5 days in to October and I am slowly getting back into running after using September for recuperation after my heart attack back on the 30th August, the first two weeks of September I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I Lacked energy and even walking up stairs at the start was hard work. This setback has been a bitter pill to swallow and at times thought about retiring from running.
I honestly had to have a long hard think about if I wanted to start the rebuild process again. I had busted my ass for 8 months to get back after last year, just to have rug pulled out from under me again. Could I settle and just plod and run just for for fun? Was it worth my health to push my body to it’s limits again? These were the questions I were asking myself. Right now I want to keep going but I also have to be realistic in that I may never be the same runner I was pre-2020. However I can be the best new version of me I can so long as I am patient and sensible.
The problem is I still don’t have all the answers with regards to my heart. The cardiologist thinks I have a type of Atrial fibrillation but it’s never presented before. It requires further tests to determine firstly if I have it and if so what type it is. He seems to think I have either:
- paroxysmal atrial fibrillation – episodes come and go, and usually stop within 48 hours without any treatment
- persistent atrial fibrillation – each episode lasts for longer than 7 days
I am back a week today to have the next test which is a 72 hour EGC monitor to see if it can pick up any issues. Then they will decided next step after that. I have been told to resume normal activities but just to record any issues etc between now and then. I asked about my higher heart rate when running and it could be one of the signs of the above but again what happened on bank holiday Monday and recovery is also a factor, been told not to worry too much and to see if it starts to drop to pre-attack levels within next 4-6 weeks of training. He says even worse case I should be able to continue running in some form. Depending on outcome, depends on treatment. Right now too many variables to say what path we will take.
So with a kinda of a green light to start training again, I have a good phone conversation with my coach Jo and October is all about base mileage. At moment we are monitoring my heart rate and getting the balance between easy run and running where I actually feel like I am running. I have tried running slow from my perspective and anything slower then 8:30 per mile feels unnatural and I struggle to actually run my normal style any slower. Everyone has a natural pace they can slot into, mine at moment while fells right running wise, heart wise it is wrong side of 160 BPM. So right now we have set an upper limit of what my average heart rate can be and will continue to monitor throughout October. hopefully a few consistent weeks of mileage will see fitness return and my heart rate drop back to under 150 with long term to get it back down to 145 for 7:30 per mile pace.
I would like long term to get back up to 100K weeks and maybe hit the magically 100 mile week. Those are serious long term goals. For now my goal for October is RED (run everyday) inspired by my favorite film The Hunt for Red October, the film that inspired me to become a Submariner.
If you would like to know more about Jo, please check out her website
Remember you can follow my progress daily via social media and Strava