Today, August 26th 2017 marks five years to the the day that I made the decision to quit drinking alcohol. At the time I made this decision I thought it was a. If decision in my life but looking back it has been a positive change to my life and one that I am happy I made.
When I tell people I don’t drink and stopped five years ago a lot of people assume I had a problem with alcohol. This is not true, I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol because of large headaches I would get after even a small amount. The last time I drank I enjoyed three beers with dinner at a work conference and went to bed at 9pm, I woke up at 2am with a huge headache which I had for the entire next day. At this point I knew that my drinking days were over.
Over the course of the last five years I haven’t let the absence of alcohol stop me from socialising. I still enjoy time out with my friends and family and just abstain from drinking.
Not drinking has certainly impacted my health and my running, I never miss a training run because of a hang over and I feel healhtier because of not drinking. By not drinking I’ve been able to have a better focus on (in order) my family, business, running and other aspects of life. By not drinking I’m more motivated to do my best in the other aspects of my life
I can happily say I don’t miss drinking. I thought I would five years ago. I was wrong and I’m glad I made this choice in my life
From a running perspective this week has been a week to forget for me. Whilst I’ve had the motivation to get out and run it just hasn’t happened and as we stand at 10.06pm on Saturday night my week of running consists of one run of 7.9km.
This is how my week has panned out so far;
Monday – Scheduled rest day – Afternoon travel to Melbourne for work
Tuesday – Scheduled early run in Melbourne – Raining, decided not to run
Wednesday – Scheduled early run in Melbourne – Slept poorly and missed my alarm.
Thursday – 7.9Km – easy beach run
Friday – scheduled early run – Woke up with migraine and went back to sleep
Saturday – Woke up early to do university assignment
Sunday – Scheduled early run
Fingers crossed that nothing gets in the way of tomorrow mornings run.
Sometimes running just doesn’t happen, and thats okay. Life gets in the way and factors come and go that control the amount of time we can run.
This week I travelled to Melbourne for work with two mornings I had scheduled to run on both and didn’t run either. Firstly this is disappointing because I was looking forward to a run in a different environment and secondly because I let rain and a poor nights sleep stop me running and this is very soft and unlike me.
Recently I have been suffering from an increase in headaches and migraines that I have always suffered and went to my doctor who referred me for an MRI scan. Last Friday I went to my GP to get the results of the MRI and was diagnosed with a Chiari Malformation Type 1, which is 5mm in size. My first question was “What the f##k is a Chiari Malformation?”
The technical answer is “Chiari malformations (CMs) are structural defects in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance. Normally the cerebellum and parts of the brain stem sit in an indented space at the lower rear of the skull, above the foramen magnum (a funnel-like opening to the spinal canal). When part of the cerebellum is located below the foramen magnum, it is called a Chiari malformation.”
The type 1 stands for the severity with type 1 being the lowest of the four. Thankfully a lot of the symptoms of a CM I don’t suffer and hopefully won’t. I do suffer the headaches and this does explain why i suffer regular headaches but not to the severity that they can affect. Other symptoms are dizziness, loss of balance, pins and needles in arms and legs, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Still it’s not the news I was expecting nor hoping for.
I am now awaiting an appointment with a Neuro surgeon to see the next steps as there is not cure other than surgery. This appointment could be a month or two away so for now I will lead my normal life and not alter it at all. i have done a bit of reading on this illness so I am prepared for what could be ahead. It certainly hasn’t changed my plans to run the Seoul Marathon in March with my training continuing and going to plan. This morning I completed 14.5km of hill repeats which was a tough session. Feel like my running is coming together nicely at the moment and on track for a crack at a sub 3 hour marathon in Seoul. No Chiari Malformation is going to stop me trying anyway.
Injury strikes every runner at some stage, i’ve had a few injuries over the years but nothing too serious thats kept me from running too much. But at the moment it’s my right calf causing me to need to take a break from running. Prognosis is 1-2 weeks off running and then easing my back to full strength.
This week I am on leave from work and the original plan was to do my running in the morning and spend the rest of the days with my family enjoying the Australian summer. Physio on Tuesday changed those plans. So what does a runner do when they can’t run.? Cross Train? Maybe. Strength Training? Maybe.
For me this week I have decided while the weather is spectacular here on the North Coast of NSW, Cross training means surfing. And strength training means walking from the car to the beach holding a surf board. Surfing is not something I am particularly good at, I have had boards since I was a teenager but since my first child was born 8 years ago tyhere is only a handful of times its been wet. This week i’ve surfed three days in a row so far and enjoying getting out on it again. When I go running I mostly feel in control, I am in control of my pace, my terrain, my effort. It’s only really in a tough parts of races that I don’t always feel in control of the run and then it’s a matter of hanging tough and getting through the bad timers. With surfing its a little bit different, even in small waves the ocean and the board control me more then I control it. I won’t post any footage of me surfing, my ego couldn’t take it. Having said that much like running, I am enjoying the challenge and the feeling of getting better each time I paddle out. I hope I make time to get out on the surfboard more often when i am back running because much like running it relaxes me and releases the stresses of life.
The other thing I am enjoying during my break is spending some time with my partner and my two kids. We’ve had a great week so far chilling out at the beach, relaxing at home and going out for a few meals. Unfortunately it’s back to work next week and finger crossed back to running too.