Absence, Injuries, Illness – and me

I’ve gone from almost-every-day posting to almost-no posting, and here’s why. Last week Tuesday I was struck with a fever completely out of the blue – about 102-103F – and Wednesday I woke up with swollen tender painful red streaks down my left side. It turns out I had a skin infection – the cause of the fever – which moved into my lymph nodes and, well, my left breast. The infection is what caused the fever. I’ve been on antibiotics since Wednesday, and I do seem to be getting better, albeit slowly; the fever is long gone, but the red streaks and marks are just now starting to subside.

I do not necessarily know what caused it, but I wanted to post a mention of it, because there’s a decent chance that I got it from the Warrior Dash. Please note that I’m not saying “The Warrior Dash gave me an infection / got me sick” or “You shouldn’t do the Warrior Dash because it’s full of filthy illness.” All I am saying is, if you’re someone whose immune system is already a little compromised, and you’re prone to getting sick and getting infections and fighting these things off, you may want to take extra care at the Warrior Dash because you’re going to be swimming through untreated lake water and crawling through what is probably germ-filled mud. It’s just a word of caution! My guess is many people (who have normally working immune systems) won’t even have to worry about it. No one else in my group got sick at all.

So that experience had me flat out in my bed for 2-3 days last week, for starters. I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be running very much while fighting an infection with antibitics anyway.

In the meantime I also started physical therapy. I went once last week and was thoroughly unimpressed at the session: I got almost no relief out of it and was instead assigned some seemingly useless exercises to do every hour (nearly impossible at the job I work).  I did the exercises when I could, but didn’t think they were doing much, and was overall discouraged and irritated. However, I went back yesterday and found the session a lot more relieving. I was given 15 minutes wrapped in a hot pad to start; then I did some actual exercises with the therapist (an arm bike, which was actually pretty funny, because it feels really dumb to pedal a bike with your hands; then some weight exercises for my shoulders and traps – which were extremely low-weight versions of exercises I had already been doing in my heavy weight lifting period, which implies that maybe trying NROL4W was a contributor to this problem in the first place). Then afterwards they put me on traction for 10 minutes. Can I be in traction every day. Oh my god, it felt so good. They put a clamp around your head and basically pull it upwards from your neck at a set pressure for some time, then relieve it, then do it again. Holy shit. It was amazing. I’m not sure how much lasting relief it will provide – and the problem isn’t entirely in my neck; it’s in my shoulders and upper back too – but I feel the second session was a lot more promising.

So between the infection/fever and physical therapy, I have not had a lot of time or opportunity (or, to be honest, motivation) to work out very much. On Friday morning I did go to the gym and run a fairly easy 3 miles followed by a 20 min swim, which felt quite nice, but I haven’t done much of anything since then. My company is hosting a lot of interview candidates this week so I am not sure I’ll have time to do anything until tomorrow or Friday.

I am pretty much resigning myself to not performing very well on my part of the Akron Marathon Relay. The rest of my team is fighting injuries too, so I don’t think I’ll necessarily be hardcore disappointing anyone, but it is pretty demotivating to look back through the recent history of this blog and see how much time I have lost to injury and bullshit.

I will continue to run: I have three Fridays before the race, on which I can do the 7-mile loop near my house that I’ve been using, and I’ll put in what miles I can on the other days. After that race is over, however, I may need a very long break from both weightlifting and long running until I can heal the damage I’ve done to my body. I’ll need to make a plan to move forward, because otherwise I won’t do much of anything. :/

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The Warrior Dash (Ohio 2)

Last Sunday I did the Warrior Dash with a group of people from work. For those who may not know, the Warrior Dash is  a ~3.1-mile course with 10-12 “obstacles” you must complete to get through the course. It’s harder than a typical 5K that way, but it also isn’t straight running. We didn’t do it for a time – there were people in our group that couldn’t even run the entire thing – but it was fun to finish anyway.

I think the obstacles were a fair balance between “challenging” and “things most able-bodied people will actually be able to complete”. There were some water obstacles: one place with chest-high water and logs you had to climb over; one deep-water swim, only maybe 10 yards; some wading through streams and mud. There were a lot of climbing obstacles too: climb up these platforms then shimmy over the top and drop straight back down to the groups; a cargo net climb; a cargo net elevated parallel to the ground you had to crawl over; a tiny platform up against a wall with handholds over water.

They weren’t “easy”, but they weren’t death-defyingly physical. I didn’t feel like I wouldn’t be able to do any of them. Overall, I definitely think anyone in decently active shape would be able to finish the race. (We actually ran most of the race in-between obstacles, although we then did have to stop and wait for most of our group.) Anyone who sits around all day might have a little trouble – but may actually be able to complete the obstacles, with enough effort.

You definitely get dirty, though. The final event is a belly crawl through probably two feet of wet, slimy mud. there’s barbed wire over the top so you have to go through the mud, and it’s deep enough that you just get coated from about the chin down. I know part of the fun of the race is getting filthy but that just felt cheap. And the way they hose you down at the end isn’t great or efficient or anything. I don’t really mind mud, though, I’m just saying. 😛 My bathtub is still recovering!!

Overall it was a lot of fun. I wouldn’t mind doing another Warrior Dash and actually trying to race it! Although it was also fun going in a group, and it would be hard to ‘race’ as a group. It’s a fun race, and it’s hard, but it isn’t nearly as terrifying as they make it out to be. I recommend it!

 

Week 08 Update

Well, I ended up taking both Tues and Wed as rest days. I don’t necessarily feel too bad about it; the thing in my neck is still bad. I’m going to physical therapy next Tuesday and I don’t plan to do any weights until the physical therapist tells me what is and isn’t a good idea.

Thursday I ran about 4 miles. I did a warmup, and then 3mi worth of 0.5mi hard / 0.25mi easy intervals, then cool down. Doing the intervals I made a point of focusing on effort rather than speed – the route I run for a 4mi run is hilly out and downhill back, so I focused on perceived exertion level and heart rate instead. Especially for the rest intervals – something I have trouble with; I focused on jogging not walking but going easy enough that my heart rate actually came down. It was one of those runs I didn’t expect to feel as good as it did; it was hard while I was going but I felt great afterwards.

Friday (today) I went back to the pool, and swam for 40 minutes. I got myself a cheap waterproof watch, so I was able to structure a workout a little better this time:

  • 5x100s free on 2:00 easy as warmup (10:00)
  • repeated twice, 20:00 total:
    – 5×50 free on 1:00, hard (5:00)
    – 25 breast, 25 back/kick drills, easy, 200 yards straight (5:00)
  • 25 breast, 25 back/kick, 25 free, easy, for 500 yards in 10:00

1900 yards total. Longer than Monday’s swim. Like I said, I’ve noticed that what I have trouble with is my breath, not my endurance – if I stop to catch my breath in between each 50 I can keep going and going, and when I’m doing easy back/breast/free I can keep going and going for 10 min with no stopping. I am pleased with all of this. Also pleased because my body has that overall tired feeling from a good workout, without any pain. No sharp stabs or deep aches. I just feel like I had some really good exercise. is this what working out is like for other people?

Nothing now until the Warrior Dash on Sunday — I hope to update with some photos!!