Post covid running and being impatient doesn’t mix!

It’s been quite a while since I last posted. I have a leadership role within Social Care, and the pandemic has made for stressful times, but as usual, running and running buddies have made it tolerable. The return of parkrun has meant a lot to me, as has club training, and in all this time it became a bit of a running joke that I hadn’t caught covid-19. I have worked directly with people with the virus on a couple of occasions, and family members have caught it; yet in all that time, what with being super-careful and having a serious testing regime, I dodged the bullet. But then came the 2nd April 2022! Before I get into the detail I will point out, so many people have lost their lives to covid-19, and so many people have symptoms that have stuck with them for ages and might stick with them for life: I write this whilst remaining aware of how terrible and how much worse it has been for other people.

I had got into a bit of a rhythm with parkrun: volunteering one week and touring the next, and the plan for the 2nd April 2022 was a trip to Felixstowe parkrun with club members and fellow parkrunners, Jon and Lauren. I was really looking forward to this, but when I got out of bed early that morning, things just didn’t feel right with the world. I has a slightly tight chest and my head felt a bit foggy. When parkun touring, we have got into the habit of an early Rapid Lateral Flow test, and while the kettle boiled, I went through the usual ritual. While I started on the coffee I absentmindedly glaced at the test and stopped in my tracks: there was the telltale second red line. The dissonance kicked in right away, and in a bid to reduce it, I repeated the test: twice more! Two more extra red lines. I messaged Jon and Lauren, told my wife, and went back to bed: at that stage more upset about missing Felixstowe parkrun than I was about breaking my two year covid-free streak.

The effects of covid hit me quickly, and that weekend, if not five days in a row was a bit of a blur! I stayed pretty much in the spare room, and my amazing wife left food outside the door. I slept a lot, had the strangest dreams, coughed, wheezed, ached and had hot and cold chills. As usual it was Ely Runner friends who came to the rescue, with various goodies, and even a Beano Annual (thank you, Charlotte)! Once I had got to the stage of the two clear tests that allowed me to return to work, I thought about running. I experienced a small window during which I ran a parkrun, and although it was slow (for me), I was at least running again. I thought I felt way better. Then everything seemed to go wrong; with a Tuesday night I will never forget; with breathlessness that nearly took me to the brink of panic; cold sweats and the worst ever nightmares. I consulted the GP, and despite being fairly fit and triply vaccinated, I had just been unlucky: the GP had heard of all the symptoms I described, gave some practical advice, and recommended I start some high strength vitamin D.

Then came the amazing Thetford Forest Night Trail 10K – an event I had signed up for ages ago and was not going to miss out on! Regular running buddy, Lauren https://girlrunninglate.com/ had signed up too, and club member and fellow parkrunner, Jon did the same at the last minute.

Pre-Thetford Night Trail 10K

Jon and Lauren had got used to my pretty much permanent and annoying cough, which for some reason was more persistent when at rest rather than when running (no idea why). Jon and I had decided we would be taking it nice and easy around this gorgeous Forest course, and once we had all registered and gathered at the start line, Jon and I smiled as we watched Lauren negotiate her way nearer to the front with the speedy types. I became increasingly paranoid, as these days, coughing in a crowd draws anxious and disapproving looks: I was glad for the countdown and for us to be sent on our way.

For the first couple of kilometers I struggled, and focussed on a rhythm to try and cope with reduced lung capacity. Jon and I stuck together, and it was his company that stopped my mood getting as dark as it was getting in the Forest: I just knew all was not well. With just 1K to go, Jon insisted I press ahead and I decided to see if I could open it up a bit, and I found that I could, but on discovering that the course was a bit long, I struggled not to cave in mentally as I struggled towards the finish line. I had this idea in my head that I MUST finish in under an hour (the last time I ran this race I was around 10 minutes quicker). I did it in 59:59! Once I crossed the line, that’s when the proper coughing kicked in! It just wouldn’t stop! We got the usual medal photos sorted and got ourselves home, and despite having the usual laugh in the car, I felt like death. The next day I felt no better, and arranged to see the GP, and the briefest listen suggested a chest infection. The antibiotics have helped, but although it is early days, covid seems to have left its mark. I just hope it eases off. Today I ran a familiar trial route with Lauren, and realised that the lungs are still seriously comparised.

As a CiRF, and having had some advice from fellow CiRFs, Lauren and Charlotte, I know what I should be doing, but running is very important to me, and I am finding it hard to dial it back. I am signed up for The Loch Ness Marathon in October. I have some serious thinking to do.

More soon, and stay safe!

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