Can’t Breathe, Can’t Move, Can’t Race…

Yesterday I should have been a few miles east of Hull making my ultra marathon debut at the Meridian 50km race, instead I was sat on the sofa being a patient in a game where my daughter Charlotte was a nurse. She’s been learning about Florence Nightingale and I had a bad ear infection, which would mean I would be in hospital for 70 weeks. Good job the NHS is still free.

I hadn’t moved much at all in the last three weeks, two of which I was signed off from work and on a various cocktail of drugs to try and battle a horrible chest infection. It started with a cold¬† and I felt pretty rough but I figured it would be fine to continue running, it was in my head and hadn’t gone to my chest.

Saturday came around and I trotted off to parkrun, well trotted is an exaggeration, I headed for parkrun like a sloth on a promise. It was a huge mistake as it had moved to my chest and I seriously considered dropping out at the top of the first hill.¬† I was struggling to breathe and many many people were passing me like I was standing still. Reality was it was a slow death by parkrun. My friend Niamh took this photo of me finishing, there have been some shockers of me over the years but when I saw this I knew I was in trouble. I’m a ghost of the man I usually am. Running on empty and about to grind to a halt.

dying a very slow death at Lancaster parkrun

Monday morning I was at the doctors, a chest infection was diagnosed, coupled with a bad secondary infection. I was given strong drugs, ones that could cause tendonitis ( and warned they have been know to snap Achilles in runners ). These would attack the secondary infection and hopefully the chest one too. I was warned not to run for at least 3 weeks. I’m not ashamed that as I struggled back to my car in the car park I burst into tears. I felt like shit and now the race I had spent the best part of 8 months preparing for had been taken away from me. I didn’t realise I had invested in it so heavily emotionally but obviously I had. Gutted doesn’t even come close.

I now feel like I am ready to go for a jog this week, a mix of nervous energy, pent up frustration and anticipation, fuelled with a desire to come back stronger means I need to be careful not to overdo it because I really don’t want to experience another situation where I can’t breathe, can’t move and can’t race.