In January of 2016 I ran a full marathon – it was quite the accomplishment, even with what I know is a so-so time of 5:21:55. It took 9 months of training to get my body prepared to run 26.2 miles. Doing so had profound impacts on my body, some that I immediately recognized and others that have taken months to settle.
Starting in April 2015, I ran a 7k (4.3 miles) with my wife and would run 3-5 miles at a time. Over the next 2 months I was able to add another 5 miles onto my longest run for the week. This culminated in a 15k (9.2 miles) at the end of May 2015. The 15k didn’t feel good, I was too “heavy” for the increased distances. The 15k was a 9:40/mile pace on average. I was still lifting 2-3 times a week.
For June, I continued to lift and ran 2-3 times a week with both interval sprints and a max running distance of 6-8 miles. My total weekly mileage was rarely 15 miles. However – I ran an 8k (4.99 miles) with an 8:00/mile pace that felt much better than the 15k. I knew that inevitably I had to cut back on the heavy strength training and drop both muscle and fat weight to make it through a marathon.
Over the next 6 months I dropped 5lbs of mostly fat and by October I was easily running 15 miles for a long run. However, in October I noticed that I generally felt a lot more fatigue. Originally I attributed this to 4 running workouts per week with a total weekly mileage approaching 30 miles. I also began to experience noticable monthly uterine cramping, but no breakthrough bleeding. Unfortunately I was smack in the middle of a testopel cycle, so I wouldn’t be seeing my doctor for 2 more months.
Retrospectively, I should have phoned in and requested to have both testosterone and estrogen levels checked. It is accepted but not completely understood how distance running impacts testosterone levels in cis-gendered individuals, so it is understandably complex how it would impact testosterone levels in a transmale. Since I still have the “original plumbing” – uterus, ovaries, etc – this must complicate matters more.
It was a nerve wracking time while I was training to run a marathon and my body didn’t quite know what to do with itself. The fatigue, cramps, and other recognizable signs of hormone imbalances made it an unpleasant experience – but the accomplishment of running a marathon was worth it in the end.
After nearly 5 1/2 hours of running through 4 Disney World parks, I finished running my first and only full marathon. It took a few months after the marathon for my body to return to “normal” in regards to no cramping, etc. I wouldn’t want to go through the 30+ mile weeks again, but I am incorporating cardio activity in my workouts twice a week. I hope to get back to the 5-10k distances and run another at an 8min/mile pace (or faster).