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Good News and Bad News


from “Diary of a rubbish marathoner” Look what arrived in Monday’s post. On the back side it says that I am accepted into the 113th Boston marathon, and to confirm this, a search on their website has me listened as one of the entrants. I guess it’s time to book a flight; and to check the Visa requirements. I’m slowly cranking up my mileage and I can already feel an improvement in my fitness. Those runs of 2 hours seem to have a magic effect on me, I can feel a drop in the HR even one day later. Surely I’m not imagining the figures on the Garmin, especially now that the new battery seems to have fixed the problems. I noticed a lower heart rate last Tuesday, and the same happened again today.

Monday’s run was not without difficulties. The forecast frosty temperatures never arrived, but the wind and rain did. I had fallen asleep listening to the storm outside, and when the alarm sounded at 5:25 am it still didn’t sound any better. As I was getting ready I could not help looking out of the kitchen window into the darkness and thinking that it felt less than inviting. Of course I went out anyway, and it wasn’t as bad as it had sounded. This was my first lap around the lake since the marathon, and beforehand I had been wondering if I would be able to run all those hills and still remain under the HR threshold. I needn’t have worried. The HR alarm did beep at times, but I was always able to get it back under control without problems. In fact I reached the high point in a time that I would have regarded as decent in the previous training cycle despite being careful not to exert myself; admittedly I may have been assisted by the strong wind pushing me from behind. Then I had the chance to test my downhill running skills, which will be sorely tested in Boston. I felt a bit awkward at times; I guess there is room for improvement. The second half of the run was a lot more challenging against the blustery wind (average wind speed 30mph, gusts of 40 mph), but I was surprised how well I felt, even on the last miles I was not the least bit tired. What did bother me was my left hamstring, which started tightening up badly with a few miles to go. When I reached home I felt like I could run a second lap without problems as long as someone took care of my left leg in the meantime. This area kept bothering me for the entire day. I’m not sure what to do. I can easily reach my toes without bending the knees, so tightness should not be a problem; I keep stretching it regularly, and that does provide some relief, but only for a short while.

As already mentioned, today’s reward for running 2 hours on Monday was an improved heart rate. I managed my first run under 8:00 pace since the marathon which pleased me no end, but then disaster struck. I was doing some exercises afterwards (bounding, skipping, high knees, …) and about 5 minutes into that my heart went mental. The HR on the Garmin went beyond 220, and when I felt my pulse it was extremely fast, shallow and irregular. It was a bit scary, but this has happened twice before and I wasn’t worried about dropping dead. Of course I stopped exercising immediately, but didn’t feel quite right for another couple of hours.

The whole episode could be caffeine related, but that is only a theory. After the last episode, two years ago, I completely cut my coffee intake and did not experience any more problems afterwards. In the last few weeks I have drunk between 1 and 2 cups each day, which isn’t exactly a lot, but it’s one or two cups more than I used to drink before the marathon, and eliminating coffee is the first thing on my list. Back then I had a health check which stated that I was completely healthy and that my heart was perfectly fine.

I have a sore throat at the moment (like Shea and Niamh, and Cian had been sick already), which might have something to do with it. I was also quite tired because Maia had woken at 4 am and kept torturing us for the next 90 minutes (most likely she’s got a sore throat as well), and the sleep deprivation did get to me. As far as running is concerned, I’m not too worried. The last time this happened was during the warm up for a half-marathon; for some reason I still decided to race, and subsequently had my best ever race up to then. If anything, regular exercise should be beneficial. Anyway, it’s definitely not a heart attack, it doesn’t fit any of the symptoms. I’d still like to know what it is, though, but the doctor didn’t come up with anything last time. I’m not a complete idiot (I said complete, right?), if I thought there was something seriously wrong I’d stop running immediately.

24 Nov
15 miles, 2:04:16, 8:17 pace, HR 146
25 Nov
8 miles, 1:03:32, 7:57 pace, HR 147
subsequent heart palpitations