"It's a little self indulgent..." - My mom
"After I read a sentence, I get mad at myself for caring what you're doing." -Karl Dusen

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rough few days

I slept in Wednesday morning and spent most of the day watching heavy rain fall. The workout that night, 6xmile, was exactly what I had wanted to do for several weeks, but the weather was not looking good. On top of that, I had been having trouble breathing for the past week and a half. I noticed the previous Monday night, while reading in bed, that I didn't feel as though I was getting enough air when I breathed, despite deep breaths. The air didn't have the same fulfilling effect, like when I was struggling in at the end of the towpath long run a few weeks ago. I wondered if I would stop breathing while I was asleep and suffocate, which just mad me more anxious. I somehow survived the next eight days, running workouts and races with no ill effects. But I was still worried.

The workout started well. The rain stopped in advance and I felt okay in the warmup, and the first few miles were delightful- 5:08, 5:03, 5:00. I led the second almost perfectly, just a little fast for the last lap, and feeling like I could go at 5:04 pace all day. Within 200 meters of the 4:56 mile, though, I felt myself unable to get a satisfying breath. I once again did not suffocate to death, but I felt like I was on the brink. I also had a good amount of gastrointestinal distress before the first one, after the second one and when I was cooling down.

I did a Marymount loop Thursday morning, recalling the last time I did it, I listened to Very Tough Love, one of the better This American Life episodes I've heard recently. I was struggling in the humidity again, stopping at the top of the trail and a few times in the 11th mile. It was rough, I tell you. Then, on the way to work, I got up from my seat on the metro and rushed up the escalator at Metro Center. I just missed the red line train, and I had five minutes to wait until the next train. It was incredibly stuffy in there, and I started feeling weak. I looked over and saw I still had five minutes to wait and wondered if I could make it. Then I heard very loud noises and saw nothing. I opened my eyes and saw people everywhere looking down at me. I had evidently passed out, and realized I was soaked with sweat. I took off my windbreaker and instantly felt better, drank some water and felt better still. Chalked it up to my low heart rate and heat exhaustion, with which my cardiologist concurred, and felt better pretty quickly, back to normal by lunch.

I got home in time to run in a gnarly storm- 6 miles on the Seaton loop, sometimes going through ankle-deep water, averaging 6:29s. It eased up toward the end, but the most memorable scene from that run was water rushing across the W&OD trail between Grove and West.

Friday morning I did an easy Scott's Run for 11 miles, stopping a few times in the last mile. Still ridiculously humid. I saw my pulmonologist, and I had forgotten how at ease he was. He said it was hyperventilation syndrome. I'm getting plenty of oxygen, I just need to stop worrying about it.

Saturday morning was a big improvement- sun and a slight breeze to move around the damp air. Witty, Breezy and a dude named Rod joined me at the store for a Dalecarlia loop. Breezy left us for the trails before he could enjoy the fruits of our uphill running, and I think I pushed a little hard on the parkway hills, but it was all good. We ended up averaging 6:40s and I discovered Rod was a Hampden-Sydney alumnus, so we had some good laughs about times The Hill.

That afternoon, I wound around the corridor between Great Falls and Westmoreland for 4.5 miles to total 100 for the week.

Sunday morning, I did a punctuated Westmoreland for 6.5 miles, then in the afternoon biked to McLean High School for a workout. I planned to do 20 minutes at 5:30 pace, eight minutes easy and 20 more minutes at 5:20 pace. I was a little fast for the first segment-5:25, 5:29, 5:25 and change, and was pretty darned thirsty. An asian family was all over the place, including a guy I call YF2k55, and his grandson kept cheering from the stands as I ran by, which was kind of nice. The second segment was not so smooth- I hit my first mile in 5:23 and was done- lightheaded and thirsty. My cooldown involved a jog to a 7-11 on Chain Bridge Road where I purchased a pair of Gatorades and drained one before getting back to the track. Yep, I was pretty thirsty. It was a rough workout to try on my own, but I think having the constant feedback from the track made up for that.

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