An alternative title for this log might be “The Fixations of a Runner Running Like Shit for no Apparent Reason on the Eve of a Doctor’s Appointment.”
And that goes a little something like this:
I am so tired.
Maybe you’re only tired because you keep saying you’re tired.
But I am running like total crap.
Maybe you’re running like crap because you keep saying you’re running like crap.
Do I have a goiter?
I am cutting myself off from Dr. Google.
Will this appointment be my entry point into the maze of our healthcare system where I will pursuit myriad dead ends, co-pays and burn baby sitter bridges in my quest to figure out I’m almost 40 with 3 small kids and this is just reality?
If it was 1907 would I be one of those ladies who faints in the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with hysteria?
As you can see I am definitely second-guessing myself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve described how I’m feeling and someone says, “you have 3 small kids!” or “you’re not 25 any more!” or “maybe it will just take a little more time to get back in shape.”
When I sit down. calm down and do my best to see things through objectivity goggles, I know I’m not right. I am almost 40 afterall, so I do know what is normal for me and not normal for me. I’ve been training seriously for years and I’ve made several post-partum comebacks. I would expect a little degradation in my spryness as I age and with each additional kid to chase after, but I’ve fallen off a cliff.
Is it sad that I keep feeling the need to justify concerns about my health?
Anyway, for posterity and in the event it helps someone else and for my own personal thought organizing, here is what has been going on in a nutshell.
– I had my 3rd baby in 4 years on 12/1/12
– I tried to make a standard post-partum comeback, which was derailed by back pain which turned out to be caused by diastasis recti (separated abs that were non-functioning). I backed off training around 9/1/13, but continued to run 40-45 miles per week on average.
– During that first attempted post-partum comeback I noticed I suffered from hypoglycemia often – feeling hungry, weak, irritable, light-headed and shakey all of a sudden, particularly shortly into a run. I managed to race a 5 miler I do every year in 32:16 about a month after commencing formal training.
– Over the winter I did physical therapy to rehab my abs. It took about 12 weeks to get them to function well again. I returned to formal training at the end of February.
– When I started training again, I struggled a bit, but I expected that. But it seemed to be taking a lot longer to get fitness back than it did in the past.
– I experienced a lot of that hypoglycemia again and I started to take gels when I never would have in the past. During long runs under 16 miles and before track workouts and tempos. I also noticed I’d occasionally feel that way in between meals.
– Meanwhile, at the track, is where things really demonstrated something weird is going on. Early on in my comeback, one day 85 second 400s would feel easy and the next week I’d struggle to break 90. And then every week I was struggling. I was keeping up with my teammates and then I couldn’t any more even though they weren’t going faster. I was going slower. Short fast reps, which I used to be able to do no problem, felt brutally hard. Long reps zapped me.
– I raced the same 5 miler after 4 months of training in 33:45 this year and last year, after 1 month of training I ran 32:16. I felt worse running the 33:45. (A week before the 33:45, I ran a different 5 mile race on an easier course in 32:20 and that also felt considerably better than the 33:45, but was still well below expectations).
– About 1.25 miles into a workout and I’d feel heavy, weak and shaky. Wind would blow me around the track and feel insurmountable. There was no mind over matter – my body would not cooperate no matter how tough I was.
– When not running, I’m exhausted. I struggle with motivation to do basic things and I can’t make it through the day without a nap. Even with a nap, I’m wiped out by 9:00 and a waste of space.
– I’m clinging onto a few pounds that normally aren’t there when training 60+ miles per week. (It could be wishful thinking that this is part of a medical problem and not the chocolate chips I like to snack on).
– I’m not depressed (I’ve been depressed and I am not that), yet I am irritable, unmotivated and nervous like I am when depressed.
– I am not recovering quickly at all and hard workouts decimate me.
And now if you’ll let me indulge myself by listing my medical history in case that also helps someone or offers a clue into what the hell is going on …
– in 2005 I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. I forgot about this. Long before I had children or was ever pregnant, I lactated a little bit and then was experiencing weird irregular periods. This triggered a deluge of blood samples and tests culminating in a MRI which showed the tiny tumor. In January of 2007 I had a follow-up MRI to check on it and it was gone. I then erased it from my memory and apparently tossed the medical records of it that my old endocrinologist gave me. Genius.
– 2008, 2010, 2012 – 3 easy conceptions and healthy pregnancies.
– 2012 – diagnosed with SVT (supraventricular tachycardia). I had experienced episodes since high school, but the 2 times I saw a cardiologist about it they did not catch an episode on an ECG and dismissed it as a benign quirk. The episodes before 2012 were short and annoying, so I believed the cardiologists and dismissed my own concerns. A trip to the ER while pregnant and a steady heartrate of 210+ while lying down changed that diagnosis. During my 3rd pregnancy these episodes got way more intense. I had my choice of beta blockers for life or a catheter ablation.
– 2013 – I got the catheter ablation. My electrophysiologist swore up and down that after a few months of annoying palpitations, I could go back to intense run training like nothing ever happened.
– 2014 – Feeling like crud. Get CBC (complete blood count) test (results below) and have ferritin (indicator of available iron)(32) and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) (.97) checked. Both in the clinically normal range, though ferritin is on the low end for female runners. Start iron supplements. The results of these tests provide no slam-dunk answer for what’s going on unfortunately.
Red blood cells 4.31 x 10e12/L
White blood cells 7.3 x 10e9/L
Platelets 299 x 10e9/L
So, that’s where things stand. There’s something weird going on or I’m crazy or just reluctantly aging.
(I’m done whining now.)
I backed off training last week. Here’s what I did:
Mon: 5.5 pushing the single stroller after baby’s swimming class.
Tue: 8 with track. The workout was interesting. 2k, 400 jog, 2 miles of running the straights hard and the curves slightly less hard, 400 jog, 2k. My goal pace was 6:00 pace or 7:30 for the 2ks and then 41 for the hard 100s and 44 for the slightly less hard 100s. I made it through 2k in 6:18 pace, did the 400 jog, struggled through 800 of the crazy 2 miles and was done. (I’m not whining any more so I will not describe what led me to that decision).
Wed: off. 2 kids were sick and I had a slight cold.
Thu: 7 after 45 minute strength class (which Kicked. My. Behind.) Did 6.5 pushing the single stroller and then 5 x :20 strides.
Fri: Treadmill “tempo” during big kids’ swimming classes. 2+ mile warm-up and then started at 7:08 pace and worked it down gradually finishing in the 6:30s by the end. Didn’t pay too much attention to it, but probably ran something like 7:03, 6:56, 6:50, 6:42. (Not whining so no commentary.)
Sat: 5 from home to the park and around the trails on my way to meet Clove for a date! She was at the park by my house sending DB off on the first leg of their 2-person 100 mile relay (those kids are crazy!)
Sun: 13 with my husband from home to the park, around the mucky trails and back home. He runs 1 half marathon every year the week after labor day, so every July he panics and starts “training,” which means he runs once or twice a week until the race. Easy, trails, husband – yeah, that sounded nice and it was just what I needed.
Total: 46 miles.