Tag Archives: track

Why I’m not on testosterone

Or, why I haven’t yet shot myself up with some man.

Disclaimer: I have T-15/20 minutes before the melatonin I took kicks in hardcore, so I hope this is coherent.

I’ve wanted to medically transition since high school, when I found out what “transgender” meant, and what I could do about it. That was about 4 years ago. I could be more or less transitioned right now, but not a drop of T has entered my body.

Why?

I chose instead to continue competing in the women’s division for collegiate running. It was a decision that almost drove me insane. Some who know me would argue that it did. Not even finished with my freshman year, I walked into my advisor’s office and asked for a letter of rec for entrance to another university. I came out to her in explanation, and she helped me get a full ride scholarship at said university. After much distraught deliberation, I ended up staying where I was, for many reasons. I came out to others (including my coach!) that fall.

I’m a senior now, and with only one year (~11 months) left, I find myself thinking back on it all. I stopped blogging/writing much because it was painful and frustrating to even think about sometimes. I tried to stop thinking about it so much. Tried. It’s nearly impossible to think about anything else when every time you look in the mirror you feel like throwing up. When every time someone talks about you they stab you with pronoun knives. When you don’t have the courage to pop a squat in the guy’s restroom, but people stare and/or run out when you use the women’s. The hardest part is feeling trapped, stuck, and knowing you did that to yourself. Pulled in so many directions because the situation fucking sucks and you’re enjoying the hell out of college anyway.

If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything except maybe come out sooner, especially to my parents. It’s been rough for sure, but undeniably beautiful. I never could have imagined finding so much support and acceptance. Between the professors here, my advisor, my coach, teammates and their parents, roommates, administration, classmates, friends.. I’ve found family here.

I’ve also found myself. I’ve found the strength to truly be myself when everyone is telling me I’me something else. I used to worry that I wasn’t trans enough when I stopped wanting to bash my head into a wall every time someone used she. It really just meant that I’ve found confidence and validation from within. I don’t need T to make me who I’ll grow to be any more than the estrogen coursing through me defines who I am now.

That is what will get me through this next year.

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Why?

Warning: Some language and pessimism.

I’m so frustrated. Why can I have months and months of levelness and WHAM. Upsetness. I was so strong, and it feels like my mental strength has gone down the shitter. And the worst part is, anyone I’ve ever felt comfortable talking about feeling bad to is happy to see me doing so well so I can’t even talk to them about it. I feel like I can’t even talk to anyone. So I find myself reasoning around, trying to figure out how I started slipping and what I can do to stop it.

I think it started when my coach didn’t put me in the half-marathon. I know I could’ve gotten the qualifying standard and quite frankly I’m so jealous of everyone that got to go and qualified.  Apparently the course was relatively flat, wind to the back, overall downhill, the works. I’m not totally sure why my coach didn’t put me in and I’m not going to ask.

It probably continued when my roommate threw a birthday get-together for me (very nice of her) and only a few people came and then left to go to a party. It made me realize how shitty I am at interacting with people. It kills me that I have this disconnect. I want to interact, but I don’t get the rules. Reading people’s faces is lost on me. Hell, I can’t even remember what people’s faces look like or recognize them if I see them in a different place. If I see someone I won’t know their name of where I know them from unless they have a certain backpack they carry around or unique something. Hairstyle. Glasses. Anything. I just feel like everywhere I walk there’s strangers even though I should know them, so I’ll not know the name of someone I’ve known for months and months. And I don’t know how to read people’s faces. And I don’t know how to project emotions genuinely on my face when I’m talking so they think I have no empathy.

Then the real fork in the cake was tonight when I heard about hanging out with visiting recruits about 3 minutes before it’s happening. Everyone has my phone number. They have no problem using it when they need fucking homework help. It feels like it happens every time, so I start thinking my coach doesn’t want the recruits to meet me because I’m fucking queer and it’s so fucking conservative here that maybe them meeting me will dissuade them from joining the team. So maybe the reason that I found out 5 minutes ahead of time from someone who wasn’t even organizing it kind of suggests I wasn’t really invited to a team function. Maybe my coach told the not to tell me. And I know I’m being paranoid but it still sucks.

I just feel so alone. The worst part is I want to be alone so I shouldn’t even complain that I’ve isolated myself. I don’t have any interest in interacting with people because it’s so stressful. I feel like I have to be doing something like running or studying and people just want to hang out and I don’t get it. I want to be with someone too. I never have and I want to know what it’s like to have someone, but I don’t want anyone to touch me. I can’t stand physical contact, even from my own parents. I don’t know why something that feels good to other people makes me feel sick.

I’m done. I’m done thinking, because that’s what gets me in real trouble. I’ve worked too fucking hard to lose it now, so I’m going to fight against the part of me that’s trying to kill the rest of me. Here goes.

– Who care’s about the half-marathon? You’re training for the steeplechase and you’re going to do damn well at it.

– You beat 19:00 in 3, almost 4 of the races this season. In the 18:30’s? that’s so much better than last year. You’re set to have a good track season.

– People in your life respect you. You’re a youth mentor for group, and a leader of the trans group. Professors respect you, and that is worth more than you need.

-You’re one of the most intelligent, considerate people I know. You’re going to kill it academically these next couple weeks and enjoy working hard on applications and GRE studying over winter break. It will keep you occupied and focused.

-You are focused. You have goals and can achieve them. You don’t need to be the best at everything though. Just keep being yourself and everything will be okay.

5 Comments

Filed under and track, cross country, running

Iron Man No Longer

A while ago, I wrote about my experiences with IV iron for iron deficiency anemia.

In short: I got an IV about 4 months ago. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!

I haven’t been feeling so good (ears ringing, dizzy, tired), so even though my training has been fine, I went for a ferritin test.

It came back a 10. I’m devastated. It cost so much to do the IV and I feel so much better not destroying my gut with supplements. It’s lower than every test I’ve ever had, except when I was truly anemic. (It was a 2 and I was literally passing out.)

I think I’m going to try to get another IV before XC season starts. I’m really tempted to start back on the supplements, but I’m worried that my ferritin will go up enough that the docs won’t want to give me an IV, but still low enough that I feel like shit. For a distance runner, it should be above 60.

I am thinking of the causes of the drop, and I think altitude is a huge factor. I haven’t been taking supplements because the docs told me not to, and going up in altitude (home for the summer) and training well would make my body produce more red blood cells, depleting my iron store.

I also haven’t been taking my B complex or D vitamins.

I guess it’s a call to the doctor to see what I should do. The iron battle saga continues..

10 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

THANK YOU to the strangers at the park

a group of you pretentious adolescents,
five or six, maybe seven.

As I circled the lake
the waves gently lapped
and you shallowly shouted:

“Is that a guy or a girl?”
“No, look, that running over there.
what is it?”
“I can’t tell!”
“I don’t know.” you said, “Ha, ha, ha!”

Haha.. ha.. ha.
I looked over and returned your stares,
my eyes outnumbered
as your laughs flew with the breeze
and landed in the air around my ears.

You paused, and I paused, stricken.
The perfect moment of suspended silence,
but you went on.

Though my stride remained steady,
anger pounded through my veins
and sadness prickled at my fingertips.

I looped around again, intently,
how best to spend my next two cents?
I kept those pennies for another day.

A lap longer, a mile more.
A second stripped off my next race.

and I have only you to thank.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

I am Iron Man

You got runner problems, I feel bad for you son – I got 99 problems but iron ain’t one.

It’s no secret that endurance athletes have problems with iron. Personally, I’ve had problems with it since I started running in high school. In middle/high school I passed out twice- out cold on my feet. I was constantly dizzy and tired. My parents took me to a doctor and got my ferritin (a measure of your stored iron) and my blood checked. It was bad – my ferritin was 2  and my red blood cells (RBCs) were all out of whack. I was severely anemic. I started taking about 100 mg of elemental iron a day in 4 doses and kept on iron for the next 5 or so years.

In high school, the highest my ferritin ever got was a 29 – during my senior cross country season. That was probably my best season, and for me, a 29 was good.

In college, I couldn’t keep it up freshman year and most of this sophomore year it hovered between 13 and 24. Long story short, a couple months ago I decided I was over it. I only have 2 more years left to run in college, and I want to make the most of it.

A couple months ago I contacted a hematologist with the hope of getting IV iron infusions. When I was there they did a ferritin and CBC test. My ferritin was 14 which is low, but my CBC measures were all pretty normal. In other words, my iron stores were low, but it hadn’t started to show in my blood yet. 14 was still low enough that the doctor was willing to give me an infusion.

They did the first one that day, and the second part three days later – how Feraheme is typically prescribed. Basically they put in IV line in with saline for 15 minutes, pushed the iron and steroid in, and observed me for 30 minutes. If you’re going to do something similar, I recommend really pushing the vitamin C in the days before. The steroid depressed my immune system so I wouldn’t have a reaction to the iron, but with the side result of coming down with the flu (full-blown 103 fever 7 day horizontal flu.). At first I thought it was side effects of the iron, but they said it wasn’t.

For the few weeks afterwards, I was running worse than before. I had already lost 5 lbs since last semester and the flu made me lose 5 more. For about three weeks I slept 9-10 hours a day with some naps. My mile repeats were as bad as 6:49 and I still felt terrible.

Eventually I started feeling better and running better. This was around the time I started doing 5 or so double runs a week. Last week I ran one second off my PR in the steeplechase (11:40s) and came back a few hours later to double in the 5k, PRing by almost 20 seconds and getting right under 19 minutes for the first time ever!

Before the infusions, my resting heart rate was in the 70s or 80s (at the doctor it was the 90s!) and now it’s around 50-52. My ferritin went from 14 to 179!! I’ve honestly never felt better in my life. Side note: at night when I’m trying to fall asleep it feels like part of my heartbeat is missing.. it’s the weirdest feeling ever. I’m confident that even if CBC numbers look okay, a low ferritin (less than 60 and 30 for sure) is not good for endurance athletes.

I’m not sure when I’m going to need another infusion, but I’m glad I did it. If you’re considering IV iron and want to ask questions go ahead and comment or contact me.

1 Comment

Filed under running, cross country, and track

I will walk 500 miles… (I will run 500 meters)

So. 3rd workout in six days. (Even if one was a mini-workout, it still counts, dammit!)

Today we went to the lake. The BIG lake – if you live where I do you know which one it is. I have to admit, it’s nice chillaxing on the bus on the way there, not having to worry about driving or anything. When we got there, we loaded out, and after much jesting we skedaddled on our runs/warm-ups. I got back and my coach asked if I wanted to know what the workout was. I said yeah! and he asked me: so what’s the workout? He’s funny like that. I replied, er.. 500s! Lo and behold, I was right! I won’t specify the time nor recovery because I think that information is my coach’s property, but let’s just assume they were at a decent pace.

I knew I was in trouble on the warm-up, when I had stitches underneath both my clavicles. I hit the times for the workout, though I definitely wish I could’ve ran faster for the last few. My breathing was heavy, my face was hot, and my muscles felt a lot tighter than usual. If during my last 3k I was flying, then today I was wading through mud.

It might also be because the temperature was a blistering 65 degrees. Thank goodness it’s going back to the 20’s for the next couple days; this Colorado guy can’t take the roasting. (Just wait until May, then I’ll really be complaining.)

I’ve come to realize that I have a bit of a problem with hydrating. I don’t really enjoy drinking water unless I’m really thirsty, and there’s only so much powdered Gatorade one can shove down hir gullet before it becomes a bit rank too. Is this just me, or do most people actually like water? Sometimes I eat salty things to make me crave it, but that usually increases my water retention too much and makes me feel heavy. I desperately need your advice. How do you trick yourself into drinking more water?

Anyway, my suffering warm-down was good. A friend was asking if I think I’ll be happier about myself after I medically transition, and I said that I knew it wouldn’t solve all my problems, but that I thought it would make me a great deal happier. I shared with her the changes I was most looking forward to – it was interesting that she was quite surprised that HRT can do so much. I forget that I’ve done quite a bit of research, and that to most people the changes are mind-blowing. I guess to me they are as well, but more of a mind-blowing eventual necessity.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

First indoor track meet!

Yesterday was the first time I ever zoomed around on a 200m track. As a distance runner, this merits a tad bit of respect. I did a 3k, which is 15 laps. In a couple weeks I’ll probably do a 5k, which is 25 laps.

Our coach dropped us off a block or so from a building. When I first got out of the bus, I thanked my lucky stars that we were running indoors. I think the only place more windy than Oklahoma is Kansas.

When we got inside, I was surprised. Not only was there a track actually inside the building, it was on the second floor! I think there was a swimming pool below us.

Side note: a pro about track/running is that it is 10 times easier to pass in a tracksuit. A con: going to the bathroom is awkward as heck. Every time. Without fail. I always made my teammates go in with me. When I’m with a group, nobody says anything, and I sure as heck am not going in the guys restroom yet. Even if I pretty much pass, I’d like to pee without fearing for my safety.

My race was late, so I chilled for a few hours. I had a few dried apricots and munched on a small piece of chocolate while sipping diluted gatorade. (For me it’s important to keep my blood sugar up before racing, especially when I have a late afternoon or night race.)

Two of my teammates and I went to check in. For those of you unfamiliar, we basically go up to a desk, say our race distance and our last name and get the sticky numbers for the race. My teammates checked in first. I stepped up. The nice lady giving us our numbers picked up the other packet (for the guys races) and started flipping through it. Awk-ward… 

“Er, same race as them.”

She looked confused for a second, and then mumbled sorry and started hastily trying to find my name. She was kind of flustered, so I repeated my name and number a few times so she could find it. 

I reveled in the fact that I passed and felt a tad guilty. Why does me passing always seem to involve making someone else feel uncomfortable?

As I was leaving the desk, I was another 3k runner with her mom. Her mom was asking if she was ready for the race. She said no, and that she didn’t want to race. 

That was me usually, but I’ve decided to cop on. I was ready to race.

After warmup and strides, they lined us up. I was seeded 10th of about 29, so I was lucky to get a front row spot. The electronic gun went off and we went.

I had a really good race, the best in years. Except for losing track of laps near the end, I was focused and felt in control. Not only did I PR, but I knocked 20 seconds off my old time for a finish of 10:56. I’m set on getting my 3k time down more and training for the steeplechase in the spring. I really want to go to nationals.

Watch out indoor track season! You’re going down!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized