Friday, May 29, 2015

The Great Valley

Most people who aren't parents would never get the subject line here.  When my son was much smaller, he was addicted to a set of dinosaur cartoons called The Land Before Time.  I was always bothered by some of the religious allegorical tones to the movies, especially the first movie, but my kids enjoyed them and I never stopped them from watching.  The Great Valley, in the movie, was a fabled place, where there was plenty of food and water and safety from the predator dinosaurs.  Heaven?  Who knows?

Since my last post, I feel like I've entered a different type of Great Valley.  I've had no appetite.  Sleepy all the time.  Every workout is a struggle.  A week ago, I went out fishing for just a couple hours, and it tired me out so much, I came home and just went to bed without any dinner.

I'm not sure what is going on.  I just had my annual physical, but many doctors are eschewing even the most basic blood tests during physicals these days.  It seems that just a couple years ago, a lipid panel and complete metabolic panel were automatic, and if you had any complaints at all, a complete blood count with Differential was also done.

This last time, the doctor tested me for Hep-C, which was ridiculous, because I meet zero of the risk factors for Hep-C.  He asked me to humor him.  He also tested my PSA level at my request, and it showed no signs of prostate cancer.

So, what is going on?  On 5/4, my notes about my workout started with "Felt like crap tonight".  The next night was "Still felt tired and almost flu-like".   The following Sunday, I fly fished for a couple hours and later wrote "Some sort of deep fatigue has just laid me out."  The day after that, I started the warm-up at the gym, and basically said "Screw it", put my barbell away, and took a nap while my wife worked out.

In response to feeling tired (physically and mentally), I've made some changes.  I've added some near-daily easy walking, just to get me out of the office at lunchtime.  I am scaling the CrossFit workouts extensively, often doing them at an easier level than the easiest on the board.  I'm going to CrossFit less often than I would otherwise be going.  Lots of 3 day weeks instead of 4 or 5 days.  I'm trying very hard to get extra sleep.  I'm napping on the weekends.  I'm trying to be better about what I eat, and I've simply quit drinking alcohol.

Is it helping?  Three weeks ago, I felt horrible pretty much all the time.  Now, I'm having good days and bad days.  I'm trying to see how the good and bad days correlate to sleep and my diet and any training I do.  I've been tempted to just stop CrossFit for a month or so to see what would happen, but I don't feel that bad.  I'm afraid the downside to that would be way more than the potential benefits.

I've dropped 10 pounds in the last month, without really trying.  I am simply skipping meals when I'm not hungry, and that's been a lot of the time.

I see my doctor again next Friday.  This time, I'm going to ask for those blood tests he didn't do last time, especially the CMP and CBC-Diff.  Maybe a thyroid panel.

I'm hoping I'm just over-trained after a long winter of skiing hard and training hard.  Maybe another month or so of low level training and lots of sleep will be enough for me to feel strong again.  Losing weight and avoiding alcohol can't really be bad for me, I would think.

But, this hasn't been fun.  I have a busy life.  Many of my friends can't believe I do all that I do.  Long commute.  High stress job.  High stress exercise.  No downtime at all.  Skiing all winter, and on the rivers fly fishing all summer.  Although the fishing is relaxing to me, there's no doubt that 8-12 hours of wading on a warm day is a lot of physical work.

I refuse to think this is just an age thing.  Maybe it's age plus my intense lifestyle, which is why I'm trying to back off a bit.  We will see.

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