Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Coach Spencer Runs in the Woods

Friday, December 13, 2013

Derby 50K & Health Scare

The folks at Mangum Track Club put on excellent events... or at least I've always heard. Hinson Lake 24 Hour Run is the only one I'd ever done & it, of course, is excellent. I've always wanted to get to some others but they've either not fit my schedule or they filled up before I could register. I was happy to put the Derby 50K on my schedule a few months ago & looked forward to it.
For the past 2 years, I've struggled with injuries which have left me perpetually out of shape & 35 pounds heavier than I was 24 months ago. Frustrating. I thought I'd kicked it but in July, I had another setback with a serious achilles injury. Life & laziness got in the way of decent training once I was able to. I was able to get in some good long runs, but haven't put in the consistency I should've. I was looking forward to really racing Derby a few months ago, but would settle with finishing comfortably.

Derby, NC really is in the middle of nowhere. Open farmland. The course is three 10.5 mile loops- which I really appreciated. I like knowing what's ahead. The long runs I've done have all been on single track trail, so adapting to the (attempt at) even pacing on roads was a challenge early on. Later in the race, it didn't seem to matter. The hills & wind were a little more than I'd expected, but I did enjoy the course & organization.

I had some of my usual GI problems but it didn't ruin my race. Threw up at MILE THREE of the race- I think from nerves more than anything. I was actually tired 3 miles into it though! Experienced quite a bit of general fatigue but no other problems. I was VERY slow, finishing in 5:09. My PR from 2 years ago was 3:54, so this race was a humbling experience for someone already in doubt. But it was also affirming that- hey, at the worst shape you're going to be in (other than injured & unable to run), you can still finish a 50K. Races like this- the first one back after a stretch- also serve to inspire. "I'm going to get serious now."

I didn't run for a couple of days so I could recover. That Tuesday, I didn't run because we had a track meet & I felt like I was getting sick. Wednesday, I didn't run because I experienced some shortness of breath & chest pain. Thursday, I ran 3 miles & struggled to breathe. Late that night, some nurse & EMT friends on Facebook told me it sounded like pulmonary embulism- a blood clot in my lung. Of course, that was worrisome & I decided to go to the ER. 3 days of chest pain isn't something to take lightly, I guess. Spent the night in the hospital & was told my tests looked OK, but not to do anything- to go home & stay in bed for a day or two and then no physical activity for a couple of weeks. Sigh... Went to my regular doctor this week & she gave ruled out heart issues & gave me an inhaler. It's worked wonders. No more symptoms. Not sure if I'm sick or if its some asthma-like symptoms, but just happy to be breathing & running again.

So now, in worse shape than I was in before Derby, I'll run the Table Rock 54 Miler tomorrow at Linville Gorge... or I may drop to the 50K... or I may stay home. I'm on the fence. 


Anonymous said...

Sometimes I forget you're an athlete all your own too. You're so busy coaching everyone else. Selfless.

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