|Ironheart Classic Run |
About a week later after returning to training I began to feel short of breathe and dizzy, which I ignored due to my competitive drive. I should have listened to the warning signs, however fortunately for me about a week later I started coughing uncontrollably and began to get dizzy again at Team Blaze practice tri. I was frustrated and when I returned home I realize I was coughing up blood and my wife said, "we're going to the ER!' After arriving at the ER, again fortunately the ER Dr. noticed irregular EKG and I was admitted to the Sacred Heart Hospital. I spent the next 3 days in the hospital as they tried to figure out what was wrong with me.
Fast forward to Nov. 15th after months of frustration and fatigue, I was scheduled for mitral valve repair heart surgery, which ended up resulting in mitral valve replacement surgery. I spent the next 10 weeks unable to do anything except recover and reflect on life. I learned to have a greater appreciation for the gifts given to me. It was during this process that I realized to be truly happy and fulfilled in my life I needed to share my gifts and inspire other to live an inspired life!
My recovery has been a long slow process and taught be to be patient. I began my road back to "Chasing the New PR" at the end of February. At this time I couldn't lift my right arm above my shoulder, so my comfort and stress reducer which had always been swimming was even challenging. I began with 15 min. elliptical workouts, 20 min rides, floating/kicking/single arm swimming in the pool and before I knew it my fitness started to improve! I then took a trip to Hawaii in April with family and friends training for Ironman CDA, on this trip I realized I had a long way to go and during the week I actually got stronger!
Upon returning to Spokane, I started thinking about the possibility of racing again. I was told last July to forget about triathlons and running races as it would be selfish of me to continue due to the risk. Fortunately, I had been given the misdiagnosis of HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy).
I decided through this process to get involved with organizations like Ironheart Racing Team http://www.ironheartracing.com/ and Nick of Time Foundation http://nickoftimefoundation.org/ to raise awareness about heart health and screening in young people to prevent sudden cardiac arrest.
On May 21st, decided to participate in my first race since heart surgery to support these awesome organization and test my fitness. I decided to run the 4 miler, although after recently deciding to sign up for IM CDA knew I needed to run longer than 4 miles. So, began the day with a longer than normal warm up of 4 miles, which basically involved running the course. I thought I could comfortable run 7 min. pace and actually didn't even wear my Garmin, so I would have no idea of my pace. I decided to run by feel considering I was in fact "Chasing the New PR!" I was pleasantly surprised to be running with the faster group, so I figured I must be doing OK! After I reached the 2 mile turn around I realized they were all running the 8 miler, so I was in 1st place. When started heading back all the other runners were cheering me on including my wife (Tristin running) and son (Reece riding his bike). As ran back I too encouraged other runners in return although when I reached mile 3 mile I was getting tired and mustered only a wave. It had been almost 1 year since I'd felt that deep in your gut burning feeling of knowing your pushing it! I was trying to focus on turnover and breathing while not getting caught. As I approached about 1/2 mile to go I looked back and saw another guy trying to run me down, so my competitive juices kicked and I decided if I put a surge on thinking I could maybe trick him into thinking I wasn't tired. (Oh the mental games we play when we're tired!) When I could see the finish I looked back and realized I was going to run a solid first race back at 6:20 pace and win the first running race of my life! As I told a fellow Team Blaze member recently, when you win or PR you cherish it as we can't control who shows up instead we can only control our own training and effort.
It really felt great to be chasing the new PR! Now I need to keep the fire burning as I only have 5 weeks to IM CDA and I'm excited to truly enjoy the journey!
Thank you to my family and co-workers at Alere that came out today to support this awesome event. Great job David Watkins for putting on a great first event with the Ironheart Classic http://ironheartracing.com/ironheart-classic/. Our family enjoyed our trip!
Thanks for reading! Remember to enjoy the journey and live an inspired life!