a Doctor that runs…

‘Do you have a Doctor that runs?’, I said for the third time.

‘Oh you mean a Sports Doctor?’ …. it’s all in the words.

After a bit of confusion I found a great GP. I had been on the last long run of my 3 month training schedule for the Gold Coast Marathon, which should have gone for 4 hours. I ran down the road, along the golf course and started to feel weird…weirder than normal that is!

For one I couldn’t settle in to my pace, as my breathing was laboured, it felt as if I was struggling to get breath. My legs felt strong, but there was a discomfort in my chest accompanied by a mild giddiness. Surely it’ll pass. After 3 K I forced myself to stop and sat on the first bench I could find, wondering what I was feeling and what it meant.

I was just about to finish over 3 months of fairly intense training for a run that was 42.2K. I was on track, it had been tough, but I was close to finishing. 4 hours was only half an hour longer than my longest run to date, 3 and a half hours.

I rang Ange, my wife and asked her to come and pick me up. The car trip home was quick and silent. Once home I resolved to run for as long as I could on the treadmill, in half hour increments, stopping only for a drink and an SIS gel, longer if needed. I started slowly and settled quickly into a meditative pace aided by the tunes flowing through my perfect sounding, but now smelly over-ear head phones. As the two-hour mark came and went, I was aware of the return of the sensations I felt earlier. Tightness in the chest, mild dizziness (not pleasant unfortunately), and breathing laboured. At 2 and a half hours I stopped and knew I couldn’t continue. I sat sweating and crying. A sight to behold.

As I explained what had happened to my GP, he quickly explained his history with team sport and extreme sports. It had the desired effect. I was impressed. The last thing I wanted to do was sit in front of a GP, who was going to tell me that I was a lunatic for wanting to run that distance and I should stop. I was spared this – my Doc understood me and he was no fool. He order an array of tests, most of which I understood from living with a Pathology Scientist. Also an ECG, Spirometry, and a piss in a cup. Tea anyone? His greatest concern was obviously a cardiac event, followed by clots. Equally menacing apparently could be a virus playing havoc with my respiratory system.

After being told to lay off the running until he called me, or our next appointment a few days later, I felt like a caged animal. I had run everyday, 6 days a week for the last 3 months, and now nothing. My compassion and empathy was tested

The net result was great! All bloods better than they had been at last check. Cholesterol down, blood pressure down, blood sugar very normal, full blood count all good. Inflammation up. The prognosis … a virus. Prescription, take it easy! He then asked the boys to leave the room and told me of a series of fit middle age men who had died, from over stressing their systems whilst sick. “I can’t tell you not to run the full marathon, but if it where me, I would go for the half and only run that, if on the day you feel strong…they are beautiful boys you have! I’m sure they would like to grow up and run with you.” He paused for effect and looked at me to see if the message had hit home – it had!

So, I missed a week and a bit of my tapering and had to make a decision on Sunday when I picked up my race kit, to change the entry from Full to Half Marathon. This week I have managed 3 runs, two 10Ks and an 8K. Whilst still not at 100 percent, I had moderate discomfort, but I am beginning to feel stronger.

When I started training many people asked why the marathon. I remember two conversations with Chris from Northstar Property and Shane from Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers. They both went something like this;

‘The marathon is symbolic of the journey through depression. As distance increases in running, there are times when you feel like it is never going to end. It’s the same with depression! I want to raise awareness of the incredibly powerful benefits of a movement and a nutrition strategy in combating depression, panic and anxiety and chronic prolonged stress. If one person understands that they have the power to alter the way they feel through taking action, then it will have been a success”

Now with the obvious disappointment of not getting to run the full distance, I get to test my own definition.

Thanks to some great coverage in The Pine Rivers Press, The North Lakes Times and two radio interviews, the message was heard and received favourably. I have had many (greater than 10) comments to the effect that people have rediscovered their exercise habits as a result of being inspired by the effort. These are people that have actually been inspired and got into action. That alone is a resounding success.

The overall message has been shared with approximately 75 to 100 thousand through direct print readership. This was greatly magnified when The Gold Coast Marathon website picked up the story and ran it through their breaking news section.

It is difficult to estimate how many people listen to the radio at anyone time, but from the two interview airings, I received great feedback, and again comments along the lines of; “I knew these things were important, but I had no idea that they could help with emotionally related conditions.” Through Facebook and e-mail I have received tremendous support by way of replies to posts and updates. Again the majority of feedback is centered on, people beginning to take action and people beginning to realise the potency of nutrition and movement.

So the big question is how will my health be and how will I feel on Sunday morning at 6am ? The journey continues. Until next time, with an update and a progress report on the CD “Eat Your Brain – why what you eat effects how you think and feel.” all love and I hope you find ease of heart with whatever comes to you in life.

Nick.