This week was 52 miles of running, 1000 yards of swimming and 16 "miles" of pool-running -- training log is here.
Things continued to decline this week. Aerobically I'm great, but I just can't trust my legs. They aren't sore, they aren't tired. They just aren't working well - weak and wobbly.
A friend asked me if it felt like the bridge over River Road on the Capital Crescent trail. Yes - that nails the feeling exactly. For those of you not in the DC area, the River Road bridge on the CC trail is a concrete bridge for pedestrians and bikes only. It tends to shift a bit (disconcerting) and will even start bouncing if there are too many people running on it at once. That bouncing feeling is exactly what running on flat ground feels like for me right now.
On Tuesday I tried a pre-dawn track workout, but bailed two laps into the first 1600 when I felt like I was going to fall in the dark, and realized I was getting in the way of my teammates. I came back an hour later to try, but it wasn't much better. So I did what I could (some 200s and 400s at 6:40-6:45 pace) and made peace with that.
Friday I considered a tempo, but decided to go with hill repeats instead. I feel much more stable going uphill then on the flat right now, so that felt a bit better (though still very unstable and slow).
On Sunday I tried a progressive long run that was frustrating. My breathing was very easy, and my legs felt like they could go forever. They just couldn't go very fast without feeling like they would give on me.
So all very frustrating.
My initial round of bloodwork (CBC/CMP, folate/B12, and iron panel) all came back fine. I saw my primary care doctor on Tuesday and he agreed that this was almost certainly a neurologic issue, and that I should keep following up in that direction (I checked in with my rheumatologist, and she agreed). My primary care doctor did a second round of bloodwork to check vitamins B1, B6, and B7 - a deficiency or surplus in any of those would be very unusual but could explain these symptoms. I'm also going to check in with my neurologist again, since things seem to be going in the wrong direction.
As for the obvious question of why I insist on continuing to run and "train" while this is going on? Everyone seems to agree that this is a neurologic issue, and not an injury. I have a big family history of neurologic issues on my mother's side, and one thing I know very well: it is essential to stay active and to do as much of your normal routine as possible when working through neurologic issues. It's important that I keep running if I can, to practice that skill. It's important that I do drills, and practice "hopscotch" like a kid, and walk on my heels and walk on my toes and try to run fast and run uphill and run downhill, etc. All of that works to preserve neural connections that are trying to shut down.
Essentially, the connection between my mind and my legs is like a phone call with a lot of static. The conversation is challenging and signals are sometimes delayed. But if I hang up on the phone conversation, it will be much harder to get through again.
Monday: 8 "miles" of pool-running and upper body weights/core. Foam rolling at night.