Sleep Apnea. Undiagnosed during regular checkups and invisible to blood tests seems to be the root cause of the deterioration in my running performance. That's the latest theory anyway and we're back to some intensive testing. Whew! Or should that be 'Yippee!'
I met with the 'Sleep Doctor' last week. That's not his primary specialty however after he reviewed all the test results over the past 9 months, his diagnosis was that sleep apenea was the root cause for the sudden deterioration I experienced last year in my running performance.
It turns out that I have a pretty severe case of sleep apnea. I'll spare you the details of physiology that led to this but surfice to say the results of the overnight sleep test indicate that I briefly stop breathing 30 times each hour. This is exhausting to say the least and his diagnosis is that it has affected my running performance most directly. Put another way, if I wasn't a runner and noticed the sudden drop, the condition would have continued un-noticed. I'm looking at the full CPAP sleeping aparatus by this fall but first...another test!
Mid August I heading to another overnight sleep clinic for a CPAP test. I'll be hooked up to monitors and sleep with the apparatus attached. This is to help calibrate the pressure of the oxygen in the pump and evaluate what type of mask works best. I've been hooked up once before so although un-natural, I'll be able to sleep. Contacts, wires mask et al.
Once through all this the Sleep Doctor feels that once I get back to being able to actually rest when I'm sleeping, I'll be able to reverse the oxygen processing that has declined. Not back to mid-30's levels of course; I'd be happy to pre-September 2016 levels.
So Larry, my Reggae Marathon running friend, you're still safe in the Reggae Marathon Challenge...for now!
Until next time...