Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Too Far, too fast? Touché!

Well, I have had a very interesting last two weeks!! I had not posted on it yet, but some of you who are following me on twitter and are friends of mine on face book have probably caught wind of what was going on. Here's the scoop!

Two weeks ago Thursday, I did a VERY intense upper-body workout that I knew I was going to be sore from. I came home that Friday after work and slept for 3.5 hours even though I am not normally a napper! I was wiped out and extremely sore. I burned through my Tiger Balm, did epsome salt wraps and was constantly stretching my arms and chest to alleviate the soreness, but little was working.

Courtesy fitnessclubcochin.com

At this point, I didn't think anything was wrong because I have been nearly that sore in the past, but mostly in my legs. On Sunday, four days after the workout I had a long run for my training, so I took off and went my 7 miles. At the least I was thinking it would get the blood pumping and any lactic acid moving through my body. But that night and the next day instead of feeling any improvement, I saw a change. It seemed as if my arms were bigger.

At first I thought it was because of some of the workouts I was doing. Many were working to add strength and not simply toning muscle like I am used to. So I did a bit of toning at home and thought, "There, I am sure by tomorrow they will look more like they should!" The next day it became clear to me that they were about twice their normal size and it was not the strength training or the bowl of ice cream. I consulted my trainer and Dr. Google and found myself in the urgent care and eventually the ER with a mild case of Rhabdomyolsis .

Here I am, the Rhabdo darling. The nurses thought I'd been given happy drugs because I was smiling and giggly. I told them it was just who I was, a severe case of JOTL.

When we exercise and weight train, what causes our muscles to strengthen and grow is the breakdown and repair of the tissue. Rhabdo occurs when the muscle tissue breaks down so rapidly and to such a degree that the products of the damaged muscle cells are dumped into the blood stream. Myoglobin, a product of the breakdown is a protein which can damage your kidneys.

Severe cases will see discoloration in their urine, I did not. When Dr. Google informed me that the soreness, swelling, fatigue and crazy weekend weigh gain were all symptoms of Rhabdo, it was enough reason for me to want to see the Doctor. I am glad that I did, he instructed a week of rest and tons of liquid. I latched on to coconut water and young coconut juice as a natural hydrator and source of potassium and magnesium. In the ER they hooked me up with a saline drip and talked to me about the very real dangers of Rhabdo. I am doing well and have the green light to begin exercising again, I will not be doing push-ups for a while.

A few questions that were raised during this experience!

HOW did I get the Rhabdo? 175 pushups. Rhabdo is usually from a very high repetition of an exercise using only your body weight or a very low weight. It was not from lifting weights. A few other factors that could have contributed: a hot day and not enough water. My Dr. has seen other cases of Rhabdo in military personal who march in the heat all day with packs on.

Will I have a predisposition to have it again? Most likely not, but if you do not rest adequately you can irritate your muscles and incur damage that didn't happen during the initial injury causing session. Do what the Dr. Says in ANY case...rest, rest, rest. I have discovered it is easier to bounce back into training fully healed than to impatiently start when your not ready and experience a longer set back.

The big one: Did I not listen to my body and know that enough was enough? That answer was a little less cut and dried. Was the workout hard: yes, very. Did I stop and take breaks, quite a few. Did I feel like I was overdoing it? No, I didn't. But I certainly did. Had I known the dangers of doing that many reps of certain exercise I would have thought better. Now I wonder, what is the difference between 50 push ups and 175? Not a whole lot, just a few co-pays and a week and a half lost off my training program. The Rhabdo inducing workout was one of those deceiving workouts, that in hindsight was too hard for my body, or on my body.

My mother especially was concerned about my not listening to my own body signals. I reminded her that sometimes my body wants to stop after mile 2 on a long run or 15 min into a spin class. But, when I push through for a few more minutes, I see a silver lining and sometimes even have some of the best workouts.

Have YOU ever worked out and regretted it afterwards? Went to far, to fast, too soon? Do tell...!

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