I passed another milestone at the start of November. Four bloomin’ years of running. Whoever would have thought?

It’s been a funny time since July, when I had a spot of digestive bother that left me feeling constantly tired, lethargic and a bit trippy (I felt like I was going to trip over a lot, not like I was on drugs, though that’s not a bad metaphor either). Cut through a few months of trips to the doctor, enough blood tests to make Hancock complain, a consultation with a gut-doctor and then finally it brought me to the men’s changing room of the Endoscopy Unit in a hospital gown, waiting to get the bottom-paparazzi in.

I had a notebook and a pen, and despite shaky hands (this was pre-investigation, so I was a bit nervous about what it would the like), I thought I’d capture the memory…

IMG_2626

Looks spiffy, eh?

Some interesting chats with the other chaps in hospital gowns, most of which focussed on food as we’d all been fasting and cleaning our pipework ready for today. It didn’t help that flipping Jamie Oliver was on the telly in the room cooking all manner of Christmas food.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to learn that to all my other unique qualities you can add ‘difficult bowel’. That’s proper medical terminology – it says so on my notes.

In effect what it means is that they got 2/3 or the way around, but got stuck in a corner. Another exciting note for the CV is an ‘overactive vagus nerve’, which seems to mean that in circumstances of stress and discomfort*, I have a tendency to try to faint. Or, as I now know it is called, ‘pre-syncope’. I know, I’m a medical marvel. It just means that I almost fainted, and before you get judge-y about that, you’d have to give it a go**.

Anyway, today’s bit of fun marks, for me, the end of the poorly-journey. I’ve barely run (OK, so I did a bit of running – including the Jedburgh Ultra, which was it’s usual marvellous self) and part of that has been the feeling that there’s something to finish up in terms of sorting my health. Now that I’ve got the ‘looks clear’ report I reckon there’s no reason why I’m not back on with a spot of running.

Next year I’ve got a couple of things lined up – the Dark Skies Marathon around Kielder with the fab Trail Outlaws, and my third-time-lucky attempt at the Kintyre Way Ultra. I’ve been entered the last couple of years and never quite made it to the start line. The organiser has very kindly allowed me to carry it over both times, and I reckon this is the year.

Other than that, I’m aiming for the Blaydon Race (obviously, it’s the only road race you have to come home for***) and probably the North Tyneside 10k (who doesn’t love a finish at a lighthouse) and I dare say I’ll pick up the odd other event on the way through the months, but I think what I really want to do is to get in more quality running around and about, up and down the hills round here.

Right, here we go into year 5, let’s hope it’s a jolly one!

Also, a huge, and I mean HUGE thank you to the NHS folk who looked after me today. From start to end they couldn’t have been nicer, better or more caring or kept me better informed. In fact, my GP and the consultant and the people who’ve tested one thing and another have all grand.

*Like someone trying to push a camera around a corner in your gut, that’ll be ‘stress and discomfort’.

**Seriously though, if you’re told you should have one of these, you really should do it – it’s not half as traumatic as I imagined, and while it wasn’t exactly fun, you should get checked. If you’re of a mind for such things, you can even watch it on the telly.

***Y’know, it’s like the old McEwan’s Export advert…

 

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