Brief Personal Health Update

My last in-person race was the Fountain of Youth 5K in my hometown back in November 2023. Since early December I've had a health issue that sidelined all training, caused me to miss several races, and generally made me feel rotten physically, mentally, and emotionally for several months. I'm still working on my treatment, but at the beginning of April I started to feel more like myself for the first time in months.

Graves' Disease
My training plan was to start ramping up my miles in mid-December to prepare for the Springtime Surprise 10-Miler in April. At the start of December I experienced a sudden, unexplained elevated resting heart rate. My primary doctor sent me to the ER following an abnormal in-office EKG. Going to the ER was scary, and so was the unexplained high heart rate. In the ER, an EKG done with more advanced equipment was relatively normal, and the doctors there determined my heart was strong and I was not in immediate danger. I was to follow up with my primary doctor for further investigation. Meanwhile, my annual routine bloodwork came in with some values showing a problem with my thyroid. I had several more blood tests and a thyroid ultrasound. Finally, a visit with an endocrinologist determined I was experiencing hyperthyroidism, and later I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease. A beta blocker helped with my heart rate and I started medication to work on normalizing my thyroid function. The meds take a while to work and I was not cleared to do any exercise activity during this time. 

Missed Races
In early April I was cleared to exercise. I had been taking 2-3 mile walks 2-3 days a week starting in mid-March, but I had to keep it very slow to make sure my heart rate didn't get too high. I participated in the Springtime Surprise 5K on April 19th. I had hoped to at least start the 10K and 10-Miler, even if I couldn't finish them, but I was sick the morning of the 10K and it wasn't worth the risk to me and other participants to drag myself to either start line. I was extremely disappointed to miss completing the challenge. Since I got Graves' Disease I've missed the Reindeer Run at SeaWorld with Arthur and my in-laws, and a couple of local races (Lake Helen Stress Buster; Arthur ran the Ivy Hawn 5K in my place; I picked up my MeStrong swag to complete virtually later). I also missed the WDW Marathon Weekend Half and Disneyland 5K and Half, where I hoped to earn a Coast-to-Coast medal. Missing those runs and the west coast trip really bummed me out for many weeks.  

Going Forward
After several months on thyroid medication, my numbers in late April showed hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid function versus elevated). My doctor is adjusting my meds to find the best dose going forward, with regular routine bloodwork being taken to test the results. Now my plan is, as long as I feel okay, to ease back into exercise with some low-impact training, using my standing desk bike and going back to water aerobics classes. I'll see how I feel doing this for a while before hitting the pavement. I've got a couple of races on my calendar that are walker-friendly so I hope to be able to complete these in-person. 

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