Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Athletics is Life Compressed

I'm ready to quit. Okay not really, but maybe. I'm maybe ready to throw in the running shoes and never race again. However, I'm running the 100 km world championships in two and a half weeks. It might be my last serious race.

In March I started to have trouble running. I was breathing harder and my heart rate went up, and I've been on a long gradual downhill slide. I ran 28.0 miles in July. I've been to doctors seven times, plus plenty of emails. I don't have anemia, although my ferritin and B12 was never checked. I've had two chest x-rays that came back clear despite some sort of gurgling that happens when I lie down near my back lower rib cage. I have a prescription for an albuterol inhaler, which I'll admit makes about a 5% different when pushing uphill, but does not at all take my 9:00 miles down to 7:00. I've done a stress test, and ran to the end of level four, farther than anyone else at Coffeyville has, with no issues in the EKG. Last week I had an echocardiogram and it's not serious enough that anyone has called me about it. I don't have any of the standard tick borne diseases. It's not lead poisoning. I've had mono (which was news to me) but it was sometime in the past and is not active now. My sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are all great. My TSH is 2.09, which is consistent with the last few years of my measurements. I'm even five days into taking Prilosec because it could be acid reflux, but that hasn't solved it. The only thing out of the reference range in blood tests was Eosinophils, 5.7% in May and 3.1% in June. And the reference range is 0-3 or 0-6 depending on your source.

I keep offering stress as a reason, but none of the doctors seem to think I stressed myself out to make this kind of difference. I can walk and talk, and function, even bicycle all right, but I can't run a 24 minute 5k at this point. Sure I'm getting older, I'm 32, and I'm probably 10 pounds over ideal racing weight, partly due to rock climbing and some upper body strength. In March I ran 20 miles at 7:20 pace, Saturday I did 3 at 9:00 pace.

Right now I'm laying in my bed, two hours after coming home from work too tired to go out and exercise. Is this the end? Is this the hospice of my running career? In December I tried to set the American 24 hour record, because it is possible for me. I haven't run a single race this year, nothing. Was it the business trip in March to Mexico? Was it the skiing trip in March to Aspen and way too long sitting in my car? Why am I sick? I'm more than willing to go to doctors and get more tests, but I'm tired of advocating for myself when test after test comes back showing I'm in great health. I'm not in great health.

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