Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Older, None the Wiser

There as something strange going on with my body. On Sunday the weighing scales reported 147.6 pounds. Nice. 24 hours later, and after a perfectly normal day, the same scales had me a whopping 5 pound heavier at 152.6! I was so staggered that I had to weigh myself again, just to prove to myself that I had not just imagined that.

During Monday the issue became a little bit clearer as I must have sprung a leak somewhere and was spending more time on the toilet than I care to remember; by Tuesday morning I had dropped 3 pounds and another one had followed by Wednesday, back to baseline (I was probably a little bit dehydrated on Sunday, hence the lower measurement). I have seen water retention like that twice before: both time following the days after a long ultra race. On these occasions some other symptoms were clear as well like swollen ankles, and the cause was of course obvious. This time round I haven’t noticed any swelling whatsoever and the cause is a mystery to me.

I know it had been a fairly tough weekend but I have done significantly harder training before, and in fact on Sunday I had been marvelling how well my legs had coped with the very hilly 20 mile run when they displayed no soreness and no signs of fatigue whatsoever!

One other notable thing was the pace for the easy runs on Monday and Tuesday. I do wear my Garmin on these runs but don’t ever look at it (it’s too dark to make out the numbers anyway), just record the numbers afterwards. I did a double take on Monday as this had been the slowest run in a very long time, yet the effort had been pretty much the same as always. Tuesday wasn’t much quicker but this time I wasn’t taken by surprise.

I was therefore curious what Wednesday’s evaluation would bring. It was a little bit windy which might have had a small effect on the numbers, but certainly no more than that.
        Mile 1    6:54   HR 160
        Mile 2    6:50   HR 161
        Mile 3    6:59   HR 161
        Mile 4    6:52   HR 161
        Recovery to HR 130: 44 seconds

The pace is pretty much the same as last time, but Good God that recovery time is just brutal. I noticed it straight away out on the road, after waiting for 20 seconds the HR was still somewhere around 155 until finally dropping quickly.

One (hopefully reasonable) explanation is that I am presently fighting off some bug. Two of the kids are sick at the moment. Apart from that water retention I haven’t got any symptoms, no headache or stomach ache, no runny nose and I’m not feeling tired or otherwise affected, but there could still something going on that only shows up when my body is under stress.

And in the meantime I happened to become another year older. I'm not moving up yet another age group, though that isn't far off. Niamh keeps insisting that I am now in the second half of my life and should act accordingly, but so far I have managed to keep resisting.

27 Jan
10 miles, 1:23:18, 8:19 pace, HR 136
28 Jan
10 miles, 1:21:40, 8:10 pace, HR 140
29 Jan
11.8 miles, 1:28:39, 7:30 pace, HR 150
     incl. 4 mile eval: 6:54, 6:50, 6:59, 6:52, 44 sec recovery


  1. Happy Birthday, Thomas! I haven't been running much lately and gained 8 pounds, if that's any reconciliation:)

  2. Happy Birthday kid. Tell Niamh you are acting accordingly - running is the result of your "mid-life" crisis. The water retention is another symptom - varicose veins are next!

  3. I've seen large weight changes overnight based on salt. One day I weighed myself and was up 4 lbs from the previous day, even though I ate very normal. As I pondered my day, I realized I ate the salt at the bottom of a bag of pretzels the evening before, probably 4 tablespoons. Within two days the weight was gone.

  4. Happy birthday young man. Spread Niamh's delicious birthday cake out over a couple of weeks and you won't stack on any more lbs.