Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Trot "Race" Report

On Thanksgiving the family and I participated in the Green Valley Turkey Trot.  I ran five miles.  Jen and the kids walked a 5K.  Barring my recent health junk, it was a great event.  Plus we all went into turkey dinner with a calorie deficit.  How great is that?

We missed the pre-registration night so we decided to get there as soon as registration opened the morning of the run.  So we got there, paid the entry fee(donation) and got our shirts. But wait!  no bib?  Nope, there was no bib, no official time, and no starting or finishing line! Although we weren't aware of the latter until race time.

So there we are with about 45 minutes to kill before the run started.  Since it was a local race, one of the local Zumba instructors (not Jen's) was leading some warmup routines.  Of course, since Jen's become the resident Zumba expert, we sat around critiquing her routine and trying to stay warm.  Then about five minutes before the run was to begin, the run director started making some announcements.  Once he was done, everyone just started heading down the road.  No official gun start.  No official starting line.

I took off at a slow pace with a planned 1:30/1 interval.  Shortly after starting, I ran into some of my Fleet Feet Friends but they were doing a different interval so I didn't stay with them. The run was through a nice area with rolling hills and pretty homes.  One large 5 mile loop.

Normally, it takes about a mile for me to settle into a breathing rhythm and get into "the zone".  I never settled in on this run.  I felt perpetually in that awkward first starting a run feeling, and I was tired as heck from the get go. The run was nice, relaxing, and a friendly atmosphere, but I struggled with my energy and ended up not having a good run.  I finished, but with several extra walks.  It was by and far the worst "race" I've done these last two years.  Still, I finished in just over one hour. There was no finish line.  No definitive finish.  It just sort of ended at the same corner as it began.

After finishing, I found the family and we headed home.  I was tired and feeling rather crappy. We got home and had a nice relaxing Thanksgiving at home with Wii games, movies, and yummy food.


Yesterday I had a followup visit with my doctor. My blood pressure has been excellent so that's good.  But we discussed in depth (well as in-depth as can be with an always rushed doctor that sees patients for about 15 minutes tops!).  We discussed thyroid issues and he explained some of the things I wasn't clear on but he also ordered some further thyroid testing at my request.  In addition, he ordered a sleep study because I'm a heavy snorer and he thinks the fatigue may be sleep related. 

I did get a 2 mile run in yesterday before heading to the doctors.  It wasn't great, nor was it even good, but I got out there.  The weather was in the upper 60s/lower 70s and it was a gorgeous day out.  I tried enjoying it, but the struggle of no energy was enough to classify it as a crappy run.  I sure hope things get cleared up soon.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This morning I had my Occupational Health physical at work and everything checked out ok, except the fatigue issue. The nurse practitioner there gave me some good advice for dealing with my general doctor, plus she said it was probably a good idea to find someone else.  Since I ate this morning, and they needed me to fast (wasn't aware of that) I have to go back on Monday for blood tests.  I've also got a followup with my general doctor. I fully intend to push the other thyroid testing with him. So other than the fatigue, things are decent.  Well enough to hit pavement again.  Yay!

So tomorrow's planned 5 miler is on!  This will definitely be the last race of the year and I've got no clue how it will go.  Slow, steady, and fun is the plan.  I'm not even sure if they talley results as I've not found previous years results anywhere. 

On a somewhat different note, I came across a link for the Blue Ridge Marathon and I'm quite intrigued. It's at the end of April so I'd need to start training for it soon if I decided to do it.  It will also be one hell of a marathon.  It goes by the slogan "Americas Toughest Road Marathon", and takes you up and back down two mountains!  You heard that right, MOUNTAINS, not hills!  To give you an idea of how tough it is, the winner last year ran it in 2:42.  It will throw my 2012 goals off, and likely I could get a DNF on the course, but for some reason, I'm interested.  Go for it in 2012 or plan for 2013?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mystery Solved! Well, Maybe.

Unfortunately I didn't get a run in like I planned.  In fact I've not run in two weeks.  This health issue is really kicking my butt.  I'm fatigued all the time and hitting pavement is the last thing on my mind, although I'm missing it terribly. 

As I mentioned before I had some blood tests done and the results were being mailed to me.  Well once I got them I scrutinized everything and came across a discrepancy.  My Thyroid (something I've suspected all along) TSH level was fairly high.  Now there are several different thyroid hormones, but only this one was tested.  In doing some research the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists have made recommendations to change the standard scale for this test, tightening up the "normal" range.  According to their newer (2003) guidelines, I'm in the Hypothyroidism range.  According to the lab that ran the test, I'm not.  Given that I'm exhibiting many of the symptoms of Hypo. and my level was fairly high, I'm pretty confident that this is what it is. Yet, I'm struggling with the Doctor.  His stance is that I'm normal.  I have a followup on Monday and plan to come armed with the new guidelines and if he is not at least willing to get the other tests, then it's time to find a new doctor.  Until then, I continue to fight fatigue and headache/light headedness and struggle to get through the day. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Health Update

The conundrum continues.  I'm more or less back to my regular ole self, but the underlying issues are still present.  My new blood pressure medicine is working great, maybe a bit too great. My temperatures have moved up some, but still below my normal.  My blood work came back great, for the most part.

After about three days being on my new blood pressure medicine I've started having some numbers on the low end. For the most part, the numbers have been down.  In the mornings, right before taking the next dose, I'm around 130/85.  Slightly above the optimal, but not bad.  It fluctuates throughout the day but mostly the numbers have been good.  I've had a few instances where the numbers were too low. If it stays this way until my two week follow-up, then I'm going to request that I try the combination without the diuretic.  I was on Amlodipine and HTCZ (diuretic). The new med is one pill that contains both of those in the same dosage as before, and Valstran.  The Valstran seems to be working really well.  I think I could do without the HTCZ and still have good numbers, and they just so happen to make one without it.  We'll see how the next week goes and what the doctor says.  It would be nice to get rid of one out of the two diuretics that make me have to pee all the time!

There were only two concerns regarding my blood work/urinalysis.  One, my glucose level was slightly elevated.  Not near diabetes range, but enough to keep an eye on it given my genetic per-disposition for it.  Two, I have a moderate level of bacteria.  Not really sure what the means.  Otherwise, everything was in the normal ranges.

On the running front, I'm going out this afternoon for a run.  I only have a half day at work so I'm still deciding if I want to run there or come home and run the neighborhood, but I will get out there today. :)

I nearly registered for an 8K this Sunday at the Baltimore Zoo.  In fact, I planned to, but when I went to register, it was full.  Oh well, I'm definitely going to do the Turkey Trot 5 miler near my house. 

Regarding my diet, I've been doing great at it and according to the scale this morning I'm down nearly 8 pounds from two weeks ago.  Yippy Skippy!

Things seem to be on an upswing. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011


For the last several months, I’ve been having frequent headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath.  I’ve attributed it to the weight gain I’ve had coinciding with these symptoms, but the last two weeks things have stepped up inducing me to reevaluate the situation.

Throughout marathon training, I was slowly loosing weight, from around 215 in November 2010 to 192 in late March 2011.  After the marathon, I plateaued then started gaining it back.  For the last 2-3 months, I’ve been back to around 210-218.  Even through half-marathon training, I continued gaining weight.  I thought it was due to laziness and lack of tracking my nutrition.  I’ve been tracking it again, trying to eat between 1500-2000 calories a day, still, the weight hasn’t dropped and my fatigue, headaches, and shortness of breath has continued. My blood pressure has, for the most part, remained consistent, roughly 135/85 to slightly higher.  I’ve been on bp meds for over two years and back in March my doctor was considering taking me off of them since the numbers we so well.

Last week I started thinking something else might be happening besides just weight.   Several days in a row of severe fatigue and frequent headaches induced me to call the doctor and have some bloodwork done.  My though was a thyroid issue or anemia.  I made the appointment on Thursday while at work.  On the way home that evening, I was feeling very light headed.  Immediately, I checked my BP and it was a whopping 154/106!  Yes, I took my meds that morning.  My temperature was 96.8.  I typically run near or slightly over the 98.6 standard, so something obviously wasn’t right.

Friday morning I had my 4 month post-surgery eye exam.  Things went well for it.  I read at a 20/20 in each eye, and 20/15 combined.  The doctor could see some dryness and suggested I return to using the tear drops to help lubricate them throughout the winter. 

I then had my doctors appointment to address the above issues.  His thought is it’s blood pressure related, and switched me to a three-in-one pill with the two meds I’m on plus an additional one.  Bloodwork was ordered “to rule out other things”.  Now most of the symptoms could be bp related, but up until last week, it’s not fluxuated much the last few months.  And I haven’t read anything linking low temperature to high blood pressure.  I’m not convinced, and neither is Jen.

Since Friday, I’ve basically been lounging the house, feeling rather crappy. Its too early to tell if the new meds will work better than the old, but I’ve mostly been down around 120-135 over 80-95.  My temperature has stayed below 97.7 with a low of 96.2 this morning.  I’m waiting to hear back on the bloodwork.  I had it drawn Saturday morning and hopefully the results will be in early on Monday.  I’m anxious to get some answers so that I can treat what it is accordingly. 

For now, I’m holding off on any running.  Trying to eat doubly healthy and just get myself back to functioning normally.  Thankfully it was a holiday weekend and my normal day off giving me a four day weekend.  I sure hope I’m feeling better by Tuesday, I’ve got a critical food sanitation inspection in DC early morning.  Due to the specifics of it, I’d hate to have to reschedule. 

More to come as things change.  For now, I’ll finally catch up on all the movies I’ve been waiting to see. 


Sunday, November 6, 2011

National Mall Run

This morning I met a friend in DC and ran a 5.5 miler along the National Mall…

Location:  The National Mall in DC is the centerpiece to the city.  On one end, you have the United States Capitol Building, on the other end are many of the National Monuments.  Smack dab in the middle is the Washington Monument and directly north of it is the White House.  On the Capital side, you’ve got the Smithsonian Museums and art galleries.  On the monument side, it’s fairly wooded, with winding paths to the various monuments.  Just west of the National Mall is Arlington Cemetery, another great place to experience if you haven’t before.  If you’re not familiar with the Mall, or have never been, it’s quite an impressive thing to see. 

The Mall is a favorite spot for many runners.  Every time I’ve been down there, I’ve seen a multitude of runners of all sorts.  Not only is the atmosphere great, but it’s, for the most part, a flat area with paths everywhere.  I could write a ton about everything to see here, but I’ll keep it simple and just state that if you’ve never been here before, take the opportunity to visit.  I highly recommend a tour around the Mall with visits to the Natural History, American History, American Indian, and Air and Space museums.

Route:  I met my friend on the corner of 17th Street and Constitution Avenue, the Northwest corner of the Washington Monument section.  We headed west, looping around the Lincoln Monument and down the center paths with a sideline to the Korean Monument.  Close by the Washington Monument we came across a gathering for the kick-off of a 5K Walk4Hearing put on by the Hearing Loss Association of America.  They were just about to get started, and we sidestepped it around to avoid getting in their way. 

We continued down the middle through the museum section and made a loop around the front of the Capitol building.  As much time as I’ve spent on the Mall for my previous job and many leisure visits, I’ve not really gone up to the base of Capitol Building, so we went as far up as possible.  Lastly, we made a B-line straight through the center and back around to where we started making it a nearly 5.5 mile loop. 

The Experience:  The run was nice and relaxed, at least for me.  The plan was to do a 1:30/1:00 run/walk ratio.  My running partner has recently gotten back into running and was suffering some shin pain throughout the run.  We took a fair amount of extra walking breaks to help him out.  For me, it made a great opportunity to snap some photos. 

The weather was nice.  It started a bit cold, but once we got into it, the temperature was perfect.  It was moderately crowded, but we didn’t have to fight our way through anywhere.  The only exception was the 5K walk crowd. All in all, a great day for a run at our nation’s capital.  

After the run, we fought DC traffic to grab an early lunch at a nice Portuguese restaurant called Nando’s Peri Peri, for yummy flame-grilled chicken.  Then it was the long fight with traffic back home.

The full picture album can be found here.  And now for some highlights.