Saturday, March 30, 2013

Racing during “That Time Of The Month”


OK ladies; let's get this topic out in the open. You all know, our “monthly friend,” the “unwanted guest”, our periods.
     I hope this post encourages you to share your experiences and share how you deal with this dreaded time of month.
     For some reason, “it” seems to always happen when you have an important race or event. Consequently, before every one of my races I usually have a discussion with myself that goes something like this:  “How many days has it been? 28? 30?”  “Will I get it the day of the race?” “If I get it two days before what am I going to do?”
     Personally, I have had two very embarrassing moments in the marathon. Both of them have to do with my period. In one instance the picture of me finishing the Kiawah marathon not only shows a woman in pain but also a woman in a rush to get to a bathroom. The night before the marathon I was having stomach cramps to the point of having to lie down in bed. I contacted my coach and told him I was not sure I would be able to run in the morning. I was very worried. As the evening continued the cramps got better but not 100%. I woke up in the morning and my period had arrived. “CRAP!!!!!” I was so upset. The good thing was that I was prepared and brought some heavy-duty tampons with me. I knew it was going to be flowing so I just hoped the heavy-duty tampons would last till the end of the marathon. I was OK until about mile 18. As I wrote in an earlier post, mile 18 was when I stopped running and was going to give up. With the heat and sweating I felt like the tampon might not be enough. For us older athletes who have had kids let’s just say things do not always stay in place. As I finished the marathon I looked down and I could see blood between my legs. Since I won the marathon, the media was trying to interview me but I told them I did not feel well. But that wasn’t the end of my travails since the house I was staying at was about 1.5 miles away so I started walking with Liz who I was staying with. I only made it half way back to the house when I knew I could not go any longer. I was so miserable. I just wanted to get to a bathroom and take a shower. Knowing my predicament, Liz went back to the house to get the car while I waited and she drove me back. I was so happy after I got all cleaned up. What a day.
     Over the years I have noticed some patterns with my period and running. I feel I run my best when it is about 5 days before my period begins and I run my worse about 3-5 days after it starts. How I run and how I feel are totally different. Before:  I feel bloated, heavy, tired and have cramps 5 days out. After my period I feel lighter and not as cranky. When I do have to run a marathon during it I have found that the Tampax Super Sport work the best for me. If you have found tampon that is better, please share your thoughts with us.     One of the best articles I have found is the link below that describes how your cycles affect your running and what is happening.  

    So, now that I’ve opened the conversation about the special situations we women face running and racing during our periods; what are your experiences and how have you handled the situations?  


  1. I recently found "Tampax Pearl Plastic, Ultra Absorbency". You have super, super plus, then Ultra. I haven't used it yet, but since I'm a heavy bleeder I wish I had found this years ago. Thanks for sharing your experience. Any thoughts on using things to postpone your period?

  2. This blog is perfectly timed! I'm due next Wednesday, but I am usually 1-2 days late. I leave for Boston Saturday and I am praying it comes on time this month. I feel awful - heavy, bloated, full - the second and third day of my period. And I feel it is harder to breathe.

  3. Denise- I am going to go out and buy the Ultra Absorbency. I have not tried anything to postpone my period. I know women have talked about taking the pill to regulate it when they get it.

    Christine- I might be running Boston also depending if my IT/Hip feel better. I am also due to get my period the day before or the day of Boston so I can understand what you are going through. I try and stay away from salt and I feel that helps. I know this might sound crazy but when I have a hard time breathing I usually have a mint before I run. That seems to help. I have also seen people use that strip that you put over your nose. I have not tried that yet. Have fun in Boston and rock your marathon :)