Ultrarunner fighting Atrial Fibrilation (AF)

This blog has pretty much always been about running ultras, mostly Hardrock. It still is but now it is also about running after AFib. I was forced to miss Hardrock in 2011 due to the onset of AF but my long term goal was to get back to running milers. And hopefully help any other runners with AF who stumble upon this site. I never made it into Hardrock in 2012, or 2013, or 2014. I didn't have a qualifier for 2015. I ran Fatdog in Canada instead. That was tough. I finished my 4th Hardrock in 2016 and now I'm back to try for the magical number 5.

If you want the history of my AF the heart problems all started back on May 25 2011: http://howmanysleeps.blogspot.com/2011/05/out-of-hardrock.html

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Perhaps this is as good as it will get

todays heartrate

When time came for me to head out for a run today I simply couldn't face it and chose to curl up in front of the heater with the dogs for a sleep. I woke feeling drugged. How appropriate. The irony wasn't overlooked. I was already dressed for a run so dragged myself out the door. As is now the routine I walked for the first 10minutes to slowly warm my heart up. Then it is a slow jog of around 7 minutes per kilometre to ensure my heartrate stays below 130bpm. I have chosen that as my upper limit. Go above that and I walk until it drops significantly and start again. This is the pattern of my runs. Add to that the ever present feeling of dragging a tyre or 2 behind me. And the lack of blood getting to my legs makes them feel like I am wearing compression tights that are 2 sizes too small. The big muscles starved of adequate oxygenated blood start to complain even at a slow jog.

Some days once I start to run, regardless of how slow I go, my heartrate spikes and I can feel the pressure. It can jump from 110 to 170bpm in the space of a few paces for no reason. And then drop as rapidly. Today this began after nearly 20minutes when I thought my heartrate was nice and stable. The spikes can be seen clearly on the trace above. It didn't get too high as I kept stopping. Eventually it stopped with only minor accelerations. But the frustration, the interruption to momentum, the disappointment was still there. Walking home slowly up the hill I looked back at the sun setting behind the clouds across the Moorabool valley. The sky was grey, orange and black. The wind was cold and the rain was stinging even through my tights. It was coming in horizontal and hitting me in the face under the brim of my cap. Normally I would complain about such horrible weather. Tonight I embraced it, realising this was probably as good as it was going to get. And what is the alternative?

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