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Perseverance is not always good

Deep Vein Thrombosis is the formation
 of a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep
 vein, predominantly in the legs.
There are whole worlds out there that I know little or nothing about.  I'm a bit of a current affairs nut, and an avid reader on a wide range of subjects, but there's nothing like a new injury or illness as motivation to expand your knowledge of a subject.

During my running life I have had serious injuries to my Achilles tendons, knees and lower back, as well as the usual torn and strained muscles, tendons and ligaments.  In each case, I've learned a lot about those injuries, including through missteps I have made in dealing with them.

I like to think that my own experiences allow me to offer soundly-based views on the running-linked injuries of friends when asked.  In the case of soft tissue injuries, I generally advise patience and the avoidance of activities that worsen the symptoms.  If something seems more serious or inexplicable, I usually suggest starting with a doctor.  They have a range of diagnostic tools at their disposal and a broader range of knowledge about the possible causes than ancillary or alternative health care professionals.  I'm not a fan of starting with the latter because I believe their field of knowledge and the tools they have available make it less likely they will consider all of the possible sources of a problem.  This can lead to misdiagnosis and a delay in recovery.

Pulmonary Embolism  is a blockage of the main artery
of the lung or one of its branches by a substance
 that has travelled from elsewhere in the body
through the bloodstream (embolism).
In the last two weeks, through doctors, the Web, and articles given to me by others, I've become a lot wiser about the subjects of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Pulmonary Embolism (PE) and Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), and their associated symptoms, treatments and prognoses.  Of course, there's much more I don't know about these subjects, but one thing I have learned is that runners need to be much quicker in seeking the opinion of a doctor if they start to feel inexplicably short of breath, dizzy or light-headed, or experience chest pains, hyperventilation or persistent leg pain.  There can be life-threatening medical conditions underlying these symptoms and endurance runners are at higher risk of developing them, especially if they have a long background of endurance training.

Atrial Fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia
(heart rhythm disorder).  The normal regular electrical impulses
generated by the sinoatrial node are overwhelmed by
disorganized electrical impulses usually originating in the
roots of the pulmonary veins, leading to irregular conduction
of ventricles impulses which generate the heartbeat.
Many runners, and particularly males, think seeking medical advice about these symptoms is a waste of time and/or a sign of weakness.  All endurance athletes get used to dealing with fatigue and injury "niggles" and there's a strong temptation to dismiss them as a "cost of doing business".  Two friends, both distance runners, have recently been diagnosed with PE, but only after persevering with their symptoms for much longer than me and ending up in hospital emergency wards.

I will now be quick to advise any runners suffering from the symptoms described above to urgently seek the advice of a doctor.  Early intervention is important and delay could be fatal.  It's just not worth the risk of persevering.

After mentoring this morning's track session at the Terrigal Haven, I walked for about 6km, feeling fresh and healthy the whole way, and wishing I could be running my usual post-track session 11km.