Tag Archives: scar

9 Miles – First Long Run Of 2011

16 Jan

Supposedly 3 weeks into marathon training, today was my first ‘long run’ of the year. After a slow but successful 7 mile run last Sunday with no gliches, I felt up to the challenge of a 9 miler today. After working until 4am last night, I expected to wake up groggy and not all motivated. But, ping! my eyes were open at 11am and I was raring to get out. Having run round Bournemouth and Poole a LOT in the past, I didn’t bother to plan a specific route but took  my Garmin. I also made the effort to strap up the heart rate monitor, despite having problems with it rubbing on my scar in the past.

I set off at a steady pace, with the aim of maintaining 10:00 – 10:30 min/miles. As a glanced down at the Garmin, I kept slipping back to 9:30! Pre heart op, this just did not happen. I am almost in disbelief. As I ran down the beach at Bournemouth, I was feeling great. I had my iPod on after several runs without music. My mood took a turn for the worse as I turned onto the seafront and faced a hideous headwind, blowing sand and rain everywhere! It was one of those stretches of a long run that tests you to the limits. For the next 4 miles, I looked down, dug deep and fought the elements whilst trying desperately to maintain my pace. Finally, at the end of the beach, I headed through Poole and back home. Again, the endorphins kicked in and I felt on top of the world. I finished in 91:00, an average of 10:07. So pleased.

With many more weeks of marathon training ahead of me, I am determined to keep my commitment and focus directed towards the sub 4 goal. Some might say this is ambitious after having a long stretch off after my operation but I believe if I am careful and sensible, I will reach my goal. As I have been reading about recently, it is mental strength that often leads you through difficult times. In an endurance race, whether triathlon, marathon or anything else, your passion for succeeding will carry you to the finish line. My tactic of focusing on how fortunate I am to be out running when others can’t, is the ultimate kick up the bum when you physically start to tire. Try it! Sometimes, guilt is good!

I celebrated my small success with a delicious cinnamon and raisin bagel plus a banana milkshake. Next week I have a photo shoot for a piece about me running the Brighton half marathon – my first race since my heart surgery. I am also getting some shots of my scar as I feel it is important to share my experience with others (male and female) who might be going through something similar. Pictures coming soon!

Happy Sunday :)

Week Two Recovery

7 Jul

I have now been home a week and getting better by the day! After a major operation, my ‘little book’ of common problems suggests it is normal to feel emotional for up to 3 months. I can certainly vouch for the emotions! Luckily, I am constantly surrounded with people who lift my spirit and keep me positive. It is all too easy to succumb to a gloomy stance of self-pity. Daily activities and long term visions are what keep me going through the boredom. Reflection has also played a large part of my recovery, as I have been dissecting my stay in hospital, the care given by the NHS and the good/bad points.  I have now drawn a line under that experience and am determined to move on with my recovery.

Many have asked me about my scar, a long straight scar down the middle of my sternum. To me, it is a symbol of what I have been through. I am proud of my scar and certainly don’t feel any need to hide it. ‘Aren’t you concerned about it fading, as a young women?’ nurses asked me. My reply was the same as before the operation when I opted for a straight scar as opposed to a horizontal scar which can be hidden more easily; the scar is the byproduct of the surgery that will improve my quality of life. Without the hole in my heart being closed, my ability to exercise was severely limited. My dreams of completing another marathon and gaining more experience in triathlon were unachievable. Now, with my thin, fading scar there is no reason why I can’t get back to my beloved training.

The second week at home has brought with with it frustration. Frustration at not being able to open doors, change position easily or walk as far as I’d like. Eagerness to progress seems healthy but I can’t let my frustrations lead me into doing too much. This week is still early days in my recovery, whilst my breast bone is healing and my heart settles down. Every so often, the fact that I had open heart surgery hits me and forces me to retire to the sofa with my feet up!  I have at least another 7 weeks before I can return to my office based work and 11 weeks until I can physically get cracking i.e. starting swimming, running and cycling. Can’t wait!

To anyone going through a similar time, my advice is the old cliche ‘patience is a virtue’!