seven month update

so how's it going?

Seven months on.

I've been trying to work out how to communicate this all week (and a bit), mulling over different ideas. going for a run, thinking it over, but never actually getting around to writing it down. Similarly, I'm supposed to be writing a short bio for an upcoming race, but I have absolutely no idea what to say about me. "Started late in life, runs a bit, doesn't take it too seriously"? Reckon I'm going to have to find someone else's to copy. 😀

After finally summoning up the courage to finish reading Anne's 'one year update' - that spurred me on, I think it's good for me to get this down on paper and out of my head, hopefully someone will find it useful or helpful and I think it will be good to be able to look back on my thoughts in the future.

I try to keep getting back to a normal (for me) routine, so it can be deceptive looking at what I've been up to and thinking everything's back to normal. Occasionally I'll get a comment on Strava from someone saying "great to see you're recovered". But I'm not. Some runs I will have been feeling awful, others feeling just fine, I did a cross country race and had an awesome time, but had to hold onto Hugo's arm after the finish to help me about.
Cross country race

I had been hoping I could figure out a pattern and work out what affects me and what to avoid, but it seems so unpredictable, also it's hard to know if the effects of doing things are cumulative over time. (I had a big setback in the first few months and backed right off for a time thinking it was simply the steady continuous build up I'd tried to do, but that wasn't it).
The Strava graph showing the sudden post accident drop in August...
then the second 'reboot' from November.

One day I think I've had a breakthrough and turned the corner, and everything's going well. then out of the blue. crunch.

So, what prompted me to want to pen an update?

Last week. 

Last week was odd. I had been making good progress for quite a few weeks, finally starting to feel reasonably fit again, getting some races done, getting a bit of speed back in the legs, doing a mix of running, riding and a smattering of swimming. Nice. At last I got a reasonably long weekend run in on the Sunday which was lovely and went well (apart from being unable to procure a Mars bar in Cranleigh, and a bit of a wait for my rescue car).
No Mars in Cranleigh

Red Mist

So. Tuesday. evening. after work. Riding my Brompton to the station.... I'm nearly taken out five times - on a 1.5 mile journey - with three cars, one bus and one moped driving like utter arseholes and intentionally using their vehicles to push their way through traffic.
But they're just close calls, and I'm fairly assertive (albeit cautiously) when it comes to my right of way (e.g. I race, overtake, and berate the said bus driver, similarly the moped rider is treated to a loud colourful range of anglo-saxon profanity) anyway. the outcome of this is I realise that my heart rate must have been astronomical, I arrive at the station feeling my heart pounding in my chest and I'm physically shaking. I have trouble keeping it together,  I'm 'unsteady' all evening. and a headache starts. The headache comes and goes all week and I have moments of feeling unsteady and a bit out of it.

It's hard to describe the sensation really. But I'll give it a go. Low level headache comes and goes, occasionally forming into a sharper "pulse" which is accompanied with feeling totally 'spaced out', if I'm moving at the time this can result in feeling unsteady or as if 'on a boat' - it's as if gravity is rotating on me. As a result I can veer off course or have to grab on to something. Then it passes. Rather excellently, or conveniently, I can actually run with this going on, the constant forward motion seems to counteract and negate it. So. Just keep running. Sorted.
(other niggles, ringing ears, random swings of emotions, and the teeth still feel weird.)

Anyhow. back to the week. it's been a bit crap, on an off, I had that decent long run on Sunday then kept up a decent amount of exercise, but... it's been a bit patchy. I have my final weekly PT session on the Friday. This is just over an hour. It's full on. I can really feel the exertion, and when it's over, I can immediately feel and sense that somethings up again, a headache starts in the evening. Saturday morning. not feeling great. headache, start medicating with ibuprofen which helps a little, go for a Parkrun, the fresh air helps, but I pretty much crash out for the rest of the day. Sunday morning, sigh, still headache, but easing a bit, get out for some hill reps in the afternoon. Headache in the evening, then I wake up on Monday morning feeling perfectly fine and crystal clear.
Well that was the weekend written off. Followed by a pretty decent week at work.

So getting frustrated not being able to predict what's going to happen on any given day or knowing what makes it worse, or makes it better.

Two wheels

I completed my first cycling time trial for about two years at the weekend. Although in horrifying weather conditions - this required dismounting to climb over a fallen tree at one point - and feeling terribly off pace, I didn't do too badly after all (i.e. didn't come last).
Accurate summary of the weather conditions

So onto the year ahead. (Can't believe we're already burning our way though March) I have two big events coming up, with still plenty of time to prepare before, and between them - very unlike me. 😀
One is a complete unknown track ultra, the other an "unfinished business" canal ultra. Then need to think of how to finish the year off, I'm thinking something completely different, perhaps swimming related?

I just need to accept that at the moment, this is the new normal, and cope with these episodes as they occur and work around them each time.

It's sobering reading reports from people still struggling after a year - or someone still feeling the effects after 12 - and accepting that this is going to take a while. The assumption that, well I'm fit, I'm an athlete, I can do stuff quickly doesn't apply here.

I've improved over seven months already both with getting better, but also understanding what's going on and how to manage when things go wrong, I just assume that as the years roll on everything will just fade to normal.


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