"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What Does a 1,000 km Recovery Look Like?

1. Nightmares. Day 12 of being off the track. I continue to have nightmares every night. I guess it's not really fair to say they're "nightmares." They're just annoying dreams where I am back on the track, completing some section slower or faster than the time I did in reality. There's almost never a problem or dilemma, it's just me on the track every night in my sleep. Rolf has been having the dreams, too - only his are where he's trying to get to me on the dirt roads, never knowing if they're going to be passable, gated, under construction, re-routed, or inundated. For excitement, his brain added Mexican banditos to his dream the other night.

2. Elevated Heart Rate. After any event, my resting HR is up from its usual happy place (sub-40 bpm) to somewhere around 52 bpm. It tends to come down in chunks at a time. A short ultra - I'm back to normal within a week. The Sri Chinmoy 24 hr event - it was 3 weeks before it completely reduced to baseline. So, with this event I expected an elevated HR for a good 3 weeks. Throughout the event it was 52-54 and my blood pressure was normal (BP tested in the hospital). Since the event, my HR has actually increased. That was fascinating. It went up to the high 50s and then around Day 7 post-event it peaked at a RHR of 69. That was a bit discomforting, actually, because it's just never that high. I decided to work from home a bit more and juggled my schedule a bit to try to reduce the amount of time I needed to be walking/moving/dealing with stressors. My muscles feel great, but especially for the first week, I was easily physically exhausted.

3. Tick Bite Reactions. These seem to have finally stopped itching three days ago. Fantastic, as the itching was really making it hard to get to sleep. That's over 3 weeks since the actual bites. Next time I wear my 95% DEET.

4. Muscle and Nerve Spasms. These are still keep me from getting to sleep for about an hour each night. When I lay down, my adductors, calves, and feet go into spasms. Some is just twitchy stuff and some is painful "nervy." Some of my toes feel numb to touch - if you've ever had frozen toes (skiing?), it's like that.

5. Sunburn. My molt is nearly complete. The left ear, left tricep, and tops of both hands have mostly finished peeling and the itch is mild today.

6. Weight. My metabolism was on overdrive so I've been eating more than usual and more than necessary. My brain just seems to be getting the message now that I'm not running and is slowing down its hunger demands. That's good because I've probably put on a kilo.

7. Anterior Compartment Syndrome. Since completing the event, I've now heard from two people who raced Tor des Geants (if you think what I did was insane, look at that one) and both developed the same thing. And reading Jen Pharr-Davis's blog of her AT record breaking hike this year, she also got it. The difference with me, though, was that I only got it in one shin. With hindsight, I realised I've had a lump come and go on occasion in that shin over the past few years. And the day before I started the event, my new massage therapist noted the fascial tightness there. Understandably, he didn't want to work it aggressively. But I had no idea the writing was on the wall with that little comment of his. The swelling has decreased considerably but there is still a small tender lump on the shin. And I have an uncomfortable pain on the lateral/bottom of my foot that makes me limp. This is the "ball bearing" feeling I felt when running some days. Now that the shin has gone down, this has "turned up" in volume. Today I added the radioactive "bone scan" to my list of tests. I heard whispers of "cuboid" and "metatarsal"...we'll find out tomorrow if the original scan actually missed a stressie!

In regards to my general health, however, I'm very well. I'm really pleased with how my nutrition was throughout the event. Despite the massive sleep dep and the fact that Rolf got sick on Day 3 and one of my pacers had a cold, I didn't get sick during or after. I kept up with my probiotics (yoghurt every morning) and Udo's Oil and Rolf bought me antioxidants on the road (blueberries, yum).

But with all this negativity I'm ranting on about (sorry, it's cathartic), could I possibly miss anything about the track/event? Yes, after 12 days I can now say I do. I miss the beauty and peace of being in the bush (without biting, burning, and buzzing things it would be all the more). I miss the simplicity of knowing every day what my job was. I miss the routine. I miss the quality time with Rolf.

P.S. For photos with this post, I decided to highlight my mates who came out and shared some of the journey, plugging their ears to my whinging and staying ever so calm, happy, and helpful. Thanks, guys.

My donation page for Inclusion WA is staying open another week...Thanks to everyone, we're at $4,200 and I hope to hit $5,000 before I call it a day. If I have a stressie, maybe it'll earn me some more points ;)

1 comment: