Excuse my absence the last couple days, friends. I‘ve had some strange health issues that I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of and basically spent most of yesterday sleeping or in bed. I’ve been feeling craptastic for some time now (the past 4 weeks). You’ve heard me complaining here of GI probs on my run…well now they’ve carried over into regular life. And I’ve been having some other issues…heart palpitations, headaches, feeling weak. The only reason I’m listing them out here is because they have to do with an “episode” that I had while running on Tuesday.
But first, my 11 miler last Friday. I decided to change up my route a bit just for a mental break, so I ran out on a hilly rural road next to some vineyards and a lake. It was a nice change of scenery.
I meant to go farther than 11 miles, but like my other long runs in the past month, I started to feel nauseous and weak around mile 9. I’ve racked my mind over why I keep feeling this way (so suddenly, after running for years).
Maybe I was dehydrated? Nope, I’ve been setting up my water bottles and have been drinking both water and Nuun consistently.
Maybe I was overhydrated/drinking too much (my sodium levels were low)? Nope, I would feel the water sloshing in my stomach and I haven’t drank any differently than I have in all my past runs.
Maybe I was eating too soon before running? Nope, I was eating my usual Luna bar 2 hours prior to starting the run.
Maybe I was over heating? Maybe, but I don’t think so. I’ve been getting up super early to run and most of my runs are in the 70-76 degree temps.
Basically, I have no idea why I’ve been feeling this way. My legs feel great and I haven’t gotten injured but now the rest of my body doesn’t want to cooperate. I decided to go long again on Tuesday and to hydrate all day Sunday and Monday and eat very plain food the day before. The run started out fine. It was pretty humid and felt like I was running in a swamp, but the temps were actually a bit cooler. I took a full GU (my usual flavor) at mile 6, a half GU at mile 11.5, and had been hydrating with water and Nuun.
So all was fine until my “episode”. I was coming up on 14 miles and had been feeling mildly nauseous with a headache for the previous 2 miles. But I pushed on…until all of a sudden I felt incredibly weak, like my legs were totally out of energy. My heart–which has been giving me some trouble with palpitations since May–started beating super fast but felt like it wasn’t pumping blood, or working properly, or something. Then I started to black out. I could literally see my eyes black out. So I laid down on the street praying for someone to drive by just in case I was going into cardiac arrest or something. I focused on my breathing and was getting in air but it felt like the blood wasn’t going to my brain or something (so strange, right?). Let me just say that this was not like the feeling of hitting “the wall”, so that is not what happened. After lying down for 10 minutes I got up and started walking. All I had left with me was a bottle of water so I made sure to sip as I walked. Around mile 15 I started jogging again, but found I could only go about a half a mile before feeling like I was going to faint again. So I jogged/walked until I got to my car…16.67 miles later.
I was obviously really freaked about what had happened. I seriously thought that I was going to be one of those *incredibly rare* cases of a runner dying from sudden cardiac arrest. I was just worried that maybe something was wrong with my heart, especially because I’ve been having those palpitations since May. So when I got back I called the doctor and was able to go in immediately. She gave me an EKG and listened to my heart but said everything sounded fine. She assured me that palpitations can be caused by many things so I didn’t necessarily have a structural or electrical heart problem. After taking some blood I was on my way home, where I slept the rest of the day (have you ever fainted or come close to fainting? I have only ever fainted one other time and it takes everything out of you for 24 hours).
Early the next morning I got a call from my doctor. She said my blood glucose level was very low, a 59, at the time we took the blood (anything under 70 is low, and 50 is considered severely, dangerously low). That was a few hours after the run and after I had the Strawberry Protein drink, which has a ton of sugar, and a bagel sandwich. So it was probably much lower when I was running, which would explain why I would almost faint. So now I’m in the process of checking if I have “reactive hypoglycemia” or heaven forbid, diabetes. WHY would I all of a sudden have a blood sugar problem? Or maybe I’ve had a problem for awhile, which would explain the GI problems and headaches I’ve had for months. Not sure. But I hope to find out soon!!!!! I just want my runs (and the rest of life) to go back to “normal”.
I’m too nervous to go running alone until I get to the bottom of this so I’m going to either stay on the treadmill or hopefully get the bf to ride his bike alongside this weekend.
Have you ever felt faint during a run (or have you ever just fainted)?
Ever had heart palpitations?
I could use any words of encouragement, this has been very strange and scary…