For anyone reading my blog, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted anything about what I've been doing on the running front. It's a bit of a long story and I'm going to warn you that there's going to be plenty of self reflection and pondering going on, so feel free to click the little red X at the upper right hand of the page...haha! I admittedly have been avoiding writing this post because I've been worried that the minute I post that I'm OK, I won't be OK...nothing like tempting fate, right? Anyways, here goes.
It's been a couple of months since the Goodlife race, where I had what I refer to as "my little problem"...passing out from low blood sugar and dehydration with only a kilometre to go from the finish line (arghhh...I hate just even writing that). A week after that, I posted that I was a little short of breath on a treadmill run and I was going to the doctor to check things out...I admit, I may have downplayed things a bit. I was running on the treadmill and remember feeling surprisingly good...the first few days after my little problem, I was completely exhausted mentally and physically. All of a sudden, I felt my heart race, became dizzy and couldn't breathe...I immediately got off the treadmill and just couldn't catch my breath. Hubs wasn't home, so I grabbed my iPhone and had my finger on the trigger to call 911 because I didn't know what was happening to me. After a frightening few minutes, I was able to catch my breath but I was so scared because nothing like that had ever, ever happened to me.
Being a good girl, I made an appointment to see my doctor right away who ordered a bunch of tests for me, including an ECG. The few weeks that I waited for those test results to come back were the worst weeks ever...I couldn't sleep and barely ate, I was completely stressed out, worrying that something was wrong with me...I was especially worried about having some kind of latent heart condition. I'm not sure if it was psychological or what, but I kept feeling short of breath with heart palpitations and would have dizzy spells...I'm sure not sleeping or eating didn't help with that. And honestly...sometimes the internet is evil because it'll turn the most sane person into a hypochondriac! But the worst thing was through all of this, the one thing that has helped me deal with stress in the past was the very thing that I was completely afraid to do - exercise. I avoided this blog, I avoided reading anything about running...it was awful to be so afraid to do something that you love so much and my confidence was completely shaken.
Thankfully, my test results came back clean and the doctor said to keep monitoring my symptoms but that I was OK to resume exercising slowly. I tell you, the first few times back I felt like I'd never exercised before. I felt so out of shape and had lost so much cardio in just a few short weeks - that initial incident really, really took it out of me. I think that I started back at activity too quickly and the treadmill incident was my body's way of saying "what the EFF, girl?!" I did a few slow treadmill runs or sessions on the stationery bike, but I really had to work myself up to it as I was so scared to have another "episode". And Hubs...he was so wonderful...he knew I was scared and would work out with me to keep me company because having him around gave me comfort that I wouldn't be alone if something happened. I also chatted with my friend M, who had a similar thing happen...she fainted once, and then she developed a fear of fainting that was so crippling it lasted a few years and she was afraid to leave her house. Having a heart to heart about how I was feeling really helped me that I likely needed some rest and some distance from what happened at the race to work through it mentally. Damn, I have the best friends in the world!
So slowly but surely I've been getting back at exercising over the past month. I started some HIIT tabata style classes at PISE, but made sure I took it really, really slow. I've started attending a few bootcamp classes again. And I'm back at running...I started off with some 6K runs around the neighbourhood with Hubs (and yes, I carry my cell phone with me now!), running very, very, very slowly. We're up to 10K now, and I'm feeling good and getting some confidence back. And it's been a blessing in disguise because now I've been really concentrating on what Marilyn's been teaching us in her clinics and I'm working on my form...I want to be able to run forever, and keeping injuries at bay will help me do that. Always a silver lining to everything!
So where am I with things now? I'm going to keep up a comfortable level of activity but not go crazy or anything. Are there any races in my future? Some day, but not right now...I fully admit that I have some apprehension to racing again that I'll have to work through. My little problem did make me come to a realization that I was losing sight of the joy of running and exercising...I truly love it, and it's fun. I was concentrating too much on running faster and getting PBs...it's been so nice to just be able to run with Hubs, chatting while we click down the kilometres....or taking an exercise class with friends, laughing and enjoying each other's company while we work up a sweat. It's taken a couple of months but I'm finally feeling back to normal physically and mentally...and if anything, what happened has given me an even greater appreciation for how much my health means to me.