Monday, February 14, 2011

Kickin' The Habit With Some Exercise

My doctor and I decided that it was time to ditch the Celexa.  Celexa is an antidepressant, and I have been taking it for a couple years, from the days when I was having panic attacks and all sorts of other unsavory episodes. 

Like most drugs, there is a period of withdrawal that your body has to go through.  With Celexa, some of the most common symptoms include vivid dreams, dizziness, and mood swings.  I read somewhere that one of the ways to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms was to exercise.  Since I've been known to "work out" once in awhile, I was hoping that kicking my 20 milligram a day Celexa habit would be (relatively) easy.

Well for starters, exercising didn't do crap to curb the vivid dreams.  But this hasn't really been a bad thing.  I've had 3 super vivid dreams over the past 4 nights, and every one of them would win an Oscar if they were made into films and the members of the Academy were required to vote while tripping on acid.  Here are some previews - in one there were zombies and in another my Grandmother's attic was the size of an aircraft hanger - a very big aircraft hanger.  And I'm now intimately familiar with Tokyo even though I've never been there.

But as far as the waking hours, it's been mostly OK.  I've been tired and a little dizzy.  But the exercise is helping - except for a few minutes during Friday's swim where I felt that if I lifted my hand just a little bit more out of the water I'd be able to touch the ceiling and then a momentary moment of panic while riding on Saturday (for a split second I was convinced that I didn't have the legs to climb a freeway overpass), it's been good.

On Friday, I swam 2000 yards.  600 yards was freestyle and the balance was drills.  I've been really working on making my whole stroke count with a long reach and a deliberate and strong pull.  It was recently pointed out to me that I wasn't getting the benefit of a full pull, especially with my left arm.  Instead, I was letting it sink to much and drift in before I started pulling.  So I am working on that.  But despite some technique gains, I never did manage to touch the ceiling.

Newport Back Bay
Saturday was the weekly OC Velo ride through Irvine and Newport's Back Bay.  Since a bunch of the club was in Palm Springs doing the Tour de Palm Springs, it was a smaller group, but a good ride with a faster than average pace.  But I've got to warn you guys - never ride on the flats with TRI714 unless you are up for pain.  During the run-in to the HB pier on Coast Highway, we got a pace line going.  I was up front so I got my first turn to pull early on.  I did a couple minutes at 25 MPH.  Sufficiently happy with my effort, I drifted to the right so I could fall to the back of the line.  The next thing I know, Craig shoots by me like a rocket.  Technically, the trick with a pace line is to fight the natural tendency to speed up when it's your turn to pull.  But 25 MPH was clearly too slow for Craig.  Fair enough, but as riders started going by me I realized that I had no idea how many people were on the line.  I also realized that if I didn't immediately get on the wheel of the last rider I would be dropped.  Guess what?  I missed the last rider.  But thank God for traffic lights - I was able to catch up when they stopped and I don't think anyone noticed.

Saturday's cycling route

Bolsa Chica State Beach
Today was a double session with a 9 mile run in the morning and another 2000 yards in the pool in the afternoon.  The run was fine.  I did a loop from my house down to Bolsa Chica, north along the beach path, and then back to the house.  It's funny how the route is exactly 9 miles.  My right foot was a little sore because Ian decided to start the day by jumping out of bed screaming "Broadswords at dawn" and then immediately jammed his left heel into my right toes.  Also, I had a few "brain zings" during mile 6, presumably a result of the withdrawals.  But I did the run in Zone 2 with an 8:20 average pace, so I can't really complain.

Sunday's run route
For the swim, I swam 700 yards free, did 800 yards in drills, and then did 10 x 50's focusing on nothing but reach and pull.  I counted my strokes with every length.  It used to take me 22-23, but today I was doing 20.  So yeah, some improvement.

Happy Monday...

17 comments:

Kovas said...

Good to hear the swim continues to improve. And I believe the knowledge of Tokyo might be a mindmeld with Chris K.

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Congrats on eliminating the medication from the system!

I love zombie dreams - we all know one day the zombie apocalypse will happen so it sounds like you are working on a game plan (-:

Jennifer said...

The attic dream sounds cool, I always have strange architecture dreams. Glad to here you are working things out of your system, it will take time. Excellent workouts!

Caratunk Girl said...

Awesome to drop the meds, so cool what fitness can do for you!

Your dreams sounds crazy!! I go back and forth from having super vivid dreams to no dreams I can remember.

The Green Girl said...

Heh, maybe we have a future Steven Spielberg here...

Kate said...

I take celexa as well. I stopped taking it in 2009. I didn't wean myself off, instead I just dropped the meds completely. It wasn't pretty. The dizzy spells were so bad I had to miss work one day. It was intense. Now I am back on.

I can't wait to hear how you feel being off of them. Keep us (or at least ME) updated.

J. L. said...

Congrats on dropping the meds. That's awesome!

Big Clyde said...

You are becoming a super-human. I don't know what that makes TRI714.

Well done kicking the meds. The dreams do sound pretty cool, though.

Cynthia O'H said...

I'm so impressed with your ever-improving training. Great job.

TRI714 said...

Patrick I'm glad your ditching the meds, but only if you don't relive te Mr. Sunshine video on a daily basis. That being said, I think your amount of fitness and activity is going to be huge.
I like that run loop, I havent done it but thought it before, I think it becomes just over 11 for me and I like the fact that there is some elevation changes.
p.s. Saturdays ride was sick! And I now know I think I want to try Cyclocross if someone could sponsor me a bike.

Jill said...

I bet red velvet energy bars would make you feel zippy and take the dizziness away!

You should write your vivid dreams down and sell them to Hollywood!! :)

Bruce said...

Getting fit is a great healer. Good luck on getting off the meds!

As far as the dreams go, welcome to my dream world, only mine aren't side effects! :)

Barbie said...

Well done on kicking the medication Patrick. Exercise will definitely help - just be careful with the head spins.

Raegun said...

Way to get healthier. Vivid dreams are the best. You should keep a journal of the stories as they unfold.

Luke said...

I'm glad you are getting to drop the meds, to make yo healthier and to entertain us with your dreams!

Johann said...

Way to go Patrick! Your training is really going well and going off the meds is a big step. All the best for the rest of your journey.

DRog said...

Nice work on the swim focus! something I need to figure out

and better effort on the exercise to help with coming off the Celexa and possible w/d. No matter what it is that one is eliminating from daily habit or diet intake, there is always that shock to the system.

D

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