Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hamstring Treatment - Week 17 - 26.3 Mile Long Run...

Today was to be the longest long run of the training session, so I was anxious to get it over with. But as it turned out, it wasn't to go particularly smoothly.

It started out great. We did our "Boston Breakfast Club" 4 miler shortly after 7 AM and we all chatted easily about various runs, Boston, etc. Here were our splits:


We went back, and because the weather was forecast to warm up over the course of the day, I switched out of my long running tights and into some shorts. Definitely a good move. While the temp started at roughly 1 degree C, by the end of the run it was up to 8 degrees or so -- definitely shorts weather. I also had on a long sleeved running shirt with a pinney over top, and my orange "Boston" jacket.

My goal for this run was simply to get through it, ideally within the range that the legendary John Ferguson had laid out in his pace plan for a 3:30 marathon: 8:31 to 9:31. I'd be fine with anything in that range. Here were my splits for the next 18 miles:


But then the wheels fell off my run. With 3.5 miles to go, we stopped at a water stop, and I started puking. Except there was nothing to puke. It definitely wasn't pleasant. I told the others to go ahead -- I'd either catch a ride back with the water-stop folks, or I'd walk-run back to Goodlife Fitness. Christine Dirks asked what I would do with a horse if it was looking like I did -- would I make it run/walk back? No, I guess not. So I hung tight with the water-stop boys.

But then I realized that my heart was racing. I've had a condition since I was about 7 years old called Wolfe-Parkinson-White syndrome -- a catch-all syndrome category that describes a heart that starts to race for no apparent reason. Now, I had just run 22.5 miles, so that might be a good reason for a heart to go fast. But after 5 minutes or so, it should be down to a much lower rate -- and mine wasn't slowing at all.

After 20 minutes or so, I was back at Goodlife and they had one of those blood pressure monitor workstations, so I stuck my arm in there and pressed the button. The results (and this is at least 20 minutes after I'd stopped running): pulse 136, blood pressure 90 over 70. The "70" was no problem, but the other number is typically around 113 to 120. And by now, my pulse should have been in the 80s, max.

I got cleaned up at Goodlife -- and all the while my heart was still racing. I made my way to the Ale House -- a restaurant on Dundas Street where a bunch of us runners would typically meet for breakfast after our long run. I explained to the boys there what my heart was doing -- and I think they were genuinely a bit concerned that I was going to keel over. But here's the weird thing: Once I got some Guinness and food into me, my heart stopped racing -- within about 5 minutes of getting my meal. And it didn't start racing again for the rest of the day.

I made my way home and had a good 2 hour nap. Refreshed, Jenny and I went for a short run so that I could get my full 26 miles in -- 26.3, actually. But this time I wore the heartrate monitor for my Garmin 405CX: Here are our splits:

10:14 (included a walk to see if the heartrate monitor would go down -- it did).

Overall, my average pace was 9:07 -- so well within the range that Johnny had set out for us. And my pulse was in the low 140s for those last 4 miles. Quite acceptable.

What caused me to puke and for my heart to race for roughly an hour? I'm not sure. Could have been a number of things: I've been battling a cold for about 4 weeks -- although, other than a mildly sore throat, a bit of coughing at night, and continual drainage from my sinuses, I was feeling fine. I'm quite sure I didn't get enough food during the run. While I had a large bowl of Mini-Wheats for breakfast and a Mars bar and coffee on the way to London, there was nothing left in my stomache by 11 AM. I'd eaten some Pringles potato chips during the run in order to get some salt, but clearly not enough. Or its possible that the racing heart was occuring while I was running and that I just didn't notice -- but then that set off a chain reaction where I didn't get enough oxygen and started puking. Or maybe a combination of everything.

Anyhow, I'm going to have to re-evaluate everything -- from my race pace, to my carb intake, to whether I should have the racing heart "ablated" (which deadens the nerve that causes the heart to race).

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