It has been two months since the last posts and besides time not much has changed. Things have not gone worse but on the other hand without a diagnosis and treatment it is difficult to expect significant improvement. I am mostly writing this post for the sake of it, and, I guess, trying to continue to be open about this uncertain phase in my career.

The way I am trying to see things is that the glass is half full and not half empty, at least as long has I do not have a negative diagnosis. Even then would it have to be something major to knock me off my longterm goals and plans. However, while I believe in those goals I have never felt further away from them. It has been going up and down lately. Some days I am just happy running around at a 6:30 pace, other days it is the most dreadful thing in the world. Accepting to be regularly overtaken while running but also while cycling has become one of the most challenging things for me.

I run this pace, which by the way starts to feel oddly normal, because that way I can keep my heart rate consistently below 130. I do intervals at 4:20 with heart rate of 165, and yes, I bought a new HR monitor recently which shows me basically the same thing as my previous one. 

I recently was, however, in Latvia again doing some kind of holiday with an orienteering weekend in the end. I even ran two competitions a middle distance in medium speed with a surprisingly okay result given my whole situation and I finished my first long distance in I don’t know how long, albeit in an easy pace. Still, lately I again have sometimes a weird, kinda confining feeling around my heart which got me active again to figure out what else I could try to do.

As previously written, I already did a lot of different tests and last week added a 24h ECG to the list which – surprise – did not show anything unusual. Currently, I am working on getting an appointment for a cardio-MRI which was recommended to me to get a more detailed insight into my heart. Otherwise, there is simply not much I can do right now besides training carefully and plain ‘giving it time’. I have no other choice then to accept this struggle, I can’t run away from it and I have tried changing it with examinations and adapting my training, however, with limited results. It actually was not a hard realization in itself but I can’t get around though  stressing how frustrating it is on some days.

A map of nice terrains - life could be worse..

While for some talking so open about their personal struggles is still a stigmatized topic, I do not think so at all. As much as I have a coach for running, I also have a coach for the mental part. Someone who takes the position of a more or less neutral person who does not have to care about my problems. Often in the sessions I have with my sports psychologist, she is simply asking the right questions helping me to see things from a different perspective. It allows me to see things more neutral or positive and see opportunities where I would have otherwise might not seen them.

With the beginning of April we moved my training back into a more structured schedule again. It helps me personally a bit in terms of trying to bring back “training normalcy” into my life but then again are all sessions besides one capped at a heart rate of 130. So, right now or basically for the past six months there is nothing I would rather do than max out my body training and performance. It is sometimes tough to do rest days when it makes sense for my body but not sense to my mind. I would rather do intervals till my legs hurt, go cycling as hard and as long as I can to feel simply feel properly exhausted and tired again.

That is what I really miss, and that is what it makes it hard for me. I am also afraid to not come back stronger to my orienteering career, to settle on “just” a JWOC win and never managing to follow through on my goals. It has been six months without much change and while I do not have dramatic diagnosis and heard that such situations can just take time, I can’t deny that I getting a bit pessimistic and am sometimes also a little afraid to never be able to train as hard as I would like again. 

Right now, I just want to enjoy sports again the way I used to which for me means training myself till it hurts and I am tired – but then again is it more wise for now to take it easy and to accept the struggle.

Good to have friends (who have their own struggles)

Title photo: private

Other photos: AEF

Categories: Orienteering


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