So, I’ve been gone a while

Me, all the time

Hey guys. I’m still here, I promise.

My last running post was my marathon follow-up, so it’s been a long, long time. I had a couple posts lined up in the interim, but they weren’t my best and I didn’t feel comfortable hitting “Publish.” During my training I was so motivated — physically, creatively, everything. I could do it all and I damn well tried. After the marathon, I hit that big ol’ metaphorical wall.

I read studies that marathoners often suffer from depression after the race due to the amount taken from the body during the race. Being one who is already a sufferer, I got it even worse. I also suffered a lot of migraines during training, but after, they got more frequent. So post-marathon up until now, I’ve put all my effort into functioning as a normal human and not letting my headaches get in the way of work and my home life, which also severely altered my mood. After that, there wasn’t much left.

I’d seen my primary care physician three times between the marathon and now. Every time, I told her about my migraines, how they’ve increased, how I’ve stopped running and they’re not going away and how they interfere with my everyday life. Her solution? Get a massage and keep taking my already-prescribed medication. Well, first of all, I’m an editor. We don’t make enough money to get massages every week/twice a week/however much will makes these headaches go away. It’s a luxury that I quite honestly can’t put into my budget. Second, I was taking my prescription every day, multiple times a day. It covered up my headaches enough to get through the work day while making me loopy and destroying my liver in the meantime.

By December, I had a headache every day. I told her this. The answer? Get a massage, keep taking your prescription.

At this point, I was desperate. My boss recommended a massage place that does chair massages at a decent price, so I went there. I could afford $10 for a 20-minute chair massage, so I started going once a week to see if it would help. It did a little, but my headaches weren’t tension headaches, so they still weren’t going away.

And my prescription? I was taking six to seven pills a day to handle the pain. Sometimes more. The maximum dosage per day is four. FOUR. I had also stopping drinking alcohol because of them. When I was taking them at a lesser dosage, I found out the hard way that they interfere with alcohol consumption. And this isn’t your typical binge-drinking Saturday night. This is two-glassed-of-wine-and-I’m-puking-all-day Sunday. These instances happened about three times before it clicked. God knows what my liver is like now after these devil pills, I don’t need alcohol making it — and my day after — worse.

On the days I did feel OK, I still did cross training. The stairmaster is a good sweat (and I can read while I do it!) and turns out, I enjoy hot yoga. Running, however, took an indefinite backseat. On a day I felt decent, I went for a five-mile run … and got a migraine halfway through. I plan on doing the River Bank Run again this May, and I need this time to train and strengthen if I want a better time.

Early this month, I started looking for a new doctor. I was fed up with my headaches not being taken seriously and I was going on a month straight of a headache every single day. I called about five offices. The first three weren’t taking new patients, the next one had an opening in July (uh, no thanks) and the last one I called had an opening two weeks later. I chose that one.

The appointment was Thursday and it went great. Before, I was used to my previous doctor listening to my questions impatiently and rushing me out after 15 minutes. The doctors I saw at my new office took time to ask me questions, as well as listen to my questions.

And those pills I needed to keep taking? Turns out they were the reason why my headaches were happening. My doctor took one look at the prescription and told me to “shelve those bad boys.” And he was right. Later, I looked up the prescription on and found this nice description:

If you are having headaches more often than you did before you started taking this medicine. This is especially important if a new headache occurs within 1 day after you took your last dose of this medicine, headaches begin to occur every day, or a headache continues for several days in a row. This may mean that you are dependent on the medicine. Continuing to take this medicine will cause even more headaches later on. Your doctor can give you advice on how to relieve the headaches.

Hello, my name is Lindsay and I’m a drug addict.

As a solution, my new doctor put me on an everyday prescription to control my migraines, which is what my previous doctor should have prescribed. I also have Topamax, to fight an oncoming migraine, which is way less dangerous than my previous prescription. I’ve been on my new prescription for three days and probably won’t notice a change until a week later. In those three days, I’ve fought those “rebound” migraines as a result of my dependency. Sweet, right? But I’m still hopeful that I’ve finally gotten the care I need to feel better, lace up my shoes and get into training mode.

So, that’s where I’ve been.


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This has nothing to do with running, but I’m proud of the work I put in to this post and wanted to share.


By Lindsay Patton-Carson

As an American, there are many reasons why I hit the polls. I want marriage equality, I want women to get paid as much as men for the same job, I want General Electric to pay their fricken’ taxes, I could go on…

But there’s one basic reason why I vote and why I’ll continue to do so until I die:

I’m a woman, and I CAN vote.

On Aug. 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment was ratified – allowing women the right to vote. That’s not even 100 years ago. To put things in perspective: George Washington was elected as our first president in 1789. Women gained the right to vote 131 years later.

To be succinct, American women have spent more time not voting than voting.

And to get women’s right to vote? It took more than 40 years. Forty years to allow someone like me…

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The 26.2 Experience

My digits.

As some of you know, my 2012 goal was to run a half marathon. That’s all I wanted and all I thought I could do. I proved myself wrong two weeks ago when I finished the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon.

But we’re missing the main point here, and that is, I totally pooped my pants.

I talk about poop a lot on this blog, and it’s for a reason. One thing I found out once I started logging those double-digit miles is that runners constantly are at war with their bowels. And I mean constantly. It’s awful and no fun. So in order to deal with these stupid side effects, I laugh about them. It makes things feel better, especially when I talk about it with other runners. It’s like, once we talk about poo, a special, secret bond is formed.

The week leading up to the marathon, I was a wreck (as you could tell from my previous entries). One of my concerns was not being able to get to a porta potty in time and dropping a deuce on the course.

My attempts to prevent that included cutting back caffeine intake, cutting out all alcohol and watching how much fatty and fiber-filled foods I ate. The morning of, I got up at 5 a.m. so I could take two hours to eat some Cliff bars, drink tea and clear my bowels for the big race.

Well, none of that helped at all because I got aboard the poop train right at mile seven. But we can get to that later, because there’s a lot more that happened before the big ‘drop.’

Naturally, I was anxious, nervous and terrified the 48 hours leading up to the big day. I kept telling myself lies that I wasn’t able to do it and I wasn’t prepared. I kept thinking about my 20-mile run and how awful I felt during the last mile. I psyched myself out bad.

Things got a little better when I went to the marathon expo Saturday afternoon. I saw all these other runners, got lots of free swag (including a River Bank Run sticker, which I had been wanting to put on my car for-ev-er) and got congratulated by complete strangers — and I hadn’t even finished the damn thing yet. Most importantly, I saw those 26.2 stickers. Ooooh did I want that so bad. I want to show off to all the cars whizzing by me, to my neighbors, to people who ride in my car, to every damn person out there. And I don’t even brag that often about my accomplishments, but when it comes to running and how far I’ve gotten in the past year, it’s IN YO FACE!

After the expo, I felt a little bit better. I had a support group of strangers who are veterans, n00bs, slow, fast. Basically, people like me who have spent months working hard for this.


Oh dear, nervous wreck. But I made sure I was smart about it. I got up three hours before race time, had my outfit laid out, took a hot shower, dried my hair, had my breakfast, hung out on the Internet, hugged my dogs and husband and just thought about how amazing it is that I’ve come this far. Once I did those things, I grabbed a Sharpie to write some inspirational shit on me. When I did the River Bank Run, a friend told me a great saying: Pain is temporary, pride is forever. Anytime I do something just a teeny bit scary, I think about that saying. Bam! Right on my hand.

I left my house around 7 a.m. — an hour before start time. Downtown Grand Rapids is only four miles from my house, so I had plenty of time. I listened to some chill music on the way, got my bag checked, went to the bathroom and went to line up. My walk to the starting line was right with the pacers. Man, they have energy. Instead of seven, eight, nine-minute mile paces, they had celebrity marathon times as paces (Will Ferrell, Lance Armstrong, P.Diddy/Puff Daddy/Puffy/Sean Jean/Diddy/Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs, Oprah). That cracked me up. My goal was 4:15, so I got in the P.Diddy group. The whole time I was thinking, “Man, how awesome would it be to beat P.Diddy’s time? That douche who made up Vote or Die. What does that even mean? Shit, I have to beat him.” So I had a new goal: beat P.Diddy.

The P.Diddy group was fun, too. They gave everyone BOOBIE BEADS! I wore mine the whole way.

As time counted down, I had to remind myself to start off slow. It’s a marathon, for crying out loud. It was hard though. I already had adrenaline going, so without trying, I started passing a bunch of people in the first three miles. After mile three, I settled into my pace (about 9-9:30 minutes per mile).

I was doing well, feeling confident. Around mile seven, I had to use the porta potty. Not bad, but I promised myself I’d go even if it was just a teeny bit. I lost time, yeah, but I was damn confident I’d avoid any accidents.


At mile 19, I made a mistake. A big mistake. In every single training article, book, whatever, I’d read, they said to avoid unfamiliar foods. At mile 19, they were passing out pickle juice. I HATE pickels. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE. But I heard pickle juice is great for preventing cramping, so down the hatch it went. And it was gross.

Five minutes later, I had to GO. And I mean go. I still had about a half mile left before I hit another porta potty. I didn’t know what to do. I saw some men peeing off to the sides, but that’s just pee and they all covered their business pretty nicely. I was in a situation where there was no way to nicely cover the business. I was running through a wooded path, so maybe I could duck in there? Nope. It wasn’t wooded enough. Any runner that passed by would see me taking a big ol’ deuce in nature. So I just tried to suck it up and hold it until I got to the porta potty. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work too well. I was a quarter mile away when I knew I didn’t have much longer. Holding it in was unbearable, my eyes started to water, I wanted to stop and I kept asking myself, ‘WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM!? YOU COULD BE AT HOME WATCHING 30 ROCK RIGHT NOW.’ In short, I was miserable.

Then, I saw sweet refuge in my line of sight. Oh my god, I was almost there. “C’mon, Lindsay. Speed up a little, you’re almost there. You can do it, you can do it, you can do, it … Oh no, oh no, oh no, oh no.”

And then it happened. I was probably 100 or 200 feet away from the porta potty when I lost all control and all dignity. I wanted to cry. I wanted to stop. I wanted to go back in time and tell past Lindsay “DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS.”

The short walk to the porta potty was the ultimate walk of shame. “This is so uncomfortable. Can the other runners see my butt bulge? How am I going to clean this up? OH MY GOD. I WON’T BEAT P.DIDDY.”

I shamefully stepped into the porta potty and tried to salvage my underwear because they were Victoria’s Secret, dammit, and I’ve already lost enough pairs to my dogs.

It took me one minute before I realize there was no chance in saving them. So I undressed my bottom half, tossed my nice underpants in the porta potty, cleaned myself up and went back out trying to reclaim whatever dignity I had left in my extremely depleted gas tank.

Oh, and I still had 6.2 miles left.

Those last miles were the most agonizing and depressing miles I’ve even run. My nine-minute-per-mile pace turned into 10 or 10:30. I could have even been 11, I’m not sure. All I knew was it felt like forever to complete one mile. My legs were burning and I felt pain I had never felt in all my training. They felt like they were about to break off from my hips, never to be seen again. At this point, everyone surrounding me was walking, but I promised myself that I would run the whole way, no matter how slow. I remembered the advice someone gave me during training: You’re going to want to walk after 22 miles, but don’t, and, The hardest part of a marathon is between your right ear and left ear.

She was right. My mind was screaming, “STOP IT YOU STUPID IDIOT!” but I carried on. I didn’t put in obnoxious amounts of hours and miles to stop, to walk, to give up. There were so many weekends where I missed out on hanging out with my friends because I had to get up early and run the next morning. Those runs were not going to be in vain.

So I pushed hard, harder than I’ve ever pushed before, while running at possibly the slowest pace I’ve ever ran. But it didn’t matter, I wasn’t going to stop and was going to continue to run, no matter how hard it hurt.

During the last two miles, the pain was so bad that I just zoned out. I was in this weird state like I’d never been in where everything felt like a dream and I was vaguely aware of my surroundings. I even almost missed my friends and brother cheering for me a half mile away from the finish line. Luckily, I saw them and they brought me back to reality. I paused to give them hugs, because that’s what I really, really needed at that moment, and got serious about reaching that finish line.

I crossed it after four hours, 21 minutes and 49 seconds. I was happy with my accomplishment, but more happy it was over. I even heard my name over the loudspeaker! OK, they called me “Lindsay Patton-Carlson,” but still, it was cool.

As I caught my breath and had that finisher’s medal placed around my neck, it really hit me what I just accomplished.


Oh wait. My stomach was so torn up that food was the last thing I wanted. Instead, I just sucked down a protein shake, drank more water and had some ice cream. (If there’s one thing I can’t pass up it’s ice cream, no matter how awful my stomach feels.)

My brother and my friends found me soon after. Of course, the first thing I told them was that I pooped my pants. My husband called my brother from work to check in on me and that’s the first thing I told him, too. I figure I can own it or it can own me. I own that shit.

The rest of the day was just painful. I went home, took a nap and didn’t move. My boss gave me the day off on Monday and I basically did the same thing. It wasn’t until Tuesday or Wednesday when I started to feel better.

Was it worth it, poop and all? Hell yeah. I completed something that can never be taken away from me. No matter what happens to me, no matter how much I run or don’t run in the future, I will always be part of the one percent of Americans that have ran a marathon. That’s something I’m proud of.


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Welp, it’s all or nothing

It’s real now.

Guys, I’m gonna be honest. I’m scared shitless. Twenty four hours from now, I’ll have completed my first marathon. I know it’s going to be hard and I know it’s going to hurt. I also know the sense of accomplishment I’ll feel after will be like nothing else.

Right now, I have a migraine, which isn’t helping my already ridiculous amount of worrying. I’m hoping I can rest with some frozen peas on my head and feel better tomorrow. But, with my more frequent effort headaches, I don’t know how I’ll feel tomorrow. Commence more worrying.

I know I’m too stubborn to not finish, I just don’t want to do it while vomiting across the course.

On the other hand, I went to the marathon expo today to pick up my packet. It was weird. These crazy, pesky emotions got all up in my bid’ness. I felt like I was going to cry. There was 26.2 memorabilia everywhere and soon, I will deserve to have some of it. I was surrounded by other runners, people who looked like they knew what they were doing. I probably didn’t, but I looked damn good because I was on my way to a wedding after, so there’s that.

I also got a bunch of free stuff. The River Bank Run was giving out free 15.5 stickers, which I’d been looking for. I was ALMOST going to pay for one, but the universe decided to be good to me and give me a free one. This was when I got especially emotional, since the River Bank Run was what set it off for me. There’s a special place in my heart for that race, so as soon as I got home, I slapped the sticker on my car.

So there are my feelings. I don’t get them or share them a lot, so consider yourselves lucky.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’mma lay down with ice all over my face, hoping to cure myself of this migraine and not kill my barking dogs.

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I AM a badass!

Less than one week until the Grand Rapids Marathon.

What did I get myself into?

Of course, I’m nervous. I still have that nagging, “I’ve never been a runner!” thought in the back of my head. On the other hand, the support of friends, family, coworkers and strangers who connect with me via this blog give me confidence that I can do it. They throw out the term ‘badass’ and because of them, there are times I think, ‘Yeah, I AM a badass!’

I actually don’t think that enough. The percentage of people who finish a marathon is small. Ridiculously small. So no matter what my time is and how much pain I’m in, when it’s over, I’ll be part of this elite club that includes Will Ferrell and Oprah. (For real.)

Seriously. About .5 percent of America’s population has completed a marathon. While still a lot of people, it’s a small statistic. A statistic I’ll be a part of (if everything goes smoothly and I don’t get injured — cross your fingers!) in less than a week.

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Wait. Running costs money!?

“OMG! Look at my cuuuuute gear!”

Any runner knows, the biggest lie about running is that it’s free.

One reason I started running was I couldn’t afford a gym membership. “Running’s free,” I said. “I’ll just step outside and go.”




This ‘just step outside and go’ sport is ridiculously expensive, especially living in Michigan, where it’s fricken cold for (at least what it feels like) 10 months. In the winter, you’re not going anywhere without compression clothes.

OK, so I need compression clothes. Let’s go to the Nike store.


OK, maybe I can just throw 15 fashion leggings on to make due, but I need a shirt. The shirts can’t be that bad, right?

Hold up.


Good god.

So on top of $100+ running shoes, you’re saying I need to spend an additional $165 for pants and a shirt? Oh, and let’s not forget a sports bra for the ladies. Yeah, those things run $45. And those are just the essentials. We’re not talking iPod holders, waistpacks, winter hats, gloves, socks. Holy hell, this is adding up.

So what happens when this ‘free’ sport becomes more than you can afford?

You get thrifty!

But first, you must throw all convenience aside. Click out of, shut the computer and get in the car. I know, it’s tough going out of the house, but if you want to save money, you just have to do it.

First thing to know in your brain bank is which stores carry quality gear at a discounted price. Hit up your nearest Marshall’s, TJMaxx or Nordstrom Rack. While the selection isn’t ideal, the amount you spend makes the hunting worthwhile. Not convinced? Well, listen to this, guys. During one Nordstrom Rack excursion, I found an UnderArmour sports bra for $12 and a pair of Nike spandex pants for $9. YEAH, THAT SHIT HAPPENED!

The second important knowledge nugget you need is when seasonal items are put on clearance. The weeks following Christmas are magical, wonderful times where everything is three cents or less. (That might be hyperbole, but you get where I’m going.) Same with all of August. Load up on seasonal gear during these times. You may not be able to use them for a year, but when that time does come, you’ll be thanking yourself.

If you still make Christmas and birthday lists, put that shit on there! My in-laws have pretty much funded my running closet every birthday and Christmas for the past year, and it’s been amazing. I should probably pick them up a few thank-you bagel slices after I finish the marathon.

OK, now for the last tip. I may get judged and there’s potential for a collective ‘EW!’ but sometimes, you just get desperate. Go to Goodwill. Yeah, I know, you’re wearing other people’s sweat and that’s gross, but there are times when you just have to make sacrifices. Actually, it’s not that bad. Sometimes people donate athletic wear that still has tags on them. And when that happens, it’s even cooler because you get to see a $40 tech shirt embarrassingly whittled down to $3.

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Time to Stop Being a Debbie Downer

Think like this guy, think like this guy…

Yeah, I’m tired of running. Sick of it. Over it. But, I need to remember the reasons why I do it. So, here they are. Reasons I run, to remind myself why I keep going.

1. I feel accomplished

Every time I make a tiny improvement, it’s a big deal. At first it was running four miles instead of three, then it was beating my 5k time by a minute, then two minutes, then 10 seconds. It progressed to running 15.5 miles in the River Bank run, getting second in my age group in a 5k, then getting second overall in a 5k and once I did 4.8 miles at a 7:30 per-mile pace. Each one of those things are small, but I’m proud of them. And each small accomplishment I make, I want to do more.

2. Spending time with music

Not only do I love music, but I make a living as an editor for an entertainment guide (you should check it out, by the way), so it’s important that I stay updated for the sake of my street cred. When I started my job in 2008 up until now, I felt like I couldn’t catch up with each year’s top lists. Running gives me the time I need to listen to the buzzed-about albums and albums I want to listen to. It’s also given me variety in my playlists. When I do long runs, I don’t want to listen to pump-’em-up music right off the bat, so I get to spend quality time with some really amazing albums. (Channel Orange, guys. CHAN-NEL ORANGE.) I’ve also spent a lot of that time running thinking about 2012’s best albums and songs. In fact, my 2012 best-of list is about 80 percent complete. Last year, I had no clue until Dec. 23.

3. Confidence

There’s a certain feeling you get that’s like nothing else when your clothes fit just right. Although I’ve always been petite, I had my fat days (I’m a woman! We get them, OK?) While they still happen every once in a while, I can fix that feeling by going out for a run. Just by doing that, I feel much better about my body. Plus, my clothes fit better than ever now. In all honesty, the scale tells you nothing. It’s your body that tells you, and mine’s telling me I’m feeling good.

4. I look AWESOME

It’s all part of the confidence thing. I’ve noticed changes in my body that I’m proud of because I worked hard for them. Over the summer, I hung out with a group of friends I hadn’t seen in months and all of them (on separate occasions) told me I look great. WHOA. I thought I looked pretty good, but I didn’t know other people noticed as well.

5. I feel strong

I’ve always been a wimp and I’m not proud of it. I was very self conscious about how weak I was. I chalked it up to genes and being petite for a while. Once I started running, I wanted to lift weights to give my body a well-rounded workout. Because I incorporate weights, I can do pull ups now! With this new strength, there came new capability. I could do more things on my own without help. Like changing the water cooler! Before, I struggled. Now, BFD.

6. I’m better at my job

Work is a big, important part of my life, so of course, I’m always paranoid that I’m not doing well enough or I could be doing something better. Since I have hours to myself to think, work comes up A LOT. I think about what I should do the next day, ideas for upcoming issues, how to make things better, etc., etc., etc. I’m also able to focus better and multitask. wa… DEAR LORD, AM I BECOMING A TYPE A!?

7. I’m happier

Truth bomb: I suffer from depression. It’s not too severe, but enough to really get me down more often than I’d like. I take antidepressants, and those help. But running helps it even more. I think of it like cleaning a house. The pills make sure everything is sparkly and in order, running gets rid of the clutter.

So, the last thing I need is to be bummed out about something that makes me happier, more confident and an overall better person. Right? RIGHT.


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