Sunday, September 7, 2008

August Re-Cap & THE INJURY

August was a TOUGH month for me. After the completion of the Vermont 100, I sunk into repair mode and tried to slowly get back into running. A week long trip to Ohio and New York, allowed me some time to rest and relax and also plug in some pretty minimal numbers though I ran quite a bit. But something hasn't been right, and my physical status has been on a steady decline. This past week.. I made it to the doctor and started September off with new hope for whats been ailing me. More on that later, but first... the August Re-cap.

August Re-Cap:
Miles Run: 122.37 Miles (Lowest total since December '07)
# of Runs: 19
Avg Miles: 6.44
2008 Total Miles: 1,626.11

Month Starting Weight: 149 Lbs
Month Ending Weight: 151 Lbs.
Weight Change: +2

Race Results:
Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K: 26:40
Wapack 17.5 Mile Trail Race: 4:19
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Races Coming in September:
Pisgah 50K - September 14, 2008: A scenic, mostly single-track, moderately challenging trail race through New Hampshire's largest state park. Benefits the NH Special Olympics. Hoping to run a 5:30 50K here.

Vermont 50 - September 28, 2008 (BEAT PETE!): 50 Miles of roller coaster madness. If you're not running downhill, you MUST be walking up a hill. A CLASSIC race that EVERYONE should run. This year, the challenge was made between Pete and I. He's on a bike.. I'm on Foot. I'm aiming to break 10 hours!
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THE INJURY

For a few months now I have mad mention of not feeling right during certain races and on runs. Being as stubborn as I am, I pushed on thinking nothing of the issue. After all... when you run as much as I have this year; you're bound to feel a bit fatigued. My "injury" is directly related to a few things that have plagued my runs over the last year and I'll spell it out as best I can for you folks; without totally grossing you out or providing too much information. For the quick witted, you might be able to connect the dots and figure it our for yourself what is causing my injury. But please let me note... in all caps.. and BOLD... I AM NOT INJURED BECAUSE OF RUNNING.

Symptoms: Severe muscle fatigue, shortness of breath, elevated heart beat, nausea, dizziness, frequent headaches, bouts of confusion and general fatigue.

I explained my symptoms to a few concerned folks who had noticed a rathre unusual decline in my physical abilities to compete at my normal levels. Of course some folks think they are medical experts and fired away with their "See what running does to you" anecdotes. SILENCE I SAY! There are a few folks on this planet capable of diagnosing an injury and calculating the symptoms... and their names typically end in M.D. Lets leave the guessing and decision making to them eh? But as an aside to these thoughts, I have shared my very personal thoughts and problem with Nate Sanel, who properly guessed what the problem could be. How did he do this? He knew ALL of the facts and used careful consideration when pushing me to visit a doctor.

That being said... over the last month or so following the Vermont 100, I noticed a rather rapid decline in my physical and mental status. The symptoms above would indicate to anyone that something was not right. The red light was definitely loud and bright at the Cigna/Elliot 5K where I ran dismally and even managed to walk on 4 or 5 different occasion during the race, gasping for air and having no power whatsoever in my legs. Flash forward to my 8 day backpacking trip for class, where I wrote on a few occasions during the trip; I struggled to hike up hill lagging quite a ways back from the class on two occasions. Fast forward again to the Wapack trail race; where it took me 4:19 to run 17.5 miles. On each uphill I was gasping for air, leaning against trees and desperately trying to finish the race. This was the final red flag and off to the doctors I went.

I had blood work done on Thursday and by Friday I had my answer. I am severely Anemic. "Anemia is defined as a qualitative or quantitative deficiency of hemoglobin, a molecule found inside red blood cells (RBCs). Since hemoglobin normally carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, anemia leads to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in organs. Since all human cells depend on oxygen for survival, varying degrees of anemia can have a wide range of clinical consequences." (Wikipedia)

Hone in on this sentence: "Since hemoglobin normally carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues, anemia leads to hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in organs" Ahhh.... this makes sense now. Extreme fatigue in my muscles due to a lack of oxygen DUE to the lack of RBC's to carry said oxygen to the needed cells and organs.

I am now taking a multi-vitamin every day and an Iron Supplement 3x a day (325mg x 3). But thats now all...
"The three main classes of anemia include excessive blood loss (acutely such as a hemorrhage or chronically through low-volume loss), excessive blood cell destruction (hemolysis) or deficient red blood cell production (ineffective hematopoiesis)."
So which is it? I can tell you all ready; as it's a problem I've had for a few years, always ignored and has obviously finally caught up to me. I have excessive blood loss. I won't say from where but this is where you connect the dots and or stop reading if squeamish or simply don't want to know. I have a hereditary condition that causes excess blood loss AND is why I'll be the lucky recipient of a colonoscopy on Thursday AND it also has been the cause of my chaffing during ultra-events. Connect those dots yet? Ok.. now do some research on your own if interested.

Bottom line is this. I have a problem, I finally went to the doctor and we pinpointed the issue. I am seeing another doctor to get down to the very source of said problem and we'll fix that as well. And once all is said and done.. I'll be ready to run and at probably my most rested state in a long long time.

So... on with September. We're off on the right foot. I have a few exciting this coming up for you all.
An interview with Mike Silverman, RD of the Vermont 50.
An interview with Hieu Nguyen, who recently roller bladed across country
Some more race reviews, and a HUGE announcement regarding The Run Across New Hampshire in October.
Stay tuned!

SJ