Aug. 2, 2012
Two weeks ago, I received the results of my blood work. What I was told didn’t come as a surprise …
November, 2007 was a tough time for me. I was taking classes full-time at Kent State University, working full-time as editor of Ohio Sports & Fitness and training for various trail races (07 was my fourth race season and I had completed one 50K in 06 and a half IM in 05/06). Needless to stay, my body was under a lot of stress. I had been keeping this schedule for more than one year. One morning I woke up feeling like crap. I was exhausted and felt like I had been used as a punching bag. Basically, I had flu-like symptoms, it was time to go see the doctor.
I went to the KSU health center. The doctor I had an appointment was old school. He did the standard tests. My blood test revealed my cholesterol level was elevated and my triglycerides were extremely high. I was told I had mono and that I had to go on cholesterol meds. Nope, I wasn’t going on meds. I changed my diet and dealt with fatigue.
That doctor was let go and I saw a new doctor, to address the fatigue which had not subsided. More blood work. Cholesterol was a little higher and triglycerides were higher 404… not good. I was also given a glucose test. The results were off – I was told I may have diabetes … high triglycerides indicate an inflamed pancreas.
Next step, pancreatic scan. Results: normal. Now what? Endocrinologist.
Not in the budget.
Months went by and I did more tests with new doctors. I think I had four different doctors. A lot of turn over and changes at the health center. All in a matter of months.
So, I did what any type A triathlete/trail runner does. I continued to train, work and study. I did take one month off, December 2007. I slept a lot and I mean a lot.
I went through many tough months, years of deadlines for the magazine, group projects, mid-term and finals … it was never-ending. I even did an internship in 09, along with everything else I was doing – I know, crazy!
July, 2012: I finally hit rock bottom. It was a Friday and I couldn’t get off the couch. I slept all day. The last three months I was suffering from extreme fatigue. All I wanted to do was sleep. That is not me. I started a new job, January 2012. More stress. How much can one person handle? Apparently, a lot!
The results of my blood work: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome /Adrenal Fatigue.
Like I said, this came as no surprise. Actually, I felt relieved.
My new doctor, Dr. Kocha asked me to take 12 weeks off of training, and he said it with a big smile. Not a fun smile, but a smile that indicated he knew I wasn’t going to like what he was saying. And he was right, but I prepared myself for that outcome. Taking 12 weeks off will not be easy, but I am so exhausted, a small part of me and I mean small looks forward to the off time. The off time is no running. Just light cycling and swimming.
I will begin my 12-week, low intensity, no running, stick-a thorn-in-my-side and torture me more with walking instead of running regime.
Five yeas ago I would have been devastated. Now, well I don’t have the energy to fight it. That is how tired I am.
Fatigue is tough. I am not just tired. I am having a hard time staying focused. Without focus, it is hard to complete tasks, with good results. Since I was able to push myself to train, I can push myself to work and get results. I just have to do it between naps.
I wanted to share this for a few reasons:
It’s easy to overlook symptoms. As athletes we are always pushing ourselves, demanding more and more and more. Good is never god enough. This mentality eventually catches up with you.
How will I handle this: I am gonna do things I never have time for, because I am always swimming, biking or running. I am going to finish my last few classes at KSU and achieve my B.A. I would like to take a cooking class or cake decorating class. I can come up with many more things I would like to do – and I just may do that.
If you are feeling any fatigue, I urge you to take some time off. Yes, it will be tough, but your health is more important than running faster or winning your age group. In hind sight, that is what I would do. Five years of feeling like crap is five years I lost doing things good, instead of half-assed, because I refused to take time off.
If you have a question, or need help redirecting your energy, contact me. I would be happy to converse with you.