The Cardiologist

After any stress test you need to see your referring Specialist. I had made an appointment with The Cardiologist for the Monday following.

With no adverse results this was likely a quick visit.

Indeed it was.

We discussed the test. But we also discussed the pain I’d been experiencing on my runs. The runs were my real test, he advised, and they weren’t going well.

“But we’ll do an angiogram and see what that tells us.”

“At least that will rule that out,” he said.

And so an angiogram was planned for the Wednesday.

July 2

Note: an angiogram is not a message delivered by someone called Angie! (boom-tish!)

That Run

Note: possibly longer than 100 words today, but not by much. Ok, double that!

It was time to put the past behind me and get back into training. Sunday is long run day and today was 8km. Easy!

West Coast Drive is a great place to run so I headed there. Starting at Trigg Beach I headed north, into the wind, so I had a tailwind on the way back.

It’s an easy run – 4km out, 4km back. Done and dusted.

About 2.75km in the chest pains began again but, you know, heartburn.

Then it grew to the neck and jaw (angina?) and then a crushing headache. I stopped to walk and take stock of what was happening. I decided it maybe better to call it quits, giving up on the 8km.

But, you know, f*ck it, if I have to walk to complete 8km, I’ll walk.

So I continued on and the pain subsided. Happy days.

After a while I decided it was okay to run again but after 500m all the symptoms came back.

Walking eased the pain again so I finished off by walking the rest of the way. No matter the 8.0 km was done.

July 1

The Run Home

After you pass your stress test!

What do you do once you’ve passed a stress test?

With a new found confidence that nothing was seriously wrong, I decided to run home after work. The run from the Perth CBD to Meltham Station was just over 6km. It would be a good, medium range run and after a pain free stress test what could go wrong?

And, true to form … nothing happened. 

Perhaps it really was just heartburn which a few more doses of Gaviscon would fix and it’d be back to the normal life.

Life was good.

June 29

Stressed? Not me!

Stress away!

I have done so many of these.

The exercise puts stress on the heart by increasing the speed and incline every 3 minutes. They also take your blood pressure and ask if you’re feeling any discomfort. Sounds easy but the incline gets you.

Blood pressure is good. 

No discomfort.

The test continues uneventfully and I step off. 

Once again I have bettered the previous test without any discomfort. Which is weird because the last few casual runs have always caused discomfort.

But the stress test doesn’t lie!

This is, surely, all a storm in a teacup!

June 29.

The ED

I arrive at the ED and checked in. My GP has called ahead. They’re expecting me.

Chest X-Ray. Echo test. Blood tests.

I’m not in a panic and am more curious than worried.

The tests begin.

  • Chest X-Ray – fine.
  • Echo – fine
  • Bloods – fine

The consulting doc suggests a stress test – basically a running test on a treadmill with lots of wires, graphs and pretty flashing lights. I’ve done quite a few but this time may be different.

I make a stress test appointment for Thursday.

I walk the 2km back to work.

June 26. Midday.

That’s Weird

After the Elleker Half Marathon it was time to start training for Munich. Start slow. Build up. Nice and easy.

The first indicator there might be a problem was a heart rate of 168 early in the run. That’s the rate you hit after quite a few hard kms. But it settled down and on I went.

That’s a bit weird!

No issues other than the awkward heart rate at the beginning.

The next run the same. The increase lasted a little longer but it settled eventually. Was I living on borrowed time?

At this point, what was to come didn’t even enter my mind.

The Beginning

June 3 Albany, Western Australia. Elleker half marathon.

I wasn’t ready for this. I hadn’t really prepared at all. And you just don’t decide to run a half marathon! But I’d paid my fee and it gave me an excuse to see my 90 year old dad.

We arrived late. I didn’t have a great warm up. We headed off for the 21.1km. But even without proper preparation it was a good run on a beautiful winter’s day. No personal best but also nothing that indicated what was about to come.

My wife came second in her event, winning fifty dollars!