Search This Blog

Finding the boundaries

Coast Road in North Avoca tested my limits this morning.

The Holter Monitor involves having five electrodes, connected by wires to a battery-powered recording unit a bit larger than a smartphone, stuck to various parts of my chest for 24 hours.  The device will record my heart activity and I'm supposed to note the time of any periods when I feel breathless or notice heart palpitations.  I was worried the electrodes would become detached while I slept, but the technician did a good job of taping them down, and they were still there this morning.

Wamberal Beach from my walk this morning.

The Respiratory Specialist yesterday, while not encouraging me to run, implied that it wasn't necessarily dangerous, just that it would be difficult and uncomfortable.  I didn't want to confirm his prediction, but did want to get my heart-rate high enough today to provide good evidence of the occasional problems I have experienced in the last month.

Thursday, as usual, started with supervision of the 6:00am track session at Terrigal Haven on what was a beautiful sunny, and a little humid, morning.  I watched the twenty or so runners go through their paces (seven times 800m with a minute recovery between each) in the 45 minute session before they headed off to their breakfast coffees, or work, or to get their children ready for school, or all three.  I always feel a bit lazy, being retired, that they have to rush off while my day continues at a more leisurely pace.

Terrigal Beach this morning.

I returned to my car, donned my radio and headphones, and set out on a 7km walk that would include several hills I thought steep enough to test my impaired cardio-vascular system.  Rather than my usual stroll, I walked a little more briskly to encourage the symptoms.  The first significant hill climbs up the Scenic Highway out of Terrigal and I fully expected to succumb to breathlessness as I maintained a good pace, but I was surprised to reach the top without a problem.  It was good that I was feeling better than expected, but bad that there was no discernible heart arrhythmia for the Holter Monitor to record.  A little nonplussed, I continued on down Tramway into North Avoca, circled through the beachside streets and tackled the second steep hill, Coast Road.  This hill is steep enough to always be a serious challenge when running, and I couldn't envisage walking briskly up it without testing my current limits.

Terrigal Haven this morning.

Sure enough, after about 100 metres of serious climbing, I felt my heart racing and my blood pressure dropping.  I had to stop for fear of passing out, and just stood quietly for a minute, ready to sink gracefully to the side of the road if necessary.  After a minute or so, my equilibrium was restored and I continued on.  However, a few hundred metres later, at another short sharp little pinch, the same feeling enveloped me and I had to stop and stand still for a short period, again ready to cushion my fall to the road if I fainted.

It was encouraging, though, that once equilibrium was restored, I felt fine and could continue on at a good pace so long as the grade wasn't too steep.  I walked another couple of kilometres down into Terrigal before returning along the beach promenade to The Haven and my car, where I noted the times I felt unwell for the doctor to compare to the heart monitor.  I'm sure he will have something to look at now.