Monday, 18 November 2013

Onwards and upwards? not quite

Brighton 10km 2013
Brighton 10km is an annual event for my running group and one we look forward to with great excitement. Last year I'd literally just had major surgery, so couldn't go and spent the day feeling glum and missing out on all the fun.

This year we had a gang of around 35 runners take part - some of them their first ever race. It's a nice race, flat and straight along the seafront. Perfect for your first 10km and a fab day out with some great friends. 

On a personal level, I'd love to say that I'd run another PBPB (post bag PB) but it seems my new running journey is going to be strewn with new and different challenges and the odd annoying spoke in the works.

I'd not been feeling 100% for a few days leading up to the race. Struggling to get my electrolyte levels balanced and suffering from high output losses from my stoma. Feeling spaced out, headachey and cold and jittery are sure signs that something isn't right. Sometimes it goes through phases like that we haven't quite figured out why - or how to treat it properly.

It's frustrating, especially given I'd run a really good 10km earlier in the summer in Rye and then the Jungfrau marathon, where thankfully I wasn't having the same sorts of issues. I had felt like things were moving onwards and upwards! 

Anyway, just prior to the race as I was leading the warm up, one of the ladies quietly said to me 'You're not feeling well are you?'.. incredibly perceptive, kind and intuitive of her, given that she was focused on her own race, but took the time to notice I wasn't firing on all cylinders.  Up until that point I'd been trying to ignore it. It shook me out of my denial and I confessed that 'no I wasn't'. But with only 20 mins to go before the race I still wasn't sure how to tackle it. Should I go all out and just see what happened? or jog along with one of the other ladies and forget all about it? I guess I never really got that bit clear in my head and found myself on the start line without any sort of plan.

After 2km it was clear that it wasn't going to be great. I felt really nauseous and weak. My heartrate wouldn't go higher than 158bpm and I just didn't really care anymore. I backed off the pace and decided I just had to endure it and get round. I didn't look at my watch once the whole way round and was a little surprised to see 48 mins when I crossed the line.. it had felt much much slower.

Straight away afterwards though I realised I wasn't feeling too great at all. Very tearful, shivery, cold and shaky. I managed to drink some electrolytes and some great friends got me sorted with clothes, hot chocolate, hugs and salty chips which helped and I perked up fairly quickly. 

But it certainly knocked the wind from my sails and I felt a little scared that I'm still not on top of things.

I was just starting to rebuild a little bit of confidence in my body, but something like this is enough to shatter it again. How on earth will I ever manage a marathon or the half Ironman I've got planned later in the year if I can't manage my electrolyte levels properly?

There's part of me that want's to be 'fine'. I've got a stoma now, it's fixed everything and I can do whatever I like.. I don't like making excuses for poor performances.. but sometimes I need to give myself a break and realise that there is a valid reason.

It's time to get my head out of the sand and seek out some consistent medical support to help me manage things - especially since I want to train and compete. So.. it's back to see some specialists I think. I need to address why I have such high output and electrolyte losses and get to grips with that first. 

Today I'm feeling a mixture of frustration, anger.. and also a little fearful that this might be as good as it gets. But that's probably just the 'post race blues' talking. 48 mins for a 10km still isn't bad in the scheme of things. But its' just frustrating when I know I can achieve much more.

Despite my own poor race however, the rest of the group were just fantastic with some amazing results and lots of 'first 10km' performances. They were all chuffed to bits with themselves! I'm so very proud of all of them and it's an absolute honour to be their coach and leader.

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