Ears & Training

My ear is on the mend.  
Sickness can impact training. 
I need a doctor who understands athletes and has a manageable patient volume load.  

Those are really the take-away here.  Here's the full scoop below for those interested in full details on my ear interruption!  This post is unlikely to skyrocket to the most popular post and my feelings won't be hurt if you don't want to read past this point.  

On Monday, I attempted to do my hard/intense bike workout. My ear hurt a lot but I didn't think it had anything to do with my legs.  However, discouragingly I found that my legs did not have it.  I decided 15 minutes into the trainer ride to just bail on the session, get some sleep and try again in the morning for more quality.  Well, on Tuesday, my ear was in agony.  I'm not exaggerating but I decided to try the workout again.  I was hydrated, had 7.5 hours of sleep under me and was coming off a "rest and test" week with a positive training stress score in training peaks (which is a nifty and somewhat useful tool in tracking fitness patterns). 
I did a warm up for ten minutes then tried to hit the zone 4 power numbers.  My heart rate was zone 2. My power was zone 2/3 but my perceived exertion was zone4/zone deathbed.  My ear was also the worst most splitting and sharp ongoing pain I've ever felt.  I didn't connect the dots though thinking "who needs a healthy EAR to ride a bike!?"

My body disagreed as my legs just couldn't push so I decided to just spin out my legs super easy.   
My coach saw my whining about the missed Monday session In training peaks (workout log) and sent me a text and said, my "body is fighting something and we may need to give it a rest"  So, I think my legs communicated to me and made the right call.  

I rushed to my (former) regular (never ever going back) doctor Monday for the excruciating ear pain since I had to get on a plane for a work trip Wed.  He only told me to take Zyrtec and prescribed me nasal spray for my ear pain.  He said the sinuses are connected and I really questioned this but he said it's all connected.  Mind you, I had zero sinus infection symptoms at all.  None.  He also had me worried that my ear was going to rupture on the plane on Wednesday and I'd have to bail on my entire spring season. 

He said, "if the pressure changes, and your ear drum ruptures the pain will go away. Its not a big deal, you'd just have to stay out of the pool a few weeks (4-8) while it heals".  
No big deal?!????
He knows I'm a triathlete. 

I've been training 10- 15 hours a week on top of work and spending time with Nick and dealing with the illness of a family member. It's been a sacrifice to balance. 
I've given up my fun book club. 
I go to bed at ten pm most nights for a 4:30 or 5:00AM wake up  call. 
I water run on Friday nights. 
My poor husband has to go on guys nights and happy hours without me.. Haha- I bet he loves it. 
I dream about my races every day. 
I've got my swimming faster than ever before despite a torn labrum. 
This guy doesn't understand the athlete mindset and although he's really nice, he seems to be spread really thin. 

He misdiagnosed my post tri Columbia foot cut infection in May as a bruise AND his weekend  colleague  misdiagnosed my 5th metatarsal dancers  fracture I June where the bone chipped completely away as a pulled tendon.  I was attempting to walk (hobbling/limping/hopping on the other foot) on a broken foot for 5 days after that.   Three misdiagnosis on simple things and I'm out.  

I left with a rapidly increasing ear infection and no antibiotics.  
A ton of increasing ear pain. 
2 hours of my work day taken away 
A complete state of anxiety that I'd risk my whole season with a rupture ear for a work trip I couldn't cancel.  

Sure enough, later in the day, I pleaded on the phone with the front desk  and was squeezed into Commonwealth Sports Medicine as a desperate pained and panicked patient since I was traveling for work the next day.  She normally does not treat me for primary care but since I'm an established patient with my tri related issues, she was more than willing to help me and fast!  I'm so grateful.
Dr. Stadler prescribed a zpak and  explained about different ear "tubes" and "canals" and swollen lymph nodes and summarized with "you are sick." It makes sense that I could not hit my bike targets. I had a mild fever and 
My ear pain was caused from a bad infection.   She was also very empathetic and let me know it's normal for ear pain to really affect people and even her toughest patients say ear pain just plain HURTS.  She also thought my ears would be ok on the plane. 

The result: I already feel better. 

My theory is that my new iPod shuffle trapped water in my ears.  She agrees this could be the problem.  I'll be avoiding all earbuds for a while now.  However just a few days on the antibiotic and I'm already feeling better.  I'm also eating yogurt because antibiotics knock out the heathy probiotics you need for a healthy gut.  I've heard many an athlete go on a course of antibiotics only to have stomache  issues ruin their racing.  Once I'm back I need to be fully healthy and ready to crush the monster cross this weekend.