Sunday, 15 August 2010

Running the Southampton Alps!

Cobden-Mousehole-Peartree

I’m starting to get into a bit more of a routine now with the running, with three runs in the past four days. I had to take yesterday off as my legs were a little on the sore side from Thursday and Friday’s runs. It seems I may be getting a little addicted to the challenge of big hills at the moment. I could have gone for a relatively fast and flat run through the park alongside the river this morning, but I had a route in my mind that was an extension of last weeks ups and downs, but without the unintended loop back due to the map inaccuracies. This would take me on a wider loop, which turned out (as you can see in the pictures) to be almost heart-shaped!

Why all this determination to get back running again? Well, apart from the fact that I have the Great South Run to run in October, I got a bit of a shock the other day. A week ago I went for my annual diabetic retinal scan. After they’ve taken the pictures you have to wait to see if they will send you a letter. Getting the letter is not good news – at my hospital they only send you one if they have found something of concern. Unfortunately, on Thursday, I got the letter. It said that I have ‘moderate diabetic eye disease’, which is a worsening from the ‘background retinopathy I was told I had last year. My first thoughts were that I was going blind and I’ve only been diagnosed two years – how can this be happening to me? My HbA1c has been practically perfect since I got things under control, with numbers of 11.8, 6.8, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6 and 5.6 (the frist number was diagnosis, the one after about six weeks later). What do these numbers mean? Well, ideally, the HbA1c should be below 6.5 in order to minimise the damage that diabetes can do to the small blood vessels – particularly those in the eyes and kidneys. With my numbers I am well under that figure.

So, why has my retinal scan shown deterioration? The answer is more than likely the high blood pressure I have been suffering for several months now, as this is also a big factor, alongside diabetes, in determining how healthy or otherwise your eyes are. So, it’s a warning to me that I have to get the BP down so no further damage is done. As things stand, it is unlikely that I will need treatment, just more regular eye checks. The problem may even improve if I start looking after myself better. So, that is my aim – I already have very good blood sugar control, now I need to take every possible step to make sure my blood pressure is perfect!

Cobden-Glenfield

A lot of the steps I will be taking currently seem to involve running up huge hills! I’m happy to say, though, that I have seen a rapid improvement already in my pace around these hilly courses. Thursday’s run was 11 min/mile pace, and Friday’s 10 min/mile pace over the same route. Today’s run was slower, but I’m building more distance already, so now up to 3.1 miles (5k). I’m sure I could have managed a much quicker and longer run if I had opted for the flatter route! Main thing is not to get injured. My legs are not as young as they used to be, so can take a little longer to recover – I need to resist the cravings for endorphins and make sure I take rest days. Might not be too difficult, given the weather that is being forecast!

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