244/365 – Personal best 10km run post myasthenia

Today I ran the Salford 10km  – starting and finishing at the Media piazza beside the BBC studios in Manchester. I did it in a good time and am proud of myself although I did have a mini incident around 0.5km from the end. More on this later.

My friend Melissa had asked if I fancied doing it a few months ago and, as I haven’t done any other races this year, I jumped at the chance. The last couple of years I’ve been focusing on running half marathons but I’ve not had the time or strength to train for one of those this summer. A 10km seemed perfect and I had the idea of trying to do close to my personal best (pre myasthenia) -45km. 

I’ve not done a running schedule this year but I have been working out in other ways to keep strong. So this morning I felt confident about completing the race in a good time after fuelling up on pasta (and tiramisu) last night. Ever since I passed out at the end of a half marathon five years ago, there’s always doubt in my mind but since then I’ve not had any incidents. I’d say I have a healthy respect of what I’m expecting my body to do and wouldn’t push it too far. Today, I had to dig deep to cross the line. 

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the sun was hot when we set off. Still the first 5km passed quickly with lots of pretty scenes around the canals to look at. I started to feel my body tire after that and gave myself periods of going faster and slower. When we got to Old Trafford, Manchester United’s stadium, I was ready to be finished. 

Still I was doing well time-wise and had a glimmer of hope that I might get close to my 45 minute personal best. Sadly, it wasn’t to be.

At the 9 kilometre sign, I stepped it up and started to run fast but realised I couldn’t maintain the pace until the end. Then I started to feel funny – like I was going to be sick. I had never once been sick running and can’t remember the last time I was sick for any other reason. But when I kept going and started to dry heave, pulling out of the race for a minute was the only option. Moments later I was throwing up at the side of the road to the sound of trainers striking the ground and the clock ticking. Quickly I felt better but I rested for a few minutes to make sure it wasn’t going to happen again. Thankfully, after setting off slowly, I felt completely normal and was able to sprint in the final straight to cross the last straight. 

Why was I sick? The heat, the effort, a lack of training at that speed? Perhaps all of these things, but I think the key reason was because I didn’t have enough food for breakfast to protect my stomach from the heavy medication. A lesson I’m glad I’ve learned now as I’ll know in my next race to get up earlier so that I can eat more before the run. 

Thankfully, after some yoga stretching and a bath, I’m feeling good and am more than happy with my 50 minute effort. In fact, I now have a post-myasthenia personal best. 

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