One year ago today I was admited to University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia to repair my broken heart. Well… I guess my heart was fine, just the plumbing was bad. At least until the moment they knocked me out on the way to the operating room I can remember that day very well.
I remember being scared as crap for one thing! Yet, I was also hopeful that a sucessful triple bypass would mean a new lease on life too. I was disappointed that I couldn’t run anymore but also excited about getting back out there again in a few months.
I remember feeling so blessed and loved by my family. I needed their support much more than I realized at the time. Even though we were all hopeful and praying for a sucessful surgery there was still some fear and as much as I tried not to, there were tears shed by all just before they wheeled me off to the operating room.
I really had no clue what lied ahead after surgery. For the first few days just walking 200 feet might as well have been a full marathon. It was extremely difficult and exhausting. But I was determined!
In less than two weeks I was walking a mile or more and my stamina started returning. One mile became two and within six weeks or so I was walking five or more miles everyday of the week. Several months went by before I started running again but I was running and just a few weeks ago I ran in a half marathon. I’m proud of the accomplishments in the past year but I’m mostly greatful.
Greatful to be alive. Greatful I can sit here and babble about my progress and sometimes setbacks of running. May 24th, 2018 will be a date I will always remember. If you keep reading this blog–I probably won’t let you forget it either. God bless. Have a great running day!
Ten days on the road and I’m still catching up a bit. One of the highlights was running in the Indy Mini. Unfortunately, I had to cancel this event last year because of my heart issues. I waited until two days before the race to cancel. That was an expensive cancel. I had to cancel my non-refundable airfare and because I waited too long I had to pay for one night of lodging too. Ouch. After the fact I found out I could have entered this years race for free had I given them a statement from my doctor but I didn’t know until much, much later.
WOOHOO, back at it this year and I did it. But what a day it was. When I went to bed the night before it looked like the weather would be dry and in the mid-fifties which would be ideal. The first thing I did when I got up at 5:30 a.m. on race day was double check the weather and overnight it changed completely. The forecast was rain starting around 8 a.m. and continuing all morning and this time the forecast was correct. UGH!
I had hoped to watch my grandson run in his first official 5K but with the extra prep needed to get ready for the wet conditions there was no way I could watch him at the finish and still get myself ready. His start time was 7:00 a.m. and my start was 8:00 and I needed to be in my corral fifteen minutes before. If the start and finish were in the same place I might have been able to make it. Hated missing it but he understood the deal.
After a little breakfast it was time to start lubing up for the rain. I put body lotion everywhere to start and then I used a combination of Glide, TriSlide, and 2Toms Blister Shield. At the Expo and packet pickup I bought a lubricating wipe made by 2Toms called Butt Shield. Those things are great and now really wish I would have picked up more of them.
Left the hotel about 20 minutes before the start. It’s really nice to be staying close to the start line but it is a little pricy for sure. Anyway, the rain had already started by then. It wasn’t much more than a drizzle at that point but it still sucked.
The crowd of spectators was huge as usual and the pre-race challange was for me to find my daughter and grandkids before the start. I wanted to strip off my rain poncho and my pullover and hand them off to them. When the temp is 55 or under my hands get cold so I wasn’t going to give up my gloves. The forecast was pretty much 54 to 56 the entire morning. Luckily we found each other just moments before the start.
Wave 4 was scheduled to start at 8 a.m. and things got started right on time. Before I get into some of the details here are my offical results and the result from my Apple Watch. Total time between the two only varied by eight seconds but the distance on my watch was a little further. I tried to take the apex of each turn but maybe not as well as I could have.
Honestly, my primary goal was to just finish. My secondary goal was to finish at around a 12 minute mile pace. For the first eight miles I was pretty close to doing just that (according to my Apple Watch). I don’t know why the official results didn’t give me a 5K and 15K split. It sure would be nice to compare that to my mile splits on my watch but oh well.
Rain Would Not Go Away
A mile or so into the race it was raining fairly hard. Not in buckets, but far from a drizzle too. Just before mile two I decided to get my Clif Blocks out of my SPI Belt and put a pack in my short pocket. By then everything and everywhere I was soaking wet. I had to take off one glove to get it done. I didn’t realize somewhere in the process I had dropped the glove on the ground. There was no way to go back and get it so I just had to hope my hands didn’t get too cold.
I like to run listening to music but it was raining so hard I had trouble keeping my earbuds in. Finally by the 10K mark I turned them off and put them in my pocket. Hated it but it wasn’t too bad cause I keep the volume low anyway.
Heart Rate Jumps Up
If you don’t already know, the course turnaround is on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway After mile eight which is near the end of the two and a half mile loop on the track, I noticed by heart rate was getting into the 160-165 bpm range.
Let’s do some math here. 220 – 62 (my age) = 158 (maximum heart rate). According to that calculation I was exerting my heart over 100%. Now, since my bypass last year I’ve gotten used to running with a high heart rate. I can run at 100% and still talk. Ok, I’m not going to speak paragraphs but I can shout out sentences without a problem. Really weird but that what it is. Honestly, I think my medication has my heart rate too low and I probably need an adjustment when I go back to my cardiologist in August. It’s not uncommon for my resting heart rate to register in the 45-50 range.
I also know it’s going to be hard for me to finish the last five miles at that heart rate. I had to start walking some. I’d walk until my heart rate was below 140. On mile ten I found a pace that kept my heart rate at 155 or lower but by mile 11 my heart rate was over 160 again. So more walking. That’s pretty much how I had to finish.
I also noticed around the ten mile mark my hands were very swollen and had a purplish tone to them. My hands were not cold even though I no longer had my gloves. In the photo at the top of this post I can sure tell my hands are swollen but you probably can’t. In that photo my fingers look like the marshmellow man! No idea why. Probably lack of blood flow to my hands. Something I need to watch for in the future.
My average pace ended up somewhere in the 12:36 to 13:00 per mile. Slower than I wanted but I’m not disappointed about it one bit. I finished AND finished three minutes quicker than I did in 2017. To be fair, I spent more time enjoying the motor speedway in 2017, so if I hadn’t stopped on the track so much I’m quite sure my time would have been faster then. This year the rain was coming down hard while on the track so I just kept on moving. At the end I had some tired and wet feet but for the most part this was the best I’ve ever felt after finishing a half marathon.
Even with the rain, it was a great event. The spectators are everywhere and very supportive. My bib had my name on it and it was nice to hear people calling you out by name supporting you. If you’ve never ran in the Indy Mini you should consider it.
I have to admit I’m tired of training for half marathons. I’m ready to get out and just run for the fun of it. I do have a 5K trail run coming up but it will be for the challenge of the course. After this, I have no plans to sign up for any events for a while. Let’s see how long that lasts!
Awesome, a new Taylor Swift song came out today! Taylor sure likes to hype thing up a bit and she sure did with the new song called, “Me!” I’m a fan of Taylor Swift but I’m not sure I like this one. Guess I need to listen to it a few times.
No, I’m not posting today because of a new Taylor Swift song…
One year ago today I went in for a heart cath thinking they might have to put in a stent or two to open the arteries to my heart. Now that was my worse case scenario. Honestly, I went into University Hospital on April 26, 2018 thinking I’d walk out from the procedure knowing it was just a false alarm.
Boy was I wrong. I needed open heart surgery–a triple bypass.
I was in shock. My wife was in shock. Hell, everyone was in shock. I think my cardiologist was even a little surprised too. I didn’t look like a heart patient. I didn’t act like someone with a heart problem. How could anyone who is active and a runner need open heart surgery? Well, it happens. For me, it was mostly genetics. My body produces too much cholestrol. I’ve taken statin drugs for years and they probably have helped and most likely delayed the need for a triple bypass for a few years anyway. But come on, I’m only 61 years old! Trust me, if it happened to me it can happen to you too.
April 26th, 2018 was a game changer for sure. I was just a few days from running the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon which I reluctantly cancelled. I really hated hearing the news and honestly I had no clue what layed ahead.
Let me say I’m blessed to still be here today. I guess God’s got something planned for me. I survived the surgery, the recovery, the rehab, and now by my own choice I’m retired. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Honestly, I’m still adjusting a little. Overall, things are great though–just different.
I’m looking forward to hitting the road in a few days to visit family along the way to Indianapolis to attempt the Indy 500 Mini Marathon on May 4th. I haven’t had a run in a couple of weeks now because of a head cold and the longest run in my training has been ten miles. Not quite where I wanted to be right now but I think it will be fine. Thankfully, Indy is pretty flat.
Tonight I’m runnin in the “Til the Cows Come Home 5K” and this will be my first run in two weeks. Just going to go out and have fun and I’m thinking about not even starting up my watch and just go with the flow.
Anyway, I felt like today was worthy of a blog post. Enjoy your April 26th!
That’s right, less than three weeks until the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Funny thing is, I’ve run the fewest miles ever in preparing for this one. And honestly, the week before I’m running in a 5K and then I hit the road for five days before the race. So really, training tapers after this week.
I logged about 55 miles in March. Even this is more than I’ve run in quite a while but still not close to my usual half marathon mileage. For a while there I was posting photos of me running here on the blog and on Instagram and I haven’t for quite a while now. Mainly because photos of someone running on a treadmill is kinda boring. That’s right, the vast majority of my training this time has been on the treadmill. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s boring! Once I discovered the treadmills at my gym had interactive routes you could choose so the TV displayed a scenic beach, mountain road, or a meadow and things got a lot better. Why the treadmill? Partly because of weather which is kinda why it started. Then I started thinking that running on a treadmill is much safer. No dogs (not that I had a problem with that where I live now), no cars, buses, trucks, no hills (unless I want them).
I’ve learned to enjoy the treadmill and will continue to use them more often now but anything more than 90 minutes is a bit much for me. The week before my two-hour run was on the road and boy did I enjoy it. The weather was a little warm during the last 30 minutes but overall it felt good. Even the hills didn’t bother me much.
I didn’t get my long run in this past weekend. I managed to pickup a head cold from hell. Starting to feel back to normal but not quite ready to run. I’m not too concerned about it, I feel like I can go the half marathon distance without too much trouble. The unknown will be the finish time. The head cold has changed my training plans but no matter I’m started to get excited about Indy.
I haven’t posted anything since the middle of November and I wasn’t posting much in the month of October either. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started a post and never finished it. Why? Well, mostly life just got in the way. It’s affected my running schedule as well but I’ve never stopped running–I just stopped blogging.
Thankfully, life has settled down again. Ah! The relief. I guess I’ll begin by giving a rundown of my running life the past four months:
On the very first day of December, which was 191 days after my triple-bypass surgery I ran in a 10K. I was really kinda down on myself the week before the Jingle Jam 10K in Evans, Georgia because I knew I hadn’t been training to the expectations I has set for myself. I just wasn’t ready for it. It’s a fairly hilly course so I decided I’d run the flats and descents but walk the inclines. I did exactly that but it was more incline than I though. The organizers essentially reversed the course route. I think it made it harder, not easier but maybe it was just because I wasn’t trained up enough. I finished but at my worse time ever! It was so bad I didn’t even write it down. It was something like and hour and 20 minutes. Really awful finish time.
Like I said, I was down on myself all week but once I got out on the course all I could think about is how grateful I am. Here I am at 62 years old and gone through open heart surgery just six months before and running in a 10K road race. That’s quite an accomplishment isn’t it? I think so. Sure, I wish I could have done better but don’t we almost always feel that way?
The month of January started with going with friends to Hilton Head, South Carolina to celebrate the new year. We spend five days and the first two were a bit wet but the last three days were beautiful. Anytime I travel I like to find a place to run and Hilton Head is a fantastic bike and pedestrian friendly place. We stayed in Harbour Town which is a little more secluded and we could see this historic landmark from our condo. Anyway,
I got one run in on New Year’s Eve. It had rained during the night so it was very humid but a nice mid-sixties temperature. Got a little over 3 miles in.
Of course, I ate a lot of seafood there. Mostly raw or fried oysters. It was New Year’s Eve after all so I also drank a bit too much but no hangovers anyway.
Just seven days after our Hilton Head trip we were on the road again. This time to St. Augustine, Florida. Actually, this wasn’t our final destination, it was just the first leg. Final destination? Keep reading. HAHA!
It was chilly! A cold wave starting coming through Florida the day we hit the road. No shorts or beach for this portion of the trip anyway. On our first full day, we drove over to the World Golf Village and the World Golf Hall of Fame.
As you can see in the photo above I’m not wearing a jacket but that was only because it would interfere with my golf swing. Trust me, just as soon as I finished trying to get close to the pin (wasn’t even close), my jacket was back on again.
Our second day we spent mostly in the historic part of St. Augustine doing the usual tourist stuff. I didn’t do any running in the historic part but I sure did walk a lot! We did the Historic Tours of America thing in St. Augustine. If you’ve travelled in the U.S.A. you’ve probably seen them before. They’re open-air bright green and orange trolley’s and you can get on and off wherever you like all day.
After a few days in St. Augustine we were on the road again heading down I-95 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Still windy and chilly though. The winds made driving a little hard sometimes but we made it safe and sound.
Just like St. Augustine, this isn’t our final destination. Hold on, I’m about to tell you. On our first full day we headed to the Port Everglades to catch a ride on this baby:
Once on board the ship, we get settled in and just before sunset we headed out to sea for two destinations:
Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba
This was with a group of people I went to high school with Indiana. Even though it was sometimes chilly, sometime cool, rarely warm we had a great time. Our ship was smaller than any other cruise ship I’ve travelled on and no running track. I did get to the gym 3 of the 5 days on the cruise. We were at the port in Havana for a day and a half and looking out the windows in front of me on the treadmill I had a great elevated view of Havana while I ran. So technically, I’ve now ran in Havana, Cuba! HAHA.
Things are starting to get back to normal again! A few months ago I signed up for the Augusta University Half Marathon scheduled towards the end of the month but I wasn’t ready so I didn’t even go. I did run for an hour on the day of the race! Monthly mileage still isn’t quite where I would like it but it’s better than it has been. For the month, roughly 37 miles. The longest run was for just shy of 5 miles. That’s no where close to half marathon distance.
March (So Far…)
So far this month everything is going pretty well. I’m on track to log over 50 miles this month. On Saturday I ran seven miles and that’s the longest run in a long time. As in BEFORE my open heart surgery.
I’m 47 days away from running the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon. You may recall I ran this one week after the St. Jude’s Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee in 2017 and was supposed to run it again last year but the heart issues caused me to cancel. I’m pretty happy with my conditioning at this stage. I’ve lost 19 pounds since the 1st of January! I’m only about a pound and a half from my race day goal weight. Maybe I’ll have to reset my goal before then? Looks like I’m well on my way to being ready. I’ll try to post more often now.
I can’t believe how fast the days go by anymore. How did I do it all when I was still working? It’s been a month since I posted but it doesn’t feel like it was that long ago. Life has been busy, especially in the last two weeks of October. The past ten days or so have been very quiet and not much going on–including my training. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been in a bit of a funk and haven’t been running much. The weather has been chilly and wet and that hasn’t helped much either.
I never mentioned it but I hurt my shoulder while I was in cardio rehab. I never mentioned it because I thought I could work it out. Well… that didn’t happen. This all started probably around the end of July, first of August and it just wasn’t getting better. So a couple of weeks ago I decided to take a break from lifting weights until my shoulder improved. I’m happy to say I’m now seeing quite a bit of improvement. This week I hope to start lifting light weights to see how things feel.
Since my last post you know I have switched from using a Fitbit fitness tracker to an Apple Watch. Let’s just say I’m getting used to it. There are things I really like for sure but the Apple Health and Activity apps just don’t compare to the Fitbit app. Even with a third party sleep tracker installed on my Watch, the Fitbit sleep tracking is far more informational. While the Nike Run Club app doesn’t show you your final split time unless the split ends at a mile marker, the Apple Workout app does!
Looking at this screenshot, this isn’t one of my best performances–in fact probably my worse in quite a while. It was pretty chilly that day and I didn’t take the time to warmup before I started. I like having all the split times, and cadence which is something you don’t get with the Fitbit app. I was surprised by my cadence because I thought it was a little faster than that. I’ll have to work on picking that up a bit. Swiping the screen also give you your heart rate recovery information. As a CABG patient that’s important to know. A little more detail on the route map would be nice but it’s not the end of the world for me anyway. I just learned but haven’t tested it out yet is you can double tap the Watch screen to get manual split times when I use the Workout app. The manual calls them segments. I’ll have to try that soon and let you know how that goes.
You may recall I’ve signed up for a half marathon in February. The Augusta University Half is on February 23rd and my original thoughts were I would run this and see how it goes before I commit to anything else. If you are a regular reader you know I was supposed to run in the Indy Mini Marathon the past May but I had to cancel due to 80-100 percent blockage in three arteries to my heart. It was very disappointing for sure and that’s when the reality of the situation started kicking in too. Guess what?
Here I Come Indy!
I went ahead and signed up for 2019! It seems to me if I don’t do this, I’ll regret it later. So here I come Indy! See you on May 4th. When I signed up the other day I learned if I had sent them information from my Doctor last year I could have gotten a deferment for the 2019 race. Oh well–win some, lose some. I’ll remember that but I hope there isn’t a next time.
That about wraps things up. I’ll try to do better about posting next week.