Maybe that is my current limit

Day 138

I always want to know what is my current limit. Now I feel like a boat out of the water. I really love running but as much as I tried this past week I couldn’t get anywhere.

I, in the past, laughed at older runners who swing their arms vigorously while their feet do not seem to be going anywhere. Now that is me. I am willing to do anything to propel me forward even if it means swing my arms 10 times faster than my legs are moving. My body just wouldn’t budge. Now I believe my nonrunning friends who often told me they just couldn’t run. Now I couldn’t run even if I want to. I could jog and that about it.

If it is really exhaustion or if it is due to my improper diet, I can make adjustment and in no time I will be back in my old self. Otherwise, it might be a long wait and I might have to hang up my running shoes.

I have been reading a lot on why I am feeling anemic.

I have a few reasons of my own. #1 reason was I just recovered from an illness. It was not serious but it lasted couple weeks and it affected my body. Apparently I am not a super hero and don’t have an indestructible body. I am human and with all its frailty. I completed couple marathons since but results were not good.

#2 All my running friends have been telling me I have been running too much. Surprising given we are runners and there is nothing about running too much in our vocabulary. I didn’t know this myself. I have been feeling fine all the time (except for being sick, but that only happened at night) unlike my previous recovery from a long run, this time around I did not feel much pain or tired. On paper though I did a lot. I already did three official marathons in three months. I have seven more to go. I have done many off the record runs.

A week before my ultra, the same week I was sick, I went on a 27 mile hike. It was a tough hike. I got blisters on both bottom of my heels. Then I had my ultra the following week, it was 28-29 miles and it took me 7 hours. I ran for about four hours at top/maximum heart rate. And couple hours just a step below the maximum. I didn’t think I exerted too much of effort because I felt I walked most of the time and averaging only at 3 miles an hour.

Then the week after that, I went out again and did a 27-28 miles run/hike on my own and it took me 10.5 hours. I ran for maybe an hour at maximum heart rate. My Garmin listed it as a 5 (top) red zone for aerobic, which would require lot of time for recovery. I didn’t know at the time. I felt I could go out again and do another run.

Since then, I did a half marathon, in which I had the worst finishing time in my life, at 2:30. Still it was a run. It was about 25% slower than my usual pace. Garmin listed that event a grade 3 aerobic.

Throughout last week, I couldn’t really run. Thursday practice was the hardest. Garmin listed it as a grade 1 aerobic, which is not much. However, I felt that run was harder than doing the marathon. I had a 5K today too and also received my worst time. About 25% slower. For the first time I did not finish under 30 minutes.

#3 I didn’t think of was the food I eat, but I changed my diet about couple weeks ago eating way less meat and more salad, no fat or sugar, trying to lower my cholesterol. I might be missing some vitamins. One that I could think of is vitamin B12 which only comes from eating meat. B12 affects one’s energy level, since it is needed for making blood.

My friend K has been onto me the whole weekend, like isn’t it obvious that I am not eating and I have been doing all these crazy runs. Wouldn’t my body break down? Nope it wasn’t obvious to me until she said it. Now I felt kind of foolish.

She said I got to eat. I got to eat the right things.

#4. I was leaning toward the 4th reason that I might have picked up a bad bug from my recent hiking trips or running in the woods. There is a tick that spread a kind of sickness that causes the spleen to rupture and destroys red blood cells. It is like malaria. Unfortunately, or fortunately it is quite rare. Like only 50 cases in 10 years. The area where the ticks reside is in the northeast of US. I am in the mid-atlantic, too far south.

I plan though to still get my blood tested again to rule out any parasitic infection. I did have fever and rashes. So there signs that I got something. It might not be the usual flu.

Lastly, I need to sleep earlier, to make blood.

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