the smell of my desperation has become a stench

A list of three things that are a list

What’s up, Judy.

The above photo is from a 12-mile long run I took last week as part of my training for the Boston Marathon (I wrote about that here) which is coming up in about a month. I have a lot more to say about that, but there are three things I want to talk about first, and your decision to cut bangs is not one of them (YOU MADE A HORRIBLE MISTAKE).

One, I’ve googled this again and again, but the only reasonable explanation that I’ve seen to explain this phenomenon is what I read about when I used to be Paleo. Yes, you saw those words correctly: used to be (I wrote about that here). So, apparently the body can produce a hormone called cortisol when it detects that it is under an intense amount of stress leading to all sorts of things including weight gain. WAIT. HEAR ME OUT, JUDY.

I am not here to bemoan weight gain. Skinny-ass white girl that I am did not come on this blog to complain that she no longer fits into a size 2 (just so y’all know, last time I fit into a size 2 was in the womb, k? The width of my shoulders alone makes me an NFL linebacker, and the smallest size of clothing I can get away with, ever, is a size 8 on a day I have not had a bite of food to eat after fasting for a week). This is not about body image.

However, whenever I finish a long run (more than 6 miles) my entire body swells. It blows up like a fucking balloon, my stomach especially, but my arms and my hands and feet, my face, my legs… and it’s totally miserable. I feel like someone has plugged me into one of those tire pumps and I’m just standing there going, “Nope! Not bloated enough! More! More!”

Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man-style bloating. ‘Bout to swallow all the Ghostbusters-style bloating.

And I stay that way for days. So that when it finally subsides I’m about to head out for another long run. Please, tell me this happens to someone other than me? Yes? No? Lie to me? (comments are on, so LIE AWAY)

Two, you may have seen a popup on this website asking for your email address (if you’re interested) to keep you notified first of what “a mommy blogger could possibly do next.” No, my website is not possessed, that pop up is intentional. That’s a signup for a newsletter of sorts to keep those who are interested in being notified of my upcoming projects, appearances and other various updates (this week is pretty big in that respect, actually). You can sign up here if you are so inclined.

I also set that up to help me prioritize writing which at this point is just beneath 1) my kids, 2) paying the bills, 3) figuring out how to pick my nose with my left hand.

Three, this is the best running shoe I have ever invested in:

It’s called the Brooks Womens Ravenna 6 Athletic Running Shoe and even though I have now run an 18-mile training run, I haven’t developed any major blisters or lost any toenails. This is not heard of in my illustrious running carrier, and no, Brooks is not paying me to say this. I bought these shoes the day before I started training back in December expecting weeks of having to break them in. Any yet, nothing. My feet feel great. I am flat out stunned by this, you guys. If only they could solve the bloating issue. Hello, Brooks? Is this thing on? BROOKS! MY MIDDLE NAME IS BROOKE! HELP!

Four, I know I said there were only three things, but why did you go and cut bangs when you have naturally curly hair?

  • jdbizz

    2016/03/14 at 7:55 pm

    if i don’t see a picture of your naturally curly bangs in the next 24 hours i’m gonna be hella pissed.

  • kmpinkel

    2016/03/14 at 8:33 pm

    Righteous on all accounts. I am not a runner by design, but I just downloaded a couch to 5k, then promptly severely sprained my ankle. Run on for the gimpy chubby ones! And yes, I am trying to envision those bangs, but all I can see is Whitney Houston in “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”.

  • aubreysabala

    2016/03/14 at 9:30 pm

    My google search the other night: “Training for a half marathon and gaining weight in the midsection”. Basically, burning nearly 1000 EXTRA calories a day somehow gave me the most muffiny of muffin tops. Rocking flowy shirts in solidarity!

  • Lyn Never

    2016/03/14 at 9:30 pm

    Fingers swollen like overstuffed sausages, yes. I’m the crazy person shuffling along with my hands over my head trying to stop my hands from exploding.

  • KristenfromMA

    2016/03/14 at 10:12 pm

    It’s Stay Puft. Jeez.

  • jacutrone

    2016/03/15 at 5:15 am

    I LOVE Brooks running shoes! Only ones I use. Same deal- never had a single issue with them, on my third pair. Good luck with training!

  • misszoot

    2016/03/15 at 6:07 am

    I put on 6lbs when I stepped on the scale the day after my 100K. I kept that 6lbs for almost a week. My husband ALWAYS gets mad at me for taking post-long run weight gain personally. “IT IS JUST CORTISOL! YOUR BODY IS HEALING! LEAVE IT ALONE!” Yet still, always on the scale and always bummed by the post-race/run bloat.

  • Elizabeth

    2016/03/15 at 6:34 am

    The exact same thing (weight gain, bloating) happens to me after every single big hike I do. Interesting to hear that it might be cortisol.

  • Michelle San Antonio

    2016/03/15 at 7:05 am

    Make sure you’re hydrating enough – before, during, and after your long runs. Also – I’ve trained for and run 6 full marathons, and am training for the 7th now (Boston!), and every single marathon training cycle, I end up gaining at least a few pounds. I’m convinced that it’s my body’s reaction to the extreme physical stress I’m putting it through.

  • Debra

    2016/03/15 at 8:21 am

    Sign up thingy is not working, FYI. Tried several times. Tried different em addresses.

  • deb

    2016/03/15 at 8:24 am

    yeah finally worked!

  • Stools

    2016/03/15 at 10:04 am

    Me too. They get all blotchy so I have my arms up and clench and un-clench my fists trying to get the swelling to move on. Super fun. I took a picture of it once and sent it to a few friends who were quite worried, lol.

  • Jodi

    2016/03/15 at 11:51 am

    Who is Judy?

  • Heidi Corcoran

    2016/03/15 at 3:24 pm

    I just finished my first half marathon!! My hands swell also; it started happening to me during training and only at around mile 9. I was told that it could have to do with being too hydrated but mine goes away within an hour.

  • Maria Grace

    2016/03/15 at 4:33 pm

    I’m probably going out on a limb here, but… can your bloating come from carb-loading? I don’t know if you carb-load before long runs or not (pasta?), but I know that a lot of people do, and carbs take a lot of water to deal with. (It’s like… when people go on LCHF diets then they often lose several kilos within a week, but mostly that weight loss is simply the loss of water from the body because eating less carbs means needing less water in the body.) And so just wondering: if you carb-load, too, then can your body be bloating from the double-whammy of having the carbs and then having the stress of a long?

  • Maria Grace

    2016/03/15 at 4:34 pm

    Sorry, that end was meant to be: having the stress of a long run?

  • Erin Gill

    2016/03/16 at 8:20 am

    Running is so crazy! Is it really that great?

  • mel

    2016/03/16 at 9:30 am

    happens to me after every kind of excercise….
    and i couldn’t agree more about bangs. did that mistake twice (why?!).. immediately gremlin-like raeaction when in contact with moist: me looking like a labradoodle

  • yoheathero

    2016/03/16 at 10:53 am

    Brooks running shoes changed my life. I was in so much pain I thought I had a stress fracture in my calf. Then I bought these shoes (well, last season’s version) and — poof!– pain was gone. It was a miracle.

  • AlexK

    2016/03/16 at 12:46 pm

    Electrolytes are your friend. Gatorade is pretty gross but if you’re running that far, your body needs to replenish salts. If it’s not getting enough, it holds onto whatever it can and you bloat up. Look into Nunn tabs, they are my running savior.

  • Carla DeLauder

    2016/03/16 at 3:39 pm

    1) I cut my bangs stupidly short and crooked the night before school pictures when I was a kid. Growing them out was almost as horrible as having to wait two years to get my braces off.

    2) It’s about time those dumb shoe companies make a woman’s running shoe that isn’t day glow pink and fuchsia and purple. This is a shoe I can get behind. Question: With all the running you do, do you find you go through shoes more quickly? How long does a typical pair last?

    3) You’re wasting space in that huge signup box. At least tell us what it’s for in the massive whitespace below the submit button or say something enlightening. And the ‘No thanks’ link to make it go away is almost impossible to find.

    I’ll never cook brussels sprouts again. It turns out nothing can make them taste good.

    ETA: Forgot to mention … the swelling thing happens to me, too. My wrists and fingers feel like balloons, my feet and ankles, too. Any kind of running or hiking does this to me.

  • Heather Armstrong

    2016/03/16 at 3:42 pm

    I don’t carb load, no. I’m beginning to think it’s the cortisol plus an imbalance in my electrolytes. Plus, I’m not used to having muscle like this. And that’s not to brag, just whoa. My thighs and hamstrings are bigger than they’ve ever been.

  • Sara Cress

    2016/03/16 at 8:15 pm

    I lost 10 pounds in a month of rest after spending five months training for a half-marathon. This is a real thing. Not saying I’m never going to run again, but I’m not sure it was the best thing for me.

  • Runa Anderson

    2016/03/16 at 8:32 pm

    hmmmm ….

  • ag4square

    2016/03/16 at 8:44 pm

    Check out The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas. She talks a lot about exercise and inflammation. Over exercising in particular. Sounds like that is what’s happening to you. You might like it but your body is not a fan apparently.

  • REK981

    2016/03/17 at 10:15 am

    Shoes for exercise should never go beyond about 400 miles when used for training. As far as I know those who routinely run marathons and the like usually go through a pair for each event. I hope this helps.

  • REK981

    2016/03/17 at 10:20 am

    I just turned 35 and my thick, wavy hair has thinned out and gone more curly in the last 5 years. No way in hell am I ever cutting bangs (last time I had them was in the 90’s). If someone ever suggests it I may throat punch them. I am not a runner and never will be but I love to walk and Brooks are the BEST! I have heard of a great many who move between years of eating paleo and then vegan and then back again. I am interested to see how your reaction over the next few years to being vegan. I don’t digest plant proteins very well so I am paleo to keep my protein intake up. I signed up for the newsletter. Happy Spring!! We made it through!

  • Buster Brown

    2016/03/17 at 12:57 pm

    Ahem, a pic of the curly bangs please! 🙂

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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