Friday, April 10, 2009

My Running addiction: The beginning

I started running about 10 years ago. I met this incredible woman with 5 kids who ran marathons. Running that far sounded like a physical impossibility to me. So, of course I had to start running just to see if I could do it. I'm pretty stubborn like that. I do not like being told what to do and I don't like thinking that something is impossible for me to accomplish. What started out as prideful ambition has turned into a rich blessing in my life.

The first 2 years of my running routine was spent getting my fitness level up. I just had my second child a few months earlier and was thankful just to make it around the block two times. I had very young children and found it difficult to get into a good running routine. I fit it in when I could but it was not consistent at all.

We moved a short while after I started running and that completely halted my ambitions for a long while. The stress of moving along with difficult circumstances prevented me from even thinking about running. During this time, I had increasingly more problems with my heart that became a little scary. I have always had bouts of unexplained fibrillation but they were few and far between. The doctors could not catch them on a monitor so there was not a whole lot they could do for a while. During our first year after the move, the occurrences of fibrillation increased and so did the symptoms. My heart would beat over 500 bpm, I would shake like a washing machine and become dizzy. Finally, after almost passing out after an episode, I went back to the doctor.

The Cardiologist decided to do an EP study. They inserted two catheters into each femoral artery and threaded the catheters to my heart. Once there, they shocked different areas of the heart and observed the reactions. The diagnosis? Atrial Fibrillation. Basically, the upper chamber of the heart sends a signal to the bottom but the bottom chamber does not receive the signal. As a result, the heart goes into fibrillation and blood can pool in the upper chamber. The risk of this happening is that blood may clot which in turn could cause a stroke. The good news is that there are medications that can thin the blood to minimize this risk. Since I was weaning my son at the time, the doctor decided that asprin would be sufficient for the time being but as soon as I weaned the baby, I needed to get on coumadin. My heart issue is a story in itself. The short of it is that I have seen different cardiologists and they all disagree with each other and the results of the EP study. 7 years after the study, I still don't have a diagnoses the doc.'s agree on.

After the EP procedure, I grew a new appreciation for life, God and family. I realized how fragile life is and started to hold it in a new and precious light. I appreciated more. I valued more. I took my health a lot more seriously and wanted to start running again. The doctors saw no reason why I could not run or exercise. Exercise did not trigger episodes and would contribute to my overall health, so they gave me the green light.
Next, I did the only logical thing, signed up for the Mountain Home Half Marathon for Kenya. Oh, and it was only 6 weeks away. Wait. Did I say logical? Maybe overly-ambitious or crazy would be more appropriate. Did I mention how stubborn I am?

To be continued.....

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