Overtraining Syndrome

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with, overtraining syndrome.

I sure most of you are asking yourself, whats overtraining syndrome? I did the same not just two weeks ago.

Overtraining is a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and intensity of an individuals exercise exceeds their recovery capacity. It is a real body injury, not something made up to just get out of training or racing.

My journey began back in February with the completion of my first 100 miler followed by four weeks rest, thinking this was enough. I did an easy 5k followed two weeks later by a half and full marathon on the same weekend followed the very next weekend by 25 miles of the Texas Independence Relay "TIR". That's around 170 hard race miles in a month and a half, on top of all the training miles.

Three days after the TIR I came down with a fever and real bad headache. Was it spring allergies the flu or something else like Lyme's disease. The fever would break with Ibuprofen and the headache would feel a little better. This went on for 5 days. The day the fever broke for good, my hands, knees and feet swelled to the point of hurting! I have had swelling before during a race, but never like this! So I did what I should of done a week earlier, went to the doctor. After the Q&A with the doctor, I told him my resent race history. Yes he thinks I'm crazy, but that a different story. He had no clue as to what was going on. So he ordered blood work to see if that would show anything. I the mean time it was just rest and wait to see if the blood work helped.

This is where the, Thank God for knowing the right people comes in!

To back up just a little, when I did the full marathon, I took part in a cardiac study with the University of Pittsburgh. This study was to maybe help find out just why people die of heart attacks at the finish line of marathon. They did blood work on me before and after the race, 12 lead EKG before and after, holter monitor during the race and the 24 hours after the race. I was all wired up for science!

Back to the story

One of the doctors that helped with the study had seen me make a few Facebook postings about not feeling right and all the swelling and stuff.

She contacted me and ask a lot of questions that the first doctor did not ask. Keep I mine she works with endurance athlete's on just this! It didn't take her long to tell me, I was Overtrained!

Me, how could I be overtrained? I don't put in 100 plus mile weeks, I only put in 35 miles a week training for my 100 miler! I don't race 100 milers once a month. Easy, I trained for 8 hard months for my 100 miler, then jump right back into other races. Over 10 months of hard training/racing with very little to no quality rest for the body! And it was shutting down in a very bad way! Like stop now or I just may die on you!

Some of my symptoms here, resting heart rate went from 50 to 80, B/P way up, hint's the bad headache, Washed-out feeling, tired, drained, lack of energy, Pain in muscles and joints, Depression, Moodiness and irritability, Decreased appetite, Peeing what seemed  like every 20 mins. This is just the ones that I can name real easy, I'm sure there are others that a doctor could point out.

Three days after the swelling came, it went away just as fast. I have been sleeping a lot more then I have in years. I'm starting to feel a little better, but have no plans to go out a train. With the strong words of advise, I will be taking a full month off from all workouts, more time if needed. The blood work did come back, everything showed normal.

I want to thank Serina, for what I'm saying, more than likely saved my life! Along with Vanessa, one of the other doctors with the study for checking up on me. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You is not enough! I will be buying yall a beer or 4 the next time yall are in town!

Guys I just could of been one more number they report on! I have learned to listen to my body in the last year when it come to training, guess I still have a tons to learn!

If there is one word of advise I can give you, log your resting heart rate! If it starts to go up for seemingly no reason, STOP training and get with a Sports Medicine doctor! You can DIE from this! If I would of done what I was thinking I needed, a short run, it just could of killed me!

We as Ultra Endurance Athletes push our minds and bodies to the limits like no other sport! It only makes since to take a REAL break in our training/racing to let it truly recover! Kids, I pushed my body to the out most limits and I didn't like what it looked like! It scared the HELL out of me! When you have someone in the field say to you, you are at risk of a cardiac event! You damn right I'm going to park it!

Live to race a nether day!

Stay safe out there my friends and I'll see you on the trails!

Tony Constanzo

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Posted in Running.