LESSONS FROM FORCED BED REST

I think I speak for most humans (women?) when I say, I have a hard time actually listening to my body. I have a hard time slowing down because I don't even know when I'm going too fast. There are things to do and days to meet and miles to run and people to take care of and .... then I'm staring at the hills of Yakima through the back two windows of an ambulance. Okay THAT'S dramatic, but it happened. 

Nobody can really pin down exactly why I fainted. My potassium was a little low. I have a very low heart rate and blood pressure. I was driving and so couldn't put my head between my knees to stop the faint. No red flags on any heart tests and actually no Wenckebach on the overnight monitoring. And to be clear that condition is benign and medically speaking not really supposed to cause fainting. But let's just say it's nearly caused it for me before and I've had others say the same thing.

But after spending a forced nearly 24 hours laying down doing nothing, I feel better than I have in weeks...maybe months. And that gave me the pause to examine the last weeks and see there were times my body was trying to get through to me. 

I loathe admitting low energy or any weakness. I push through with stubborn blinders on. Wake up at 4:55 to run 16 miles, load up two cars and throw a toddler party on a 95° day. Forgetting to eat enough or drink enough water until hours later because ...I have to set everything up! And then party time and all of that! There was no way around either the run or the party. But I could have drank more water, and refueled more strategically. I could have napped after, instead of inviting friends over. I could have found ways to make the life stuff less hard on my body.
Obviously my cake decorating skills really took a lot out of me ;)

Another lesson learned was that while we all know the facts, like it takes your body a full two weeks to recover from a long run, we don't often really physically see the full picture. For instance one of my tests was coming back out of range slightly, showing that my heart had been through something 'stressful'. Turns out that something was my 16 mile run. It had brought my ST (?) level .100th something out of range and came back to normal within 24 hours. My body was repairing itself from that run. My heart, everything was recovering and repairing. So easy days should be easy. Let your body repair for real. 

I'm not saying these things led to the fainting, no one knows, I'm just saying that taking the time to rest and think about ways I need to create balance is the silver lining I'm taking away from the experience. 
Lesson one: don't be bullheaded

LESSONS FROM MY HOSPITAL BED
  • Can't only act and think like an elite athlete when running, other lifestyle shifts need to happen (have a strategic fuel plan, a dedicated recovery plan, commit to sleep). 
  • Plan and pre-prepare nutrition especially for after big workouts and especially if the rest of the day is busy.
  • Recovery/sleep takes priority over fun or other things that can wait (staying up late binge watching Netflix, going OCD on the kitchen...).
  • Learn to manage stress levels, find techniques that work to lower stress. Jasyoga meditation FTW. (DYK stress can impair and slow recovery time?)
  • Just say no when possible/needed in these weeks leading up to NYC.
The cardiologist at Yakima was very thorough and patient in all explanations. He admitted the overnight was probably overkill after talking to me and understanding why some numbers had been elevated. But was a good full checkup, and good to have the heart on a 24 hour monitor. I asked if there was anything I should be changing in my lifestyle and aside from getting more electrolytes after hot long runs, nothing he could see. I was sent away with a clean bill of health. I'll be following up with my physician. But I feel great and with implementation of the life lessons hope to stay upright. ;) 
To do: install open air tubs for stress relief (Cherrywood B&B)


Comments

  1. Sorry to hear you had a scare and I'm glad everything is ok! I can definitely relate to forgetting that training is more than just the miles. I have been stressed and not sleeping well in the last few months and I've noticed a big impact on my running, although for some reason I don't really like to admit that it's related! Thanks for the reminder!

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  2. I've been through the exact same thing. After every cardio test imaginable checking out perfectly, I made some lifestyle modifications. I cut out all caffeine and added magnesium to my routine. I have not had an episode in over 2 years. I really believe that the magnesium is key. To note: my resting HR is also very low--37ish.

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  3. You amaze me with the level you're able to "run" on, but I know we all have our normal. I am the queen of saying "no" and a nap magnet, but then perhaps I miss out on unexpected excitement? Love you for being 100% but remembering to take care of yourself so that can be 110% when you need it.

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