I am a 58 year old male and have been a runner for over 40 years. I have competed in 20+ marathons including one just a few weeks ago that I ran in 3:35:50. I am 6 ft and 170. (Exactly my weight in high school) I also compete in ultra trail runs of 50K to 50miles and have twice done a run in Colorado that climbs over a 13,100 ft mountain pass. I also compete in several triathlons each year.
Today I went out for a 3.5 to 4 hour run at a local state park. This was a relatively short run for me. A standard run ranges from 4 to 6 hours with elevation gain from 3,000 to 4,000 feet. As I started up the first long hill (about 1 mile into the run) I was immediately out of breath and my heart was pounding. I felt like I had suddenly been placed on a 10,500 mountain, instead of the 1,200 ft hill I was on. I ended up walking almost all the way up that hill and virtually every hill the rest of the way around the trail. Every time I started up a hill my heart would start pounding with what seemed to be an irregular and very fast beat and I would have to walk or sometimes stop for as much as a minute.
Something similar has happened before in an off road multisport event about four years ago. The temperature was in the 90s and after an 18 mile mountain bike segment I broke a major rule of all endurance events and drank something I had never tried. (An Ice cold “Red Bull”) With a couple of hundred yards I could no longer run and thought I might be dying. (Pounding heart, shortness of breath, dizziness etc.) After four miles of paddling flat water and rapids I felt better, but not great. I got out of the boat and grabbed another “Red Bull” and before I had taken three drinks the symptoms returned. (That is the last one of those I ever drank)
It happened again 80 miles into a 120 mile bike ride when I got the wrong type “Power Aid”. This year in the Imogene Pass Run I experienced a similar condition after a rest stop in which I drank too much water too fast.
I drink a cup of STRONG coffee every day, run day or not. I eat oatmeal and toast or a pop tart on run days and drink water and “Go2O” and eat “Accell-Gells” during the run. I also eat other snacks like candy bars and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches during the long runs. I have no problems.
Then today! There was one change this morning. I ate one small piece of “Sister Shubert’s” sweet rolls. It seems to me there is a correlation here, but I have no idea what. Any ideas?
Sorry for the rambling but I am a bit concerned.
Wow. No offense, but you must be as nuts as I am. I've heard of people like you, but never really believed that you were real. I dont think I would be too concerned just yet maybe you could consider tapering a little bit over the next decade or so, or try substituing lightly sweetened tea once in a while for redbull.
Man, I wish I had your stamina. At one point in my life, I thought I could do that, but joints limited me. Now, I am thinking I have a cardiovascular limit, but cant say whether its normal or not.
What do you think? Given normal hearts, does the population as a whole have the ability to maintain this level of performance as it ages? I heard that the limitation for many normal people is the required recovery time. It increases as we age, requiring us to use a different approach to rest...
Thanks for your response. I am beginning to believe that running must be like boxing. Instead of every blow to the head kills brain cells every running step kills a few or at least inhibits common sense.
Actually some of the strongest ultra trail runners are my age. One thing about ultra trail running that sets it apart from road racing and running is the pace. In a 50K race I will average about a 12 minute pace. My training runs are even slower. It can still be hard on the joints, especially steep downhill sections. Rocks can be tough on the head too! I found that out in October.
I did 3 hours and 15 min. yesterday and had no problems – I never stopped the entire run!!
I am now reading labels on everything I eat, especially before runs. I believe some of additives must be the culprit.
On recovery time, I only do one hard run per week (usually Saturday) and one easy run during the week. I also try to get in a bike ride but usually don't manage that.
Never make assumptions about your heart. If you had symptoms that indicate a possible involvement with your heart, stop the exercise and arrange an appointment with your Family Doctor at the minimum. If your symptoms grow worse, (see the Cleveland Clinic link near the end of this post), go to the Emergency Room.
Your symptoms appear significant enough to warrant medical examination. To continue to attempt to prove to yourself that you are well, and ignore these symptoms, may lead to an undesirable outcome for your health. My wife worked for a Family Practice at one time, and she said that they had a patient complaining of chest pain. He was given an EKG, which I assume was normal enough not to admit him immediately to the hospital. Instead, it was arranged for him to take a stress test. The night before the stress test, he decided to exercise aggressively on his treadmill at home. Maybe it was a guy thing, proving to himself that nothing was wrong, maybe it was fear of not performing well on the stress test. Regardless, he never showed for the Stress Test the next day, he had passed away on his treadmill.
Believe me, the common picture of the person with cardiovascular disease being grossly over weight is not necessarily true, and despite your conditioning, I would seek the answer to your question from a Doctor and not this forum. The coffee and the Power Drinks contain Caffeine, this and the exercise may have caused a coronary artery spasm, producing your symptoms years ago. From the Mayo Clinic: "Spasm of the coronary arteries may occur spontaneously or be triggered by a stimulant, such as nicotine or caffeine".
Also, from the Cleveland Clinic:
Lastly, the satisfaction of coming away from testing and finding out that you are well, and that the problem was attributed to something else, is worth the effort. If you weren’t concerned, you wouldn’t be posting here.
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