Saturday, July 17, 2021

Well, hello! I'm back after a 3 year hiatus

Pretty sure no one reads this any more, but that's OK. It's helpful to me to have a record of things. 

I'm feeling much better than 3 years ago. I went to Spain, walked poorly (no surprise), and when I got back visited an internal medicine doc who suggested an anti-inflammatory diet, in addition to psychotherapy, rest (as much as I could), and a re-evaluation of life. I did all of those things - I went whole food plant-based, and saw a therapist and cut back on as much stuff as possible. Within 3 months of doing those things I felt a lot better - I was able to work w/o fatigue and brain fog, and felt human again. 

Since then I have upped my activity level a bit, carefully adding in things that were important to me. During the pandemic last year, my family wanted me to add a bit of seafood, chicken, and dairy back into our diet, so I did that - but just a little bit, a few nights a week. So far that's been fine. I also played the piano a lot more last year, and this year, I upped my running miles and did a marathon in April. Oh, speaking of that, I was able to do a lot of trail running in 2019, as long as I went SLOWLY and didn't do any speed work. I did Rim-to-Rim Grand Canyon in October 2019, and paced my boss for 28 miles of the Run Rabbit Run 100 miler in September 2019. To make all of that work, I did have to cut back my hours at work from 34/wk to 30/wk (that helped a lot), and get the kids to do more chores, and get the hubby to do laundry. All of those small things have made things much more do-able, and I still feel pretty good. 

I don't know if I can walk competitively again, and I do miss it. I've put on about 15-20 lb above my racing weight, and that's not my favorite, but I am still at a healthy weight (though on the upper end of the range for my height). I'm working on losing a bit this summer and so far that's going well. I do miss competing and miss seeing my RW friends, and traveling to do meets with them. Maybe in a while I'll be able to do more, if I am careful, but for this season until my kids go to college, I am probably better off taking it easier than that. 

I turned 50 last year (2020) and that's had an effect on the way I'm thinking about career things, life things, parenting, etc. I think I've spent too much of my life trying to be the best at a lot of things, and well, I'm not that talented. I'm good at a lot of things, maybe above average at many things, but honestly am not on the upper end of the bell curve at anything, and you know what? THAT'S OK. I don't know why I tried so hard to be amazing at something - and over the past couple-three years I've thought a lot about the fact that it's really good to embrace being average. Honestly, the world would be a better place if we were all just a bit better at being average. 

This pic is just an average run with my average dog on a wonderfully average summer morning earlier this month. 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

This week - still not improving

I'm not improving. But then again, I haven't rested well. I wanted to, but with the bathroom remodel comes certain obligations, unless I want to spend even more money, and it's already stupid expensive. I took Sunday & Monday as rest days, but I had to paint on Monday & Tuesday (Tuesday was a holiday here, and I'd arranged for the long weekend). I didn't want to, but that was how the timing went with the remodel. I did have some help from Kathryn (church friend) and Calvin, thank goodness, but even with that it was VERY taxing. It's not a small room, and I had to do the ceiling, and I wanted to do a really, really good job since the rest of the room will be a high end remodel thanks to my amazing contractor Jesse. I got it done, but at the cost of my health I'm afraid.

Add in the 10K "race" I was registered for that I did on Tuesday (the Deseret News 10K, which I usually LOVE to do), walking casually with Calvin, and racewalking just 3K (time 1:22), and that put me over the edge. I was really just dead on my feet. 

I went back to work on Wednesday and felt terrible. Definitely no exercising. I intended to just work a few hours and take some sick time, because of how I felt, but I ended up staying for my usual ~7 hours. Same on Thursday, though I felt a bit less terrible and did 20 min elliptical before work. On Friday I actually felt better, and did 30 min elliptical before work.

On Friday I also had an appointment with the hematologist to see what he thought about my anemia. Remember, I have mild anemia with a hemoglobin of 12.3 and hematocrit of 37.5. Normal for women is 13 and 39, minimum. I have a history of at least 7 years of mild anemia and my family doc thought I should get it worked up with my continuing fatigue and my desire to racewalk competitively. Add in a low white count and mild neutropenia (low # of neutrophils, which help fight infection) and it was cause to get a referral. The hematologist was excellent (and in fact, knows my boss in a roundabout manner), and we hit it off well. He looked me over carefully, took a thorough history, and had good news and bad news. The good news is that I don't have a major hematologic disorder (like, say, blood cancer). The bad news is that I have what they call "anemia of chronic disease", which means that my anemia is merely symptomatic of some other disease process, likely chronic inflammation of some type or some autoimmune disorder. Since I've been to rheumatology (the autoimmune specialists) and they didn't find anything, this is more perplexing. There is something wrong, but no one knows what it is. He suggested an immunologist, perhaps, but the direction is a bit unclear from here. I am definitely going to go back to my family medicine doc and sports medicine doc and see if they have further advice.

Meanwhile, something is very, very wrong, and I have no idea what or how to feel better. It's bad enough now that it is affecting my work and personal life, which is worse than just affecting racewalking. It's bad enough that social media is painful because then I see all my racewalker friends' accomplishments and feel worse. On the bright side, I seem to be over the worst of it as far as my antidepressant withdrawal. I'm still pretty emotional, but the nausea, dizziness, headaches, and brain zaps are gone. Still, it will take my body a while to make more serotonin, and I'm likely to feel fairly lousy for a bit because of that, which is definitely not helping things. I'll get through this, but it's not fun.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

a new low

I'm feeling very, very bad.

I think it's mostly because of quitting the escitalopram, but this is the worst the problems have been in years. Fatigue, headache (splitting, in the morning - ibuprofen and acetaminophen at max doses calmed it enough so I could get to work on Wednesday & Thursday).


Wednesday and Thursday - rest days. Just felt awful. Made it through work and all the other required activities, but just barely. To be fair, work has been unusually demanding in terms of attention required (many undergrads in lab) and time (just a lot of experiments going on), which is fine, but adds to exhaustion. Plus our bathroom remodel has demanded a fair amount of decision making power, which is a good thing, but adds in to the mix.

Friday - went to the track, which I was supposed to do on Thursday. Warmed up, and my legs were like lead. I feel like I have to do the workouts now though, because of Spain. But as you'll see, a course correction is in the plans now. Anyway, I did the warm-up, then 3x1km @85% effort (though perhaps I gave it a little more - it's hard to hold myself back). I felt really terrible, and was extremely slow - 6:15, 6:18, 6:22 with HR in the low to mid 160s. Not good at all. This is the worst it has been, and my muscles HURT.

Saturday - rest day, because I just have to. My body feels dead and unresponsive, and I am VERY sore - reminiscent of the weird muscle soreness I had back in 2013-2014. Makes me think that it might have to do with the escitalopram, since the time proximity is correlated. But correlation is not causation, and this might just be a random relapse with nothing to do with the medication change. Regardless, I'm doing some VERY easy trim painting today and some light errands, but otherwise have been resting. Got Calvin and Loren to do some necessary yard work :) but I think I also need to do some laundry. Have also been planning for our trip to Spain, getting some accommodations and asking friends who live there (Jill) or are from there (Paula, our kids' former teacher) for advice, so that's coming along.

On the bright side, the bathroom remodel is coming along, and I'm posting pics of the new windows. We are enjoying them even though it's just a big empty room with lots of drywall dust and a lonely toilet right now!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Track Tuesday

Sunday: rest day. I was SO dead after 12k Saturday PLUS helping a friend move for 3 hr PLUS two major shopping excursions (bathroom tile because we're redoing our master bath, and Costco because I promised a friend I'd take him). Oops. I tried to rest a lot on Sunday but I had some social obligations so my rest was more limited than I'd have liked. I did get good sleep Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Monday: My body was still tired so I did a 45 min (or so) casual walk with the dogs for exercise. It felt nice to move w/o pushing things at all.

Today: speed work. I was to do a 3K fartlek with the fast segments at 85% effort, 4' rest, 4x500 @85% effort. It's stupid hot outside right now; I woke up later than planned so I couldn't do the outdoor track before work. I slept very poorly because 1) I went to bed too late because I had a meeting re: our hosting for the SL Fellows program next year, 2) there was a massive and loud thunderstorm at 11pm, and 3) Sugar barked on overdrive at something (who knows what? probably a raccoon?) at 2 am. Grim face at left after my workout, at the gym - outdoors was hot behind me (it's only 90F right now or 32.2C, which is not THAT hot for July, but it is no picnic for RW).

I went to work and did a bunch of stuff, then managed to pull myself away for my workout at 11am. I felt dizzy, probably from lack of sleep, but also maybe still a side effect from not taking the escitalopram (my last dose was Sunday the 8th). I had tired, achy glutes before the workout, and I have no idea why - I felt recovered from moving the boxes and from my Saturday workout yesterday. So what the heck is this soreness???

Mentally it was SO hard to stay positive. My inner critic was on overdrive. I tried to shut it up by reminding it that it is not helping me get better. That worked for a bit and then it just kept kicking back in. When I do a workout and am SO MUCH SLOWER than I EVER have been historically, it's so hard to make that voice shut up. It is just painful to do speed work because of it! I swear if there was a good easy way to make it go away, I would. I wonder if the escitalopram helped it quiet down, and that's why it's worse now? Or maybe it's the lack of sleep. It was a most unpleasant workout because of that.

I did keep from doing an all-out effort. I had to keep reminding myself to hold a little back. So...yeah, I was VERY slow.

Converting from the 292.6m track, my fartlek was 19:10.3, with fasts and mediums (585.2m each, converted to 500m times) of 3:02.7, 3:18.2, 3:07.5, 3:18.7, 3:11.5 (!UGH!). My 500m were approximate - I had to make an educated guess based on my lap times where the 500m split was. Assuming I was close, my 500m times were 3:02.3, 3:04.1, 3:06.4, and 3:03.2 (that's similar to outdoors last week, so that's probably about right).

It's hard to shut off the voice that says I'm too slow to go to Spain. It's hard not to compare to where I used to be. It's hard to feel really sick (I'm SO fatigued and dizzy today). I should probably go home early from work and take a sick day but I have stuff to do, and let's face it, work is a higher priority than recreational hobbies like racewalking, because it has to be.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

hilly 12k; brain all a-mush

Today went well given the circumstances. I still feel like things are turning the corner though I know from this workout it doesn't look like it. But I have optimism anyway, because I feel like once I am feeling a little better things are going to turn the corner.

I have felt pretty ill the last couple days - avert your eyes and skip to the next paragraph if squeamish. Otherwise, read've been warned. Thursday night I went to bed a bit late (~11?) after reading an e-mail that stressed me out a bit (everything is fine but it was anxiety-provoking). I woke up at 2am because I had diarrhea (probably from the antidepressant leaving my system - this has been a persistent and annoying symptom) and I started thinking about the e-mail and then could not get back to sleep for 2 hours. Then I slept from 4-6 and woke up and couldn't sleep more. I still felt pretty sick.

Friday morning, despite feeling a bit ill (dizzy, fatigued, mild brain zaps, a touch of nausea, sleep-deprived) I got on the elliptical for 20 min, because exercise does help one get through the day even if stupid tired. I think it helped. I made it through a tough day at work and when I got home I crashed for about 30 min. Got up and made dinner, then after dinner I went to bed at 8:00 and went to sleep at 8:45. I slept for almost 9 hours :) and woke feeling a bit better, but still dizzy and fatigued. I have not taken any medication since Sunday night, when I took 2.5mg of escitalopram. I'm hoping to gut it out this weekend and hoping that the symptoms ease by Monday so that I can work.

Today has been stupid busy but I'm sorta managing. The 12K was slow; I did the first 6k alone and then 6k with Calvin and at one point in the last 6k I got really emotional. Poor Calvin got kinda mad at me and wouldn't walk with me again until I apologized, which I did, because I was being stupid. It's just hard to be so slow, and to know I'm signed up for World Masters, and to know I can't train as hard as I want. I'm still going to try. The 12K was 7:02/km for 1:24:30 with ave HR 141. Also, it was warm and humid (for here), at 26.1C (79F) and 42%. (That was at 6:30am...ughhh!).

You probably don't care that then I helped our pastor's family move (Calvin helped too), and then went tile shopping for the bathroom because it's impossible to get over to the showroom before 4:30 on weekdays and the tile place my contractor likes closes at 5. Or that I then took our summer roommate Jonathan over to Costco because he doesn't have a membership and needed some things. Or that when I got home I was stupid tired and I might have yelled at the kids and husband because the dishes weren't done (I'd asked the kids to please do them while I was gone and the husband to please stay on them to do it), or that Calvin put a hot pan lid on our dining room table, which is my one favorite piece of furniture, aside from the piano, and the only really nice furniture that I have ever purchased new, and that it now has an ugly ring (which is admittedly faint but I'm still very angry). I might have gotten very upset and was angry not just because the table is now marred, but also because I do love Calvin much more than I love the table and am angry at myself for being angry at him. I might have had a meltdown while making pizza dough for our homemade pizza (Saturday tradition) and Calvin might have given me a very sweet hug. I told him how I felt and that I love him more than the table but that I'm still angry about the table but also that I'm mad at myself for being mad at him. I think he understands?

It might be time to take a short nap before I melt down more. I'm so tired.
SugarHouse Park - overcast, warm, humid

With the boy I love much more than my table...sigh.....

Friday, July 13, 2018


Dragging today.

Last night: brain zaps (minor, but annoying), fatigue, diarrhea. Up at 2am feeling very ill, and was awake for ~2hr stressing about various things including the finances for the bathroom remodel (which turns out to be mostly fine now that I've run and re-run the #s, though it's gonna be close...) and the tile choices and other things. Finally went back to sleep.

Got in to work and realized I'd messed up something and will have to work late today and a bunch on the weekend to fix it. Sometimes I really hate research. Actually, it's more that I hate my own stupidity.

Feel dizzy and ill but am trying not to take any more escitalopram. Want to be done with it.

I did 20 min on the elliptical hoping it would make me feel better. It didn't make me feel worse.

It must be Friday the 13th.

Back to work insanity now.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

6x500 @85% effort --- feeling hopeful

I'm hopeful. Not because my workout was fast (it wasn't), but because 1) I felt decent during it, 2) I feel good (quite good) afterwards, and 3) I think I might be over the worst of the antidepressant taper. I feel more energetic than I have in a while. Maybe that's just placebo, or wishful thinking, but I feel good.

Calvin came with me to East High and we had the usual football player traffic at the end of the workout. Teenage boys are SO oblivious. Fortunately, when you yell at them "MOVE PLEASE!" they usually oblige (IF they hear you!).

Warm-up was sluggish but I felt more fluid and limber as I went. 1600m w/strides on the last lap.

The workout was good. I told Calvin I thought I'd do 3:05-3:10s but was surprised to do 3:02-3:07. VERY slow historically, but I don't care about that now (at least that's what I'm telling myself). It was warm, at 25C with 51% humidity, but a little breeze helped and I actually felt fine. Didn't feel overheated at all. Had some nice cold water between intervals :). Calvin did 2:15-2:39 (haha he went out too fast!) running. I tried to keep mine to 85% but I'm pretty sure the last 2-3 were a harder effort than that - my HR was up to 163-164 at the end. Still, I felt good, so I'm not worried. I could've pushed harder, so maybe it wasn't too fast?