Cardiac Arrhythmia and Other Pre Race Worries


The last few weeks have been hard. Tom, my oldest son, had pneumonia (which was misdiagnosed as a virus for 10 days), Adam, my youngest had a stomach virus, which included huge amounts of vomiting. And just when I was feeling like my training was taking off, I got a stomach virus  which left me weak and messed up my training program.

This coming Friday I am participating in my first serious race of the season. It’s a 30K race (18.75 miles) which takes place in the Negev desert.  The race is part of a trail running event which includes a 100 mile race (you can enter a team of as many relay runners as you want or as an individual) a 60K, 30K and 15K race (yes I do feel a little wimpy doing the “easy” race).

I know I would be nervous about such a race no matter what condition I was in. but when I signed up for this race I thought I would have two 18-20 mile runs under my belt before the race and be in top form. Instead I find myself just coming out of my slump after running 11.5 miles on Friday (slow and hard) and 12.5 miles on Saturday (much better). I feel like I’m almost back to my pre- virus condition, but without the millage I hoped to have.

The two issues I’m still struggling with are my blood sugar levels during the runs and my heart rate.

Since August I’ve been doing most of my running in the evenings, when it cools off (a little). I had a few (morning) runs in August where my heart rate shot up, but after stopping for 2-3 minutes it went back to normal. Since then I haven’t had any incidents and I kind of hoped that the problem had disappeared. But as we all know problems don’t usually just go away.

On Friday morning I set out for a long run. I wasn’t sure how long but I decided that I would run at least 12 miles and if I felt good I would keep on going (maybe even run a full 19 miles). I set out at 5:45am after being awake for an hour. My BS was fine and I had no reason to think anything unusual had happened during the night. When I started running and my stomach started to cramp and hurt, I realized I was not going to run 19 miles, but knew that I had to run at least 12.

I was slow and not feeling the best but thought I would be fine. Suddenly after 6 miles my heart rate shot up to 175. I stopped for a minute but it wouldn’t really come down (it went to 165) so I continued running. My HR slowly climbed up to 190 where it stayed for the rest of the run. I checked my BS a few times during the run but it was fine (I’d been snacking, of course).

The fact that this usually happens during morning runs make me especially nervous. After reading about the tragic death of a well cared for child with type 1 diabetes,  I started reading about the phenomenon known as Dead in Bed Syndrome.

According to Children with Diabetes “In a recent review, clinical reports strongly suggest that nighttime hypoglycemia is a likely prerequisite of the event (for dead in bed syndrome), but that the death is sudden and probably caused by cardiac arrhythmia.”

Could my HR issues be connected to arrhythmia? Are my sleeping BS levels dangerous?

I don’t know what kind of doctor to turn to. But I am plenty worried not just because I have a 3oK race but because maybe I have a real problem I’m unaware of.

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