My Heart-Related Health Scare #Running

finishline

I love this picture. It’s grainy because I’ve zoomed in and I had to pay $14.95 to own the rights to it but it’s all me and mine. This is me crossing the finish line at 10 miles at the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia on May 5th.

It’s hard to tell but I look happy, right?  Accomplished and proud?  I was.  And what I didn’t tell in my recap was that I was also feeling like total dog poo at this point.  I had started having some chest pain around mile 7 and while it wasn’t anything awful, it was enough to scare me.  You don’t mess around with chest pain, right?

Without giving you all the details, I found out the following week that I have a heart arrhythmia.  It’s basically an irregular heartbeat.  I found out because I was so messed up for the days following the race and could tell it was heart related.  I had a day of tears after my regular doctor found the irregularity.  (I mean it’s not every day you hear something’s abnormal with your heart and taking that kind of news in stride isn’t so easy)

I literally bawled my eyes in the parking lot out the one day after seeing my general practioner and having the results of the EKG in my hands when I called to tell my husband.  Rough times.

I ended up seeing a cardiologist two days later who told me to relax a bit.  “You are the only 38 year old who just ran 10 miles who I will see all day,” he said.  Many people have arrhythmias and part of the irregularity had to do with being conditioned and working out.  I didn’t quite understand it and part of it is an irregularity which will have to be monitored but it’s NOT heart attack causing and he even went so far as to say to me, “Be careful but leave here and go for a run! I give you permission!”

It was definitely a scare though and while I feel better about it, I’m not going to take the news lightly.

I’ll never run a marathon and may not even do a half now but it was an eye opener to realize my body can’t do everything I may want to do.  I consider myself somewhat fit and I workout often but there are limits for everyone and it’s important to listen to your body.  At least that was my takeaway from all of this.

Oh and I ran for the very first time yesterday.  I’ve been to the gym to a class and been fine but running was rough.  I think I had some anxiety in my head about it all.  That and just big race burnout.  I went 2 miles and was hating it the whole time.  I won’t let this be the end of my running career but it’s definitely going to be slow re-entry.

Comments

  1. mom-mom says

    You hit the nail on the head when you said: “LISTEN to your body”. . this is generations of moms and grandmoms, etc advice. Now, do understand that in most cases, that common sense thinking will serve you well but but don’t ever ignore signs-signs that may be shouting to you or little birdy whispering in your ear signs. . to seek medical advice. Point is: do check with your dr if you are ever ‘not sure’ but in most cases, the listening to your body will certainly suffice. BTW, terrific photo of you running and you look very calm and content. .not dog pooey at all!

  2. Brenda says

    I totally agree with mom-mom. Your ‘condition” is so common and not threatening. But like anything else, MODERATION!!! and yes to quote mom-mom…LISTEN TO YOUR BODY!!!. Don’t know how many doctors have said that to me but it is true!!! Congrats on your run. You achieved a goal so you don’t have to prove anything. Stick with the gym. I see so many past runners at the gym who have had knee replacements. Not worth it. Did you know that the benefits from running are optimal at 1.5 miles? After that, you get no positive benefits!!!

  3. says

    Wow, thanks for sharing. This must have been so scary, but at least you listened to your body and know what was going on so you can take preventative action and still do (most of) the things you want to do…and congrats on finishing the Broad Street Run!

  4. says

    2 or 3 of my kids have heart murmurs. I don’t remember which ones because it’s just something my then conservative pediatrician picked up. None of them have ever had issues. In fact, the current pediatrician hasn’t said anything about the heart murmurs.

    With all the talk about women and heart attacks and the signs being different than men, yes, I would be freaked out, too. We’re moms. We want to be there to see our kids through all their big and little events. You did the right thing by getting it checked out.

    Maybe it’s time to do some cross training and try a new sport with your kids. I do need to say the 1.5 mile run as the optimal point of benefit does not have any credit if one looks at traditional societies. Our bodies are designed to run and move and be active. I’m reading a book right now, The Cool Impossible, which references an Indian tribe in Mexico known as fantastic runners. They play a game with a ball that can go on for miles.

    My point is you know your body and you’ll find something that you’re comfortable doing. Your kids will be just as excited to see you running a 5K as a 10 miler.

    • says

      Thanks so much for the comment Barb. I am definitely changing it up a bit. I’ve been mostly at the gym back to my regular classes and after the intense training for BSR, it feels nice to get back to some of my old routine!

      I have to ask the doc if a heart murmur is the same as the arrhythmia. I wonder if it is. There’s something so much less scary sounding than the word “murmur,” maybe b/c you hear it so often? Or it sounds so harmless?

      Totally want to check out that book now too!

  5. says

    I too have a heart arrhythmia, and though I do not do marathons (by choice) I do work out and have never had any issues. I think it is a matter of making sure you don’t over do your self and of course like everyone else says, listen to your body. No worries :-)

    • says

      Steph – do you/have you done halfs? Do you run normally? I do want to continue running. At most I may do Broad Street again… we’ll see. But I do love running normally and find I love going out for 3-6 miles so I want to be okay with this and continue to run.

  6. says

    Oh Whitney! I am so glad you listened to your body though! I am sure it was so scary/is still scary but seeing a doctor, being aware and in control is so important. Thank you for sharing!

  7. says

    I have been on heart meds since I was 29, You learn to listen to your body and alter what triggers your symptoms. I like what your doc said! Smart and true – I was always my Cardiologist’s youngest patient of the day and still often am – I have an irregular beat – it goes way to fast ( and I’ll just pass out) and it and I have an intolerance for adrenaline. I used to be a gym rat – pumping weights with the “boys” 6 days a week….3 hours a day and loved it, but then I had to listen to my body and you know what?? 2 beautiful kids later and a great marriage and life….I’ll take it. Especially when I could have been dealt a much worse hand. I am sure you will find your stride soon, best of luck!

  8. says

    Thank you so much for sharing your story, and the very important lesson that we all need to hear – we need to listen to our bodies. Not to what we want to do, feel pushed to do or others tell us to do. We know ourselves best and hold lots of wisdom. It is not a small thing that you found the trust in yourself to listen and do what felt right for you. Wishing you many decades of health and happiness!

  9. says

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is so important we listen to our bodies. As women, I feel often times we just think…oh it’s nothing, I’ll be fine and go along with out busy days. Goodluck and I hope you get back in to running again, and enjoy it!!

  10. says

    Listen to your body – you know best. And always trust your gut. That said – it’s so important for you not to let this cause you extra stress and anxiety as we all know what that does to the heart!!! But the important thing is you are on top of it and you do trust your body. You knew something was wrong – sometimes we know our bodies better than any doctor and that is such an important lesson for all of us. Easy to brush aside our weird ailments (especially as I’m a hypochrondriac!!!!) but I know that there are times when you just KNOW something is off and it’s so important to not let it slide – which is easy to do with our busy mom schedules. Get healthy! And let’s run together soon! xoxo

  11. says

    That must have been such a scary moment. Any type of ‘heart thing’ makes me nervous, so I can imagine the anxiety. Thank goodness you were able to get it diagnosed so quickly and can be careful as you move forward.

  12. Heather M says

    Good job listening to your body. I know that was so scary but it is also so good that you went in and got it checked out right away.

  13. says

    So scary – it’s so important to listen to your own body and not ignore things happening with it. Stay focused on being healthy and take it easy – you deserve it.

  14. mom-mom says

    It is apparent that most of us believe that the ‘Listen to your body’ rule makes good sense(me too). . but irony is husband just out of surgery for hip replacement(he did one marathon , and lots of triathlons for years and years. NOW he is paying the price with his second new hip. . and surgeon said to me: this is one of FEW times to NOT listen to your body . After surgery, he will feel good as new in just 2-3 weeks BUT actual healing is not complete for months(especially for final muscle heals). that is one exception to the listen to body rule. A side bar point though :one if the nurses said she just got into running. LOVES it BUT she sees ,in her job on the orthopedic floor,SO MANY knee, hip issues that result down the road from early on excessive exercise that she has concluded she will ONLY do ‘moderate’ runs. . even though her heart is telling her: “I am young and can and want to do more right now”.. . so moderation is the key also seems to be the good rule to follow as well. .

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