Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Down and out

Not only does the fatigue monster reek havoc with being a runner, it reeks havoc with the mind. The frustration at times is overwhelming and the body really misses those wonderful endorphin fixes that were readily available from a healthy body.

The other issue is that of how other people perceive you. You look fit and healthy and you can go out for a jog, so surely you must be making up this whole fatigue thing?! There is a definite feeling that people view unexplained chronic fatigue conditions with a lot of skepticism. Indeed there are still those that believe the fatigue is 'all in the mind' and that you really just need to 'snap out of it'! It's hard enough dealing with your own doubts, let alone having to deal with those of others! It is very easy to see why long term sufferers of CFS can become quite depressed. Their body won't cooperate AND people just don't believe them! Yep, at least when you have an injury you can show it to people or explain it and its deemed a more believable/acceptable scenario. As runners we are often guilty of letting our injured/fatigued friends down when they can't join in. It can be a lonely time when you can't run!

I did follow the plan and take two days off before the handicap. It felt like it had paid off for the first 4 km and then the wheels really fell off! I suspect that a major factor there was just old fashioned lack of suitable training. The typical fatigue signs weren't really evident except maybe for the last 1 km or so. For those 8 km I averaged 5:35 min/km with an average HR of 160 bpm. Looking at the data, it was something like 5 min/km for the first 4 km and then 6+ min/km for the 2nd half. The HR data confirm a decent effort, but still nothing like what I've been able to do previously.

Today was an 'easy' run day in lovely sunny conditions around the lake. I bumped into Roger and Mr B also out enjoying the conditions. Not a great run, but I did manage to cover 11 km at 6 min/km pace with an average HR around 140 bpm.

So now another day off and then I will see if a bit of tempo is tolerable. If not, then just more of the same .... sigh ....  Just remember that if you have sick or injured running friends, check in on them and let them know you are thinking of them.  They can still drink coffee and likely really need the company.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


There is no real pattern to this fatigue monster. It makes it impossible to plan for an upcoming event as even after several days off, the fatigue can still be quite evident. On the other hand, it can also just completely fade into the background with no rationale as to why! Yesterday I had thought I would head out at lunch time to make up for the fact that there won't be a long run on the weekend due to the ACTVAC handicap. In my head I had thought that I'd try some hill repeats just to see how things were, IF at the start of the run it felt okay. Well yesterday was a day that I felt pretty awesome by recent standards, a 3 out of 3! Given that awesome feeling I did 5 x ~ 220 m hill repeats and felt as okay as one can doing hill repeats. The goals were to run with good form and to not over cook it! It was a great session and I felt great for the rest of the day.

Roll on today. I thought given the stunning weather that maybe I could do a nice slow 'longish' run at lunch time to make up for not doing one on the weekend. Alas, feeling about 2/3 at the start of the run quickly slipped to 1.5/3 and at about the 7.5 km mark it was a 1/3 and I was feeling pretty shite. The longish run was cut short to be about 11 km @ 6:13 min/km pace, average HR was 144 bpm. It was a bit of a late night last night, or could it have been the session yesterday? Although I did not feel at all trashed yesterday!

Ah well, so goes the way of the fatigued runner. It's a day by day approach. Now it will be a 2 day break before fronting up for the ACTVAC handicap at O'Connor ridge on Sunday.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Today I donned my officials hat and officiated at the High Noon Track and Field Meet. It was a beautiful sunny Spring day, almost perfect conditions except for the wind. I watched my friends have a hit out with this the last of the "winter" series before the start of the official track and field season on October 13th. Heidi is such an inspiration and we have yet to see her at her best!

Bruce paced her in the 1500m event with her managing ~5:25. Pretty impressive for her very first run of the season. As I won't be racing any time soon, I can live vicariously through Heids as she blitzes it at the track!

I was also inspired by running friends who participated in the Sydney running festival today. Sydney decided to turn up the heat and conditions were tough for those running the half and full marathon. Despite this, there were some great times on what was a tough course.

I was so inspired by all these great runs that I headed out for my 'long' run around 5 pm. It was still in the  low 20's, although the wind had dropped. I pleasantly surprised myself managing a loop around both the ponds in Gungahlin for a total distance of 13.6 km in 1:25. Average pace 6:10/km; average HR 141. Rating the run as a 2/3. It's hard to come to terms with the massive drop in running pace. However, at least I am still able to go for 'longish' runs.

I will stick with 3 runs/week for the next few weeks and see how it feels. The 2 day break from Thursday to today certainly made a big difference!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Acquired training intolerance?

ATI was formerly known as fatigued athlete myopathic syndrome. A condition that affects older endurance athletes that have regularly done big mileage. I've never thought of myself as being particularly big on the mileage, but I have always found my body to be susceptible to fatigue and over doing the training. They say that training through a virus can trigger ATI. I did that last year in the lead up to the Christchurch marathon. Maybe I am now paying the price? It's very hard to figure out what could be going on. There is also the possibility that as I progress through perimenopause the hormone fluctuations are a contributing factor to underlying fatigue.

Those are the latest theories in a long standing problem with exercise-associated fatigue!

Today I contemplated a session with some tempo intervals; however, as soon as I headed out it was pretty clear the body wasn't up for it today. Last week had just a little too much intensity and that is no doubt a big factor in how tired the body is this week :-(. Ah well, it was a glorious sunny day to do an aerobic lap around LBG central basin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My very first post :o)

I'm a recreational runner that developed a mild form of chronic fatigue at the start of 2011. By mild I mean it allows me to run slowly, but that's all it allows me to do. I'm not responding to training and if I try to up the ante, I am forced to back off. Very frustrating to say the least!

I thought I'd use this blog to track my progress. I've been trying to run 5 days a week, with 2 'hardish' sessions that include a short tempo run on Tuesdays and some intervals with the speedygeese on Thursdays. An 'aerobic' run and a 'long' run on the weekend. Plus short hill sprints on Mondays. After a shocking performance in the Canberra Times 5 km fun run on Sunday (PW by well over a minute), I realise that I am still over doing it :-(. I have been averaging 35-50 km/week, but clearly this is too much.

It is time to back right off and try to limit my runs to every other day (3-4 runs/week max) and to drop the intervals, as much as I love training with the gang or is that gaggle? :o). Lifting weights is not affected by my fatigue issues, so it will be lots of cross training to see if I can come out the other side of the fatigue monster.

Today's run was a 7 km lap from work to around the central basin of LBG and back. I rate the run as 2/3 where 3 is awesome and 1 is crappola! I may attempt a bit of tempo on Thursday if the body is agreeable.