This isn’t what you want to hear 3 weeks before your next big event or two months before the event of your life.
However, right now I know this is the right thing. Right now, I feel like shit. My chest hurts constantly and I'm coughing like I have been smoking 20 a day for the last 15 years.
About 6 weeks ago Doug and I were in the alps for a week or so training and working remotely. Whilst there I had a throat infection or something. Along with it was shortness of breath and some chest pains, which I’d put down to the altitude, harder than normal climbing and my sore throat.
From there I didn’t think much more about it. I had a bit of a persistent cough on and off and recurring chest pains, these escalated a little bit in the last couple of weeks, becoming particularly bad on a weekend training trip in Brecon. When I say particularly bad, I felt like I had a strong man sat on my chest. I'm not talking heart attack. I'm talking the discomfort you get when you on the bottom of a pile of "BUUUUNDLES" back when you were at school.
Whilst running and hiking, I was struggling for breath, and getting tight chested. I knew something wasn’t right, but I thought I was just unfit. I put it down to stress. Work has been unblievebale (whilst I’ve taken steps to make improvements there, I’m pissed of with myself having seen my post from November and things being even worse!!)
Anyway, despite my guilt for not working this weekend, we had a long day on our feet on the Saturday, made longer by not paying enough attention to the map and descending the wrong hill, into the wrong valley. I was having all sorts of pains and finding reasons for them. Chest - fitness. Back - new bag, and massage the day before. Knee - I'm carrying a bit of timber at the moment. Ankle - rolled it running off Pen Y Fan.
Despite that we had a good day it. It was beautiful. You could see the black mountains and beyond. It red hot and finding water was a challenge but we enjoyed ourselves. When back off the hill, I had quite severe chest pains. They were bad for several hours, whilst it settled a little during the night there was still a grumbling there. The only way I can describe it is when you're super hungry and your tummy is rumbling - like that but in the centre of my chest.
In the morning they were still there. Doug suggested maybe acid reflux or some thing. Yeah probably that. What ever that is.
Sunday’s run was shorter, less intensive. Hike up run down. But after, and the hours driving home my chest was super sore.
I text Robbie to give him an update, I'd noted it in my training plan a few times the days prior about the curious pains. He suggested I visit the Dr.
Of course the next week involved 3 lots of 3am finishes at work and a trip to Germany so this didn't happen.
During the week my chest was tight still. Like someone was sat on it, I didn't have time to train. Thursday I finally got out for a run, I didn’t feel great but I put it down to how little sleep I was getting and the enormous stress I’m under.
Friday I had entered a race with a friend at work that was only a short 4 and a bit km run up and down Luton runway at 4am.
The race went well - I won. I didn’t feel wonderful, didn't have any great turn of speed and I spent a lot of time afterwards coughing.
Saturday I planned to run the ashridge boundary trail. 16 miles of unchallenging terrain, climbs about 500m throughout, one of my favourite local routes. I got 2 miles in, I was wheezing. Double over, not able to get air in. I walked the rest of the hill whilst texting Doug. My chest felt the worst it had felt before and it was a little alarming. I wasn't even putting much effort in.
I continued on at a slow pace with the pains constantly there, my breathing laboured when I tried to run up hill. I didn’t even attemp any pace.
I was committed to get back to the car now so that meant cutting short to complete a 10mile route. Getting back to the car I followed Doug’s advice to go home and go to the walk in clinic....
Which was closed.
So I spoke to a friend who is a GP who told me to call 111. They asked me lots of questions, and said they were sending an ambulance, I refused as this was a bit dramatic and agreed to go to A&E. I was visiting some friends near Peterborough so I decided to go to Bedford as it was halfway and Penny met me there with hugs.
I was seen very quickly despite the England match being on and there being quite a queue. I was quickly taken for an ECG, blood tests and other checks.
After a couple of hours the Dr came to see me and ask some further questions. He confirmed my blood test was normal, blood pressure fine. However, the ECG had shown some changes he wasn’t happy about.
He said few things, that he wants to rule out some things, that it might just be a virus, that the area around my heart is inflamed
He made me an appointment with the cardiologist for 11 days time. Told me to take it easy “can I jog?”
"Not if that is what is making your chest hurt more"
He gave me some anti inflammatorieis - I assume to see if the inflammation goes and I have a normal ECG recording.
So, there’s we are. Waiting now to find out what happens next week. Waiting to find out if my summer of races is going to be cancelled. My coughing is persistent so I think it's probably just a bit of a sniffle. It's probably nothing.
Above anything else, nobody is more surprised than me that there is even a heart in my chest cavity!
Fingers crossed I'm well enough to run Lakeland 50!
To be continued......