Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year End Wrap Up

I just finished my last run of 2009. It was an 8 miler at 8:00 at night and 32 degree weather. It took me 1 hour, 20 minutes and 22 seconds (10:03/mile). This run put me over my goal of 800 miles for the year by 2.59 miles. So, total miles run = 802.59 (the equivelent to running from Richmond to Sebastian, FL). Total time run - 130 hours 53 minutes 55 seconds. I'm pooped.

Next year's goal...1,000 miles.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Thon

What a day. Overcast. Cool. Drizzly. 15,000 of my closest strangers and 26.2 miles. Who could ask for more. My virtual running partner, Brian, met up with us before the start. He was rocking his awesome multi colored surf-inspired wind breaker circa 1983. It was a nice tension breaker. Maybe I wouldn't have a great race, but at least I wasn't wearing a garment that deserved its place in the cheesey clothing hall of fame.

Although, I did don a uniquely personalized jersey for my run. To commemorate my comeback...

It garnered a lot of comments on the course. Mostly from people passing me, but some from people I passed. The most memorable was the girl at the start line who said, "You had a heart attack? Cool....wait...that didn't come out right." I got what she meant. (She's the one in the orange shirt in the next picture)

I lined up with Ginny and Tonia. I found myself very thankful to have them there.
But as we approached the starting line, it occurred to me that I was supposed to have run #4 with Rachel. She has been my biggest fan since beginning rehab and down the long road of preparation for this race. As I moved closer to the start line, I looked off to the right for one last glance at her before I started running. Last year, I was disappointed I couldn't run with her. This year, I knew I couldn't have run without her.
We started off at an even pace. Tonia was determined to keep us from taking off too fast. For the first 7 miles we were having a great time. We joked, had a brief discussion on religion and faith and planned to run in a backwards V formation when we got on the Belvedere bridge.

We passed the first party zone and saw Rachel and the rest of our support crew. We were still smiling. Our friend Emily picked us up there and started running with us.

Around mile 9, I noticed that Tonia was starting to slow down. A few days ago, she had a spill at home and hurt her foot. She was running through the pain but it was evident it would slow her down.
Emily moved back to run with Tonia while Ginny and I made the decision to press ahead. We crossed the half way point and Ginny started to have some issues and she had to make a stop. Again, with the great angst of losing my last running partner, I continued on without her.

I began to feel the effects of the run around mile 14 but still felt strong. Until I reached the bridge. I totally cracked crossing the bridge. Wind in my face and nobody to work with. I tried to draft for a bit behind a runner taller than I. Unfortunately, his strides were as long as I was tall so I couldn't keep up long. I walked and ran and walked and ran my way across.

Making my way up Belevedere to Main was no picnic. I thought I could coast on Main for a while but things started to break down. Walking on the bridge did its damage. I knew now the rest of the race would involve a lot of walking.
I made it to Boulevard and crossed Monument. At mile 19, our friends (the Burdens and the Enderts) stood and cheered with Rachel. Rachel began running with me there and stayed with me until the end.

The last 7 miles were brutal. My hips, ankles and thighs scremed in pain. I would run as long as I could handle the pain, then walk for a few seconds up to about a minute, then run again. Though the miles wound down, I kept thinking how it felt like I would never get there. Just past the water station at mile 23, I heard a yell from behind. Ginny had just about caught up to us. Though she didn't get up to where we were, it was nice to know she made a strong comeback.
Rachel continued to cheer me on and kept me going. When finally I saw the finish line, I was relieved. But, before I crossed, I already started thinking about next year.

I finished in 4:52, only 7 minutes slower than my best marathon finished. With no goals other than finishing, I was pleased. But the greatest part of this run is I feel like I finally put closure on last year's medical event. Though I still endeavor to complete 800 total running miles before the end of the year, this was what counted.
I look forward to becoming a runner again, and not a guy who had a heart attack and managed to run a marathon. I want to get back to running because I enjoy it and not because I have something to prove.
I'm proud to say that Ginny ended up finshing just moments after I. And Tonia, in spite of the pain she must have endured from her injury, also crossed the finish line. Brian, as expected, beat us all and we couldn't have been more excited for him.
I look forward to next year's marathon...which may be in New York.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Go Time

I've missed two months here. Let me explain what's happened. Wait...there is too much to explain. Let me sum-up.

Work got extremely busy. That's all I'll say about that.

Morgan and Olivia have really integrated well into their respective schools. Morgan got a perfect score on her PALS testing and is starting an advanced reading group.

I visited the cardiologist and all is well. I'm stopping my plavix prescription next week. As soon as I get my weight down and get a bead on my blood pressure and get another cholesterol check, I'll get off the rest.

Marathon training continued with no real issues, other than me continuing to carry more weight than I want to. Losing weight during marathon training is super hard.

Marathon and the training for it has always been my thing. 18 weeks of pure Jack-time. 4 am runs that could last for up to 3 1/2 hours with no office, phone, kids, etc. This year I realized something. Its much more fun to run with people. I had the opportunity to knock out a few runs in the company of some Stroller Strides friends. Thanks Ginny, Tonia and Fay for dragging me along on the 18 and getting me past my anxiety about the southside portion of the courses. Thanks Jay and Brian for making the 20 miler much more palatable. Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to where I am today...13 months out of the hospital and ready to run the Richmond Marathon! The starting gun is in 2 hrs 50 min so I'm moving on. Have a great day fans. I know I will!!!

It's go time!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

This has been a tough training season. After my last post, I picked up a very unusual virus that took 4 weeks to get over. That put a big strain on training. I couldn't put together a decent run for almost 6 weeks. I got off schedule.

Technically, I'm training with a buddy, but he and I have not actually run together yet. It took several weeks for me to get back on schedule with mileage. Then, he suffered an injury. Fortunately, we're both back on the road and I'm on schedule.

This week's run is 17 miles. It's also my favorite week in training. It aligns with the Nascar race coming to town. My route took me down to the track to look at the craziness. New York is widely known as the city that never sleeps...but when the race is in town, RIR rivals NYC. At 6:45 this morning, people were out and about, listening to music, drinking beer and walking to McDonalds for breakfast (and looking at the wierd runner guy). Plenty of colorful characters and colorful clothes, coloful flags and colorful language. I'm a Nascar fan for sure. The Nascar crowd,

Only 9 weeks (and 230 more training miles) before the marathon. Everything is firing correctly.

Today, Rich finished 15. His longest run ever. The man who 3 days ago said he was one and done with marathons hinted he might do it again next year.

On a medical note, 22 days from now will be the anniversary of the "cardiac event". Not a day goes by that I don't think about how much worse it could have been. I think about Jim Fixx and Ryan Shay..both tremendous runners who passed away during runs from cardiac issues; Fixx at age 52 during a run in Vermont in 1984; Shay at age 28 during the U.S. Olympic Trials in NYC in 2007. I try not to endulge in thoughts about what could happen. But it still weighs heavy on my mind from time to time. Old advice that still rings true...take it one day, one run, one step at a time. Worry only about which we can control. Have fun. Live well.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Richmond Marathon Just Another Race or My White Whale?

Not too long ago, July 12th was nothing more than the day after my birthday and meant nursing the biggest hangover of the year and waking up (or coming to) on someone's couch, floor or front lawn. But, since 2003, the significance of July 12th has grown.

You see, in 2003, I decided I wanted to run the Richmond Marathon. At this point, Rachel and I had competed in countless 10ks and 5ks and we had completed 2 half marathons. I wanted to see if I have the metle for completing a full marathon. The year we moved back to Virginia seemed to be the best opportunity, so I signed up.

I have an unfortunate storied past with this race. My training program is 16 weeks long. It's called Less is More and it allows me to run 3 days a week with optional cross training and one full day spent on speed work. My goal from the beginning was to complete the race in less than 4 hours.

Here's a brief summary of my success:
2003 - For 14 weeks, I got up at 4:00 in the morning on Tuesdays to hit the track. Track running in the dark is scary. Track running in the dark on southside is scarrier. For 14 Thursdays, up again at 4:00 and laying down tempo runs from 4 miles up to 10. On Saturdays, up at 4 again and in the car to drive to Glen Allen for long runs. Running the roads there upon sunrise were some of my favorite mornings.

You'll notice I only ran 14 Tuesdays, 14 Thursdays and 14 Saturdays. That's because on Saturday number 14, I broke an ankle. I was across the street from the hospital, but couldn't get there on foot. I had to call in the calvary to pick me up and drive me a block. Race off!!

2004 - It was time again to think about running. In the winter of 2003/spring of 2004, I didn't spend much time planning for the marathon. In fact, my weight jumped up pretty high in that time. So, by July 12, 2004, on my first day on the road, I realized I was far too fat and out of shape and did not think I'd be ready in November. So, I quit.

2005 - This was the year. By July 12, I was slim, running a ton of miles per week and was ready to step it up. Training went well. I hit a few bumps on the way, like a serious thunderstorm during a 17 mile run with lightning and 30 mph winds. But that didn't stop me.

What did stop me? Work. Two days before the race, I was at a professional conference. We pulled an all nighter. I got home on Friday and had a few hours of sleep that night. I was able to start the race and at 13.1, I was on pace for a 4 hour marathon. But, it went down hill fast. Between 13.1 and 14, the exhaustion and dehydration set in and the intestinal troubles began. I finished the race, which I am proud of, in 4:45 But the elusive 4 hours began to haunt me.

2006 - I decided I wanted to give a 4 hour race another try. I signed up for Richmond and had a lot of fun training. Three weeks before the race, I started having knee problems. On a whim, I decided to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC. It was 2 weeks before Richmond. I was lucky enough to find a number from a woman who couldn't run. If you want to look up my stats, her name was Alana Lee. She is from California and was using the MCM to qualify for Boston. But, because of my knee and my failure to plan well for the heat, Alana didn't come close. 5hrs 15 min.

Then Richmond. The knee felt good and I had a good support team working on my behalf. Rachel met me every 7 miles with Morgan and gave me a water bottle, a power gel and a kiss. At mile 19, I began to wear down. The knee was bad. People I started well in front of were passing me. I wanted to quit. Rachel appeared out of no where and didn't let me walk off the course. I limped along to the finish with Rachel and friends Kim and Ed running with me and cheering me on. I finished. 5 hrs 20 minutes

I crossed the line and swore off marathons forever.

2007 - Still sticking to no marathons. Focused on running for no reason.

2008 - Challenge. Rachel wanted to run the Marathon. She wanted us to train and run it together. After a year off, I guess I forgot about how hard it was and eagerly said yes. I also signed up for the Marine Corps again. July 12th came along and, for once, I was way ahead of the game. I was already up to 13 miles on my long run. I took a different approach to the schedule this time. Instead of track runs, I did more neighborhood runs. I didn't focus on the 4 hour finish. I just wanted to run it with my wife and have something to do together throughout the summer.

This is the race I never made it to. In late September, I had a very unusual 15 mile run. I found it hard to breathe and thought the humidity was really bothering me. 5 days later, I had a heart attack, the reason for starting this blog in the first place.

Well, it's July 12th again. Last night, I celebrated my 38th birthday at the Festival of Fish at our neighbors house. Today starts training.

I'm a bit behind this year. Carrying more weight than I want to and lacking a solid 10 mile run in the past 2 months. Also, I've had a lot of breathing challenges in the heat. Still, I'm moving forward. My first long run for this training was 8.5 miles. It was slower than normal. Another problem I've had for about a month, but I did it. Hopefully, I'll be up to 10 miles by July 25th. That will keep me on pace with the training program.

No 4 hour race this year, however. My goal is to finish and to give up marathons entirely. Had I not missed last year's, I'd probably not be doing it this year. The accomplishment of running a marathon is something I've already checked off of life's list. This year is more about finishing what I was unable to finish last year.

I want to metion here our neighbor and friend Rich who has been getting back into running for a few years now. He has been hitting the streets in the early morning and banging out a few miles with our other neighbor and friend Jeffry. Rich volunteered at a water station during the Richmond Marathon a few years ago but was never interested in participating. This year, he changed his mind and began training with SportsBackers. On July 12th, Rich ran 9 miles with the training group which he says is his longest ever run. Way to go Rich.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Two Months Passed

I realize now that my life is considerably less interesting when medical anomalies are not occurring. That being said. the past two months have been active. In March, I did some light work travel. I found myself in Columbia, South Carolina, and in our old homestead of Charleston, South Carolina. While in Charleston, I had the opportunity to run across the new Cooper River Bridge. I had run a few 10k races across the old bridge.

It was as bad to walk or drive across it as it looks.

The new bridge is amazing in its construction. It has a 1 mile uphill climb and a sloping 1.8 mile down slope.

It has some great views of Charleston from the top...
And a sidewalk for pedestrians...

On the way home, I stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's a little known fact that I spent my freshman college year at UNC Charlotte. I snagged a few pics of my first college dorm...Moore Hall. Overall, not a very impressive place, but the home of some great adolescent debauchery.

Before leaving, I stopped at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was too late to go inside, but the track is really impressive, even on the outside. (but you can't tell that from these pictures)

Also in March, I ran the Monument Avenue 10k and posted a PR of 51:03. I had a different goal this time. Rachel started 4 minutes ahead of me and I wanted to catch her before the finish line. I did. Right at 5 1/2 miles. We crossed the line together holding hands. (Don't tell Bright Room I "borrowed" their picture)

Work really ramped up in April and maintaining a healthy balance between work and home was exceedingly challenging.
I went to DC for 2 days to lobby our Congressmen and Senators for health care-related subject matter. It proved a very educational trip after visiting the offices of Senators Warren and Webb, plus several Representatives, including House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. Though none of the actual politicians were there (Easter break), I enjoyed talking with their Legislative Assistants and getting our company into the fray that is health care reform. I took a few pictures as we went along, trying to look more like a politician and less like a tourist.

The US Capitol as seen from the Cannon House Office Building

A poor shot of the inside of the Cannon House Office Building

Also in April, I also took a nuclear stress test (no photo documentation). Dr. Newton said the test confirmed what he thought. Slight scar on my heart, but not effecting blood flow in any way. He conditionally cleared me to run the Richmond Marathon in November. Only one last thing to do...wear a heart monitor 24/7 for 2 weeks. He wants to know what my heart does when I run 10 miles and throughout a normal day. I've been wearing it for a week and a half. Glad that the end of this experiment is in site.
Now that we're into May, I find myself doing a little more travel. I'm writing this now from a hotel room in Portland, Maine. Next week I'll find myself in Virginia Beach for 2 nights and then in Bethesda, Maryland, for a single day expo the week after. In between, we'll be celebrating Mother's Day, my mom's birthday, my wife's grandmother's 95th birthday and our 7th anniversary. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) there's a lot going on in May.

Portland is a cool town. It aligns with what you imagine when you think of a New England fishing town. I took a running tour this morning and snapped some photos along the 7 mile route I took.

This is from the pier that runs along the waterfront area. There were several fishing boats moored here. According to the lady at Three Sons Seafood, this is lobster season as well as king crab season. That means, the filmers of Deadliest Catch are on duty.

This one was loading up and preparing to head out for the day.

Though my camera didn't produce the same perspective I had, I thought this made for an interesting picture. In the foreground is the small seafood company trying to survive in this economy. In the background, the giant bank building looming over the tiny business, keeping a close watch on its investment.
Portland has a typical quaint New England look to it. Most of the buildings are made of brick. Sidewalks are brick and many streets are cobblestone laden. The streets are lined with local shops, restaurants and businesses. There is no proliferation of national chains here. In fact, I only saw 1 Starbuck's the entire time.

But just as it is quaint, it is still a city with some of the typical city amenities like tv stations, parking garages and a gloomy city-scape view and hills...lots of hills.

I enjoyed my visit to Portland. Got a glimpse of local culture and shipped home some lobster and shrimp for our dinner tomorrow night. Only $7.00/lb. here. Even with shipping, it's cheaper than buying it in Richmond.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yes...I am a bit of a redneck

On May 2nd, I went to the Nascar race at RIR. It's been 5 years since the last race I attended. In fact, Rachel was 6 months pregnant and we hooted and hollared for Jr. (He won). This time, I only hollared. No hootin. Kyle Busch won. Aside from that, it was a good day.

Friday, February 27, 2009

As If I Needed More Challenges...

If you've known me for a while, you probably recognize that I've had my share of klutzy moments. Broken ankles, broken fingers, broken arms...etc. My latest klutzy moment? Gave myself a concussion.

While getting into my car last Friday, I managed to hit my head on the top of the door. A nice whack right behind my left ear. The subsequent bruising and swelling freaked people out at work. It looked worse than that it felt, but it didn't feel great.

On Monday, I started having some very slight but very unusual headaches, so I decided to go see my family doctor yesterday and get checked out. Turns out, I have a very minor concussion which means I'll keep my slight headache for a few more weeks.

Dr. Jeter said I couldn't have found a worse place on my head to whack because of the location of a major artery in that area. And, as is always the concern now that I'm on blood thinners, I have to pay attention to any other minor (or major) symptoms which could result in much bigger issues.

If I'm not careful, I'm going to end up as the kid who wears a helmet and pads everywhere he goes and is tethered to the jungle gym on the play ground.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Status Quo

Still trying to settle into a routine now that rehab is over and I don't have a "mandated' workout schedule. I've found my comfort zone at the gym. I run on the treadmill Mondays and Wednesdays and lift weights those days as well. On Fridays, I've implemented a run during lunch. I only have about 30 minutes to warm-up, run and cool down before I have to be back in the building to shower and change but it's turning out to be a great workday break at the end of the week. Long runs on Saturday or Sunday, depending on Rachel's schedule. This past Saturday, I ran 8 miles. New distance record since the heart attack. Felt good. Just tired. I'm still building those long distances. I hope to be at 10 miles before the Monument Avenue 10k. Not sure why I set such a random goal, but I'm sticking to it.

Though I haven't checked my blood pressure since leaving rehab, I still track my weight weekly and, of course, constantly monitor my heart rate before, during and after runs. I've stalled a bit on the weight loss at 17 pounds down. My will-power has been tested quite a bit over the past 2 weeks. I haven't gained. I just haven't lost any more. I'm focused again and won't allow any more "treats" for another 8 pounds.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Transition

Since leaving rehab, I have had difficulty staying on a routine schedule. The first week, I made it to the gym on Monday and had to travel for work on Wednesday. I was fortunate to have access to a treadmill at the hotel, but only got in a 25 minute workout. This week, I had to travel on Monday and I got home too late to get to the gym. I switched to Tuesday, but that threw the rest of the week off. Tonight, Morgan's class held a parent advisory group meeting. Rachel and I share the lead responsibility of the group. She went to the meeting and I stayed with the girls. My next chance to workout appears to be Friday after work if I can get out of the office on time. Then my normal run on Sunday.

I had it easy when the workouts were prescribed. Now that I'm "freelancing it" again, those 4 in the morning runs look much more attractive. I'm sure I'll find a schedule that suits me. But, as I often note, I enjoy the little rut I've carved out for myself in life and I don't do well with change.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Beat Goes On (Thanks To These Guys)

Friday February 6, 2009...Graduation Day. There were no hats. There was one gown, but it was for something semi-unrelated. It was my last day at rehab. I decided to snap some pictures of the staff to commemorate my moving on. The charming group you see here were my team of caregivers. From the left, Adele, Pat and Ed. Adele and Pat are nurses and Ed is the Physiologist. They worked very hard with me to ensure my meds were correct, to make certain I didn't over-do it at rehab, and to make absolutely sure I don't come back in there again. They are a phenomenal team and I'm lucky to have been cared for by them. Thanks to you all.

As I finished my final workout and started my cool down routine, I noticed two loud and cute little faces come running through the door. Rachel brought Olivia and Morgan down to see me finish my last day. It was the most wonderful surprise. Everyone in the clinic smiled as they saw our two beauties. Morgan immediately wanted to hit the treadmill. Olivia was ready for a steam. Rachel eyed the weights. But, we left as a family to re-start our live without rehab. It was a great way to end a great program.

Earlier, I mentioned one gown. Here it is. It's an advertisement for women's heart health month. A reminder that heart disease takes more women's lives than any other illness. I think I look pretty.

Originally, I thought I would return to rehab 2x per week for the first few weeks until I'm comfortable moving to a gym. Over the weekend, I decided to move to the gym sooner. So Monday, February 9th was my first day not going to rehab. It took some getting used to at the new gym. For one, the other clientele was much younger. Still, I wasn't in my comfort zone at the new place. I felt a bit out of place. That will settle after while I suppose.

It's been over a week now. I've been to the new gym once and ran at a hotel health club once. Today, I ran outside...7.30 miles in 1 hr, 10 min. I was tired, but recognize I'm still building those long distances. Only a month until my first post-event race. The Monument Avenue 10k. Ideally, it should be no problem. My true goal is to get to 10 miles before the race and make the 10k a breeze. Doubt I'll shoot for personal records, but I will do my best and run my hardest.

So, this blog started to be about my heart attack. Then it moved to focus on the recovery. Now, I guess it' going to track my running efforts as I endeavor to run 800 miles this calendar year and complete 2 marathons in the fall. So far, 63.51 miles completed in 9 hrs 53 minutes. 8% of my goal for the year. Were I able to run every day, I would only need to run 2.29 miles each day. In case you're curious.

So the hard part seems to be over. With the exception of the Stress Cardiolite in April and the pending green flag for marathon training, the medical part is on maintenance and I'm going full tilt with running. Look back every once in a while if you desire. It's always nice to know people are checking up on your well being.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weekly Weigh In

So we basically gorged ourselves on Saturday night at a restaurant called Taverna Plaka. It's a small greek family-style restaurant. There were 8 of us but we sounded like 20. The food was great and our Phriend Phillip had to stand on the table and do a shot of Ouzo to celebrate his birthday while the wait-staff threw napkins at him. Needless to say, we ate and ate and ate. I really wanted to get in a morning run on Sunday, but 3 hours sleep wasn't cutting it.

In rehab yesterday, I managed to lose another lb on their scale (202). That's 11 so far. On the home scale, I stayed at a flat 200. But this morning (and I don't usually weigh myself more than once a week at home) I was 198.5. Moving ever closer to my ideal weight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rain in Hillanta

In spite of the fact that I've lost 10 lbs and resolved to not eat a lot of bad food while I'm here, I find it necessary to get in a few extra runs to take care of the few extra calories I've taken on since arriving in Atlanta. Rachel and I went out this morning. A light mist saturated a 54 degree air temp as we stepped out the door. Perfect for me. Not so much for Rachel. We ran the same course as yesterday and the hills challenged me more salsa in sight. We went just under 5 miles in just over 10 minute miles.

Now, as I sit here during nap time, the sun is out and the temp jumped to 60 something. I think about the possibility of a two-a-day...and getting in another quick run. Too bad I ate lunch just an hour ago. I won't suffer that lesson more than once on this trip. I'll wait for the morning, assuming I can get up after tonight's festivities.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Forget Hotlanta or Phatlanta. Our friends and some of our family live in least from the perspective of a runner. I lived in Atlanta for 4 years and really learned to run well there. But it's been a long time since I tackled the hills of Dunwoody and never while under the 165 bpm heart limit. I went for a run this afternoon with by Brother In Law, Steven.

I've known Steven since the 5th grade. And, if you're paying attention, you'll realize that I must have also known Rachel that long since she's his sister. In spite of that, she married me anyway.

Steven and I have always competed with each other. Video games, running, various sports....even resting heart rates. In fact, while in the ED during my heart attack, my resting heart rate got down to 46 bpm. I took a picture of the monitor reading and emailed it to him. I figure I pretty much have that competition wrapped up. Now we compete over running accomplishments, cholesterol levels and who has more hair. (I think I still win those 3, though he is training for his first marathon now.)

Anyway, he and I set out for a run and I worried that I would slow him down. A limited heart rate does not mix well with hills. However, the only thing that actually slowed me down was the spicy salsa we had at lunch about 2 1/2 hours before. The more I ran, the more my stomach hurt. My heart rate never had a chance to max out. In the end, we ran 5.6 in just 10:00 min averages. Mental note...allow more time between running and eating Moe's for lunch.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Treadmill goals

The treadmill is boring. But for the past 10 weeks, it has been my guide rope to get back to my normal life. Once I started running on the treadmill, I set a goal for myself to run farther each time in the allotted 17 minutes. Today, I broke two records. Today, I ran an 8:02 first mile. I also ran 2.01 miles in 17 minutes. With only 6 visits left, I did about the best I can do without getting my heart rate up too high. In short, I hit my goals.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekly weight up date

I weighed in at home this morning. 200. My rehab weigh in was 203. So I lost a lb on the rehab scale and stayed the same on the home scale. To make it more confusing, I've lost 10 lbs on the rehab scale and only 8 on the home scale. WTF?

This one is not about me!

I want to extend a pat on the back to Derek. I mentioned him early on in this series of events only strung together by a single cardiac event. Derek's illness already had its grips on him for about a year when I met him in rehab. He's 43 and a former runner. He had a pace maker put in and started rehab just a few weeks before me. After a lot of hard work, Derek ran today for the first time since he got sick. He looked happy on the treadmill. I wanted to give him a shout out on this medium and a pat on the back for his accomplishment. Way to go Derek. I'm always rooting for you.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Going Solo

Today, I had a much anticipated return to solo running. I went out this morning at banged out 6 miles in just under an hour. My heart rate peaked at 172 while ascending the hill on Broad leading to Target and again when running up Morningside drive. Those hills have always posed challenges at one point or another but I never had to pay such close attention before. Tomorrow is my weekly home weigh in. Though I didn't make the best food choices on Friday or on Saturday night, I hope to be below 200 lbs.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wrapping it up

I'm in the last 10 prescribed rehab visits. The workout is quite routine. Treadmill for 25, leg bike for 10, rower for 10 and the weights. As I work my way towards my final visit, I'm focusing on outdoor running over the weekend and better eating and continued weight loss. Today, though, Pat asked me when I'm going to work on stress reduction. She knows I'm a type A. She said she plans to work there for 5 or 6 more years and she doesn't want to see me back there as a patient again. She said I clearly have alot going on and I need to learn to change my perspective on some things and learn to react to others in a more reasonable manner. I told her that I have worked on quite a bit but recognized I had a long way to go. I told her our Rabbi is visiting us in about a week and a half to talk to Rachel and I about how to make our relationship with ourselves, each other and our kids more manageable and enjoyable. She got me thinking. Maybe I'm not doing enough. After all, a woman who spends 30 minutes with me a week seems to recognize that I have disproportionate reactions to things. Guess I have more work to do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Follow-up Visit

I saw Doctor Newton today as a follow-up from last week's episode. He expressed great pleasure over my recovery. He wants to run an NMR lipid profile which is a regular cholesterol test on steroids. Where a normal cholesterol test measures the volume of cholesterol, the NMR profile looks at the particle sizes of the cholesterol. There are 3 sizes and the test is able to enumerate the amount of each size particle a person has in their blood. Comparing the normal test to the NMR test, Dr Newton said it's like going from a 10 power microscope to a 1000 power microscope. I have to go to Labcorp and have my blood drawn, which is my least favorite thing in the world. But it's for a good reason so no complaining.

He asked me if I'm running and encouraged me to enter the Ukrops 10k. He asked when marathon training starts. I told him mid-July. He said he wants to run a Stress Cardiolite test on me before I start the training. This is a different type of stress test. It's administered mostly in the same fashion my other stress tests were administered. The difference is I will have an IV and they will pump me full of nuclear solution and take pictures with a different kind of camera. Dr. Newton said this test can pick up very tiny irregularities in my blood flow. Though he doesn't expect to find any problems, this test will give me the clearance to do the marathons I missed last season and so eagerly await.

The appointment ran long so I got to rehab with just enough time to run. I didn't go as fast or as far today, but I still had a good run. I only have 10 visits left. Then I'm on my own. I said in an older post I'll probably continue to go there 2 nights a week until the winter is over. By then, I should be back to 4:00 am runs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Coming Along

Today's rehab session was awesome. I'm running, lifting weights, doing ab's great and it keeps me disciplined. Thanks to Pam, the Nutritionist, I'm on a solid eating plan and have already lost 6 pounds. I feel good and I'm glad to be getting back to normal. Today during the run, I had the treadmill up to 7.5 mph and I ran an 8:32 mile. My heart rate got up over 165 so I couldn't maintain that speed and be in compliance of the program so I backed down. Still, I have a 17 minute window of opportunity to run each visit and I see how far I can go in that 17 minutes. I've gone from 1 mile to 1.71 to 1.88 to 1.96 (today). Trying to hit the 2 mile mark while maintaining my max heart rate.

Ed increased the weight on the strength training. I now do leg presses, lat pull dows, tricep pull downs and bench pressing on a machine. We started with a light weight and he's agreed to increase it as needed. I also do some dumbbell work and several minutes of crunches. It's a good work out but I realized that today is my 25th visit out of a prescribed 36. I'm allowed to stay on after the prescribed visit, but the place is getting busy and I might end up taking up a machine that someone else needs to use. We'll see how the next few weeks go. I thought about backing down to 2 days per week instead of 3. Especially if I'll be running outside again. Who knows. Right now, I just try to get every ounce of workout squeezed out of about an hour or so 3 times a week.

TOday, I'm starting a weight check. I weigh in every visit at rehab, but I'm heavier on their scale than the home scale. So I'll continue to weigh in there 3 times per week and weigh in at home on Mondays. I peaked at 213 on their scale and 207 on ours. Today, I'm at 207 on theirs and 201.5 on ours. Keeping track should keep me on track.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


31,680 feet. 105.6 football fields. 380,160 inches. 6 miles. However you slice it, that's the distance we ran on my first "authorized" outside run. Ed told me to keep the heart rate target at 165 bpm. That made hills tough, causing us to either walk or run very slowly. With the sun to our back and the wind to our fronts, Rachel and I set out at 10:45 this morning and ran the hood. We did a 5 minute warm-up walk and then a solid 6 mile run. Again, in order to maintain the accptable heart rate, we had to walk up parts of a few hills that slowed our pace to 11:00 per mile. Looking forward to the next chance to run outdoors.

Friday, January 9, 2009

An Invaluable Team

Since the first day of rehab, I've really viewed Ed, Pat, Adelle and Alese as a recovery and support team. They're giving me the limits and the workouts and I make the best of them. They monitor me, ask me questions and make sure I'm always moving towards the correct goal. I'm truly thankful for all they've provided so far. Especially today.

I brought in the Caudet packaging and showed it to Ed. He said the drug was not for what I was told. He asked what I'm taking now. I told him Caudet and Lipitor. He asked what happened to the Plavix. I told him Plavix is combined with the other drug in Caduet. He disagreed. We looked at the literature. Sure enough, Caduet was a combination of Lipitor and a 2nd medicine. Not Plavix. Either I heard Dr Newton incorrectly, or he told me incorrectly. I'll never know for sure. I'm certain he said the new drug would reduce vasodialation. Ed and Pat disputed that. But I can't be 100% certain he said Lipitor instead of Plavix. Nonetheless, Ed and Pat called Dr Newton's office while I was at rehab today and clarified what I should be on. I had stopped taking Plavix and took Caduet and Lipitor for 2 days. Thankfully, I mentioned it to them and they questioned it. I should be taking the Caduet and the Plavix. Fortunately, I suffered no maleffects. Thank you Pat and Ed!!!

Ed cleared me to run outside during my last visit. I plan to get one in this weekend.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back To Normal

When I got to rehab today, I advied Ed and Pat of my unscheduled visit to Dr. Newton yesterday and the change in medicine he prescribed. They both questioned the med adjustment. I told them that I was to stop taking Plavix because Caduet had Plavix in it. They also said it had nothing to do with vasodialition. It's a calcium deposit blocker. They were confused or perhaps I was. They asked that I bring them the packaging on Friday.

The workout was normal. I am starting to run a bit father duing the treadmill sessions. I have a 5 minute warm up with a 3 minute cool down leaving me with exactly 17 minutes to run. I've increased the distance during that time from 1.71 miles to 1.82 miles. Slowly inching my way to a strong and sustainable treadmill speed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Potential Set Back - Avoided

When I woke up this morning, I had a familiar sensation. I felt the presence of chest congestion, but I couldn't cough anything up. I noticed it as soon as I woke up. I showered, dressed and went to work. The sensation didn't let up. It seemed to worsen as I walked and ease up as I sat down.

In the days leading up to my heart attack, I experienced this sensation. No pain. Just this nagging feeling of congestion that turned out not to be congestion at all. I called Dr Newton's office before it opened and had him paged.

He called back and had me come over to his office for an EKG. It surprised me to be seen so quickly in this office about which I have had several complaints. But I was taken right back and put on an EKG. Then I waited for Dr Newton to show up and read the results. He said everything is fine. He had no concrete answers to what caused the sensation...could be the recent change in diet; the weight lifting; vasodialation of my innards...or I could have some chest congestion. He changed my medicine for 4 weeks to Caudet which is a combination of Plavix and another medicine that prevents vasodialation. I took the medicine when I returned to the office. The sensation seems to have faded somewhat.

Dr Newton said I do not need to back down the rehab workload. I scheduled a follow-up visit for next week and went on my way.

By 12:30, I felt different. The sensation faded more. I feel back to normal. Seems like the new medicine is working. Good news.

Still Going

My visit on Monday the 29th proved to be routine. I started to more closely monitor my running distance and speed throughout the run. In all, I ran 1.78 miles in 17:00. (9:33 minutes per mile). I had the treadmill up to 6.7 early and tried to complete a sub 9:00 mile (8:54). I couldn't maintain that speed and keep my heart rate within acceptable range. I backed down but still nailed a 9:33 mile. Not bad for a guy with a heart condition.

Rehab closed early on New Years Eve so I didn't come in. And, Rachel fell sick on Friday the 2nd. With nobody to watch the kids, I had to skip rehab again.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting Ripped?

It's getting hotter in that room. I noticed it during my last work out and again on Monday (1/5) and I was unusually tired after the workout. Pat said maintenance corrected a heating problem in the bathrooms by increasing the heat in another area. That heat just seems to waft into to the workout area and it gets uncomfortable during the runs. I ran the normal routine. Five minute warm up, 17 minute run, 3 minute cool down. Since I had not run for a week, I kept the pace moderate. I stuck at 6.5 mph. The run totaled 1.81 miles in 17 minutes (9:23 minutes per mile). I felt good with that. The rest of the workout was equally as tiring as the previous week.

Something new, though. Ed started me on weight lifting. I'm set up to do one set of several exercises to work my biceps, triceps, lats, chest and legs. I finish up with ab work. Ed said these exercises will help burn the fat down. Good thing. I lost 2 lbs since last week. I attribute this to getting sick last Saturday and not really eating, and starting a new eating plan on Sunday.

On their scale, I weigh 211. At home, I weigh 204. Usually, I only weigh myself once weekly at home. But since I have to weigh in before each workout, I'm monitoring both going forward.