Today I went bicycling and when I first got on the trail it was such a beautiful day, with the Sun shining, and the wonderful fresh air, the trees all around – it felt so blissful and I was so excited and exuberant.
I also just had a little bit of tea which I accidentally oversteeped – I usually only steep the tea leaves for a couple minutes but as I sometimes do I lost track of the tea and came back later after it had steeped too long. I actually did not decant the bottom part of the tea from the vessel which is the darker part, thinking that probably it has a higher concentration of caffeine. Still, the part I did drink probably had a good amount of caffeine.
I’m very sensitive to caffeine. I really can’t drink regular coffee anymore. It affects me so much that I feel like I’m on psychedelics. I get a disoriented feeling and a kind of rush which is usually too much and unpleasant.
Perhaps the combination of the tea and the overexuberance when I first got on the trail – plus also the fact that the air was quite chilly today and so I was bicycling with extra intensity to generate heat – I started feeling not good. My breath was short and I started to feel lightheaded. I slowed down a little bit and it was only then that I could sense that my heart was pounding extremely rapidly. Extremely rapidly.
Its like the heart, when activity level increases, increases the rate of beating, higher and higher. But there is some theoretical upper limit. And once that limit is exceeded its like it just maxes out.
My resting heart rate is usually around 60 bpm, and I tend to have low blood pressure, usually in the range of 100-110 / 60. When I used to track my heart rate at the gym on the treadmills that have a heart rate monitor built in, my rate would get as high as – I can’t remember now, I think it would sometimes get up to around 150 (or 170 or 180? I can’t remember). There was a little range indicator but I don’t remember what the values were but I know I was usually going way over the range you’re actually supposed to be in to not overburn.
Today it felt like it my heart was maxed out into some kind of hyper state. I felt nauseous and faint. I drastically slowed down on my bicycle but it was so much and I felt danger so I dismounted my bicycle. I arrived at a bench and sat on it and my heart was just thumping extremely hard and fast. I felt worried and afraid that I could possibly be having a heart attack and die.
For an instant I thought this could be the end of my life. I was in a beautiful, scenic place, doing what I love, so I thought this wouldn’t be too bad if I were to die now.
I tried to control my breathing, to slow it down. I sat on the bench and tried to keep my back straight and not hunch over. I just took slow, deep breaths and finally my heart unlocked from the rapid thumping and calmed down.
I waited a while longer on the bench and then when I felt better but still shaken from the experience I got back on my bicycle and took it easy. For the rest of my ride I was careful not to over exert although towards the end of the ride I felt like I was really back to normal where I could have went crazy if I had wanted (but didn’t).
This happened to me another time many months ago when I had been in a cafe prior and was walking up a really steep hill. I was overexerting without noticing it – I guess I’ve trained my body to be able to push it really hard and sometimes don’t realize how hard I’m pushing it because I’m accustomed to it – and again my heart seemed to get locked into this state of intense, very rapid beating and I felt nauseous and light-headed and had to stop.
This never happened to me before so whatever it is it is some new change which has developed over the past year.
I’m vegan and I’m sure I have a healthy heart, but I guess I have to be extra careful about doing any overexertion after caffeine intake.
I wonder if there has been research into this. What about Olympic sprinters who surely must be maxing out their hearts in competitions. Try to think of the most intensely vigorous activity you ever did that was so intense your heart was just beating extremely hard and fast.
I guess its normal that that happens, but maybe its the caffeine, because I’m sensitive to it, that is somehow pushing my heart over the top. The upside is, I’ve really been cutting down on caffeine lately. I usually only make teas like darjeeling or similar which are not too high, and I don’t like to steep the tea leaves for more than a couple minutes. Now I am forcing myself to use a timer when I steep the tea because I can easily get sidetracked and forget about the tea steeping.
I keep thinking about this guy I read about – I think he was a Japanese prince – who died some years ago when playing tennis. From what I remember reading about it I think it said he died suddenly from overexertion. Perhaps he was a kind of similar person to me who tended to overexert himself.
Maybe I should invest in one of these heart rate monitor bands which has some kind of audible alert if my heart rate gets too high.
One reason I’m writing this is because I have been trying to research what happened online but have only been able to find somewhat vague information which says that if you feel lightheaded when exercising you should stop immediately.
None of the information I’ve read about tachycardia seems to really describe what happened to me, with my heart feeling like it was locked into some kind of hyper state of deep pounding. None of the information about different types of arrhythmia, tachycardia, or flutters seemed to describe it either.
However when reading about flutters it seems to describe something that occasionally occurs with my heart when resting.