4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for the ‘sick’ Category

Updates and upcoming races

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Just wanted to catch you up on what’s happening with me. In the last two weeks, I’ve been dealing with a bunch of issues, it seems.

First, I’ve had these nagging injuries that don’t all seem to want to go away. Two weeks ago I went for a bike ride on Tuesday night and followed that up with a 10 mile run on Wednesday night. While the run was fantastic, I evidently aggravated something new in the groin/hip, which I could feel a bit at the start of my run, but was quite painful after the run was over. I needed to take 3 days off to recover before my planned long run on Sunday.

My long run on Sunday was great! I plotted a hilly and challenging course (see it here) starting with a loop of Central Park, then up (literally) St Nicholas and Ft Washington to Fort Tryon Park. There I met up with Joe, who accompanied, and paced, me down Riverside back to Central Park. 20.6 miles in all, and feeling good.

On Monday, I lifted weights at the gym and did my first pool swim of the year (gotta start tri training), and then promptly came down with the flu on Tuesday afternoon. I really took good care of myself, but the flu is the flu, and I’m still not 100%.  Today is day 4 in a row with no workout!

In all, this means I’m not quite prepared for this Sunday’s March Madness Biathlon in Central Park. I just have not been on my bike enough, and have not had a chance to work on hills yet. The double loop of the park will be tough, to say the least. That is OK though. It is my 3rd MM, and my 4th biathlon in CP, so I have nothing to prove this time around.  Participating is reward enough. I am just regretting that it will likely be 30 degrees (or colder) at race time early Sunday. Not ideal for biking, at least for me!

Then, upcoming is 13.1 New York next Saturday, and the Tough Mudder, with Joe, the following Sunday. Looking forward to all 3 events in these 3 weeks! Hopefully I’ll be motivated to post some race reports here…


Written by SCL

March 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Posted in injury, Looking Ahead, sick

My Bout with Shingles

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It started with a tingling feeling in my back, exploded into a very uncomfortable rash, and then slowly got better after a few weeks.  The ‘it’ was Shingles, and wow it was rough.  Shingles is a re-emergence of chicken pox, caused by stress.  You can only get shingles if you have already had chicken pox, and while contagious, you can only pass the chicken pox to others that have not had it before or have not been vaccinated, but you cannot pass shingles itself.

Here’s a description of how it went down for me.

First symptoms

At the end of May, over Memorial Day weekend, I took a business trip to Nairobi, Kenya.  Very exciting trip to take, but a long way from home.  Was certainly quite stressed out about work, about leaving my family for a week, and the long trip is a stress on the body also.  Left on Saturday night, flew to Amsterdam and continued onto Nairobi.  In all more than a 25 hour door to door trip.  I expected to be a bit jet-lagged and to take a couple of days to get over it.  On Monday evening, I ran on the treadmill in the hotel gym.  With a 20 minute limit, I could only run a little more than 2 miles, and felt fine.  On Tuesday morning, went to treadmill again, and was able to get 40 minutes in.  However, when I came off the treadmill, I felt incredibly dizzy and run down.  I attributed it to the 6000 feet of altitude where Nairobi is located and didn’t think much of it.  That day was a Kenyan holiday and I was off from work.  Spent the day napping and just feeling out of it.  I think it was after that when I noticed I felt a bit tingly in my back.  It is similar to the feeling I get when I am about to get sick with a fever.  Tried to make sure I got lots of sleep the rest of the week, and did not run any more.

In the next couple of days, I didn’t feel any more sick, but that tingly feeling remained.  Thursday night I headed home, another very long trip, through Dubai, and arrived in New York Friday morning.  I was not feeling sick at all, but still had that tingly feeling in my back.  I just figured it was due to the long travel and jet lag, and my wife and I headed out for a weekend we had planned in Middlebury Vt.  Drove up to Vermont on Friday.  On Friday night, I first noticed a rash forming on my chest.

The next day, the rash seemed worse, but I went out on a bike ride that I had planned, and felt very fatigued.


It was after the disappointing bike ride that I started to research what the problem might be.  It didn’t take long, after some searching on the internet, to start seeing references to shingles.  After looking at pictures of people with shingles, and looking at my rash, I was reasonably sure that is what I had.  At that time, it was not painful, and not even uncomfortable.  The rash was just forming, but was not inhibiting me in any way.  The telltale sign was that the rash was only on my right side and in a band from my chest around to my back.  After some more research, I found that it was important to get a diagnosis from your doctor within 48 hours of the start of the rash, to start antiviral medication that helps to limit the severity of the rash.  Since I was far from home, and would not be able to see my doctor for another 2 days, I decided to go to the emergency room in Middlebury.  This was actually a pleasant experience, and we were in and out in no time, with some medication and prescription to be filled.  From that point, just watched the rash get worse and worse and started to feel very uncomfortable.


The most interesting thing about my shingles was that I was not ever in a lot of pain.  I was in some pain and I was very uncomfortable, especially when wearing a shirt, but it was not the kind of pain you hear people talk about that have had shingles before.  I stayed home from work on Monday and Tuesday.  On Tuesday, I was able to get in to see my doctor, and she was amazed that I was not in more pain, based on how I looked, and attributed it to my active lifestyle!  I was signed up for a triathlon that coming Sunday morning, and my doctor strongly advised me not to run it.  She said that I could start exercising again once the rash started healing over.

By Wednesday, there was definitely some healing in the rash, but it had a long way to go.  Since it was all covered by my clothing, and I was not in a lot of pain, I decided to go back to work.  At that point, I was just hoping for enough healing for me to race in the triathlon on Sunday.  As each day went by, the rash was a little better, but I had a couple of big ones on my side and back and those continued to hurt and feel bad when wearing clothing.  When Sunday came around, I skipped the race simply because the rash was not healed yet and I was afraid the wetsuit and the 2 hours of sweating would set it back.  So continued to rest.

Besides the pain and the uncomfortableness of the rash itself, the biggest issue for me was the medication.  It really did a number on my stomach, and the entire week I took the medication I had severe stomach issues.  Each day was a struggle.

Finally, on Sunday I stopped the medication and my stomach started getting back to normal, and by the following Wednesday, I felt that there was enough healing in the rash that I could go for a run.  While I was still uncomfortable while wearing a shirt, I found that I felt perfectly fine running!  That first day, I just ran a rough 4 miler, but I continued to run every single day, in fact for 15 days straight!

It probably took another week for the rash to completely heal to the point where I didn’t feel any pain or uncomfortableness anymore.  For several weeks afterwards the rash was still visible on my body, and now, almost 2 months later, has about completely faded away.  In all, it was about 3-4 days before the rash formed, almost 2 weeks for the rash to heal, and then another week until I felt all better again.

While this was a rough thing to go through, I am very thankful it was not as bad for me as it could have been.  I’ve also learned a lot of about this disease, and found that it is common in older people, where it can be debilitating.  In fact, there is vaccination available that is more commonly given people over 60.  While I’ve been told it is rare for the same person to get shingles twice, I’ve anecdotally heard that it is in fact possible.  At least now I’m aware of the warning signs and perhaps would be able to start taking medication sooner to further limit the extent of the damage.

Written by SCL

July 27, 2010 at 6:21 am

Posted in sick

Still sick, but getting better

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Been down for the count most of the week.  No, not the Swine Flu (I think!), but just your garden variety head cold and nasal congestion.  I foolishly didn’t let it stop me from playing in our opening night softball game on Wed (we won!) so my recovery is a little slower than anticipated.  As a result, I’ve done nothing, repeat NOTHING, all week in terms of swimming, biking or running.  Need to get another day of rest, and then back on the proverbial horse  starting Sunday.

Next challenge is that my mother-in-law, who picks up and babysits my 7 year old every day after school and evenings when necessary, is on vacation for 2 weeks.  So, my wife or I need to pick up the slack after school or in the evenings, which means I’m going to lose my primo exercise windows.

Guess between full-time job, 2 kids, weekend house, and illnesses/injuries, there is always something waiting around the corner to eat into the training schedule…

Written by SCL

May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in sick

Feeling a bit ill today

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Ugh.  Getting a sore throat today.  We’ll see if it is just an annoying cold that runs its course quickly, or if it turns into a big deal.  All that Swine Flu news is certainly not making me feel any better!  Was planning to go to the pool to swim today.  Guess I’ll skip it…

In other VERY GOOD news, my groin injury has mostly gone away!  I only first wrote about it in March, but it had been nagging me since last year.  I was a little scared last week when my entire upper inner thigh started to hurt.  I think I aggrevated the whole area during a bike ride.  However, the thigh pain went away quickly, and the increased biking in the last 2 weeks seems to have been helping out.  Now, there is only a very dull ache if I really stretch to find it. 

Injuries are weird.  Sometimes, there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why they flare up, and sometimes, they just go away when least expected.  Anyway, I’m not complaining!  I’m sure something else will start hurting soon to take it’s place.

Written by SCL

April 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Posted in injury, sick