I began asking more questions. I bugged them about physical therapists, running routes, Central Park safety tips, energy foods, and sports drinks. Each and every time I was greeted with information. (For example, I found this superbly amazing site where you can map out any route and find out exactly how much mileage it is. Totally freaking awesome, people. Go there.)

It’s been over a week and I’m finally starting to actually picture running a marathon and thinking about the logistics. For example, things like my cycle, using the bathroom during the marathon, overcoming an excitement fueled bout with insomnia the night before the big run, and how to actually get onto Staten Island by 7 AM that Sunday morning came to mind.

Seriously, what if a woman has her period during the marathon? This idea suddenly (not to sound dramatic) terrified me. I was so worried about actually learning how to run the mileage I completely forgot that nature would be a force to reckon with as well. No matter how much one trains, one still has to deal with good old Mother Nature. (Bitch.) And so I asked the question. What if I have my period during the marathon?

I have learned that sometimes the Carb gels make people vomit. And the Carb gel booth is at mile 18 so if you plan on consuming a gel for energy at mile 18, it’s best to practice a few times prior just to make sure you don’t vomit. After all, no one likes a vomiting jogger. I haven’t tried the gels yet. But Tobyjoe purchased two packets for me. I plan on diving in this Saturday when we run through Central Park during our 11-mile run.

I learned that it’s best to avoid any fiber at all before the marathon for reasons one might imagine. I learned that you shouldn’t take any Acetaminophen 24 hours leading up to a big run as it might cause kidney damage. I learned not to eat anything but maybe an egg or two for breakfast that morning and make sure it’s done hours and hours beforehand. I learned that stretching, using the bathroom and drinking is recommended throughout the run. I learned that walking isn’t at all shameful and neither is dropping out should you suffer from an injury. I learned that one must continue to walk for at least 25 minutes after the run even if one would rather immediately fall to the grass in Central Park while angels massage their feet and loved ones bring them gifts and candy, kisses and baby pools filled with Jell-O.

I learned all of this and a lot more (such as what to do should you have an irritating 11-mile diarrhea bout) but I still don’t know what to do about The Flow.

I’m still waiting for more feedback as this question was posed last night. But one woman wrote back and said that if I’m regular, I should talk to my OBGYN and see if there isn’t some way to curb the cycle. We’ll see. Until then, I’ll continue to freak out. Until then, I’ll continue to talk incessantly about it. Until then, feel free to sponsor me a buck or two. #73577 Howley.

Oh, and one more thing, I would like to thank all those who have donated money thus far. I receive an email each time a donation is made. Those emails include the addresses and names of the people who do so. I will be sending you all something to show my gratitude. You have no idea how thankful I am. Eventually, I hope to be given the chance to repay each and every one of you.

Edited to add: Some of you are donating too much money. I meant it when I said I’d be happy with 10 bucks. I swear to crap. But please, please, please if you’re going to donate more than that, make sure you write this off it’s the only way my conscience will let this fly.

21 Comments

  1. You may not get your period during the marathon itself, but you’ll have to deal with it during at least one long run. Honestly, I don’t remember it ever being an issue, but I do recommend purchasing one of those water bottle holders and learning to run with it (I often forgot I was wearing mine). There’s usually enough pocket room to fit the necessities: pieces of candy, spare tampon, keys, emergency contact info, cab fare.

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  2. cab fare! hahaha

    Another thought that crossed my mind, mind you. How do I get back if I can’t run or don’t want to? heh

    Thanks, Missy.

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  3. I guess I’ve never thought about long term activity and my cycle. Maybe that’s cuz I’m rarely active for more than 2 hours!

    As for distance estimators for your runs, I like this site cuz it’s not exclusive to the US or UK. Then again, I did try South Africa on a whim.. and it didn’t work. Australia does though, so if you care to run in Perth, you’re good!!

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  4. Dang it, no bold. Oh well.

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  5. I shall fix it for you, darlin’.

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  6. You could try these: http://www.softcup.com/softcup_main.php

    The website even says: Athletes rave about how the INSTEAD® Softcup® carries them through a long marathon or triathlon.

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  7. Holy cow! Does it just collect it up in there and whatnot? That must be a heck of a mess when it comes to removing it, eh?

    Wowsa.

    Actually, I had heard about these before. I wonder if they really do work.

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  8. I have actually never tried them. A friend who experiences a heavy flow uses them and swears by them. The fear of a mess is exactly why I have never tried them. But for one day, if needed, it could be worthwhile.

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  9. Sometime, if it’s appropriate, might you be kind and ask her about the assumed messy extraction? I guess that’s actually not something everyone talks about, but if it’s fitting, by all means, I’d love to know. ;]

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  10. I will ask and provide the info in an email rather than in your comments section. How’s that??

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  11. That works for me. I might then ask your permission to publish it here. We can cross that bridge when we come to it. :]

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  12. I have some comments too, but I couldn’t find your email. Perhaps I’m blind.

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  13. Hemlock. use michele at mihow.com. :]

    I might not have it on the site. Sorry! You’re not blind!

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  14. I was going to suggest a soft-cup too (like the Diva cup)….they’re great! And not as messy as you would think. Way less messy, actually.

    If you want more info, let me know – I’m happy to dish…just offblog instead.

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  15. A lurker sent me a link to this site Who knew these things were out there?

    Robyn, don’t you also run in a thong? You are filled with information! I don’t think my period will be here on marathon day. But if it is, I might check these things out. We’ll see.

    Someone told me that the real crazy mad marathon participants don’t even use the bathroom when they run! They just let it fall to the ground! I was kinda shocked by that. I guess when it’s all about your time, might as well piss yourself. Plus, it must feel like a warm shower. ;]

    I don’t care about time. I care only about finishing at all. Hopefully the porta johns will be so damn disgusting that I won’t be tempted to sit down and take a break. heh

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  16. You bet! Thongs and soft-cups. I am filled with quirky tricks like these. But they work! And I won’t use anything but the Diva cup (http://www.divacup.com/) ever again…it’s that awesome. I use it traveling (great for when you are in the desert in china and the only bathroom is a shared hole in the ground that you have to share with 6 other women whose knees are also touching yours – eek!) and for sports (especially tournament days when you’re stuck in soccer fields for hours at a time).

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  17. i don’t get it… pants around my ankles i go to the sink and wash my soft-cup while i leak? or maybe that’s just me and my heavy flow. (sorry to be graphic) but i just feel like i’m missing something but i like the idea but i don’t quite get it. do people own 2? is there a carrying case? i need details)

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  18. Anyone? Anyone? Use a fake name? Please? Those of use who are in the dark really want to know…

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  19. OK…I will openly confess to being a male and therefore unable to truly appreciate all the infinite glorious extrapolations that are menses [though I freely admit to being a big big fan and yet again are genuinely enthralled with everyone’s candor here on this blog] I also mentioned this to an actual real live OB/GYN doctor who simply asked, “When is the NYC marathon?” and I responded with the posted date. She immediately responded with an extremely confident [I admit here to slightly paraphasing this for legal reasons] “Well, with that kind of leeway and a known target date, I can absolutely guarantee that there are numerous safe, proven, and sound methods that will insure that the onset of her period will not occur within that particular timeframe.” So I gave her the URL of your blog and hopefully she will respond with a much more elegant solution than those previously pondered. FYI

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  20. Can she help me sleep, too? Because I just can’t seem to do it anymore.

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  21. I am doing the music city marathon here in Nashville in about 4 days. I flood with my cycle and am scheduled for race day! YIKES! SO, I talked with my ob/gyn and he suggested double dosing ALEVE beginning 3 days before my expected period due date. He says it should delay my cycle by 1-3 days. We’ll see!!! Oh, and I have tried the soft cups and LOVE them. If I’m having one of my lighter days, I have no doubt it will contain it…They are great when traveling, etc. Removal is messy, and I do feel guilt for trashing Mother Earth with little rubber cups.

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