13 Weeks Until the Brewers Mini: Listen to Your Body
Two weeks ago, I told you about my experience of pushing myself too hard early on in training. I warned readers to err on the side of playing it safe. Now, here’s another lesson in that from Trenni, based on her experience at Summerfest’s Rock ‘N Sole this past weekend.
It’s a good reminder to listen to your body and train safely!
-Cait (& John)
DNF. Did not finish. That was the outcome following the Rock ‘N Sole half marathon for me on Saturday. I have been running distance races for nearly seven years now and no matter how bad I felt or how tough the race, I have never dropped out early. I could have survived and crossed the finish line on Saturday and probably not much slower than my usual time, but I had to stop this time so I won’t have to again.
Starting with the Boston Marathon in 2010 I have been struggling with dehydration issues in all but a few of my events. The races I run start out just fine, but as the miles pile up, my body wears down far too fast when the temperatures are even slightly warm. The symptoms start with me feeling very, very thirsty and a little “off”. Things then progress to where no matter how warm it may be outside, I experience goose bumps on my arms and legs. By the time I get closer to the finish, it is nearly impossible for me to even approach a pace I’m capable of running and the headache and nausea have set in.
I began to experience these symptoms around the 10-mile mark on Saturday. I was running at a pretty decent clip (about a 7:25-7:30 mile), but nothing I couldn’t handle for that distance. Just one week earlier I had run a 10-mile race at a 7:24 pace and felt just fine. (The weather was cooler, less humid and more overcast on the day of the 10 mile race.)
As the route rounded toward Veteran’s Park on the lakefront, I spotted a medical tent at about 11.5 miles. One and a half miles from the finish. Despite how close I was to the end, I stopped. I decided it was better to figure out what the heck is going on with my body than to finish another run knowing I’ll feel crummy again the next time around.
Although I was disappointed I stopped, I finally have some concrete information to work with.
One, my feelings of discomfort are not in my head. (I was partly worried I’m just mentally weak and can’t push through the finish of races.) The medical team had me walk around and drink Gatorade to try and calm some of the symptoms. After nearly ten minutes of no aerobic activity, they checked my heart rate and it was still at 140 beats per minute, which is way too fast after an extended period of time without intense activity-especially for someone at my fitness level. In addition to my heart rate, the medical team in the main tent twice took my blood pressure. Once while lying down and again a few minutes later sitting up. My blood pressure dropped nearly 20 points between the two, which again is not normal. A drop of 20-plus is very alarming, so I didn’t fit into that category, but it was still enough of a red flag for the doctor.
The second revelation, a medication I’m taking may be to blame. Apparently the type of medicine I’ve been taking for the past few years (right around the time I began having issues) can sometimes exacerbate heat exhaustion and dehydration. I may need to switch medications or make the simple change of taking the does at night as opposed to first thing in the morning.
So although things didn’t go remotely the way I wanted them to during my first half marathon of the summer running season, I walked away feeling better about future events. For the first time in more than two years worth of racing, I may finally have a solution to a frustrating problem.
I am going to visit my primary care physician and figure this thing out as I continue to train for the Brewers Mini. Don’t forget to always train safely and really listen to your body.
Here’s a recap of our training posts to date: