Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Overtraining, health issues and finding my way back!!

Isn't that sometimes true for all of us...It's all part of being human :)

Life is good. My grand-daughter runs to me saying "Mamieeeee" when she sees me and jumps into my arms! She has a little brother on the way, due mid-June, and my daughter is expecting our third grand-baby due in early December. My eldest son's novel has been accepted for publication and we're very proud of him (sort of like a figurative grand-baby). Our monthly family dinners are filled with laughter and love and we are just so blessed. 

The above is something I never lose track of when things are difficult in other areas of my life. After I ran the Philadelphia marathon last November, I was totally exhausted. Physically, I had no aches and pains, but my energy was very low. A week after the marathon, I went to a spinning class at the gym, the plan was to take it very easy and just basically use the session to recuperate. However, after only a few minutes on the bike I was not feeling well, I eventually decided to leave the room. Luckily, someone followed me, because I ended up fainting before reaching a chair. My blood pressure dropped dangerously low and it was not a good feeling. Tests revealed that my heart is fine and it was concluded that I was probably just exhausted. 

After the fainting spell, I waited a few weeks and tried the spin class again (once again I took it easy). This time, the next day, I had purpura on my lower legs (inflamation of the blood vessels).
Picture taken day 2

This led to a visit with the Rheumatologist who has since confirmed a mild case of Churg-Strauss syndrome. This is quite serious and requires blood tests and visits with the Rheumatologist every three months. I didn't highlight and give a definition of Churg-Strauss, because my case is mild and as long as we continue to control my lungs, chances are that apart from skin issues once in a while, I'll mostly be okay. However, this is an auto-immune disease and like most such conditions it can lead to fatigue and other minor issues. 

What all this means is that because I ran 760km more in 2013, than I had in 2012, in addition to strength training, yoga, spinning, snow-shoe running and hiking, well, yeah...training for that end of the year marathon was not my best decision. I felt so great after my half-marathon in April 2013, so strong! I then pushed too hard, especially considering my auto-immune condition and ended up exhausted. Oh and you can add menopause symptoms to the package!

After a few weeks off, I tried to get back out there, but I just could not do it. My lungs just would not cooperate and I was completely exhausted. Coming in from a 3km run around the 'hood left me feeling as tired as the last 500m of my marathon. So...I took almost three months off of any training at all, except walking or hiking. Then, I slowly tried to start running again, but it was HARD. This was quite discouraging and I was beginning to think that this was how it would be from now on.

Finally, three weeks ago, I decided  to follow a "pre-training" program...but, progress was non-existant. Finally, last Tuesday, I felt good! Then again on Thursday's run...and my Sunday "long" of 40 minutes felt really good...and then today, as I was on the treadmill, my eyes teared up and I even choked up for a few seconds, as I realized that I was feeling like myself once again. 

It has been six months since my marathon and this is the first week that I have felt like smiling while running. 

A few weeks ago, we registered as a family for a fall half-marathon...I finally believe that, yes, I will be a part of that wonderful family experience!