Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Next year's goal...1,000 miles.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
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.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
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
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, however....eh.
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
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
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)
Work really ramped up in April and maintaining a healthy balance between work and home was exceedingly challenging.
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.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
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
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
Friday, January 9, 2009
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
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
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.
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
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.