So in August 2017 we started a regime of medication for my angina which was modified several times over the course of the next few months, addressing the issues of my body.
I also started the Angina Plan which enabled me to start addressing the psychology side of CHD as well. On occasion I do revisit the plan to make sure I remain on track.
With this two pronged approach I started to feel ‘enabled’ or capable of achieving more of my goals and ambitions while, at the same time, recognising that some were just unrealistic. I was actually starting to feel better than I have in all the time I remember and with that in mind I set a goal of running a half marathon.
The anxiety in the angina nurse’s voice when I told her was obvious but she quickly realised I had left myself 4 months to prepare and she trusted me to take it carefully.
Training was going quite well when I was called for a biopsy of the old prostate. It would take a week out of training, I was told, so I could afford that. But it didn’t heal properly and it took 3 weeks to return to training. So not only had I lost 3 weeks training I had also lost 3 weeks fitness and I was about 8 weeks from the race. To get back on target I risked injury so I had to take the middle ground and accept that I wouldn’t do it as easily as I had hoped.
I have to admit that my fitness on race day before the race was a disappointment to me but I was doing this! And Jane had kindly agreed to be my running buddy – without whom I do know how I’d have managed but I wanted Second Only Child to run her own race as much as possible and get a PB. SOC got her PB by 3 minutes and that was a huge lift for me after the race. I know, that had I been alone, she would have buddied with me.
Jane kept me going and tolerated a lot of whining and apologies from a guy who was grateful but disappointed to be where I was.
As I turned to the finish I did, however, have enough left to finish a little stronger than I’d been running and the cheers from club members who had hung around waiting for me (they could have been home long ago!) was a huge lift. Crossing that finish line was something very special to me and without the support of Shelton Striders then I am not sure I could have done it.
My time was a lowly 02:37:36 – but I’m not complaining because on the day I could not have done more.
A huge thank you to Jane, SOC and the other runners who stood around for what must have seemed like hours, on a cold, blustery and at times wet day waiting to cheer me home!
So where now? I run for fitness and since then I have found that running the half marathon while not properly ready has set my running back quite a bit – which seems weird to me – so my first goal is to get back to truly comfortable running against as many route profiles as I can just so that I have a good firm base for building on. But remaining injury free. My pace is coming back slowly but it’s not all about pace. Comfort, for me, is not a thing in the legs but a thing in the chest and CV.
Running the half marathon incompletely prepared did reward me with angina at times and I have encountered it since a few times, as I try to rebuild the foundation. But using perceived pace and an HR monitor to ensure I understand that comfort (does that make sense to you?) is rewarding me with runs now that are some of the strongest I can remember. And I am building the miles back up based on that – but gradually.
My goal for 2018 is to cover a half marathon distance comfortably in a time inside that of my race time. But this will not be an ‘event’ but it will be on Strava so it will be real.
Plans beyond 2018? To ensure I keep fit and, as far as possible, injury free. Take each day as it comes and each run as a bonus – even the bad ones.