When I first said I'd write this blog, I envisaged I'd report back every Monday on how well everything was going. I've obviously broken that already, as this week I've waited until Friday to write something. That's mainly because I couldn't think of anything profound to write, and I haven't trained as much as I hoped.
After a stunning start to my training, things have gone a bit pear shaped. Without sounding big headed, I would say I am incredibly fit and healthy. I don't smoke, I'm tee total, I eat healthily and I do a shed load of exercise. So why did I find myself in the queue at the pharmacy today, behind an old lady who smelt like a mixture of wee and biscuits, asking for a pair of stockings?!
I planned to run home from work on Monday, and expected a cold but fast run. Four miles in, I stopped because my leg really hurt. I had a dull ache that burned when I put pressure on it. And I got a kankle. I thought only fat people got kankles, but I had one. There was fluid on my lower calf, I didn't have much sensation in the area and I felt like I had polio and was dragging a dead weight. So I aborted my run and got the train home. That hurt more, because I had given up - but hoped it was for a greater good. What hurt almost as much was that on a packed commuter train from Brighton to Worthingat peak time, I had a table and four seats to myself, because nobody would sit next to a guy in a vest and shorts who was breathless and rubbing his leg! I felt like I had the leprosy and people didn't want to go anywhere near me in case I touched them and shouted "tag you're it. Now you've got the lergy!!!".
Well, after a chat with a doctor friend on the phone, I had it checked out. I have varicose veins in my left leg, and the lack of circulation was causing a numbness. The only treatment for now is hosiery! So there I was, standing in line at the pharmacy, waiting for someone to find a stocking for me, whilst the lady behind me looked accusingly. I obviously pointed to the old lady in front of me with a bag of industrial Tena Lady and gave eyes to suggest 'it's not me, it's her!'. The nice girl in the pharmacy came out and measured differnet parts of my leg and tried to make small talk. It went along the lines of "young people like you don't usually get varicose veins, you know. That's why the stockings are always brown - because old people love brown".
So this begs the question of when does healthy become unhealthy? Have I gone full circle and pushed myself so hard that my lifestyle is detrimental to my health? Talking to some people in the office yesterday, I was told I look tired, rough, dishevelled. Thanks, Bev and Mags. On top of that, I pee'd blood late last week after a particularly hard run/training session. I had the indignity of running so hard on sunday that I was dry heaving as I crossed the finish line of a race. And then I saw my physio today who said I was over pronating my left foot and it was causing excessive pressure on my leg. My answer is that I don't care. I'm not training for or taking part in these events to get fitter. Being fit is a benefit of competing of training - not the result. I have a resting heart rate of 44 beats per minute (normal is about 70) and blood pressure of 101/58 (120/80 is normal). Essentially what this means is that my heart is bigger and/or more efficient than most.
So why am I taking part? Because I'm certainly not going to win them. I've touched on this before, but I have to look for little wins. The ones that only I notice. Last sunday was the first of my events. The Worthing Lido 4 mile race. My target was to beat 25 minutes. I did, with an official time of 24mins 40secs. That's an average of 15.7kmh or 6mins 10secs per mile. I came home in 27th position out of 436 people - so I came in the top 6%. This is the type of analysis I meant in my other blog - stuff that only I notice. More importantly, I did win in one way. I was the first runner home who does not run for a club - so I was the best amateur amatuer. A small victory indeed, buy one that I enjoyed none the less.
So what's planned for the coming week? A run on Sunday, as well as a photoshoot with the local rag from my home town, and then back to normal next week - apart from having to run with a single knee length sock on my left leg all the time. I have added another marathon to my list and a duathlon, too. For a full list of the events I have planned do far, see the just giving pages at www.justgiving.com/kevin-betts2 - and whilst you're there, bung me a couple of quid!
On the plus side this week, at least I didn't tread in any dog crap!
Thanks for taking the time to read this - and big thanks to Nic 'Basher' Barratt and Laura 'Bummers' Bottomley for their extrememly generous donations this past week. They're both amazing people. Lest we forget those not with us any more - those are the people who put silly challenges like this in context!