Why are so many women afraid to admit they are in menopause? What does it say about society that we would rather hide our symptoms and suffer in silence than admit we are getting older? I hate that because getting older is a luxury not a right. Mind you that luxury isn’t always easy. As my grandmother Alice always said, getting older isn’t for sissies. Ladies, own your menopausal transition. I say transition because there are stages: early perimenopause, perimenopause, menopause and post menopause.
The average age for menopause in Canada (that one moment in time when you are exactly a year without a period) is 51.5 years. And the average time-frame for perimenopause symptoms is about 10 years before menopause. Averages are hard as it means some are before and some after. 90% of women are menopausal by the age of 55-56 and for 5% of women it occurs between the ages of 40-45.
Last year in the US alone there were 50 million menopausal women. I can’t quickly find the equivalent statistic for Canada. But, suffice to say MILLIONS OF CANADIAN WOMEN ARE IN MENOPAUSE and a bunch of us are athletes.
So aside from the disruption the stages of menopause do to our daily lives, it also affects our athletic performance. I have studied everything I can, taken online classes and read whatever comes my way. I am still very much on this journey but I have learned a lot and I feel like I am finding my way back to fast running. Not only am I still running 34 years after starting, but I have goals again after a couple of years where my biggest goal was to simply not be in pain. My pain was always and not limited to running.
Now I am back to racing. After learning about the importance of strength training, I now do 2 kettle bell classes weekly (with the goal of getting that to 3X a week). I have changed portions of my diet and added adaptagens. Most importantly for me was once I understood what was happening I wasn’t so freaked out. I learned how to mitigate some symptoms and how to learn to live with others.
So, me.NO.pause did not stop me, but it nearly did. I would really like the menopause conversation to grow to include those that are suffering now as well as those ladies that have no idea what is on the horizon. Until my symptoms started at age 48 I didn’t realize I was in perimenopause. Heck I didn’t even know what that meant.
If you are 40+ you need to join this conversation. And please note, the FASTEST running of my life was at 41 years old when I had no idea what any of the stages of menopause were or that I was actually in one. To borrow a quote from Hemingway that I’ll adapt for menopause, it comes on “GRADUALLY, THEN SUDDENLY.”
If you would like to kick start your training with a learn-to-run group (walkers are welcome) and to learn about menopause, then join me for what I believe may be a first of its kind training program. From March 9 – May 7th I’ll be offering a LEARN TO RUN THROUGH MENOPAUASE training and education session. You will learn what is going on and have an opportunity to train with a community of women on your same journey. We are training in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, but you don’t have to be local since the educational component is via zoom and we all know how to run virtually thanks to the pandemic. Not only is this an innovative idea, it is FREE thanks to funding from Canadian Women & Sport’s WISE Fund. Want the specific details? Send me an email at [email protected] and in the meantime check out My Bestfriend’s Menopause.