The Grand Mesa 50-mile Trail Race is 16 days away and as of today, I’m pulling out.
A week ago I hoped that I was healthy enough to start pounding the trail and get my fitness level back. Two consecutive days of running proved that I was still a far cry from healthy and sheer exhaustion kept me close to home and attached to my bed for the next four days.
I finally saw my doctor two days ago, more than two weeks after I got sick. There were three large items I wanted to discuss.
- Exhaustion due to a) illness or b) high volume of training, either of which might be contributing to a severely compromised immune system
- Heart rate spikes that occurred at the Green Mountain Relay and again this past weekend on the trail.
During the first leg of the Relay I ran hard. It was humid, hot and hilly for those 8 miles. About 5 miles in, while running up another roller, I realized my heart had been pounding… absolutely pounding… for far too long. I was starting to get dizzy and queasy. Slowed down and walked for a few minutes to let the heart rate calm down. At the top of the hill I picked it up again and finished the run, thoroughly disappointed in my time. I was shooting for 7:45/mile and finished in 8:10/miles.
Afterwards I drank electrolytes and ate. I checked my heart rate with an app on my iPhone several times in the next 90 minutes and recorded readings in the upper 90’s. The tingling finally went away and my stomach calmed down, so I ran the rest of my legs and did a little pacing on the side just for grins.
The doctor listened to my lungs and said they were clear; no walking pneumonia for me. She mentioned a few reasons why I might be so tired (thyroid, deficiencies) and sent me to the lab for a blood draw.
As well, she was slightly concerned about the heart rate thing. Upon examination she didn’t hear anything startling other than a slight heart murmur in the upper aorta. My pulse and blood pressure were great as well; all numbers a runner likes to hear.
She ran an EKG to rule out anything bizarre but referred me to a cardiologist for a more in-depth assessment. There is a family history of heart problems and based on the spiking during hard efforts this past month, it’s better to get checked than assume nothing’s wrong and let a small symptom turn into something large.
But I’m not pulling out of the 50-miler because of this.
I’m pulling out because the thought of trying to ramp up in two weeks is overwhelming. My body isn’t in prime condition for this kind of effort and I don’t need to add any more stress to it as I come out of a long illness.
I had an intense training cycle this spring and all signs point to Rest. Life circumstances and things outside of my control have come together to suggest that it’s time to take a break. This body needs Rest and Recovery, not a hard push for a race that will take everything I have (and more).
As everyone always says… there will always be another race. Be smart. Train well. Rest when needed. Live to run another day.