Wednesday, January 13, 2010


2010 has been tough so far. I had a little panic attack yesterday. I'm not kidding. The symptoms are similar to a heart attack. My biggest symptom was the tight chest, but I've been battling a respiratory problem for 3-4 weeks, so I thought this could be that. No wheezing, but very very tight chest. Breathe deep and get light-headed. WTF. I'll finish that story in a minute.

I have been dealing with this cold for about a month. It came-on, I took a recovery week in the midst of my Boney Mt. build, but I could not shake it. After the "recovery" week when I was hoping to get back to some solid work, I was still having to negotiate. Okay, I'll do a couple of ez days, perhaps even nada, and then put-in something steady. And I did this. One day I did a 7 miler on a mountain, very steady. I did some pretty steep stuff on the treadmill very steady all to simulate Boney Mt., show-up over the cold and have fun. But the cold just didn't go away.

The kicker was a run on the Monday before Boney (5 days out). I went to a familiar trail, headed-out feeling pretty good (sure a little stuffy but not enough to go home and sleep), hit a climb, flew up that, and then my chest seized. No wheezing, just tightness. I walked back to the car and drove to the Urgent Care. The doc looked at me, said I sounded pretty clear (no wheezing) and said I could start some antibiotics since I'd had the cold for ~3 weeks, but simply using my inhaler, and taking some claritin was his recommendation. I did start a little Z-pac just to make sure if the virus had turned, that would get taken care of. So, more meds. I started hitting the claritin often, twice a day instead of once. The nasal congestion I think is the real culprit. My chest ends up with the drain-off, which then irritates that. The very very dry conditions we've been having tend to irritate the respiratory systems of many.

This Monday before the race where I end up at the doc clinched the scratch of Boney Mt. Really disappointed. It was my first trail race ever in '08. It is a beautiful area to run. Oh well, back to my health.

The rest of last week I really took it easy. I have been lifting a lot. Squats, upper-body, a little core work. Lifting a lot. For me. I feel great on that end. I did a few ez cardio exercises just to keep the blood flowing. Then late in the week I started to run.

I decided, inspired by an OC athlete Slater Fletcher, that I would run 30 days in a row. I know a few people that might think this is small change, but I just wanted to get moving, get very consistent and see what happens. Half of all of this training stuff is mental. How can you frame the work?

So, on Sunday 1/10, I started. 5 miles pretty ez at the gym. Felt okay. I'm on the mend. Monday 6 miles running on feel, quicker than ez, just enjoying the insane weather we had (really warm and clear). At about mile 4 I started dealing with some snot. Practically choked on some of the nasal shit. Glad I was outside. Tough 6 miles. Then on Tuesday (yesterday), we were in Palm Springs so my wife and I went for a little run on one of the "mountain" trails. I felt good. I'm over this thing. I started sauntering up the mountain (very steep) with a comfortable jog, no HRM, but definitely O2 debt material. At a about .25 of a mile my chest seizes up. I hike another mile (very steep), try to clear my pipes, end-up jogging some of the more rolling stuff, turn around at 2 miles, and jog back down. Feel pretty good.

4 miles, 1300 ft. of climbing.

After we shower and get dressed, a tightness in the chest just doesn't seem to go away. I take some meds. Still there.

I have a lot of stuff on my plate right now. I lost my job, we're moving, we're trying to sell some furniture online, besides all the other trials and tribulations life throws your way and I think this cold is the last straw. That's a little list of the stressors in my life right now but each one, given a chance to monologue, would fill a concert hall. Each resonates with a lot of emotion and problem solving. That's life. My work-outs give me a chance to burn-off some of that. A few cold ones give me a chance to kick it, and relax. The inability to exercise and "recover" has upset this significant balance.

I was having a panic attack. I think I did stress the chest a little on such a steep trail, running, dry air and all. But my body was suggesting that I was having other problems as well. My wife, a psychologist, finally suggested I might be worrying my way into this state. I generally do not worry that much. I can handle a lot of heat. But I think she was right. We actually thought about going to see a doctor. I was worried. Short of breath. Then she gave me a hug. And we talked about what I might be feeling. And then. . .

she gave me a beer. I sipped it. She gave me another. It tasted good. I was feeling better. She winked at me and said you just took the equivalent of Xanax. Don't ever underestimate the value of a beer.

Here's the verdict. I have a lot going on. A kind of perfect storm. The cold is probably a symptom of all the stress as well as part of the season. And I have been exercising off and on through out, which may not help. I have been exercising too hard most likely. It's been a very tough few month or so.

I am 343 on my 30 day goal. I will run ez today. I will run everyday, but I'm not quite out of the woods yet on this cold. Yesterday reminds me of that, and as I sit here I can feel that is the case. But I will run ez. Everyday. Until I can run harder.

I want nothing more (other than new working and living gigs) than to run on a steep trail under a blue sky and finish the day with a really cold beer. This is part of the maintenance of a delicate system.

As for the title of this post(I almost forgot). I guess I refer to this cold. This last year end of '08 to the end of '09 has not been with out me catching a few colds. BOHICA: Bend Over Here It Comes Again.


  1. Wow. Lots in here.

    Snot needs to stay outside.
    Beer = Xanex. There is a book in that.
    343 on day 30? I don't get it.

    And then damn on the panic attack. Holy crap. Scary. But I am glad you got it figured out.

    I know the medicine you sent me was damn good.

  2. 343 = 3 for 3. I need to go get 4 for 4 done right now.


  3. I think we have the same tastes for IPA's. I was having a Harpoon Leviathan Imperial IPA the other day - NICE!
    Let me know if you're interested in swapping soe East Coast / West Coast IPA's...

  4. get healthy dude.. the trails and ales aren't going any where!

    if you do end up trading beers with rick... i would go 2 for 1... he gives you 2, you give one. most east coast IPA are more malty and cannot even come close to the epic hop bombs all our local breweries are putting out... we got it good!