Showing posts with label heart attack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label heart attack. Show all posts

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When hearts attack

Today's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

It was 8° outside when I was ready to run this morning. Between the extreme cold and roads that were coated with icy-snow, I had no choice but to use the treadmill. I have accepted that I'm no longer hardcore and I'm okay with that. My workout today was nothing special: A moderate start and a hard finish. But by the end, I was glad to have run for the first time since Tuesday.

After I finished my workout, I looked at my email and saw a note from my friend M. I was shocked to read that he'd suffered a heart attack the weekend before New Year's. M is a runner and triathlete and the day before this attack he'd played two hours of full court basketball. I immediately thought of Dave, an occasional running partner, also fit, who had a heart attack during a race a couple of years ago.

Interestingly, I had introduced Dave to M at the Dirty Sock 10K that we all ran last August and we talked about Dave's experience. Dave had recovered so well by then that he beat my time by almost seven minutes. M has quickly bounced back from his heart attack. Unbelievably, he is running again. In fact he's planning to compete in this weekend's Winter Run Series at Caumsett State Park.

It's scary to think that dedicated runners like Dave and M would be candidates for a heart attack, but it's also reassuring to see how quickly they were both able to recover. We tell ourselves that an active lifestyle will keep us healthy and I have no doubt that's true. But other factors can tip the scales and these things sometimes happen. Even so, I firmly believe the reason why M and Dave came through their experiences so strongly is because of the conditioning they got from running.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My running buddy's race day nightmare

Today's run (street): 5.25 miles

Two years ago I was near the end of my recovery from a serious bout of pneumonia. It was so severe that I was forced to spend a week in the hospital. This was an awful experience, but it could have been far worse. I'm still thankful to my friends, family and work colleagues who supported me through that long ordeal. As sick as I was, I never felt it was a life and death situation. Now let me tell you about my friend Dave.

Through this blog, I have connected with a number of great people, some of whom I've been fortunate enough to meet for a run or two. Dave and I both live on Long Island and we've got together to run a number of times. Dave is a strong runner, with an enviable ability to increase his speed as he went along on longer runs. In races, Dave would usually cross the finish line a couple of minutes before I did. But on long runs at Bethpage, our conversation helped us settle into a mutually agreeable pace.

The last time I saw Dave was at the Dirty Sock 10K last August. We both did well on that challenging course through the woods. Afterward, we talked about doing a Cow Harbor practice run in a few weeks, but we didn't get around to doing that. In fact I hadn't heard from Dave until I got a note from him this weekend. He wrote to tell me that he'd suffered a heart attack during a ten mile race last weekend.

I was completely shocked by this news. This is a guy who runs and bikes and lives a very active life. But on this race day morning, Dave discovered that he had an undetected blockage that brought him down at mile six. In those situations, the severity of the problem may not be obvious. There's only a small window of time to recognize the difference between electrolyte depletion and a life-threatening event. Thankfully Dave had the presence of mind to flag down a race volunteer and request an EMT.

Even after the EMT's arrived, Dave's troubles continued. He endured quite a bit as they worked on him in the ambulance before arriving at the closest hospital, where the ER doctors struggled to stabilize his condition. They smartly sent him to a another hospital that was better equipped to handle the situation. It was there that they discovered the blockages and got his vitals back to normal. Amazingly, he was released after a couple of days.

I'm thrilled that Dave came through this so well and he's taking steps to correct his issues. He's a strong, fit guy and I know he'll get through this fine. I can only imagine how fast he's going to be when his heart is back to full working order. Even if that's the case, I'm sure Dave will graciously run at my pace when we return to Bethpage for another long run.

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