Monday, September 6, 2010

Beta Blocker Bum Out

 The man with the depressed heart (rate)

I'm on a beta blocker.  I've been taking a 25mg dose of Metoprolol Succinate every day since my doctor read me the riot act for being obese.  That was about 2 1/2 years and 85 pounds ago.

You can read a long and exceedingly boring Wikipedia article about the medication here, but essentially Metoprolol is a beta blocker I take to treat high blood pressure.  And by taking a beta blocker, I am not able to get my heart rate above a certain BPM.

As you can imagine, having my heart rate artificially limited sucks.  Based on the the very common Fox and Haskell method, my maximum heart rate should be 180 BPM.  The best I can usually do is 155.

Actually, all things considered, I get off OK.  If I had become obsessed with sprinting, I'd be in trouble.  But with endurance sports, I can stay in the aerobic zone (70-80% MHR) and perform well enough to go home happy every day.  Technically, I can get into the lower part of my anaerobic zone (80-90% MHR).  But from a practical standpoint, that ends up being sort of useless.  Since I can only hit the bottom anaerobic threshold and thus have no real way to effectively train in this zone (at least that I know of), my body has developed little capacity to deal with lactic acid build-up.

Today was a good example of my limits.  I went out with OC Velo for a 40 mile ride.  About 20 miles in there was a nasty little hill with a grade of 4-9% over 2 miles.  If you look at the graphs below, you can see both the climb profile and how my HR essentially table tops at 155 BPM.  Clearly this is not an ideal situation for climbing.

Though the average speed for the entire ride was 18.5 MPH, mile 20 and 21 where 9.8 and 9.4 MPH respectively.  A climb is going to be slower, but it's still relative - I was dropped within 100 yards of the start.  Within half a mile my legs where on fire and I was contemplating leaving my bike on the side of the road and hitch-hiking home.

You can see my heart rate spike again, but only briefly, just after mile 35.  At this point we where on the flats and our speed was between 23 and 28 MPH between miles 35 and 39.

I'm not exactly sure what this means.  I hope it means that overall, my engine is strong, pretty well tuned and it will only hit it's limit on more extreme terrain.  That seems to be the case, anyway.

The good news is that there is a chance that I might be done with the medication.  I've got 23 doses left and no refills.  So when I see the doctor later this month, who knows?  Maybe it's time to wean myself off of it.  I'm in a whole different place health wise and hopefully that has helped.


Kathleen said...

I'd be shocked if you don't get to go off that med. Losing 85 pounds is a huge change in health!

Barbie said...

Sheesh, whats your resting HR doing doing? I would be extremely surprised if your GP doesn't trial you off the meds. The fact that you exercise like crazy, watch what you eat and have dropped weight should be reason enough to have your Metoprolol reviewed. He may even wean you slowly off the meds so you don't rebound with your BP.

Jennifer said...

Good luck. I think you'll find that all your hard work will pay off and you don't have to go back on it. I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Pahla said...

Nice ride!!
Here's hoping you'll be off the beta blockers soon!

Unknown said...

Good, hard ride. I'd bet money you'll be off those suckers next time you see the Doc.

Matty O said...

40 miles, nice ride man.

You don't smile in any pictures do you? Haha, you always look so serious and intense.

Emz said...

OMG I love that photo.

I love the "i'm pissed" face. Everyone needs a good "I'm pissed" photo.

KovasP said...

The only reason you got dropped is that you are using the wrong drugs.

Big Clyde said...'d be great to get off the drugs. I hope your doc gives you the good sign.

Caratunk Girl said...

I hope you get off the meds - I am always amazed at your weight loss - you are so inspiring! That is so awesome. Good luck!

Rad Runner said...

I definitely think he will have you off of them in no time if he is a good Dr.! What a difference sport(s) make hu?

Happy-itis? Great, glad to hear you currently have a case of those, it was the arcade hu?

Unknown said...

Our bodies have this uncanny way of adapting to new situations. With your overall health improvements, you will hopefully be able to eliminate the meds or wean off them.

Glenn Jones said...

Go figure. Guys like you and I who work our butts off on hypertension and cholesterol meds (Vytorin). Ahh the magic of genetics....


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