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When to run again?

My walking route this morning took me through the
Avoca Beach Markets.

When I went to bed last night I had decided that today's exercise would include some light jogging.  It's not so much that I'm desperate for an endorphin high, or even the satisfying fatigue that follows a run.  It's more that I was very fit four weeks ago and I can feel that condition ebbing.  I know these feelings are familiar to all injured runners, but this time around I'm conscious that a miscalculation on when to start running again could feasibly have fatal consequences rather than just a setback in recovery time.

Avoca Beach Markets.

So, this morning, while enjoying my cup of decaffeinated coffee, I surfed the Web and pondered the most rational approach to a return to running.  I don't want to take stupid risks, but I don't want to be too timid either.  Finally, I decided to just walk 10km today and use the time to work out a rational strategy.  I do my best thinking while walking.

The first conclusion I reached was that the Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) diagnosed seventeen days ago was still at significant risk of throwing off small clots that could impact my lungs and heart.  Many sites on the Web indicated a minimum of four weeks and usually six weeks for DVT's to resolve themselves.  I should probably wait another three weeks and possibly an "all clear" from another ultrasound exam of the lower right leg before resuming jogging.

Avoca Beach Markets.

The second conclusion I reached was that my exercise, whether walking or running (when the time comes), should be at a pace which does not push my heart/lungs into what I'm calling the "Amber Zone".  Twice during today's 10km walk, near the top of steep and longish hills, I could feel myself beginning to struggle for breath and an unpleasant sort of pressure (not pain) building in the base of my chest as my heart began to race.  It was as though the clutch was slipping and no drive was being transferred from the engine to the wheels.  This was the same feeling I had when running faster up hills just before being diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolism (PE), so I'm becoming familiar with it.  I didn't have to stop walking for the sensation to abate today, but did need to slow right down to a dawdle.  I would define the "Red Zone" as being the need to stop and sit down, and I have not reached that point yet, nor do I want to.

Avoca Beach Markets.

Like most chronic injuries, I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on how to manage it, but know it is not wise to look for the "edge of the envelope" as has been my inclination in the past.  I also know that, even after the DVT has resolved itself and the clots in the lungs are no longer an issue (which could take months), I will still likely need some sort of medical procedure to address the Atrial Flutter problem before I can start running hard again.  Patience!

[I have posted my Post-DVT Training Diary here, or it is accessible from the Links menu at right.]

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