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!