Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oh that's good. No, that's bad.

When my girls were little, they had a book I would read where something would happen and then it would say "Oh, that's good." then "No, that's bad." So I felt a bit like that this week.

First of all, I started getting consistent back in January with a couple of hill repeat workouts per week followed by long runs. Then I felt the precursors of plantar fasciitis coming on from the hill repeats. I think my mistakes were 1) I jumped from 3000' gain to 4000' gain in the hill repeat workouts and 2) I was trudging - running while tired.

Oh, that's bad.

Then, I didn't help the problem when I went out and ran 30 miles to see if I could get through it. I did get through it (Oh, that's good) but it wasn't pretty and I ended up with sore feet (Oh, that's bad). So I've been thrashing around since then.

I go to my cardiologist and he has me start taking Diovan. I knew this was in the works. He says that after bypass surgery, the concern the cardiologists have is enlargement of the heart or as he says "baggy" and Diovan is one drug that's supposed to address this. I take that (80 mg) once at night. The other drug I have to treat high blood pressure is Metoprolol/Lopressor. I've been taking 25 mg (half a pill) in the morning and 25 mg at night. He has me taking a quarter pill at night for 2 weeks to gradually get me off Lopressor for the nighttime dose. So my last 12.5 mg pm dose was last night. There have been 3 effects during this transition:

  1. My blood pressure is low. When I told him about my 30 mile run, he asked me what my blood pressure was (dunno). So 5 minutes after a recent 17 mile run, I took my blood pressure. Couldn't get it. So took a shower and ate something. An hour later, I took my blood pressure. 98/62. That explains why I was getting light headed when I stopped. "Oh, that's bad. No, that's good." or at least it is better than having high blood pressure. Today, I did a 14 mile mountain run - so 7 miles up (2700' climb) and 7 miles down. Not long after I started going back down, I started feeling off. I realized my blood pressure was low. So I decided to speed up to make more of an effort and to put my thighs to work so they would help pump blood. Then I figured that I would have to lighten up my steps if I didn't want to beat up my legs. That led to me running with better and better form so that was really good.
  2. I've been having abdominal issues (diarrhea). I went out for a run a week ago after pooping (running is not pretty) 4 times before leaving the house. I didn't even start because I was still having abdominal issues. "Oh, that's bad." Yes it is but since then, I stopped eating in the morning before my weekend runs (no pun intended). I drink a large mug of hot tea with 4 heaping teaspoons of sugar and that seems to do the trick. I've had enough energy and have not had the abdominal issues. "Oh, that's good."
  3. My libido is back. "Oh, that's good." Yes it is.

Finally, this past week, I've had some little complaints from my heart. This happened early on after my surgery and has come back a little. The first time is when I ran 4 miles at 7:50 pace. This was the first time that I had averaged under 8:00 for quite a while and the first time that I felt like I was pushing my aerobic capabilities since surgery. There was one time during the third mile and once during the fourth where I got a little complaint. Both times I thought I was pushing or straining a little bit and just relaxed to fix it. I finished the run as planned but I still felt a little strained 2 days later and didn't run much. Today on the long climb, there were a couple of little complaints and I backed off a little each time. This may be due to the new drug or my body adapting to it. But the main lesson I take from it is not to strain during a workout. I think I've mentioned that in the past I've liked to do run to failure workouts where I can't run at the end of them. I just can't do that any more and I'm not sure that I profited from them at the time. So now, I'm think that I should stay relaxed, keep good form and not get exhausted during workouts. So yesterday when I was doing hill repeats, I had planned to do a maximum of 8. However, I found my legs getting fatigued on the 7th so I made that the last one.

So when I have these revelations and learn (or re-learn) lessons, I get hints that I'm on the right track when they remind me of coaching tips I've read. I've read from several sources not to run to exhaustion or words to that effect. Bruce Fordyce comes to mind. However, I've also read that Paul Tergat would run hill repeats until he's ready to faint. Also, I recall from my powerlifting days that I thought of workouts as practicing form with enough weight to make it interesting (and I used plenty of weight). So besides avoiding exhaustion and monitoring muscle fatigue, I'm going to practice my form, specifically relax, stand tall and lift my feet. The results over the last two days is that shortly after my workouts, I've felt like I could go right back and run some more.