Running Towards a Rainbow


I ran 22.5 miles on Friday morning.

I haven’t felt very well for the last few days and my blood sugar levels have been a little out of whack (actually, a lot out of whack).  My side has been hurting me and when I cough I have pains in my chest. But after missing last week’s long run because of travel and jetlag I decided that nothing was going to keep me from running this weekend.

The weather forecast for the weekend was stormy but when I woke up at 4:30am it looked cold but clear (in the mid 40’s). I started with a slow warm up pace, running towards the sea (which is a half a mile from our home). I continued running south, and started to feel terrible after a couple miles.  Then I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow in the distance. Despite feeling bad, I felt lucky to be out seeing such a beautiful sight, until I realized that running towards a rainbow means running towards the rain.

About 6 miles into my run I hit the rain, or maybe the rain hit me. The forecast was correct – stormy weather. The rest of my run was cold, wet and windy. It was difficult, really difficult.  And I wasn’t feeling any better. To make things worse, my heart rate was out of control during the entire run.

At first, during my warm up, it went in to the 180’s. This happens often when I run early in the morning but it usually comes down quickly. This time it didn’t come down at all.  It kept going up. At one point my monitor showed my HR to be 249. This, I thought, was not possible so I decided it must be a mistake and just ignore it all together.

I made it home, and when I walked in the door, dripping wet and frozen, Jess said I looked like a water-logged phantom.  She said I was pale and shouted at me for not stopping my run.  She was probably right, I should have stopped.  But running and reason don’t always go hand-in-hand, at least not in my case.  I continued to feel lousy for the rest of the day, feeling pain when I took deep breaths or coughed.

When I got up on Saturday feeling even worse, I got worried. I don’t usually worry about my health but I thought I may have pneumonia (two of our boys had it this year and except for the lack of fever, I thought I had the same symptoms). So I drove myself to the emergency clinic. When I told the nurse I was having pains in my chest she sent me for an EKG.

The doctor looked at the results and ruled out any cardio problem but seemed to be a little worried about my low heart rate (48). She sent me for a chest x-ray which also came back clean. The doctor’s diagnosis was that I was having muscle pain as a result of a virus or a cold. She also recommended I get a stress test which I know I should do, but have been putting off for the last few months.  I’m thinking now of Kerri Sparling’s recent post Advanced Avoidance Technique.

The good news is that I should feel better by the Tel Aviv marathon.

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11 years ago

Did they think you had bronchitis? That is just swelling of the tubes in the lungs and keeps you from feeling like you can take a deep breath. Don’t know for sure, but it would make sense to me if that would also cause you to have a high HR during strenuous exercise, if your gas exchange isn’t going well, because you are filling your lungs properly. I’d see if you can go to your regular doctor and get an inhaler or something to help with the swelling of the bronchial tissue if they decide that could be the cause.

Amir Cohen
11 years ago

Hi Michael

I wish you all the best and good luck  in Tel Aviv marathon.

Amir Cohen,

Tel Aviv marathon team

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