Tuesday, March 30, 2010


During my 10 days off with respiratory crud, the trails dried out enough to make them runnable, just in time for my Spring Break. Over the weekend we did some hiking in the Rattlesnake and some shopping at REI. Buddy and I then spent the next two days enjoying warm temps and sunshine on TRAILS!!! This is all it took to get me out of the "road running" mindset. Instead of thinking about a marathon, I've been thinking about Elkhorn and getting even with what I call the nauseous miles 5-15.

To my surprise, this is what we woke up to this morning...

Oh well, we went with it and hiked for an hour in the snow. Buddy loved it after being so hot the last few days. He's still got his winter coat that is gradually adhering itself to everything in our house. We've got some longer runs planned for this week to try out some new stuff.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Fever

Along with sore throat, swollen glands and body aches. No running since last Thursday except for the brief walk/run Buddy and I tried today. Starting to feel better except for the achy joints.

I've not registered for the marathon yet due to a potential work conflict. The race is on Saturday of Labor Day weekend and registration is the day before. I'd have to take a least part of Friday off to make it work, BUT my request for personal leave the day before a long weekend might not be granted. Any ideas for an alternative marathon in September in Montana, Idaho or Washington?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taking the Plunge

Into marathon training! I'm an undisciplined runner by choice, but a return to road running as I recovered from injuries has led to a curiosity of what my body and mind might be capable of doing. As much as I love trail running, it's going to take a very gradual return to hills so not to re-stress my Achilles. With that, I've decided to tackle the roads and take on the Pocatello Marathon this fall. In between, I've picked out the Lewis and Clark half marathon and a few other shorter road races for some fun speed training.

Note the word fun next to speed training. I've never been a fan of it. But, this week I tried my training plan's first speed workout and it was indeed fun. One mile warm-up, followed by 6 quarter mile repeats with 2 minute walks in between, and a one mile cool down. Each quarter mile repeat was supposed to be between 2:00 and 2:15. The first one was a bit fast (1:50), but I hit 2:00 directly for the next five. It might have been easier to go to a track. All I've got right now are trail shoes, so instead I ran a flat trail that had areas of ice, snow and mud.

Today was supposed to be the first long run since Snowjoke, but I left work yesterday with a horrible sore throat, headache, and chills. I'm putting it off until tomorrow in hopes that I feel better. If not, I'll wait a week. It's asthma season and history has proven that any cold can easily turn into bronchitis or pneumonia. I'd like to avoid a long illness and more drugs. Bummer in timing because I'm sooo excited to get this training started!!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

ECG and Cardiologist Visit

On a walk with Buddy Monday morning, I blacked out. The ground was soft and no damage was done except that Buddy could not figure out why his walk was interrupted. This had happened before, many times during the past 12 years in fact, along with other strange symptoms like sweating profusely, feeling cold and clammy, getting short of breath, fatigue, flutter in my chest. I'd also experienced the blackness closing in feeling almost weekly for awhile without actually fainting. Yes, I've been to the doctor many times and all had suggested asthma issues, low blood sugar, not enough calories, etc.

For the first time ever, my nurse practioner ordered an ECG, or EKG, depending on your language choice. During the quick and painless procedure, I could tell immediately that something wasn't right. It seemed that panic kind of took hold of everyone - I was told that my ECG was "very abnormal" and that I needed to see a cardiologist immediately. Additional tests were also ordered, and I had to endure the lab techs asking if this was a "stat" procedure. I guess they thought I was having a heart attack at that moment. Although I asked several questions, I couldn't get any answers except "wait for the cardiologist." (Insert rather embarassingly large breakdown by me at the very thought that I might not be able to run).

Here's the kicker: my cardiologist informed me that I have the heart of an athlete, very healthy. WooHoo! However, along with this efficient heart, I've got low blood pressure. I have an abnormal reflex, called Neurocardiogenic Syncope or Vasovagal Syncope. It results in a big drop in blood pressure leading to a decrease in blood flow (and thus oxygen) to the brain. This happens in some people when they are exposed to triggers such as blood, injury, needles in the arm, etc. In others, it just happens, possibly due to genetics. And, when it happens a lot, a person can become very fatigued.

Treatment? I chose to learn to deal with it naturally, rather than taking risky medications. Running is good for me, along with drinking a whole lot of water -as in more than 3 liters a day. The other recommendation is to add some salty snacks, (again woohoo since I'm always craving salty things) and to add electrolytes to my water. I do need to lay off the caffeine, which is a bummer, so I'll be switching to decaf coffee. Managing stress at my job would also be helpful, or at least sitting down once in awhile to let my body self regulate. There are a few other things to learn and be worked out, but after the events of the past 48 hours, I am relieved. It is also nice to finally know and understand what's been going on with me for so long. I look forward to many more years of running!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yak Trax Customer Service

There's nothing better than good customer service. Today, I enjoyed a surprise visit from our friendly UPS man carrying a box filled with brand new pairs of Yak Trax and lots of Hotties toe and hand warmers (favorites of mine)! Along with it, a nice note from Whitney apologizing for the early demise of my last pair of Yak Trax and explaining the changes made to the new ones to make them stronger. Yes, it's true, who doesn't like free stuff? But, it's especially fun to get free stuff when it's something you really need and like. As I've said before, my first pair lasted over two years, a ridiculously long time considering our winters. It's a bummer the second and third pair did not, but I'm excited to give them another try. Maybe this package will bring a little snow love my way?

Also, my official time for Snow Joke was 2:15 something. I must have had the autopause on or something since my Garmin said 2:11. Oh well, it was still a fun time and now I'll have new goals!
I was pretty sore the day after, so took a couple days off to just walk and hike. I walk/ran yesterday, then Rebecca and I took the dogs for a 4 miler today. Felt pretty good. Hope all of you are surviving this insane full moon cycle. For me, it's just made me think the mental health/moon connection is true.