Saturday, October 20, 2007

trail running and blood pressure

Since my surgery last August, my body has gone through some expected and some unexpected changes. One of the unexpected changes is my blood pressure. It had been running borderline high (around 130/90) for the last three or so years and my health care provider and I had been keeping an eye on it. She said she didn't know what to tell me about modifying my lifestyle, since I was so active, didn't smoke, didn't drink to excess, and all my chemistries looked good. So it never really climbed higher; in fact the only time it had been high in my life was when I was pre-eclamptic right before my kid was born - 25 yrs ago. So I got laid off last January and lo and behold - my bp returned to normal! Wow! Was that all it was - stress?? Things were going along great until I recently went to see a personal trainer at the gym. He took my bp and it was 150/90. What??? So I started monitoring it again. I had noticed at night when all was quiet, I could hear ringing and had a "tight" sensation in my head. Anyway, it was still up. I bought an automatic sphygmomonometer and started monitoring it. I also contacted my health care provider, and she saw me last Tues. It was still up, so she ordered some blood tests and a chest x-ray (I had an EKG on file from surgery). Also, she said to start monitoring it several times a day. So I am doing that - yesterday was the highest reading - 149/100 - just randomly in the middle of the day. A little scary - but I'm trying to let that go. It could be tranistional, like all these other menopausal symptoms.

So today, I went up to Cougar to meet some people for a run. I was running late, lost my wallet (I found it) and got stuck behind a wide load on I-90. I phoned ahead and left a message, but knew I'd probably be running alone. They were gone running by the time I got there, so I took off on a 5-6 mile loop. When I was climbing, if my head started pounding, I walked. I was glad to be alone because 1) I didn't have the pressure of trying to stay with a group, and 2) it gave me a chance to work on my navigational skills. I returned to the parking lot and still no sign of the gang, so I took off on my second loop. It was much slower; there was more climbing, but I felt like my body was moving more smoothly. I also worked on downhill skills - only rolled my ankle once! Looking ahead and shortening up the stride, sitting back a little (engaging the glutes/lower abs) really got me over the wet leaves, rocks, and roots. When I hit a really hilly part (Quarry Trail upwards from Indian Trail) I started walking and paying attention to my HR, as well as how much my head was pounding. Before I knew it, I was on"flat" land again. Soon I was back at the parking lot where Tracy was stretching. I chatted with her and then headed home to a long soak in the tub (I even ate lunch in the tub). Afterwards, I took my bp machine downstairs, and read my pressure - it was normal. Several readings were normal! Was it the trail? Was it the teary outburst I had at Donn right before I sat down (in which I did feel some relief)?? I'll continue to monitor it, but maybe a morning in the woods (and or a cry) is what I need to calm it down. I just love (not) going through all these changes!

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