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

Sunday, August 21, 2011


A lifeline. Another phone call. This time from the cardiology department at the public hospital, Royal Melbourne. When Professor Kalman put me on his public waiting list he asked if I could be considered urgent. There was no questioning that from my viewpoint. So I have a new date: September 1. First day of spring. First day of my rehab. I can't describe the sense of relief tinged with a healthy dose of fear. I rushed in to town to get a blood test so I could get things moving. I go for a CT of my heart next friday and stop my medication for the week. That will make for a very interesting week. Countdown has begun. Can't come soon enough.

I ran the Bellarine Rail Trail run today. 34km social run from Queenscliff to Drysdale and return. My wife and one of our dogs ran with me to the half-way point. I had a lot of trouble getting my heart-rate down at the start and we ended up walking lots of the first 5km. This put us well behind everyone but after I stabilised we set a steady pace and even managed to catch a couple of runners before the turnaround.

I ran back on my own and again, after the restart struggled to get my heart rate down. After a couple of kms I settled into a rhythm and started cranking out sub 5minute kms. My heart-rate gradually crept up as my pace increased. over the last 3 kms I was doing 4:30 km/min and my heart -rate kept creeping up. I felt fine and wasn't in arrhythmia like the start of the run, so allowed myself to keep ticking along. The ocean opened up before me. There wasn't a cloud in the blue, blue sky. The paddocks were lush and vivid green. The sun was warm like the first hint of spring. It felt so good to be running again and for a minute there I actually forgot my heart problem and just let my legs do their own thing: run. Sometimes you've just got get out there and do it.