Wednesday, October 28, 2015

More than A "Better Runner"

So this week I'm taking it easy at the urging of my running buddies. They are tougher on me than my cardiologist or PCP, but I respect them. They are experienced and are looking at my present health issues from an objective point of view. I, on the other hand, are raring to go! That's what makes it wise to listen to others - there's a proverb that says there is safety in a multitude of counselors. I'm seeing the wisdom in that - even though I'm squirming to get back out there and see what I can do!

So, now that I'm feeling better I have had a lot of time to think. The trouble with feeling better (not that I mind...) is that it makes it easy to forget how sick you were. I'm trying to sort everything out - my head, emotions, running, my life....

Earlier this week I decided to get online and find some evidence that would support me NOT having congestive heart failure. I mean, really, does it make any sense that I would have CHF and not have heart damage or something blocked? It all seems to be functioning good on the tests. Why did my cardiologist send that diagnosis to my doc when it doesn't make sense to me? (I am not sure he cared about that part of it! lol)

So I sat and searched for about an hour. I found this chart and realized that not only did I have every.single.symptom.... I was in the red zone before I sought help last week. Well, actually I'd been dogging the doc for a few days before I even went in.

I still find it confusing and honestly I'm still in straight up denial. This really cannot be happening.. ot to me. It can't be real. Maybe it's something else - maybe it's nothing at all. But I know I am going to have to figure out a way to adapt and move forward. I saw a saying one time that said Adapt, Adjust, and Advance. That's where I am  right now.

So I can at least say I'm running with a chronic condition. It definitely keeps coming up over and over. I keep overdoing it and having to start over and that's where I am again. So I have learned some things that I can take with me as I proceed.

First of all, I know I can still run - the last 10K I did was great. It was the 2 miles I did after that got me -- and not really even that - but the 5 I did just two days out. I have to change some things up - and when I do a longer run I have to give myself a couple of days to rest period. Do I like that? Not one bit. But for now - if I want to run - and I do - that's the way it's gotta be.

I also think I need to go back to a run/walk interval run. That gives my body a chance to rest every so often. I got off of that as I started to feel better. But now I understand that I have to make a plan that is reasonable and smart - then stick with it even when I feel good. That's going to be really tough because you get out there and feel great and think I can grab one more mile. But I am determined to develop a reasonable plan - and I think I can do that. The difficult part will be sticking to it, especially when I want  to do more.

I really can't afford a lot of trial and error as any errors can really backfire. We're not talking running on a sprained ankle or with a pulled muscle - I can't run at all if I "pull" my heart! lol So I have to proceed cautiously as I go back into running in the next couple of weeks. But I am determined to do this and to do it right. That means I have to go a lot slower than I want - but - it means I am going.

Time to suck it up- figure it out - do it right... and keep moving. This running with a chronic condition is rough on the head, I'll tell ya. It's hard on the attitude too.... I'm guessing maybe I'm developing more character in the process. ... I hope I'm becoming more than a "better runner" during the process of working through CHF - I really want to be a better person.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Ready! Set! Reset!

They told me I HAD to wear a gown so I did. As you can see I spent a few days in the hospital this week. I really don't want to go through that again...ever.

I had all the classic CHF symptoms.I was having lots of trouble trying to catch my breath if I got up and around at all. Extreme fatigue had set in and then I started having chest pains. They weren't bad - just annoying. They were enough to wake me up at night - I'll have to admit a little bit scary.

And the worst part is I just kept trying to run. I wanted to keep up with my schedule and plan. I kept thinking I'd feel better. Boy am I paying now.

I went in with chest pains but because of my past and my failed stress tests they wouldn't let me go even though my cardiac enzymes were okay. I ended up having a couple more tests on my heart. Actually, my heart is not in real bad shape in spite of my stupidity and stubbornness. So I dodged the bullet on this one. My cardiologist wanted to be sure I hadn't damaged anything. I didn't.

So he has allowed me to run but I have to go "slower" he said. He really doesn't understand running or me I think. He didn't give me specifics. He told me no long races until after I see him again in a couple months. Not too thrilled about that either. I also have to get back on my blood pressure meds. If you remember I ditched those a few months back. My heart rate and pressure are "all over the place" he said and he wants them to "settle down." ha - I was in the hospital that's not a fair assessment! lol

So the good thing is I'm still in the game. The bad thing is I gotta start all over. This is humbling to me. But I really can't take a chance of overdoing it again. I'm starting with just walking this week and I'll see how it goes. I'm still "okayed" for at least half marathons right now. But I must say I was really worried he was going to tell me no more running. And honestly, it would have been fair. So on that hand I'm thankful.

ON the other hand it's time for me to come totally clean and reassess everything as I move forward. This week is all walking. (sigh) Not an easy place to be - stressed out and I can't use my main tool for dealing with it. Well, that's my own fault. I have to somehow find a way to accept where I am so I can get where I want. This week, I'll be reassessing my goals. I have to put my health up front.

I have to start being honest with myself about how I feel and how to manage running inside certain boundaries. This week I have to find some ways to entertain myself so that I don't go stir crazy. Tonight I played a full game of football... on the Wii! lol That's my competition for today....

So here I am starting over -again. My biggest challenge? Keeping my attitude straight. Seriously. I'm frustrated, upset, a tiny bit scared....but mostly - I'm determined. I just don't have the makeup to quit. That can actually be a bad thing! lol - Now this is the real test - I can't quit - but can I start over? Do I have the character to submit to wise counsel my friends have given me and just reset? I hope so - we'll see.

So here we go - now we get to see what I'm really made of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Walking a Thin Line

What a week - and it's only half done. So last Sunday I did a 10K and did very well - I placed third in my age group and was proud of that. Don't get too excited, that doesn't mean I was moving too fast at all. But I felt strong and I felt great the whole time. Miles were real close to 12 minute miles and I like that. It gave me hope of getting back down to an 11 minute mile eventually.

So after the race I had some time left and grabbed a couple of very easy - barely running miles. It felt so good to be out in the sunny but cool weather. And I especially liked not having any difficulties.

Tuesday I decided I'd get out for a couple miles. In my heart I knew I better keep it slow, easy and short. But the weather was so nice.... I just kept going until I was at a little over 4.5 miles. I felt so good and enjoyed it so much....then came the afternoon. I bottomed out - not sure exactly what happened but my body sent me some definite signals that I'd overdone it. Fatigue sat in and I'm still trying to shake it.

I'm in such a frustrating spot. For one, I am making progress but have to sit out a day or two. I also don't know what overdoing it looks like until it's too late. Well, if I'm totally honest with myself - I knew to hold it to just a couple miles and do longer runs later in the week. I walk this fine thin line between trying to be smart and flat giving up.

Seriously, do I have what it takes to do another marathon? If 4 or 5 miles knocks me on my butt what would a marathon look like? On the other hand, I've done half marathons and done well. There doesn't seem to be any reason to not try a full - with the proper training. Which isn't going well at this time. Normally I would push past it all and go for a run to shake it out - but I can't risk overdoing....again. So here I sit between give up  and push through. Tough spot for me.

I'm thinking there has to be a balance in there somewhere. I don't like being sidelined - I don't like having to admit I have a chronic condition - I just want to run. Starting to feel like a caged animal. and I don't like it.

Giving up is really not an option. So I will move forward...slowly. Somehow I'll find the right combination. I will keep going and I will win...