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Playing the ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card

by Meghann on February 7, 2013

This is going to be TMI but, let’s face it, this whole blog is TMI.

Also, if there are any male readers out there… you might want to skip this post.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night feeling horrible. My period started the day before and the cramps were out of control. I ended up seeking comfort on the couch at 3:00am, snuggling with Maddie and nursing a cup of caffeine free peppermint tea. At the time I was going through the motions that almost every girl goes through when facing their monthly visitor – cursing their girly parts, hating men for not having to suffer the same troubles, and essentially never wanting to move again. (Have I mentioned I’m a little melodramatic sometimes?)

Eventually the stomach aches stopped (as they usually do) and I drifted into a peaceful sleep still holding Maddie tight on the couch (the idea of moving to my bed was too much to handle at that point). When my alarm woke me up just after 6:00, my fingers kept finding the snooze button over and over again. I debated staying on the couch and using the “I just got my period” excuse to stay in from my run. I mean, who would argue with that excuse? As much as I’m not a fan of the monthly visitor, I am a fan of taking advantage of that excuse whenever necessary. It’s the golden get-out-of-jail-free card every woman possesses. Am I right, ladies?

Just when I was about to cash in that get-out-of-jail-free card, Maddie started licking my face. I may have wanted to sleep in, but she wasn’t having it. She knew what the alarm meant and knew she was owed a visit outside to take care of her own business. Begrudgingly I got off the couch and took her outside. The weather felt great outside. There was a slight cool breeze in the morning air, yet I still felt comfortable walking Maddie in my tank top and shorts. It was great running weather.

Was I really going to use my period as an excuse not to run in this great weather? Heck, no. Now that I was up and moving, I knew I couldn’t not run. I headed back inside to change, then Maddie and I took off for the easy 3 miles that were on my training plan. I’m not sure my stomach would have been up for any speed work at that time, but it didn’t argue with the 3 miles.

I guess my point of this story is that we (and by “we” I mean all the women runners out there) are sometimes faced with the same dilemma. Periods suck and sometimes they do unintentionally get in the way of our training. It is okay to use the get-out-of-jail-free card (trust me, no one will argue with you there), but it’s also okay to stick with your plan and just run.

Have you ever used your get-out-jail-free card on a training run? I didn’t this morning, but I know I’ve done it in the past!

After my run, I used the last of my jar of Naturally Nutty Butter Toffee Peanut Butter for some oats in a jar.


Check out those beautiful layers.


I tried something different this time. I layered the bottom of the jar with fresh strawberries, then added the oatmeal, more strawberries, Kashi Go Lean Crisp, and walnuts. Having the strawberries on the bottom and top meant an equal spoonful of fresh strawberries in every bite. Soooo good.


Time to finish my peppermint tea and start the day. Lots of exciting things happening this week with #HLS13! Yippee! ๐Ÿ™‚

1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life February 7, 2013 at 10:30 am

For me it’s the worst the week before, so during, yeah it sucks, but..yeah. In fact, this past marathon in January (my 6th full) was the FIRST one that I *didn’t* have my period during…how’s that for luck? Haha!!
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Resort Review: Disneyโ€™s Beach Club Villas

2 Ericka @ The Sweet Life February 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

Had to read this because I have had the periods from hell lately. Didn’t used to be this way but lately, it’s been so awful for days at a time. I almost never let the “period” excuse keep me from a workout because I know in the end, it will make me feel better not worse. I know I’m not alone!
Ericka @ The Sweet Life recently posted..Survey Says: Now, I Know Better

3 Emily February 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

I actually used this card this morning to skip my 6am Pure Barre class….some days its just necessary!!
Emily recently posted..Things Iโ€™m Loving Lately

4 Colleen February 7, 2013 at 10:36 am

I haven’t had a period in over 3 years because I get the depo shot. I don’t miss ANYTHING about that time of the month, but on some really cold winter mornings I wish I had that card to play.

5 rachel February 7, 2013 at 10:43 am

Actually, running or jogging tends to help my cramps – so for me it’s usually the week before my period when i’m in a bad mood and tired that i don’t want to move off the couch.
rachel recently posted..sick pup

6 Kim February 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

There is no way I could run for the first 3-4 days of my period. My cramps are really bad and are in my stomach and thighs. I don’t consider it to be a get out of jail free card, but rather a scheduled rest time.

7 Krissy @ Shiawase Life February 7, 2013 at 1:39 pm

“I donโ€™t consider it to be a get out of jail free card, but rather a scheduled rest time.”

This sentence really spoke to me, as I agree – we should always listen to our body, it knows best ๐Ÿ™‚
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Resort Review: Disneyโ€™s Beach Club Villas

8 Macrae February 7, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I agree with y’all! I think women would run themselves into the ground without their period. It is God’s way of telling us to rest and recharge for the constant go-go-go-go life. Our bodies are much smarter than we give them credit ๐Ÿ˜‰

9 Hayley February 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

This post pretty much sums up my entire last week and a half!!! Due to some new pills, my period was all wonky and the worst ever. I definitely used my get out of jail free card a couple times last week but I also tried to not overuse it as I didn’t want to feel even worse about putting off my normal life. Being a girl sucks sometimes!

10 Natalie @ Free Range Human February 7, 2013 at 11:00 am

I can’t wait to hear more details on HLS. This will be my first blog conference, and I’m super excited!
Natalie @ Free Range Human recently posted..WIAW: Experiments!

11 Ashley February 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

not with exercise, but with food. All I want are treats that week, so I may stick to exercise, but I will do just about anything to justify that extra donut.
Ashley recently posted..Running?

12 JessicaR February 7, 2013 at 11:08 am

I used to, but once I switched my diet (no gluten or sugar — both were giving me breakouts) and started taking certain vitamins (Vitamin D and magnesium especially), my PMS went away! I never thought that was possible. The only negative to it is now I will start my period with absolutely no warning signs, but that’s a small price to pay. ๐Ÿ™‚

13 Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant February 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

Haha I hear you on this! Only I used to use it more in high school… in my case every girl on the swim team would use this as a GOLDEN get out of practice card…”coach, I don’t have any tampons!” Boom, out of practice. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Lauren @ Eat Like An Elephant recently posted..Cooking Healthy (And Gluten Free) For A Family

14 Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Your coach allowed that as an excuse? This is the reason I carry a wide variety of tampons in my coaching bag. Being female isn’t an illness. Buck up and train, folks, you could have your period on race day.
Victoria (District Chocoholic) recently posted..Cocova January Sample Day

15 Hillary February 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

“Being female isn’t an illness.”

Hillary recently posted..Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Brittle Cookies

16 Nina February 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Thank you. There are ways to have pain free periods; it’s not a punishment we’re forced to endure.

17 Colleen February 7, 2013 at 11:14 am

Oh yeah, I’ve used it too many times. Some days it is definitely not worth the additional side effects all the cramping and heavy flow brings.

18 Amanda Bordonaro February 7, 2013 at 11:16 am

Running helps my cramps so I always try to shove myself out the door when I start to feel them coming on. Some days though, I just want to curl up in bed and eat chocolate instead!

19 Jill (Lady Lazarus) February 7, 2013 at 11:32 am

Oh I totes played this card yesterday! It was one of the short runs, though, so I didn’t feel *too* guilty about it.

I also love the idea of layering the fruit in your oats in a jar! I’m going to try that when I make it this weekend.
Jill (Lady Lazarus) recently posted..homemade pizza hot pocket

20 Sarah N. February 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

Yes, I’ve used that excuse several times…especially since my appendectomy last year. ๐Ÿ™ But I’ve gotten much better with just going out and there doing it anyway! I’m sure Maddie thanks her mom a million times over for the run. ๐Ÿ™‚
Sarah N. recently posted..Restart Button

21 Carly @LifeInTraining February 7, 2013 at 11:34 am

Good for you! Didn’t you feel a thousand times more accomplished for getting it done because you knew you could have easily skipped it?
P.S: I’ve said it before but the oatmeal in PB jar is GENIUS!!!
Carly @LifeInTraining recently posted..If a pack of zombies was chasing you, you’d run, right?

22 Heather @fitncookies February 7, 2013 at 11:44 am

Ahh I’ve thought about this so much! I know when I am getting mine, and try to prepare, but nothing helps even knowing it is coming! I usually try to stick to my workouts because I know they will usually help my cramps disappear! I know there have been times, though, when laying on the couch worked just fine! I wish the weather would break here! Jealous of the run in tank top and shorts… maybe sometime soon!
Heather @fitncookies recently posted..Thoughts for Thursdayโ€ฆ

23 Colleen L February 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

I can’t remember where I read it, but saw an article years ago that said crunches and other core exercises can help period cramps go away. I thought it was ridiculous at the time, but it does seem to work or at least make me feel better. I’m also a fan of the every 3 month pill and not having to deal with this on a monthly basis!
Colleen L recently posted..Shoe Showdown: Newton Distance vs. Brooks PureConnect

24 Erica February 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I was thinking about skipping a workout later for that very reason and you’ve now motivated me to power through. Thank you!
Erica recently posted..February Foto Challenge: Day 6

25 Maureen February 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I’ve definitely cashed in my get out of free card in the past. Not all the time. Sometimes I feel 100% better once I get moving. Other times, it’s quality time with the heating pad for me.
Maureen recently posted..Deja Vu

26 kelly February 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I used to play that card all the time and it left me feeling worse. Now I actually exercise through the pain and I feel so much better. The worse the cramping the harder I work out. It’s crazy that it actually works but it does. I can thank my gyno for that advice. I also find that when I’m on a very intense workout schedule (something like Insanity) my period is less of a bother than when I’m doing other less strenuous workouts.

27 J February 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I’m so glad you’re talking about this. Runners love to talk about bathroom issues (ahem), but you don’t often hear about how menstrual cycles impact training. I usually try to at least get out there and do something during the worst days, but I let myself take walking breaks to calm my stomach down. On the plus side, I find I can run faster with less effort in the week after my period ends.

As far as cramps go, what works for me is to take an ibuprofen every 4-6 hours during the worst days. Don’t wait until you’re already feeling terrible to take something!

28 Annette @FitnessPerks February 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I actually don’t have it too bad, so I’ve never really played it. Crossing my fingers it stays like that!
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..We Get to Choose

29 Katie February 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I am so tired and moody right now I’m sure I’ll be feeling your pain soon. I tried to go to the gym yesterday but could not get my blood pumping. Therefore I’m going to yoga tonight and hoping that I will get in a better frame of mind. I’m glad you’ve got good weather for running right now. I CANNOT wait until spring when I can finally safely hit the roads in MN.
Katie recently posted..Hello! Highs! Horoscopes!

30 Jennifer L February 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I have used my get out of jail free card for many things…. but not workouts. Only because they seem to really help with cramps!

31 Aundra Weissert @ Fit for Life February 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Being active has always helped me! I’ve reached the point in my super active life now where the monthly issues are hardly a bother at all — more an inconvenience. Such a better place to be!

Thanks for the TMI post…you know we’re all thinking it, no one writes it!!
Aundra Weissert @ Fit for Life recently posted..28-Day Blog Challenge

32 Susan February 7, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Congrats for doing what millions of women across the world do all the time.

33 Wendy February 8, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Really. I am woman, hear me roar…until I require special treatment because I’m having my period!

34 kim@hungryhealthygirl February 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Sorry you had such a stinky night, but at least you pampered yourself with those awesome looking oats!!
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35 Angela February 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I know that I play that card all the time as an excuse for everything. Exercise, eating right, you name it… The funny thing is, they say exercising actually helps the cramps.
Angela recently posted..Throwback Thursday {take five}

36 Rachel February 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I don’t usually get terrible cramps but when I do, I actually find that exercise helps. Great job getting out there even though you weren’t feeling 100%.
Rachel recently posted..Best job ever

37 TorontoRunner February 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

I have it baaaaaaaaaad physically (and don’t get me started on the psycho mood swings, I think that’s even more severe), so I’ve DEFINITELY taken days off during the time!
TorontoRunner recently posted..The transition from 1/2 to Full?

38 Beth February 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I lol’d at the FB post. I wrote a post about this very same thing and even asked a pro triathlete about it. I feel like men should have it for at least one day. Just one day! Then they’d get it. Glad you could still make your run but like you said, you could have used your free pass. ๐Ÿ˜‰
Beth recently posted..A Short Hiatus

39 Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed February 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

As much as it’s hard to get moving sometimes during that time of the month… I always feel better when I put my body into motion! Good job getting in your run ๐Ÿ™‚
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40 Allison February 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I feel your pain! If I can talk myself into running, however, usually I feel better after. Worse than period running… Pregnant running (1st trimester especially)! Now that’s a get out of jail free card I used! Queasiness, super achy boobs, ugh! Men don’t know how good they have it, do they?!!

41 Katrina February 7, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Where can we get some of that nut butter???

42 Meghann February 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

You can order it online: I found it at a local Health Food store in Orlando.

43 Kim February 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Sometimes I push through it, sometimes it’s a nice excuse to rest when I *could* push through it, but other times it hurts so bad I puke – working out ain’t gonna help me then!
Kim recently posted..Book Review: The Garneau Block

44 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run February 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I might be in the minority here, but I have never had cramps and been bothered by having a period. It’s light and basically gone within 4 days. I can’t complain! I will use that get out jail free card for …. something else sometimes tho. ๐Ÿ˜‰

45 Gavi February 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I don’t think I really know what you mean by “get out of jail free” with regards to running. YOU make your schedule. YOU decide whether you want to exercise or not. Nobody is making you do anything. You exercise because you enjoy it…why would you think of it as punishment or something you need an excuse to skip?

46 Meghann February 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm

It’s not really “getting out of jail” I was just joking. You’re right, running isn’t punishment and it isn’t jail. It’s a fun sport that I enjoy doing. I was more or less teasing when I created that phrase because I know that I’ve used the period excuse to get out of a variety of things in the past. I love doing a variety of things, but it doesn’t meant I can’t also create a million excuses not to do those things either.

47 Ranae February 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm

This post is exactly what i needed to hear! I have just set up a running schedule for my first 1/2 and it seems like i end up skipping a few important training runs due to something getting in the way and not having enough hours in the day… I need to not delay and get er done!
Ranae recently posted..Little Brother

48 Dione February 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I know it sounds weird, but running actually helps with my cramps. I always feel better after than I did before. No clue why!

49 Elise @ Expeditions of Elise February 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Ok before I answer your question, can I just say how insanely jealous I am of your beautiful, February-ripe strawberries??? Gosh what I would give for a pound of those.

So back to periods: I often try to run when my cramps get bad because I’ve heard exercise can make them better. My general rule of thumb: try on the first day, and if it goes well, keep going. If not, take a day or two off. No harm in that!

50 Jess February 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I’ve always found that running helps relieve my cramps. I ran the Nike Women’s Marathon on my period. Not that big of a deal.

It was nice not having one for almost two years due to pregnancy and nursing. I was kind of sad to see it come back.

51 Anna February 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Oh! I have an almost empty glass of crunchy peanut butter in the fridge.. I think I must fill it up like you did!
Anna recently posted..2013 Swimwear Trends

52 Victoria (District Chocoholic) February 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I’ve never, ever, ever skipped out on anything because of menstruation. Woman up, people.
Victoria (District Chocoholic) recently posted..Cocova January Sample Day

53 Alyssa February 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

This sums it up perfectly. I haven’t noticed any of my friends taking an entire week off from life each month so my assumption was people just dealt with it and moved on.
Alyssa recently posted..A post run treat that’s NOT food

54 The Many Thoughts of a Reader February 7, 2013 at 8:51 pm

As it snows and and is freezing here I am so jealous of 1) your weather 2) your meal..

55 Kristen @ The Concrete Runner February 7, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Oh Meghann, as a PE teacher, that is my least favorite excuse! Ha! But I totally get it! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Kristen @ The Concrete Runner recently posted..munchkin meals: 15 months

56 Jessica February 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Ha I also got my period yesterday and was thosclose to not sticking to my strength workout but I got it done. This is a great post I tend to use that card way more then I should!
Jessica recently posted..Dirty Girl Time

57 Emily N February 12, 2013 at 9:58 am

I always feel better when I suck it up and get out there.
Emily N recently posted..Two Runs on a Treadmill + a Lil Circuit

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