Monday, 26 February 2018

Not How I Expected the Trip to Start

So I left home with work on 6th Feb, despite going away I was looking forward to the potential running grounds I was going to be pounding. There are places I’ve been to before and some completly new. It was the new ones which were really exciting me to be honest. I love the first runs in countries I’ve been visited before. Whether it’s a road run or a trail run it doesn’t matter, it’s all about the exploring and the adventures to go on. I already had a race place booked ready during our first stop in Istanbul. A 14km trail race just outside the city, it was pretty cheap so worth the gamble of booking it. I’ve never visited Turkey before, so to have a trail race going on at the same time as I am there with work is a mega bonus. I took with me a good selection of kit so I could run a small ultra or a parkrun.

However my luck wasn’t in, the second day into the deployment the little cough I had overnight suddenly went from my throat onto my chest. I had no energy, I was weak, I was coughing up green shit, my chest was tight. I thought this isn’t good, and not just a little man flu cold shit. So I went to sickbay to see if I could get some antibiotics. It wasn’t a chest infection though, my blood oxygen levels were really low and “just” on the boarderline “ok” level. I was then stuck in the ward having observations taken regularly, given an inhaler, antibiotics, paracetamol and stuck on oxygen. Having to pee into a container so they could monitor the water I am drinking making sure it’s coming out enough. I knew this wasn’t an ordinary cough. 
Gibraltar as we passed through
It was pneumonia, something I have never had before. It got that serious they were having to make a decision whether to fly me off to the nearest Spanish hospital as we sailed down the Bay of Biscay. When I heard that, I was a little worried to be honest. The last thing I needed was to be stuck in some random Spanish hospital while the ship carried on without me. Luckily they chose to keep me on board. Eventually I was allowed out of the ward and to my own bed to sleep in, where the medic was going to come round at midnight and take my observations.

I was feeling a lot better the following day than I was for sure, the antibiotics were doing their stuff, but I was stood down from work for another day. As I progressed to get better, it eventually turned to a frustrating cough, which I am only now 2 and half weeks later pretty much got rid of. It’s only occasionally I cough now.

We went past Gibraltar not stopping as per usual and continued on our way. I still hadn’t been able to go for any run at this point, treadmill or on the upper deck. It was the night before we were due to go through the straits to Istanbul and I was tucked up in bed. When I woke up the following morning, I hear the news we had turned around and the sun was rising on the other side of the ship. We were no longer going to Istanbul. I was a little gutted not because it lost me money. The race was only about £15 but because I didn’t get to run the race. Although I wouldn’t have been fully fit to actual race I was looking forward to just going round enjoying the trails and making a film.

Sunset in Crete
It was just not meant to be, instead we were heading to Souda Bay in Crete. Our programme was up in the air for still unknown reasons, and were going to come alongside in Souda Bay that morning. I’ve been here many times before in the past, so it wasn’t exciting me as much as Istanbul. Because of this I decided not to run until I was ready. Despite having a very occassionally cough now I decided it was time. I had a new pair of road shoes arrive in the post and I wanted to stretch my legs. The views from where I was berthed was making me wanting to get out.

First run in a few weeks and what a view!
There are no immediate trails near where we were, so I stuck to a simple route and road it was. I went for a nice easy 5 miles. 1 mile of it was to the exit of the dockyard, 1.5 miles up a long hill and then back to the ship. When I got to the turn around area, I took in the stunning views for the moment and then made my way back down. It was a pretty warm day, and I went through 1 ltr of Green Tea Tailwind Nutrition I was carrying. I did run during the middle of the day so although although for Crete it was pretty cold, it was still a warm day. It was just nice to stretch the legs and get out there. It was just an awesome feeling to be back running again after my bout of pneumonia. 
Now I still don’t know where our next stop will be currently, so I can’t discuss anything as it stands. As long as I can get to go for my runs I really don’t care where we go. We shall see!

New shoes! Kinvara 8's
In other news, I’ve recently been made a Tailwind Nutrition UK Trailblazer. They’ve been supporting me for a while now, but to be made an official trailblazer is frigging brilliant. Also recently my blog made the top 75 running blogs in the UK out of the 1000’s out there. I’m pretty pleased as it was a shock to be honest. I was placed 56 and I am happy with that. There was no way I’d be no 1 against professional running magazines like Men’s Running Magazine and Women’s Running Magazine. To be finally recognised is amazing. I just enjoy writing about my running adventures and obviously people enjoy reading them. I hope whilst I am away people will continue to follow my travels. I plan on making some films too whilst out as well.

So until next time thanks for reading!
Owain