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Just can't help myself

My run this morning circled Avoca Lagoon.

I ran my usual post-track session, 11km loop from Terrigal Haven this morning, and although I felt tired the whole way, my form was OK and my time three minutes faster than last week.  At one point during the run, Chris, a very well-performed triathlete and fellow Trotter, cruised past me easily, but he didn't outpace me as quickly as expected and I could imagine that in another month or two I could be training at the same pace.

When I resumed running following my DC Cardioversion in late-February, I announced to everyone that I was going to become a "recreational runner" rather than a "competitive runner", in a self-imposed attempt to reduce the chances of a recurrence of my Atrial Flutter heart problem.  I recognised that 45 years of competitive running was going to be a hard habit to break, but thought that the downside of the heart problem recurrence would be sufficient motivation.

Avoca Lagoon.

After five weeks of a gradually increasing running load, I'm almost at the point of admitting defeat in my quest to remain "recreational".  My comeback just feels like any other comeback from a running injury, and my limiting factors seem to be musculoskeletal as much as cardiovascular, i.e., my legs as much as my breathing.  And I just can't help pushing at the edge of the envelope to see if I can coax further improvement.  It's proving impossible to turn off that competitive gene.  Even though I am managing to avoid completely trashing myself in any one run, I now find myself running up hills much the same as I used to, going as hard as I can while running "within myself".  I would define the latter as being very tired, but not losing form or breathing regularity.

I described walking and running while suffering from Atrial Flutter as being like driving a car whose clutch was slipping.  The engine (my cardiovascular system) was working hard, but the power was not being transmitted to the legs.  I haven't had that feeling once since the DC Cardioversion.  Instead, I feel that everything is operating as it should and always has, apart from the Atrial Flutter episode.

As each week goes by, my confidence is growing that there will not be a recurrence.  I have scoured the online literature for information about the risks of recurrence, but there is a frustrating paucity of studies pertinent to my age and physical condition.  It does seem that the longer I go without a recurrence, the less likely one is to occur, but it can't be ruled out.  Nor is it possible to identify any risk factor I have that makes a recurrence more likely.  I'm starting to tend towards the view that I should just return to my life as though I had never had the heart problem, rather than imposing boundaries (that may make no difference) on myself.  If the worst happens, then a Catheter Ablation is a very viable, and usually successful, option already suggested by my Cardiologist.  I'll continue to gradually increase my running load, but won't target any races, thus avoiding the pressure to train that accompanies a looming event.