Saturday, January 7, 2012

Training Hiccups

Training hiccups -- we all get them. Something comes along and messes up your training. You either didn't see it coming, or you had a feeling that "niggle" wasn't really a niggle after all, or perhaps your pool shut down for 3 weeks 4 weeks out from a key race. These things happen. You just gotta rolllllll with them, do not resist, and do everything that you can do to optimize your training given your new, current situation.

Where am I at? I had a wee hiccup these last 2-3 weeks. A couple weeks ago, I'd gone to the doctors to get myself on the birth control pill or some other non-condom contraceptive. Nothing to do with training, right? Well, after the doctor took notes on my life history, after blood testing, I was told that I had a mild form of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, the very reason why I was getting my period a scant 5 times a year, if that. Some of the symptoms fit, many didn't... and my high level of athleticism combined with low end of normal iron levels could have explained the infrequent periods. But now we knew the real reason.  So, I started a birth control pill that also contained an anti-androgen (blocks androgens, which are in excess in my body). Sweet deal. Then my period rolled around a week before Christmas and DID. NOT. STOP. Full on period for 18 days, let me tell you I quickly grew very weak, tired, and out of breath. My muscles felt all crampy and sore even though I hadn't done much training at all. At one point, I simply gave up and for 5 days all I did was "exercise" rather than train - I just went out and ran, swam, or rode my bike whenever or however long I felt. Nothing topped 2hrs of training per day, that's for sure. My TrainingPeaks log looked very sad indeed, when it is usually filled with bright colours and completed hours.

Finally, after 2 1/2 weeks of bleeding, I ended up speaking with my doctor at run group and he told me I should come in immediately to take a medication that would stop uterine bleeding completely, and that I should take it for long enough that...
1. I don't have my period until after Challenge Wanaka.
2. I have enough rest that my body can actually produce more hemoglobin.
3. I re-evaluate my goals for race day, and I take more rest rather than lower volume, high intensity tapering.
4. I continue to take iron supplements, eat good quality red meat, stay on the birth control pill to balance out hormone levels, and continue with this new medication, Norethisterone to stop and prevent further bleeding.

Oh yes, all this is not exactly the most exciting of stuff but it is relevant to my triathlon life so I figured I'd post it. I'd say 99% of the time my triathlon life is AWESOME, I love it, I'm working hard, cruising when I need to, excited to race and crush people... and other times a hiccup or two is thrown my way and I deal with it.

I'm going into Challenge Wanaka half-iron distance in 2 weeks time with a new mindset: get well rested, lose a bit of fitness but perhaps all the rest will have me lighting fires under all engines come race day and I will willingly mentally and physically put it all out there. I'm excited. 13 days to go!!

1 comment:

  1. Very glad you got that figured out!
    Sounds like no fun at all to have your period for 18 friggen days.
    Whenever I have mine, like clock-work it's a head-exploding migraine that comes my way.
    I finally have a doc and will hopefully figure that out soon enough.
    You're right, training hiccups definitely do happen and they can be irritating of course and derail us but the truth is I think they make us that much stronger and better at dealing with the next ones that come our way.
    People who cannot deal with hiccups are those who fizzle out and stop doing what they're doing. I see a whole lot of that while coaching.... albeit I often coach beginners and recreational runners, it's still a lesson to see that happen.
    Attitude is everythin and you certainly have a good one! :)
    Have you done any research about taking b/c and training? I was actually contemplating going off it to see what would happen since I've been taking it for so long. But yesterday I got smacked in the face with the worst migraine of my life and it was not a pretty sight. Since I originally went on b/c to control the migraines I'm at least a little bit scared they'll just get worse when I don't have my period (whenever I'm off them for the week when I have my period, that's when I get migraines)
    Stuff to discuss with the doc I guess.