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

Thursday, 6 December 2012

200 meter interval induces migraine, depression

And just like that , I'm normal again. Breathing normally and finding happiness in my favorite things. 

Looking back, it must have started on Saturday. I woke up feeling actually quite fine and had a good morning. I went out for a 45 min warm-up run before my short intervals and even ran into some friends at the track. On my schedule were 200 meter intervals at between 36 and 40 seconds. I thought this would be impossible. As far as I am aware, I have never run at around a 5 minute per mile pace (and maybe for good reason). To make a long story short, I did it (though barely): times were 40, 39, 39, 40, 40, 39. 

The reason I mention this, is after the second one, I suddenly had such an excruciating headache behind my left eye. I thought I was going to throw up. Certainly any normal person would have stopped, but I rationalized that running more intervals would reverse what had happened, though I was scared of it being an aneurysm.

For those of you who don't know me well yet, hypochondriasism is one of my main hobbies.

All Saturday, that headache did not go away. I had to lay in the dark and close my eyes (let me just point out, I have never had a migraine before, but have imagined this is how one feels). And then the crying started. I said over 100 times that I was dying - of a brain tumor (of course). SR told me to go lie down again. I slept a little and felt a little better.

The next day I woke up really late. Usually I go swimming with the tri club on Sunday mornings, but I had no time for or interest in that. We had also planned I'd run the Herlufsholm 10k race  - and the snow was gorgeous!

And it was a tough race - very hilly and on trails. Despite the snow, I ended up running in 42.17, beating my previous record time on this course (set in warm, dry weather) by almost 30 seconds. But that is neither here nor there. Rather than focussing on it being a good race, I could not let go of the fact that because I have started taking my PPI again (due to my stomach acid causing enormous large lymph nodes in my neck) that my PPI-induced stomach pain ruined my race and limited my running. (ok, that is just an aside)

Later that night, we went to a family party in Copenhagen. Normally I love hanging out with SR's family, but before the night was over, I found myself hiding in a room, crying. Objectively there was absolutely nothing wrong. I just wish I could convince myself of that, though, at the time these things happen. The kids had a great time and of course this should be reason enough for any mom to smile.

That night I had one nightmare after another - all involving cancer. (I was about to ask SR to quit his job!)

There is no point in going through the whole week in great detail. I was just on edge all week, the edge of tears and yelling and I hate that feeling. On top of that my OCD got 10x worse. But last night, after a massage (go figure), my depressive symptoms were gone as quickly as they came. Wow! It is kind of like waking up from a bad dream and you're like - ok, this IS me. I am STILL a happy, normal person.

What is within normal? What is illness? I wish I could stop these "episodes" from ever happening again - and certainly, looking back, I have used running as my medicaion for years, without ever fully realizing that anything was wrong. And maybe nothing is. Maybe it's normal to get a bit depressed as winter rolls around. If you do, you are not alone.


mmmonyka said...

I was wondering how those 200s would go for you. Not that I did not believe that you can run 200s in under 40s but you are a long (very long) distance runner:)

Karen said...

That is one beautiful snowy picture. Color me jealous.

NadiaMac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cherelli said...

I think many people have "episodes" or phases where things just aren't "right" ( think those that suffer extreme PMS as one where even though you know everything is probably okay with the world you just can't see it that way), though with your history and extra medical knowledge it might be worse :) BUT the important thing is you came out of it...? I have only had a migraine a couple of times (think caffeine withdrawal) and it was just horrible...let's hope you don't get another of those! As for what caused all of it...? Hmmm. See if it happens next time you get up the courage to do that set again...that snow looks absolutely beautiful btw.

InBabyAttachMode said...

I'm a long-time lurker and rarely comment on your blog, but wanted to let you know that whenever I have a migraine I have these sad, depression-like feelings. For me, they last as long as my migraine attack lasts (which is anywhere between a couple hours to days), but perhaps for you the two are related too?

sea legs girl said...

Mmmonyka- I actually really appreciated the fact that you pointed out how fast I was supposed to run! I had never considered how many seconds I could run 200 meters in until you wrote that. You can tell there is a track fiend hidden in you.

sea legs girl said...

Cherelli, if I get another migraine when I run a 200, that is the end of those, no question about it.

sea legs girl said...

Hi InBabayAttachMode. I love your name! That is how I feel though am getting sad since Mattias is growing so fast. Thank you so much for letting me know about your experience. The connection is very interesting and something I had never heard of before.

Brianne said...

I'm convinced my bp is too high, considering all of the exercise/healthy eating I do, because my kidneys are failing. And the other day I found at least one mole on my abdomen I'm worried is melanoma. (I'm seeing a doctor on Monday.) I realized that whenever I'm facing big changes in my life, I focus my fear on other things that have nothing to do with those changes. This makes me worried about pursuing a career in nursing... will gaining more medical knowledge make me even MORE of a hypo?

I also worry that I'm such a horrible, un-fun, selfish mother, that my kids are going to have reactive attachment disorder. Seriously.

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

I am one of those crazy runners who often vomits at the track:) I also get headaches after some races or workouts when I push myself too hard. I am used to these issues now:)
Seems to me the pain/sadness were not as bad as the mental chatter/worry that came with them. Perhaps just riding moments like this knowing that they will pass (you have the evidence now) is the way to go. That, and reassuring yourself that you don't have brain cancer (bc I bet you know headaches are one of the last symptoms in brain cancer).
Congrats on the race and the fast 200s!!!!

Unknown said...

i want to contact you
how can i it?
do you have mail? please tell me

sea legs girl said...

George O - I can be reached at