Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obligatory, Crappy Mood Blog from Work

Hello, All-

These week's blog is largely dismal and obligatory. I saw Health Services earlier this week and was told I had either a sinus infection or some kind of virus. I was prescribed a ten day course of antibiotics (a giant pill every 12 hours, so 20 doses total) and told that if I didn't see improvement within 2-3 days, then my issue was likely viral and thus unaffected by antibiotics. I jogged for about an hour at a very slow pace on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday but by Wednesday was forced to concede that I wasn't getting any better and wheezing around slowly for 8 miles wasn't going to do my fitness or recovery any favors. At this point, all I can really do is wait for the virus to pass, which will hopefully only be about another week as long as I continue to drink tons of water, sleep 10 hours a night, take my vitamins, etc.
The other part of the health puzzle has been the team doctor's concern over my loss of consciousness. Much like the time this happened to me back in high school, his fear is that I have some congenital heart issue and that I'll drop dead exerting myself in a race. The last time I did this, I had to get all kinds of heart tests, ECGs, treadmill tests, etc. Now, you may ask yourself "if he's alread been evaluated, why wouldn't he just give his new doctor the results that prove his heart is entirely normal?" I had the same idea myself and got into contact with the office that did the testing. Turns out they have no copy of the test results in my electronic record, only a note that the tests were carried out and there were no major issues. The woman I spoke to who works in the Records Dept at the office said the original test results were "probably" in my chart, which was in storage (because the tests occurred 3 years ago) and the chart would take "at least 2-4 weeks to retrieve." As a result, I'll probably be put through the whole irritating ordeal again when the team doctor responds to my email.
Last time, my treadmill test went something like this-
Doctor- "Ok, Craig- you're young and fit, so we're going to put the treadmill on max speed and increase the incline 1% every 5minutes. We want to get you working as hard as you were in the race when you collapsed to monitor your heart under extreme stress.
Me- (a little intimidated, since I was just over the pneumonia) "And how fast is max speed?"
Doctor- "All the way at 8minutes per mile." So I ran for a few minutes and the doctor appeared concerned. "This is your max heart rate? You're only at like 120bpm."
Me- "Not at all. . .uh. . .this isn't that fast."
Doctor- "Um, it's 8minutes per mile- you'd cover over 7 miles in an hour at this rate. This isn't close to the intensity you were running when you collapsed?"
Me- "No, I was running about 5 minutes a mile when I went down." (doctor laughs skeptically)
So this process continues for a little bit- the doctor started jacking up the incline more than 1% every 5 minutes. By about 12min I was running up a pretty steep incline and he got my heart rate into the 170s. After a few minutes of running in the 170s he was satisfied and cleared me for normal activity. Being tested again will be irritating, but as Dr. Pecci is an athletic doctor and less condescending than the guy who tested me three years ago, I'm not too concerned. My chief worry is getting the damn thing scheduled ASAP.
Anyway, as most cross country runners are approaching their conference meets, please take care of yourselves, guys and gals. Good luck with your seasons and if you run into me, don't catch whatever I have!
Lastly, a big thumbs up to my old high school team crushing the field at the Catholic Memorial Invitational at Franklin Park this past weekend. They looked great and put 5 guys at 16:35 or better (with the fifth man being Kevin, my younger brother). They've been runners up for God knows how many years in a row now- hope they take it home this year!


  1. iF youre sick would you just jog around while youre sick before doing any hard workouts or races... only do those when feeling fully recovered/100%?

  2. depends how sick you are- one time in high school I thought I was "a little sick" and tried to race, then passed out- turns out I had pneumonia. Now my lungs are scarred and I get lung infections very easily. Hence this latest series of events. Right now I'm not even jogging because going up stairs brings on wheezing.

    Light exercise helps a body recover if you're only a little sick- so jogging is fine. Working out and racing is a good way to prolong the illness/make it worse. You have to know yourself really really well- probably better to just take a day or two off and try to knock out the cold.

  3. so taking 1 day off, then jogging 6-8 miles easy for 5 days then doing a hard workout is a good but cautious approach?

    what about doubles (if they were normally done before sickness)?

    sick as in... fever earlier, but runny nose/head hurting/some coughing now.

  4. I can't really give you an answer that concrete- take time off if you think you need it, jog til you feel 100% + a day, then start training normally. It's something you kind of have to play by ear.

  5. so jog as in if a runner is doing 6-10 miles in a run normally + sometimes a morning double.. continue running 6-8 miles... then add in doubles later? or only until 100% + able to do workouts?

  6. You're overthinking this- just jog til you feel better then work back up to your normal load. Maybe your jog is 20min. Maybe it's 44. Maybe it's 57. Just don't exert yourself- keep the stimulus gentle and let your body recovery.

  7. "let your body recover," rather.

  8. ok... just worried because of having a peak race in 3 weeks... this hurt my mileage too because i couldnt do my long run

  9. If you've been training all summer and fall, why are you concerned about one missed long run? If you go tanning every day for months, you're going to be pretty tan. If it rains one day and you stay inside, the tan doesn't disappear in a day. Or a week, for that matter. You could take a week off, jog for two weeks with no workouts and still run very well at your peak race, as long as you're mentally in it. With 3 weeks to go it's all mental anywhay- the hay is in the barn.

  10. I had almost the exact same experience with the heart condition worries Craig - I passed out after an 800 on the track and they thought it might be a heart issue. Wouldn't let me run on the team for about a month while I got my heart stress tested. Treadmill test was the same BS, doctor thought 8min pace was supposed to be hard and thought there was something wrong with me because heart rate was barely touching 100. Took forever to finish the test and get a release from him saying I was good to go.

    Keep the faith man, you'll be back and at 'em in no time, best of luck with the recovery and the rest of the season!

  11. maybe you aren't sick, maybe its just another excuse when things dont go your way? Seems like it's a pretty common thing when you don't run so well...

  12. Thanks Niko- and if I'm faking, anonymous, I must be a medical genius- because I've figured out a way to fool xray machines, blood tests, peak flow tests, my coach with a half-century of experience in the sport and doctors!