Having An Unfair Advantage

Having An Unfair Advantage

On Friday, 1st June after two miles of easy running with a friend I suddenly blanked out and collapsed. No shortness of breath or chest pains just a blank and once I awoke within a minute I was fully conscious with no pain or breathing difficulty. To cut a very long story short I was admitted to Bolton Royal Hospital and spent the next three and a half weeks there being thoroughly examined to discover the cause. After an ECG, blood tests, Eco ECG, an Angiogram, an Echo Stress Test and an MRI I was finally told that I had had a silent heart attack as far back as twenty five years ago. The good news was that this didn’t have any impact on the function of my heart, as there was only five percent of damage. However, although not certain Dr Scott thought it was probable that my heart circuit system hit the damaged part of my heart and short circuited causing an arrhythmia and me blanking out. After a long discussion he gave me a Belts and Bracers offer I couldn’t refuse which would allow me to continue where I had left off before collapsing.

On Monday, 18th June at 4.30 pm I woke up from a general anaesthetic after being fitted with a Subcutaneous Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator at Manchester Royal Hospital. For those, and there are many, who don’t know what this is let me explain.

It is wireless defibrillator fitted under my skin on the left arm side towards my back. It will only activate if my heart rate exceeds 220 bpm as a result of an arrhythmia or for any other reason. In the unlikely event of anything happening it is activated to correct the rhythm. It acts as a monitoring device which allows me to get back to what I was doing before but with a big difference. I now know that I no longer have a ticking time bomb and have that constant reassurance whenever I am out swimming, cycling and running. In fact, I now feel I have an unfair advantage. As Paul Dunne, the heart consultant said to me, tongue in cheek, “You may have to declare your new device to the race officials, as it will be seen as an unfair advantage over your competitors.”  

It won’t surprise those of you who know me that I had planned my own recovery from day one and here’s what it looks like to date.

Tuesday, 19th June – Left hospital and back home – 30 min easy walk in the evening and meet up with the running club gang.

Wednesday, 20th June – 2 x 1 hour easy walk and driven to meet up with the cycling group in Croston.

Thursday, 21st June – 2 x 1 hour walks.

Friday, 22nd June – 3 x 1 hour walks and Club Swimming Coaching in the evening at David Lloyd.

Saturday, 23rd June – Driven to Pennington Flash to coach open water and support club. 3 x 1 hour walks

Sunday, 24th June – 1 mile walk, 1 mile 10 min mile jog x 3

Monday, 25th June – 4 mile gentle morning run (9.5 min mile) and 18 mile evening cycle to Yarrow with Gill and David

Tuesday, 26th June – 6 mile gentle run with the club

Wednesday 27th – 70 mins on the Watt Bike with a low cadence high gear session followed by a fifteen minute treadmill gentle run and some strength and conditioning – with Gill Ramsden and David Green.

Thursday, 28th June, 7 mile run  

Friday, 29th June – Recovery

Saturday, 23th June – Recovery

Sunday, 24th June – Club bike ride 30 miles

Monday, 25th June – Long run and walk session 9 miles in total

Tuesday, 26nd June – Club run 7 miles of Ironman course

Wednesday, 27th June – 70 mins on the Watt Bike with a low cadence high gear session followed by a fifteen minute treadmill gentle run and some strength and conditioning – with Gill Ramsden and David Green.

Thursday, 28th June – 7 mile run (9 min mile pace)

Friday, 29thJune – Recovery

Saturday, 30th June –6.5 mile run at Salfors Quays with Ian at 8.50 min pace – Felt good

Sunday, 1st  July – 81 mile Sportive Cycle Event – Felt fantastic

Monday, 2nd July – 9 mile run with Scott

Tuesday, 3rd July – Check up at Manchester Royal Hospital and given the thumbs up to swim.

Tuesday, 3rd July – Afternoon pool 2600 m swim and a 7 miles club run before the England match. Felt great!

Wednesday, 4th July – Morning 50 mile bike ride with mates at a steady 16.5 mph and felt great.

Wednesday, 4th July – Evening open water non wet suit swim at Salford Quays – 2500 m  

The only downside is that because I blanked out I have had to surrender my driving license for six months and my travel insurance will cost more. However, the positive far outweighs this, as I have a device which has no physical hindrance that is on hand whenever I need it which may never happen. As I have been told, “I now have an unfair advantage.”


A non wet suit swim at Salford Quays only sixteen days after the operation.

Back on the bike with an 81 mile Sportive

Meeting up with the Wednesday cycle group

Back running with Gill

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