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Fitter...and more anxious

I recently found this old picture of
me running a length of the original
stadium at Olympia in Greece in 1975.

This week, I have really noticed an improvement in my fitness level and the proof was this morning's relatively strong run on the Terrigal Trotters "Pony Club Run" course.  I'm still not running with the leading bunch, but they were within sight for much of the first half of the 14km course and I felt I was moving comfortably at a faster pace for most of the run.

I should be feeling fitter.  I have run most days for the last eleven weeks and have averaged 100 kilometres a week for the past month, so it's nice to know that I'm getting a benefit.  However, with the fitness, and returning competitiveness, comes some anxiety.  Almost certainly, I have recovered full lung function after the Pulmonary Embolism four months ago.  And, my heart continues to beat regularly and strongly following the DC Cardioversion back in February to correct my debilitating Atrial Flutter.  But, constantly in my mind, is the worry that my heart will revert, maybe as a result of running hard.  When writing last night's blog, I mentioned a famous and extremely talented English ultra-distance runner, Cavin Woodward.  In 1975 he set a new world record for 100 Miles of 11hrs 38mins 54secs and en route also became the holder of World Best times for 50miles, 100km and 150km!  When I Googled him, I was saddened to see that he died in 2010 of a heart attack at age 62!  Then this morning, a friend was relating the story of an athlete competing in last weekend's Port Macquarie Ironman not long after he had been treated for a heart problem.  He finished the triathlon but was complaining of chest tightness.  He's only in his mid-30s.

On the hills in this morning's run, I could also feel some tightness in my chest at the base of my sternum.  I have been aware of it over the past month when running hard, but have not discerned any related problems.  Did I always have this tightness, but never paid attention in the past?  Is it breathing- rather than heart-related?  It feels more like an airway constriction.  I guess time will tell.  For the moment, it's a very satisfying feeling to be getting faster and I'm enjoying my running in a way I thought would never be possible again four months ago.