Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Playing Tough

I have learned that when I start getting comments in Chinese about money not creating happiness, that it's time for me to write another blog post.

SR and I had a relaxing getaway planned last weekend, which of course would include a long run. I will just start out by saying that no matter how bad it was, I don't think it was anything compared to what we would have experienced had we gone to Purtugal as we originally had planned.

Anyway, I have started to get cocky about running marathon distances every other weekend. I was feeling tough and forgot about all the things that could go wrong.

SR had planned a running route on the island of Amager, outside of Copenhagen, where he used to run when he was in medical school. We had spent the morning swimming and going in and out of saunas and steam baths at a sports hotel called DGI Byen.

The long run started at noon. Everywhere we turned, there was nothing but wet, heavy snow and after about 1 hour, I felt so hungry I could hardly keep running. I had lost 3 lbs in the last week, which I was thrilled about, but I had forgotten what an effect this has, at least short term, on training. A few Rolos and I felt kind of okay again.

By the second hour we were heading out of a nice wooded area toward the ocean. I am accustomed to cold, but not at all accustomed to running by the ocean. It was only slightly below freezing, but the wind was so strong and the air so damp, that I began losing feeling entirely in both of my hands and arms. I was wearing a t-shirt, a long-sleaved shirt and my huge blue gloves (yes, all cotton), but I might as well have been naked. It was terribly painful and I started crying, and we were now two hours from the car. SR suggested in his kind-hearted way that we go and warm up in an oceanside "yurt". Now, first of all, I just hate the word "yurt" so no matter what they are, I don't want anything to do with one. And why exactly would I want to STOP moving in order to warm up? I started screaming at SR about the insanity of going into a "yurt" and he eventually ran off dreaming of yurts and a better wife he could enjoy one with.

Now that I was alone, I found myself wanting to listen to music, but of course with numb hands and arms, that was impossible. And GOD was I hungry. And then my heart started skipping beats again rapidly. This has happened to me almost daily in the last month. My heart beats so hard and I can't breath and then it stops. I can only speculate why this keeps happening. It's probably just PVC's, hopefully not atrial fibrillation.

Well, two hours to go. I had better pull myself together. The snow running hurt my hips, the cold hurt my arms and I was alone. The time went by, though I walked almost half of the time the last hour, luckily SR had joined me again by that time.

I started calculating the miles I'd run in the last week:

Sun: 25
Mon: 6
Tues: 9
Wed: 14
Thurs: 8
Fri: 7
Sat: 20

Total: 89 miles, almost entirely on snow! Plus losing three pounds. The long run on Sat. might have been a bit ambitious.

Okay, it was a stressful, painful, terrible run. But I still loved it. It was way better than sitting around doing nothing. Anyone up for an oceanside winter run with me? ;)

Running Song of the Day: Par Avion by FM Belfast


olga said...

I always say the same thing: I hate the run (well, this is far from always, only sometimes), but it is ALWAYS far better than not to run. BTW, I got me a coach, and he put me on strict miles! Like I am a novice to prep for a marathon, not an experienced ultrarunner! I emailed him in anger and am awaiting for the reply. I understand easy/hard and quality, that's why I am interested - to get new workouts. I do not, however, understand no long runs on the weekend because he needs to see how I adjust to new schedule. Like I've never done both quality and long doubles before! Argh!

Helen said...

Ha ha I am laughing at Olga's comment - I envisage some fireworks there :) I have toyed with the idea of a coach but am so bad at being told what to do that I have thus far decided against it. Olga - I look forward to reading your updates!!

Tracy - I can't imagine that you won't get loads of people to take you up on your offer after making that run sounds like so much fun :) Seriously though, I agree, no matter how bad any run might get it still beats 90% of what I might have been doing.

I have to ask - are you serious about A-fib?? That needs to be checked out. You guys are doctors!!! ;)

Fast Bastard said...

When runners are tired, are losing weight and their electrolytes are, most likely off, palpitations are common.

Helen, palpitations in old folks often means A-fib (atrial fibrillation). In this yurt-hating blogger, it is exceedingly unlikely that it's anything but extra heart beats (PVCs, premature systolic contractions).

sea legs girl said...

Helen, Fast Bastard(SR). Forgive me. As I was running this morning, I was thinking to myself, of course it's not really a. fib. So I have edited the post. But, Helen, whatever it is, if I get it "checked out" it will involve a normal ekg (since I'm sure I won't have the palpitations then) and normal standard labs (cbc, lytes), so it would just be a lot of time wasted finding nothing. One reassuring thing is I had a normal echocardiogram a few years ago when I also had the same problem.

RunnerWoman said...

Ok... I HAVE to know, where you really two hours from the car when you hit your low? Meaning was there a shorter way back BUT you still had two hours left to run to finish the planned long run? If it was the case that you could have cut back shorter but pressed on despite all discomfort then wow... I am in total awe (and just a little bit scared of you!!)

sea legs girl said...


This time I spoke the truth. We actually couldn't find a shorter way back despite (kind of) wanting to find one :).

sea legs girl said...

Olga, So cool that you got a coach, btw! Can't wait to see what you learn.

RunnerWoman said...

p.s. I must concur that neither the word yurt nor the actual physical object conjures up images of warmth & comfort!

olga said...

I think I will learn what FB is teaching you:) And what I knew all along. Bottom line is (his words, coaches) - I can finish a 50 and a 100 in my sleep any time I lace up my shoes (shit happens, but close to true). While overload worked for me back in a days, I got stale now and need to give my body rest. My races will serve as long runs. Everything in-between will be speedwork and tempo, for now anyway:) I'll post more, may be. I figured, what do I got to loose?

SteveQ said...

If you hate the word yurt, switch to the mongol word for them - ger.

An occasional arrhythmia is usually not a big deal. Often after a run with a heart monitor, I'll see I had a high of 238 or so and it's not a malfunction of the monitor, just one weird heartbeat out of a million.

Olga: often a coach will suggest a change just for the sake of change; if you do the same thing forever, you can't expect different results. Then, if you show improvement, they look like geniuses (trust me, as a coach, I lived on that).

sea legs girl said...

Steve, I can see you enjoy google translate about as much as I do. But is the language in Mongolia really called mongol? That is what the Danes (and some Americans) call people with Down Sydrome. Hmmm...

Anyway, "ger" sounds almost as bad "yurt".

SteveQ said...

I didn't use Google Translate; I know a guy who has a ger. And you should delete the Chinese comment - the link is used for phishing!

I'm not sure what the people of Mongolia call there language (I'll look it up)! The outdated term "mongolism" for Downs came from the belief that the characteristic craniofacial abnormalities resembled the inhabitants of central Asia. If Denmark ever gets a large Asian population, there'll be pressure to change to "Downs!"

SteveQ said...

Should've known... "Mongol" is a family of Altaic languages, not a language. "Khalkal" is the most common language.

Helen said...

"Mongolic" languages according to the God of All Things a.k.a Wikipedia.

You need to change the Danes on that one!

I agree, no point in wasting time/money on the tests - you're good! Just keep running :)

Meghan said...

I get missed and added heartbeats all the time, too! I feel them when I have an electrolyte imbalance or I haven't eaten in too long (I snack every few hours, mostly.). Last year, I even got them to show up on EKG when I had to bring an EKG to the starting line of the Marathon des Sables. I went to the doctor's office after a tough run and too little refueling. Needless to say, he made me come back again and prove that the added heartbeats were just related to treating myself like crap.

Man alive, don't you hate it when a long run just plain goes all wrong?! Yikes!

By the way, I like yurts. If I ever live in one, I won't ask you and your family to visit in it. :)

Be well, Sea Legs, and let your body and mind fly out on those runs!


sea legs girl said...

God, Meghan. How did I know you would love yurts? If you ever buy one to live in I would love to visit, just please at least call it a ger; I'm sure I'll love it.

Steve, I should probably know this, but what can happen as a result of this phishing? I should probably just take your word for it and erase it. I doubt you'll ever see this comment anyway.

SteveQ said...

If you click on the link and you don't have the appropriate security, it attempts to upload programs, sometimes ones that record keystrokes, which will give the ability to record anything you type, such as passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Mostly, though, it just slows your computer down with all the loaded junk.