First Real Scare / Pushing Limits

Today was my first real big swim – 8 x 20 minute swims. Knew it was going to be a long one. I brought 2 liters of water and some food with me to the pool.  Everything was fine for the first 5 sets and I was doing 800 meters each set, with the exception of two 900 meter sets in the beginning which went over the 20 minute mark.

I started feeling a bit nauseous once during the 6th set. Afterwards, the thought of eating repulsed me. I skipped that feeding. It had been hard to eat after the 5th set but I managed to do it. Last thing I wanted was to be puking in the pool and had images of me running into the bushes past the lifeguards and hurling. Not serious nausea, but enough that I could have puked on command.

Didn’t eat after the 7th set either. Kept drinking 250 mL between each set though as I knew that was important. Was getting a headache but thought, hoping, maybe my goggles were too tight.

Finished the 8th set. Hung onto the pool for awhile as I was glad that I was done, but wasn’t sure if I could move. Something was off, I knew it already. I wasn’t just tired. It was tension headache meets something else. I hadn’t experienced a feeling like that since post-surgeries while in the hospital. I could talk though but otherwise I didn’t want to move as moving aggravated my head pain. Nibbled on some trail mix on the way home.

In all, I swam 6600 meters (7200+ yards or about 4 miles) in about 3:20 hours.

Got home and made myself a hydration energy drink. Laid down on the couch and kind of fell asleep. Woke up to an even bigger headache. Took my tension headache medication and noticed I was short of breath. Laid back down on the couch for another half an hour. Forced myself up to make something to eat and was breathing like I’d just finished running. Something was definitely really wrong. I called my friend/neighbor Virginia (a nurse), but couldn’t get a hold of her. Called my friend Joyce who lives down the street, but she was in the North Bay. She asked me some questions and said she’d drive straight to my place but if I got worse, call 911. I texted Jamie who said to go to the doctor’s and then call him. I called my friend Anita, a physician, who said that she didn’t hear any wheezing so she wasn’t too concerned, but maybe I was coming down with something because of my sinus pressure. Said to definitely get to the ER if my conditions worsened.  Talked with Jamie and after hearing everything, he pinpointed the issue to being that I was severely depleted of electrolytes. I had hydrated just fine, but nothing else was in the water. He said to just start downing drink any sport drinks I have. And eat. Virginia called me back and she was at the grocery store so she picked me up some coconut water (as it has the same level of electrolytes apparently as the human body).  I gave Jamie an update as he requested.  He said that it sounded like I was going to be fine and was proud of me.

I knew theoretically that electrolytes were important for normal brain function. I was pumped mostly with potassium post-surgeries with some magnesium as those were the ones that had dropped back then. Since the hospital staff was really good on that, I didn’t know the possible ill-effects. Now I do. I was worried at first that it was something more serious as it was almost like how I felt when my red blood cell counts dropped post-surgery, but not as severe. It was enough to worry me though obviously. I’m glad that I reached out to people who could give me proper feedback on my situation and that I had such people in my life. I have a great group of friends and am very grateful that it wasn’t more serious.  As always, it’s important to take care of your body because it’s the only one you have. I will start drinking more energy hydration fluid while swimming, especially on these longer swim days.

Tomorrow is a recovery day, which I really need after this!

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