Saturday, November 29, 2008

November 29, 2008 - endurance day!

well, i had a better sleep last night. got myself organized then went for a short run, a long swim, then a long run.. 16.7k running in approx 100 minutes and 4k swimming in 75 minutes. nice to finally be back doing some endurance work.

with my surgery looming, i am going to take myself off testosterone blockers to give myself all the strength possible to get in as many long runs and swims as possible before the big date. i want to drop 4 more pounds so i can end the year at the same weight i entered.. having endured 5 months of estrogen and 7 months of testosterone blockers, to maintain the same weight would be considered a huge accomplishment.

well, if i can swim 4.2k or more tomorrow, it will be my 5th best month in terms of distance.. only the first 4 were more (given that it was winter and i spent more time swimming than running).

well, i think i'm gonna go take in some university basketball tonight.. let's hope i don't have a panic attack over there like i did last time!

will plan for a long swim and lots of running tomorrow in hopes that my dec 1 weigh in will be impressive.. lol


November 28, 2008 - good runs despite emotional upset

gee, i got practically no sleep last night. it was a very upsetting day at work. things really haven't gone my way there recently.. i seem to have fallen out of favour and have been overlooked for growth and promotion opportunities in favour of them bringing in some new people instead, who i am not necessarily convinced are better than me. this has caused me extreme stress and anxiety..

but surprisingly, i had a pretty good run and swim last night, and an equally good series of runs today.. and a great swim today as well. that's 5 good swims in 6 days, and an average of 10k of running per day.. it's amazing what you can do with a lower level of testosterone blockers..

i am now thinking about canning the blockers completely, given that i am less than a month removed from orchiectomy.. might as well get as much running and swimming in as possible before the operation. maybe i can drop a few more pounds! i am down 2 this week. i started the year at 178 and got down as low as 165 during the peak of my marathonning in August. i climbed as high as 184, and now i am 182. i'd love to at least end the year at 178 and break even.. lol

big running and swimming plans this weekend.. perhaps even a 42.2k!


Friday, November 28, 2008

November 27, 2008 - busy day

several runs back and forth to work and to the ponds and the swimming pool, etc. 11k in total, plus a nice 2.5k swim. energy levels fairly low today due to a very stressful day at work. but overall, the running went well. still a slight tweek in the knee that doesn't seem to want to go away.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008 - status quo

not much to say tonight. 7k run and 2.4k swim tonight. felt strong.. excellent day!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 25, 2008 - depression and enthusiasm

Seasonal affective disorder is a condition that causes depression during winter season due to an apparent lack of sunlight exposure. i definitely think i am dealing with this.. either that, or a strong dislike of the dark and cold gloomy winter weather. it was such a nice sunny day and i was fortunate enough to get out for an hour again at lunch and spend quality time at the pond relaxing, eating my sandwich and visiting with the duckies.

after work, i came out to the same pond and it was already darkening, and that seemed really upsetting. but i got over it and went for a nice run (6k) and swim (2.5k) and felt generally strong throughout. it's nice to feel up to running and to have the confidence that i can run anywhere now, without having to rely on taking a taxi due to exhaustion.. lol

oh well, a better day emotionally than yesterday was. let's hope tomorrow will be even better!

Monday, November 24, 2008

November 24, 2008 - stress

well, i didn't get a very good sleep last night. today at work was a struggle to stay awake. had a nice walk at lunch hour and actually spent the entire hour sitting by the pond with about 30 duckies and it was very pleasant.

i had a 1k run from the office to home in order to make my teleconference with my psychologist in time. but that was it. i never made it back out of the house for a longer run or swim. i think today was a very emotional day that took its toll physically. knowing that i will be having a fairly major and life-changing surgery next month is really starting to freak me out. this is the biggest decision of my entire life so far. the financial implications are huge too. it's going to be a $4000-5000 trip, and with my short-term future at work uncertain, this is definitely a bit of a gamble from this perspective.

but ultimately, i know this is going to make me feel great, both physically and emotionally, as it is a major step towards making this transition faster and easier.. even though it will be quite painful and challenging in the short term.

well, let's see if i can get a good night sleep and make it over to the pool tomorrow!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23, 2008 - great sleep, great run!

wow, i slept in til almost noon today. guess that's what happens when you stay up til almost 2 am chatting on facebook.. lol

i finally got myself out of bed and munched down a quick breakfast then ran over to the pool. it was a rather sluggish run and a sluggish start to the swim, but i gained strength as i carried on and ended up finishing strong. 3k of swimming right on the 60 minute mark. then i ran around town and visited 3 of my favorite ponds, including one i hadn't visited in 7 weeks.

for good measure, i went back out for another run tonight after supper, covering a total of 19k. seems the energy levels are back into a good range. let's hope i can have a good week ahead!


November 22, 2008 - surgery looming!

well, the biggest news this week is that i will be heading down to Philadelphia in the near future to have a bilateral orchiectomy performed, the removal of my testicles. This will speed up the feminization process of the hormone therapy i am taking, yet at the same time, reduce the amount of hormones needed, hence reducing the risks associated with it. i am really excited yet a little scared, for obvious reasons. i will be paying for the entire thing out of my own pocket since our lovely public health care system doesn't recognize gender identity disorder and associated medical needs as being covered in their plan. the surgery will cost me $2000 USD, plus plane tickets, hotel, etc. the operation itself will be 20 minutes. i will then be sent to my hotel and ordered to rest for 48 hours. then i will return home and do whatever i can to limit my mobility until the wound heals. rule of thumb is 4-8 weeks before resuming vigurous activity, so my knees will get a nice rest.. lol

anyway, back to business. 8k of running and 2.55k of swimming today, rounding out a really nice week! more of the same planned ahead.. wanna maximize my potential before the surgery. let's see how far i can run and swim before then. and maybe drop a few pounds!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

November 21, 2008 - running on frost!

cold day here.. temp down to the freezing mark. puddles starting to freeze! 11k of running today for me; and 2k swim as well. feeling very energetic for most of the day, but too tired to even write proper sentences now.. lol more tomorrow


November 20, 2008 - OFF Day

well, no running or swimming on thursday Nov 20. today was Transgendered Day of Remembrance, an event that was launched first about 10 years ago to honour victims of violence due to intolerance. i attended a little social event here that was held to mark the occasion.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 - energetic week!

wow 76.4k of running in the past 5 days, including 11.8 today. it's totally amazing how much more energy i have since making the switch from 200 mg/day of spironolactone to 100.

this is obviously a sign that my testosterone is not being blocked as much as it was at the higher dosage. ultimately, this will mean the minimal amount of estrogen i am taking will be even less affective. i'll be getting my testosterone levels measured in a few weeks, so that will give me a better indication as to whether or not my combination of pills is effectively reducing it to normal female levels or not.

meanwhile, i am going to take advantage of this band aid solution to restore my energy by running and swimming my butt off over the next few weeks. i'd love to drop some of the weight i gained in sept and oct.

it's been really fun telling everyone my Boston story. has a link about my call to the to discuss my potenial entry. funny how i always envisioned my first BQ as being this estatic moment in time as i cross a finish line somewhere and look up at the clock.. never thought it would be from a phone call made from my bedroom.

but seriously, you couldn't write a fiction story better than this. Jennifer runs a great race for 41k then slows down just enough to realize at the 41.6k mark that she's not gonna make it. with pride on the line, she finished as strong as she could. and in the end, it turns out that i literally made a buzzer beater!

i should chance my story and start telling people about how great it was to sprint my butt off at the finish line to ensure that i made it.. and tell people about how awesome it felt to see the clock strike 3.16.59 just as i crossed the finish line.. lol

oh well, the record books will show that i ran the Boston Marathon. no asterisk or disclaimer.

now comes the toughest challenge. no matter what, i want to keep improving.. no reason why i can't run faster times while on hormones.. it just means that i will have to work harder. if i can run a 3.16 while being a mediocre male athlete, then all i need to do is become a true elite athlete to beat those times as a female.. so the goal for Boston: simply beat 3.16.59, and if i do, i will requalify for the 2010 Boston Marathon.


November 18, 2008 - wow!

what a great day.. accepted into the 2009 Boston Marathon.. plus i was full of energy for all my runs and swim. 16.8k of running, from home to the office a few times, to the doctor's office, the drug store, the pond and the mall.. plus a very relaxing and energetic 3k swim.

it feels so great to have some of my energy levels back! i know this is on borrowed time, but for the short-term i hope to keep the mileage up and drop some weight.. will plan a fairly long run tomorrow


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Boston Marathon is back on the table!!

wow, I just got off the phone with the Boston Athletic Association. I was inquiring as to whether or not they had a transgender policy, which apparently they don’t. but they did say that race application acceptances would be for the same sex for which the qualifying race was run, regardless of biological sex on race day!

What I also found out, which was a great surprise, is that their official qualifying times are different from what it says on their website. Anything within 1.59 of the website time is deemed a qualification, no questions asked, not just within 0.59. So my 3.16.59, which I initially thought was 60 seconds too slow, was deemed an official qualifying time. So I can feel satisfied that I have, in fact, officially qualified!

i was quite certain that i did not want to try to beg my way in, and i am glad that this is not going to have to be the case. Ultimately, i did feel that i did not want to ever run a race as a male ever again, but that was under the impression that i had not qualified. Since i have, in fact, qualified, i feel i have some unfinished business to attend to on April 20, 2009.

ultimatley, this means that I will get to hit my initial goal that i set back in 2007 of running Boston at least once as a male, then hopefully many more times as a female in years to come.

Now comes the challenge of doing whatever I can so I can show up on race day in the best possible physical and emotional shape. Ultimately, even if the race doesn’t go well, I can at least feel good about the fact that I made it!

for the past 5 days, i have taken a reduced amount of testosterone blockers and this has help with energy levels. ultimately, i will now be working really hard to get as much weight off as i can. then i will want to focus on resting and rehabilitating my sore knees. i really want this Boston race to be as good as possible. it's obviously way too early to start setting time goals, but it would certainly be great run a personal best marathon time there. even with me being deeper in estrogen therapy, and even with the possibility of not having testicles, there's a chance that i could still improve my health and fitness enough to make it happen. definitely something to shoot for as i head into the long cold winter season!


November 17, 2008 - forgetfulness

gee, i forgot to post again yesterday. i ran 4.8k, mostly around the pond.. nothing too spectacular.. guess that's why i forgot to post.. lol


Sunday, November 16, 2008

November 16, 2008 - more activity

felt somewhat strong today. started out with a strong 4k run then a strong first half of my 3k swim. then i seemed to run out of gas and had to slow down. finished the swim then ran some more a few times throughout the day.. totaling 15.2k of running. that's two nice days in a row for running.

temp reached as high as 13 tonight. i was tempted to jump in the pond but decided not to.. lol

i'm hoping that the week ahead will bring more energy. i'm taking a step backward with my transition by reducing the testosterone blocking medication. but i feel i need to do something to get back some strength so i can run and swim more often and get my health back to where it needs to be


Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 15, 2008 - ups and downs

funny day for me. had to wake up early to return a rental car. i stayed up late so i only had about 5 hours of sleep. returned the car and ran home in the sub-freezing weather.. the run actually went well. it was a 3.5k run. then i went back to sleep for 5 hours! woke up at noon and felt really out of it. struggled to run over to the pool, but regained some energy and had an awesome 2k swim in only 37 minutes! ..ran around some more from pond to pond and got home around 4pm. by then i had covered 12k of running. i felt really good tonight so i went out and ran another 10k, in 57.30.

still some pain just below the left knee, that was evident today. i'm convinced i have a stress fracture there. i may have to just take some time off to get that better.

but overall, it was nice to actually have a long run! first time in 27 days since i was over 20k on a day. my how things have changed from the summer when i was running 20k or more every day!


Friday, November 14, 2008

November 13 & 14, 2008 - more swims

geeze, i can't seem to get my dates right here. nov 13 was a day of short runs and a tiring swim. the arms were still sore from the megaswim on tuesday, so 48 hours wasn't totally enough to get them back to normal. so i struggled thru 2.5k in 58 min.

friday was a better swim. 2k in 43 minutes. widths instead of lengths, plus it was very busy there. had to swim around all the slow pokes.. lol

thinking about a long run or two this weekend, as well as some long swims.. i hate to take any steps backward with my transition, but with the blessing of my doc, i am going to reduce the quantity of testosterone blockers i am taking in hope that this will give me at least enough energy to run and swim enough to lose back the 12 pounds i seem to have gained in the past 10 weeks.

the transition is important, but so is quality of life.. unfortunatly, she didn't feel comfortable raising my estrogen levels until she has a chance to consult with some more experienced doctors, which is frustrating, but certainly fair and reasonable.. so reducing the blockers is the only other real option at this point.

ultimately, i really need to get my testicles removed if i want to speed this process up. i am actually looking into the idea of having them removed as early as next month. this would require a trip to the USA and a private clinic, so cash flow is an issue, as would be some time off work for travel and recovery.. but definitely workable..


Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 12, 2008 - OFF Day

gee, i'm writing this on Nov 13 and i can't even remember why it was an off day.. short term memory loss seems to be a factor! could be a side affect of the meds i am on, who knows??

oh well, the rest day was well needed.

the biggest news of the day is that CBC television is interested in organizing a reality tv series that would feature a team of runners venturing across canada in a terry-fox-like journey. i've expressed initial interest and asked them for more information.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 11, 2008 - a swim to remember!

well, i started my day with a 3.2k run over to the pool, where i spent pretty much the entire day! i swam for 4 hrs and 18 min, practically non-stop. all swimmers took a break at 11 am for a moment of silence to honour the war heros.

my swim was at a slower pace than ever before, but it was a good sign that i am starting to gain a better understanding of my new fitness levels and was able to accurately pace myself to cover 10k, the marathon-equivalent for swimming. i would have carried on for another hours but my arms were really getting sore. too bad, i wanted this to be my first ever 5 hour swim. oh well, i'm sure there will be other chances.

i celebrated my swim with a visit to both Burton Pond and Kent's Pond, where i was greated as usual by many feathered friends!

after a few hours rest, i went out and did another 5k run for good measure! nice to have a full day of athletics, even if i felt exhausted for all of it. proof that it still can be done!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Review of 2008 Running Series

A review of Jennifer’s NLAA races:

Date Race time place category notes

April 27, 2008 Mundy Pond 5K 20.34 25 5
May 4, 2008 Burton Pond 5K 19.59 25 6
May 18, 2008 Harbour Front 10K 46.05 36 5 backpack
May 31, 2008 Timex 10K OFF
June 8, 2008 Eastern Marathon 42.2K 3.22.16 2 1
June 21, 2008 Timex Bowring 10K OFF spiro 6/20/08
July 1, 2008 HSBC Run 10K 45.23 33 7
July 6, 2008 Mews 8K 32.39 48 9
July 13, 2008 Provincial 5K 19.39 22 4
July 27, 2008 Tely 16K 1.10.50 125 14
Aug 24, 2008 Quidi Vidi 5K DNS estro 8/22/08
Sept 7, 2008 Blueberry 10K OFF
Sept 14, 2008 Nfld Marathon 42.2K 3.36.16 8 3
Oct 5, 2008 Turkey Tea 10K OFF
Oct 19, 2008 Cape to Cabot 20K 1.56.11 204 52

kinda tough to read without the formatting. but quite a review of what turned out to be my participation in 10 of the 15 officially sanctioned runs as part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association's road running series.

the highlight of the year for me was obviously the Eastern Marathon, a race which i lead for more than 60%. ultimately, i ended up runner up and just 5 minutes behind the winner. this race was run just 7 days after completing a 100k weekend, and just 3 weeks after cramping up at the Mississauga Marathon.

this season also taught me the importance of speed work, and my 5K events and the training leading up to them helped me steadily improve my times in this event. amazingly enough 3 of my 5 races where i placed in the top 5 in my age/sex catagory, were in this distance, a distance which i feel is my poorest overall (the longer the race, the better my chances!).

May 18 featured a day of running, where i ran this 10K race with a heavy backpack and still placed respectably. i then carried on to Cape Spear and back, covering 52.8k in total.

July 1 was a hot day. i ran 10k just to get down to the park, ran a 10k race, then ran another 65k, covering an incredible 85k in just under 14 hours.

still extremely sore, i decided at the last minute to go ahead with the Mews 8k on July 6, and i managed to post a very respectable time on legs and knees that probably shouldn't have ran at all.

still hurting a week later, i managed a PB at the 5K distance at the provincial championships.

then it was off to Ontario where i scored a marathon PB at the Massey Marathon on July 20, a 3.16.59 time.

i was already feeling the affect of my feminine hormone replacement therapy regime, when i took to the roads of Paradise for the most important sporting event of the year in Newfoundland, the Tely 10 Mile road race. i just didn't have it this day, as my tired marathon legs didn't have it. i scored a respectable time of just over 70 minutes, placing me in the top 7% overall, but no where near my 65 minute goal.

August 1-17 featured 10 unofficial marathon runs and 2 more halfs. by the time Aug 24 rolled around for the Quidi Vidi 5k, i wasn't even able to get out of bed in time.. lol

for the second year in a row, the Nfld Marathon was supposed to be my greatest run of the year, but one again for the second time in a row, it turned out to be a major disappointment. this was the first time reality really hit me about my new levels of fitness on estrogen. i threw a temper tantrum at the end of the race and considered leaving the sport until the end of my transition.

two weeks later, i decided that i didn't want to end the year on such a bad note, so i embarked on journey to complete something never done before by a Newfoundlander, as far as i am aware: 2 days 2 countries 2 marathons. and i successfully completed marathons in Akron, Ohio, USA and Toronto, Ontario, Canada, both in respectable times of 3.50.05 and 3.42.26 respectively.

it was then essentially three weeks off to prepare for the season-ending 20K race, the infamous Cape to Cabot run. this turned out to be the worst run of the year and one that prompted me to consider walking away from the sport.

as i adjust to the new reality of my slowed state, i am actively taking the next steps to attempt to procure acceptance among the running community for my post-transition state as a female.

the Boston Marathon has not responded to my e-mails, so i contacted them via phone today and asked that they call me back. it's going to be very interesting to see where this will lead.

at this point, it is still unclear as to what types of surgeries, if any, i will have in 2009. these decisions will certainly have an impact on my ability to run, and on the catagory for which i seek to compete in. i'm already starting to think about the 2011 running season, likely my first to be officially accepted as a female athlete.

not that there really is an off season, but i have essentially been in wind-down mode since the end of C2C, having completed more than 10K of running on only two days since then.


November 10, 2008 - dates mixed up

yikes, i seem to be a day ahead here on each post. the panic attack was saturday. the 8.5k of running was sunday. today is nov 10th. today was a day of rest. no running, no swimming. just some walking around the pond at lunch and after work. the temp got as high as 17 degrees here in st. john's, probably an all time record high for this time of year. i was tempted to jump in the pond but decided to live vicariously through the duckies.. lol

with nov 11 a stat holiday here for public servants, i am hoping to get a good night's sleep so i can head over to the pool for what i hope will be another record-breaking endurance swim. there is a 5.5 hour swim session and i will attempt to swim for the entire thing! hoping to cover 15k. should be an interesting challenge. hope i am up for it!


November 10, 2008 - runs add up

well, i was exhausted again today. i wanted to run over to the pool but gave up after 1.5k. i decided to have an extended visit at the pond instead, then a walk over to the store.

it's quite frustrating to have such low energy levels day after day. i'm going to have to cope better with the stress in my life and figure out a way to get more quality sleep. i ended up home watching some football and decided to go out for little run breaks a couple of time to see how things went. those runs were short but felt better. ultimately, i ended the day with 8.5k of running, which is quite a bit.

i had a much better sleep leading into monday morning, so that is definitely good news.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

November 9, 2008 - panic

yikes, i actually had a panic attack this evening while attending the university basketball doubleheader. very strange. it happened in between games as i was just sitting there reading the newspaper. it was the strongest panic attack i have had since January 2007.

..still trying to figure out why it happened. could be a combo of too much caffeine today combined with emotional exhaustion from what was a challenging week. i did not sleep very well last night. i struggled to make it over to the pool for a swim and felt quite slow and exhausted throughout the swim. after the swim, i had a nice walk to the pond to see the duckies then walked home and relaxed a while before heading out to watch the basketball games. after the attack, i left my seat and went for a walk around the stadium for a while to calm down.. i returned to watch the first half of the game but decided to head home. i canceled my evening plans to attend a Ron Hynes concert. kinda sad. but i think it was a wise decision to come home and rest.

hopefully i will have a good rest tonight and will feel better tomorrow. i don't think i will do any serious activities tomorrow. maybe a light run and swim and pond visit.. the usual stuff.. lol


November 8, 2008 - not quite as depressing

finally back to the pool, albeit a short 2k swim. 4.5k of running as well. little more energy today, but generally still feeling out of it most the time. not much else to say today. weekend is here! Yay!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

November 6, 2008 - depressing day

life just seems to be frustrating, and things will probably get worse before they get better. things are either moving too slow, or not moving in the right direction at all. the emotional stress is definitely having an impact on my energy levels. didn't feel up to a swim today, much like last night. 5k of running in total today, which i suppose is better than nothing. 3 trips to the pond, 2 of which were extended visits with the duckies.. seems to be the only thing that makes me happy these days.. i am going to plan to swim after work tomorrow no matter what. i hate to get into the habit of missing that.

the weekend weather report is not great but i am hoping to get in some long runs. tuesday next week is a holiday so that might be another mega swim. so lots to look forward to in the week ahead as far as athletic opportunities go.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

November 5, 2008 - 10k!!!

gee, seems like forever since i ran double digits. 10k today in total. energy levels not high. struggled to get to and from the university for a night school seminar thing, which was quite interesting. i learned all about the gall bladder.


Monday, November 3, 2008

November 3, 2008 - recovered

looks like the flu has worked its way out of my system. i decided to have one more restful evening so it was only 3k of running today. i'll try to pick it back up a notch tomorrow with a longer run and a swim. i'm sure the rest has been good for the legs and knees. i think i dropped a couple of pounds over the weekend due to my lack of appetite.. that is good news!


Sunday, November 2, 2008

November 2, 2008 - night run

well, it's hard to believe it is dark by 4.45 pm now. this daylight saving stuff really does work. i'm now going to be faced with having to get outside in the morning and at lunch hour to get some sunlight.

anyway, i went out for a rather speedy 4k hilly run this evening. this in addition to the 2k run earlier. 6k overall today is nice, especially considering my illness. i am feeling better tonight as i type this and should be ok for going to work and running & swimming tomorrow.


November 1 & 2, 2008 - flu

not a very good day for me. woke up with flu-like symptoms. went back to sleep until almost noon! decided not to run or swim. i did manage to take a walk over to the pond and then a walk over to the university to watch some varsity volleyball. then back home for an early night. very frustrating. i wanted this to be a good weekend of running and swimming.

sunday not much better. another good sleep in but did not feel up to going over for a swim. i actually slept in til noon, missing a chance to go watch the second half of the volleyball double header.

i did manage to get out for two separate 1k runs over to the pond, where i was greated, as usual, by a team of very enthusiastic duckies. still don't feel up to swimming. hopefully i will feel better tomorrow.