Being a Migraine Runner

After my first year of college, I came home and spent about two weeks in bed because of migraines. Day after day after day, I had a migraine. I tried hot and cold compresses. I tried combinations of acetaminophen with Coke or ibuprofen and anti-nausea medications. I scheduled a massage. I tried eating apples and drinking teas, and nothing helped.

My family doctor prescribed my first abortive migraine medication: Imitrex. It, however, made me terribly sick to my stomach, and I vowed to never take it again.

And then slowly, the pain lifted. I was left in a tired daze when it finally passed. I felt like I had been beat up in a fight. My left eye felt swollen (but it wasn’t). I was exhausted.

This, I now know, is called the postdrome, the phase after the pain. This phase is still a challenge.

If I am leveled with a migraine, I usually don’t bounce back the next day, and for a runner, that’s hard. I want to be able to make up the lost day, and most of the time, my head and body are still ginger from an attack.

So I take another day.

The hardest thing about being a runner with migraines is learning to accept that I have to work a little harder and at the same time a little easier. I have to work harder by making sure I have hydrated right, eaten enough, stretched my neck muscles, etc. But I also have to take it a little easier in that I have to make sure I pull back when I start to hurt and take a day when I’m still achy.

I’ve learned the hard way. I’ve tried to hit the pavement when I was still in postdrome, and it hurt. Maybe I got in the 2 or 3 miles, but I ended up feeling worse.

In being a migraine runner, I’ve learned better ways to become in tune with my body and especially, my ginger head. I’m hoping through this blog we can share ways we’ve learned not just to cope with migraines, but to learn how to better listen to our bodies so we can set out for a run in our best shape.