I had my first COVID test last Thursday. I was 70 percent sure I didn't have it but I'd had a bad bout of dizziness on Tuesday that included me toppling over sideways with crazy vertigo when I bent down to tie my shoes in the morning. I also had terrible HRV numbers per my Garmin which indicated something was up and I hadn't been training that hard. By Thursday the dizziness was barely there but my HRV number was up at 100 on Garmin's scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the worst (typically the higher the HRV number the better but Garmin does things in reverse). Anyway, dizziness was one of the long term side effects I'd had from the vaccine and while I didn't have any other of the side effects I'd previously experienced (fatigue, brain fog, irritability) it was possible I had a nearly asymptomatic case and I wanted to rule it out. And if I had it I obviously wanted to know. COVID is running rampant in my county as well as in Colorado in general, we were 5th worse state in the country the other night. By Friday the dizziness was gone and HRV was at 53, or 'moderate stress', and I was 90 percent sure it wasn't COVID. I got my results that night and confirmed I was negative.
The cause of the dizziness was likely due to dehydration. Monday night I experimented with going in the sauna then having a hot shower right before bed to see if it would help improve my deep sleep. I'd started tracking my sleep a few weeks ago with my Garmin watch and was consistently getting poor numbers for deep sleep. Garmin suggested a hot bath before bed and the sauna seemed a good substitute since water is precious here in the high desert. I normally tolerate the sauna but I also normally use it after my workouts and before dinner. I drink a bunch of water and eat right afterwards. But I didn't want to drink too much right before bed so I had some water but probably not enough. Still it seemed like an extreme response that lasted all day and I'd had a similar instance of vertigo on Sat. or Sun. when I'd bent over to get clothes out of the dryer. With COVID ruled out, I'm assuming it's a dehydration/electrolyte issue. This is a tricky issue to solve and one I'm constantly working on. Drinking too much water dilutes electrolytes and makes me bloated. Drinking too little and I'm dizzy. So I've upped the water a bit and taking electrolytes when I remember. I had an ancient bottle of Endurolytes from years ago when I passed out in the Chipotle and there's no expiration date on it so I'm assuming it's o.k. It seems to have helped, it's now a week later and I feel o.k. I salt my food plenty but this can dilute potassium so I've been hitting up the avocados and looking for other good sources.
As far as the sleep tracking goes, I'm not sure how accurate my Garmin watch is, especially for tracking deep sleep. The watch is made more for triathlon training and the steps/sleep/etc. stuff was added as an afterthought. But the process of tracking has made me interested in my sleep so I finally broke down and bought and Oura ring. Usually when I want something frivolous like this I'll wait several months and see if I still want it. It's now been several years and I'm still interested in sleep and also having a hopefully more accurate device to measure HRV. Sometimes the way I'm feeling agrees with Garmin's HRV measurement and sometimes it's way off. The Oura ring also tracks body temperature and that combined with HRV can give a good early warning about coming down with something, COVID or otherwise. It's also a good way to guide my training which I'm going to be shifting back to more of a health focus and less of a race/performance focus. I may be done with racing, we'll see. I found the tapering/recovery time for these past two races to be very annoying and disruptive.
I ordered the Oura ring on October 9th and unwittingly entered into something of a controversy. I was told a 'sizing kit' would be shipped on October 18th. They send a bunch of plastic rings of various sizes so you can wear them and see how they fit throughout the day. Then on October 18th they said it would be October 26th because of global supply chain shortages blah blah blah. THEN on October 26th they said they were upgrading me to their soon to be released Generation 3 ring and giving me a free lifetime Oura 'membership'. I thought well, o.k., fine, and didn't think much of it. I figured all the delays were because they had been intending to release this new ring all along and for some reason didn't want to just say that.
The reason I'd chosen the Oura ring over the Whoop strap, another popular tracking device, is that the Oura ring didn't have any kind of fee to access your data. The Whoop strap is free but it's $30 a month or something to be able to use the app to get your data. And I really really hate this whole subscription business. I preferred the one time fee for the ring. As it turns out, Oura has switched to a subscription model as well, charging $6 a month to access your data on top of a hefty price tag for the ring itself. Anybody with an old ring can upgrade to the new one within a couple few weeks and have a free lifetime subscription. Also anybody like me who'd ordered a ring before they'd announced the launch of the new ring was grandfathered in to the free lifetime subscription. Lucky for me but not so much for their loyal customers who maybe bought a ring just 6 months ago and aren't ready to shell out the $$$ for a new one so soon. But if they don't upgrade right away, they lose the option of the free subscription. Also sucks for new customers because these subscription fees are predatory. Much anger and boycotting of this company on the interwebs. And I kind of feel like a scab but yeah, I'm not cancelling my order. Though I do hate that the world seems to be moving towards theses types of fees. 'You'll own nothing and like it'. Yeah. No.I don't care about this stuff that badly.
But it'll be interesting to see the results of the Oura ring, especially as compared to the Garmin. I have some ideas for sleep improvement, will be interesting to see if they have any effect. My ring ships Nov. 15th. In theory. Can't wait to see what other drama might happen with this company in the meantime. Or if I'm even ever going to receive a ring. In the meantime no more before bed sauna sessions and I'll be hitting up the avocados.