Here is a short update on the follow up after the discovery of my DVT and my attempt to get back into shape. Most of its good news but also there is some not so great news.
In December the Hematologist that I saw about my calf told me that she suspected based on the blood work that my clot had become scar tissue in the vein and so the symptoms that I was experiencing were most likely not going to change. That meant that if she was correct the swelling in my calf would always be there due to the restricted blood flow. Also the tightening up of the calf when I walk or run would also be with me for life. Good grief.
The good news is that she is also a marathon runner so at least I felt like I was talking to someone that actually got how big a deal this was for me. She also cleared me to start running as there was no worry about doing any further damage to the leg. I was put on blood thinners for the next three months with a follow up after that.
I immediately put together a schedule to rebuild my mileage, a slow realistic build up to begin to get my base mileage up. I also really needed to get rid of the 25 pounds that my friend Mr. Beer had given me over the past 6-8 months of inactivity.
Week 1 of running consisted of two 4km runs during the week. In all seriousness these may have been the most difficult runs I have ever done in my life. I was overweight, out of shape and my calf was a maddening painful ball of hate. I have not been this heavy and also this out of shape in at least 10 years. I was breathing like a freight train while running so very, very slowly and at 4km I was completely spent. Adding to this was a great deal of frustration as I had no idea if my calf would get better or worse as I went to longer distances. The reality is that I began to think distance trail running might be a thing of the past.
Oh yeah, one other thing, I forgot just how hard running can be. Man this running thing is tough sometimes. I found it hard at the end of week 1 to even imagine that at some point in the not so distant past I enjoyed going out for my runs or would enjoy going out for runs in the future.
Here is where I count myself extremely lucky. I have the good fortune to have a fantastic support system of other runners in my life. My wife Kim (who is also a distance trail runner) was unbelievable over my down time and also dealing with the assholiness that came along with the aggravation and depression that I was feeling. Besides Kim my co-coach and running buddy Chris H. was great at helping to get me out for daily runs as were a number of other runners that I had been coaching last year. They were all kind enough to run really slow and listen to me complain about how out of shape I was.
Last week I had my follow up with the specialist. As expected the vein is scarred which happens in about 30% of all cases. The cause of the original blood clot is unknown which I was told is the case in about 50% of patients. They have no reason to expect that there will be a recurrence and I no longer need to be on blood thinners. That's great but still with a calf that will probably never feel normal it is a bit scary.
Last week was also my first week of getting in 100k of running for the week as well as my first long run over 30k. Everything seems to be going okay so far and I have managed to shed 15 of my beer pounds. Still I am trying to be careful and so far am sticking to building up the base so no quality runs yet and not a great deal of running on hilly courses which are usually a staple of my training. The plan is to begin adding more climbing over the next few weeks including some step mill or stair workouts. If all stays fine I most likely will ease back into tempos/hill repeats in 2 or 3 weeks.
If things continue as they have been I should be in pretty decent shape by the end of April. To celebrate we will be headed back to Hynerview, PA to run the 50k with the hope of getting into 100 miler shape by mid May. Thats the hope but we will see how it goes from here.
Up next - pacing Kim in the Chilly Half Marathon on Sunday.