Review 19.6

Day 200 Fall Review

My running season (7th) is finally over, with a cap of successfully completing the JFK. It has been an intense roller coaster ride. I went through the highest of high and lowest of low in my runs and in my personal life to get there.

My last report from Day150, was from early August. Instead of a report of every 30 days, I lengthened to 50 days, so I don’t have to write too many reports. A monthly or bi-monthly report has become a seasonal report. My one year of blogging just passed and I reflected on that recenly.

At the end of summer, I was ready for fall training for the JFK. I trained for about 9 weeks and then I don’t know what happen. I stopped. I still ran but I didn’t log my miles and basically went off the training schedule. Luckily I didn’t blew my JFK race. However, if I have kept to the schedule, I might have done better. I did well, but who knows how much better I could have done.

I wrote a race report on the JFK. The ultras that helped me to train up to it were OldGlory and MCM50k. I also did the Baltimore Marathon and Morgantown. I had a good time in both. I did couple earlier marathons (C&O1 and Altis) in September, however, I did not enjoyed those as much as the ultras and Baltimore. I thought it was an intense season, but now looking back, it was just about right.

When I was not running, I had several good backpacking trips. The whole season was a struggle between training and doing other things, which I also liked. Roan Mnt trip was pretty good. At Dolly Sods, our hiking group learned a good lesson. Our trips to Mt Pleasant (occurred in the summer) and to Wild Oaks were also memorable.

This season, I struggled with many things: my diet was totally off. I struggled with staying on my training. I don’t have a record how many miles I ran (tracked only up to week 9). I don’t think it was that much, around maybe 300 miles. I was lucky, indeed, and did not DNF on my races. I was also struggled with schedule conflict between racing/training/and other commitments.

There were always trade-offs and sacrifices. I had to cancel the High Bridge Ultra and plus a hiking trip to the Triple Crown — both had lasting effects that haunted me and I hate to have plan changed on me. One word on trade-offs, neither choice have the same value – say trading a race for a hike, or a hike for a race, may seem like doing the same thing, but is not. In life, I don’t think there is ever an equal/fair choice. I hurt those around me with my choices.

I dealt with couple times of low spirit in this season and sometimes I skipped my runs, especially the short runs. In fact I am still in the thick of it; yelp, season is over, but I still think about running. I skipped some of my races – big ones too, first time ever. I had to dig deep to find and regain a motivation to run and to overcome the busyness to train; too many things happened, things at my job at work and my relationship with other people. And even my weight training program was stopped. Only constant theme though was pushing on. I finished the JFK at a great cost. The season was a longer version of the race itself, except there is no finish line to cross and no crowd there to celebrate and no medal to receive. However, I am satisfied that the goal was accomplished and that is a reward.

Luckily I have been healthy throughout. I had short period of pain and shin splint and various ankle rolls and such, but over all was healthy. There was no injury serious enough to sideline me.

Looking ahead, I scheduled quite a few races for next year. It will be just as intense season like this one. God is good!

Result came

Day 141

I haven’t written much because I have been laying low due to health.

Dr called and confirmed I have Lyme Disease. It explained everything that happened to me the past month. I wanted to run but the fatigue, the irregular heartbeat, the shortness of breath, and the general unwellness made me unable to run much.

Eating well boosted my performance just a bit for a time. I felt a bit better last week. I felt I could run. I ran last Tuesday and was a bit faster running at 10 min pace instead of 13 or 14. I was hoping that was the beginning of my recovery.

I am happy now. No more doubting what was wrong with me or if it was all imaginary. It is real. I can do something about it. Not just random stuff like eat well sleep well kind of shot in the dark thing. I was willing to try anything at the time, because being not able to run drive me nuts.

Hopefully in couple of weeks I will be back in shape. Next week is my July marathon. I won’t be ready for that. I am hoping August Marathon, will be my full strength. Then comes Sept and Oct.

Reread

Day 139

I reread a blog post I wrote a few days back about why I run. At that time I thought my running career would go on indefinitely. I was young and there doesn’t seem to be why I couldn’t run except for lack of interest. Now looking back I spoke too soon.

I don’t think I am being taught a lesson. But immediately after that I started to struggle with my run and everything. It is like a switch is turned off.

I did many things since. Too much to recount them here.

Last weekend I had to take a break from running. A 5K was only thing I did. A consolation for me was it could have been worse. At least I finished. I don’t mind when people were passing me because at least I know I have done my best. Run used to be effortless for me. I just tapped on the pavement and I would glide across. Big steps and fast steps and I hardly breathing. Now I am huffing and puffing. It doesn’t matter if I take a big step or small step or if I run in fast cadence or slow cadence, I just don’t go any where. My lung feels like exploding and my heart really twists violently inside and a few times I put my hand across my chest to feel if it is alright. People were calling out to me, asking if I am Ok. Luckily at the 3 mile mark, I had a burst of energy. I felt a little bit like my old self and ran to the finish line. It wasn’t super fast but the feeling was the same. It was like I could fly again.

I have been fasting every Monday for the past month immediately after I got the news that I have high cholesterol. I was determine to lower it. A total life change. I went from eating burgers every day to eating none of those food. I still eat out but choosing Panera or Chipotle instead and usually having a salad or a wrap. So that I cut 15-20% of my calories. No fat or sugar either. Instead of Coke I now have vitamin water.

The result is my run now is 25-33% slower. I can’t get any slower than that. Any slower would be walking. I can walk in a 5K but I can’t walk the whole thing in a marathon. I wouldn’t able to finish within the given time. Walking through a marathon takes about 10 hours and most races stop around 6.5 or 7 hours. I used to do it little over 4. And I thought I was slow because others were doing it in 3 hours. Everything is relative.

I wish it is the other way around. If I improve on what I eat and my run would improve 25-33%. Why food matters? On the weekend I went for a bike ride. Originally I planned to ride on a trail that is 45 miles long from the city to way out in the suburb and back making it a 90 miles ride. This was before I experienced being very weak. It is actually biking to another city in the outskirt of the DC area. By middle of the week, I realized I probably wouldn’t make it out and back, so shorten the ride in half, a 45-50 miles ride instead. I did this distance a few times before. But on the day of, once I got on the bike, I knew I wouldn’t make it at even this distance either and cut it down to 30 miles. My friend was biking with me. He biked slow but he had to stopped and waited for me a few times. The first 15 miles was a struggle. I just couldn’t keep up. We got to Leesburg by lunch time, and we met up with a friend for lunch. I had a whole 14 inch pizza. It was one of a few times I broke my diet. Actually 2nd time since I started eating right. The result was, on the ride back, my friend was getting tired but I was full of energy. I felt I could pass him if I want. We ended up biking back faster than when we headed out. I was so happy. Food really helps. It was an insight.

If I continue on my vegetarian-like diet, I am thinking of taking vitamin supplements. That is a start my friend told me.

Exhausted

Day 137

People are saying I am exhausted. I don’t feel tired but I can’t no longer run fast.

I have been trying to do couple of short runs, just under four miles but they have been very hard.

I would be out of breath after couple minutes and I never was able to get into my pace. I run slower than the slowest person in our running group. It is almost to the point of walking. It is not like I am not trying.

I felt my heart was up on my throat. Garmin thought differently. It said I haven’t broken a sweat. My heart rate stayed in zone 1 (resting) below 90 with on occasion entered zone 2, 93-120 beats, but I felt like dying at the time.

I am taking this Saturday off training.

I also measured my blood pressure. It is low but I am not sure if that is normal. They say runners tend to have low pulse and pressure. Mine is 90 over 65 and a pulse of 50-55.

Still sick

Day 134

I might have some type of bugs inside me. I haven’t felt well since the last hiking trip that was two weeks ago. Probably those ticks got me. I was sick though before the trip, so couldn’t blame on the ticks. I have been checking every day for the tell tell sign of Lyme disease. No sign yet. But I am not feeling fine.

It has been almost every night that I am having a fever, or I think is a fever. I don’t have a thermometer to check. It was not hot like before when I was sick but it too uncomfortable to sleep. I sweated a lot in the middle of the night. I woke up swimming in sweat. Something is definitely not right. I’m tired and it is not running a lot kind, but being sick- low energy kind.

I have no running nose, no cough. Physically well during the day. I was able to run a 50k though not at my best time but did it.

My muscles feel crammy but that is probably from the run and not from being sick.

I had a short 4-mile run yesterday. It was not one of those run you feel great afterward. It was raining too. I felt cold in the end. I never feel cold from a run. I took a long warm shower. I didn’t felt right for the rest of the night. Luckily as always I woke up fine again the next morning.

Surprised

Day 131

I was surprised in a bad way when my family doctor told me I have high level of cholesterol in my blood and that I should take medication to lower it.

That scared the light out of me. I thought those kind of medications are for old people. My mom takes those. Wait, I am not young any more. Welcome to the party, I was told! My body is started breaking down.

Though initially, I have some bias of taking medications, I am resigned to the fact that they do help. You can’t play around with this. I did some reading and concluded my doctor is right.

I decided to take on a total life transformation, meaning, I will do everything in my life to live healthier. Three years ago, I started exercising by running, but not for health reason. However, I paid little attention on the food I eat or when I go to bed. Now I am seriously going to do all these things. I will count my calories intake and I will eliminate fat and sugar from my diet and if possible no more eating processed food. I was told my cholesterol level were high all my life, but now the news sinks in. I must do something about it. I want to live long enough to finish running in all 50 states.

—-

Here’s an update of last weekend. I caught a cold or a combination of a cold and heat exhaustion. I was sick the Friday night before the hike. My fever came back in the middle of the night and have been like that the last few days.

I still went on the hike any way and did 26 miles. Luckily the fever left me during the day and my strength returned.

I was more exhausted than usual at the end and went to bed early, like at 10. From the hike, I picked up a couple ticks and I still found one on me yesterday. Yike! I got careless and didn’t spray myself beforehand. Hope, I didn’t pick up any Lyme disease.

Also from the hike, I got two giant size blisters on my bottom heels. They were painful during the whole hike. I think because I wore an old pair of socks and I didn’t pull them all the way up and they were wiggling at the bottom. So the extra bit was creating friction and voila blister.

I tried popping them after the hike but was unsuccessful. I was too tired and couldn’t bend my foot to reach the blister. I started cramping whenever I tried reaching for it. Later the next day, I was able to pop them.

I ran with the blisters on Sunday in the 5K race. I didn’t do so well. Finished at 27 mins. I was two or 3 minutes slower than usual.

Funny thing was I showed up at the race course and there was nobody there. Because I mistakenly went to the wrong place. Luckily the real starting line was about a mile away and I got to it on time.

I have been laying low the last couple days because of my illness. I am feeling much better today.

I ran too last night. Every step reverberated in my head – I had a headache still from the cold.

I’m hoping to be fully recovered by coming Saturday when I will tackle my 2nd 50K ultra. I will write all about it afterward.

Friday night

Day 130

I ran last night and did not feel good afterward. I was coming down with something. Last night was very hot and I might have suffered heat exhaustion. I was shivering after getting back to the office. I did not have any clothes with me other than my running shirt. I should have changed it out but didn’t. I felt terrible the next couple hours. My head hurt.

I woke up this morning feeling better. As the day wore on, I knew something was wrong with my body. Headache came back and I couldn’t concentrate. Then I was chilled all over. My chest hurt. My whole body hurt. My joints and muscles too. I couldn’t move much. I felt a slight fever.

I took an Advil before leaving work. The fever broke while on the way home. Now my strength returned. I am eating like crazy now to prepare for this weekend.

As always there are a lot for this coming weekend. I will hike 25 miles tomorrow. Going to wake up early at 4 am. Base on 3 mile per hour we should finish in 8 ish hours. We plan to start at the trail at 8:30 and should finish around 5 with an hour lunch :). Probably we will skip lunch and finish by 4.

Then on Sunday, I have a 5K. I haven’t focus too much on speed so my 5 K won’t be that good.

In the afternoon, I and the other guy who is going the triathlon with me is doing some bike ride. We suppose to begin our training this week. I have been slacking off on my swim this week.

As long as my fever doesn’t come back, I should be fine. I’m bringing couple of Advils with me.