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Back in the Saddle Again

By Scott Simpson

March 29, 2010

I was hoping to give this blog entry a title with a super positive spin -- something like "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" -- because I hadn't had any 'anxiety' attack episodes for an entire week, only bouts of nausea -- and they seemed to be lessening as the days passed -- and mild abdominal pain that failed to recur mid-week. Sunny skies.

Alas, I had another episode late Saturday for 30 minutes, so my mini theory that the episodes had occurred over 10 days with their intensity peaking in the middle -- such that if graphed it would reveal a bell curve distribution -- is doubtful. Unless I attribute the most recent episode as an 'outlier'.

I saw an internal medicine doc this week and he said that my primary doc was already doing all the rights things -- "very thorough" -- to check for heart trouble or that rare tumour. He also suggested that I could be having anxiety attacks without the anxiety and I told him I was totally cool and perfectly happy with that theory.

Lots of people seem to live with anxiety attacks -- and with the fear/flight symptoms, which must really suck -- so I'm fine with that diagnosis and clean urine and CT scan results will support it.

But my own personal unscientific theory goes like this: whatever was making me ill initially -- and from which I'm slowly, but decidedly, recovering -- infected or affected my adrenal gland(s) and now they are easily aroused and periodically release adrenaline for a while. I figure as I continue to recover -- I still seem to need 10+ hours of sleep at night -- they will fade away.

Also inspiring a lot of hope that I was getting over it all, was the return of my energy and ability to start training again to no ill effect. In the last 7 days I've managed to ease back into training:

3 swims -- 30, 40, then 50 minutes, total 2 hours -- continuous, very easy pace
3 bikes -- 60, 70, then 80 minutes, total 3.5 hours -- continuous, very easy pace
3 runs -- 30, 40, then 50 minutes, total 2 hours -- continuous, very easy pace
3 weights / core workouts

Compared to my pre-illness week:

4 swims -- total 3:35 hours -- continuous, easy pace
5 bikes -- total 6:45 hours -- hard days would include intensity
4 runs -- total 5:45 hours -- hard days would include hills
3 weights / core workouts

I'm aiming to test my body a little with a 'real' training day on the last day of March: a 60 minute swim in the a.m., then later a brick workout of a 2.5 hour bike with a 30 minute run. It will mark my first hard training day in exactly 6 weeks. It also means that Ironman Louisville is just over 21 weeks away. And as long as nothing major goes wrong between now and then -- like I get too eager and over train and suffer a health setback or injury -- I should be able to get enough fitness to get to the start line. Emotion will get me to the finish line.

Giddy up!

Send Scott an e-mail.

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HIV+ Triathlete: Til I Drop

Scott Simpson

Scott Simpson

Scott Simpson is an HIV+ triathlete, student and inspirational speaker avoiding real work so he can find more time to train and learn. A former party boy, Scott has gone from the fictional national drinking team to the real Canadian national triathlon team and is current provincial long course champion in his age group. Scott is also founder of, and inspiration for, the Race for Dignity, which is both an annual spinathon in Toronto and annual school campus events coordinated by Dignitas Youth chapters. Cumulatively, they have raised almost a million dollars for the medical humanitarian NGO Dignitas International, contributing to over 11,000 people living with HIV/AIDS gaining access to ARVs in Malawi. Scott is currently training for Ironman Louisville 2010.

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