I started at 5:15 am and it was totally dark. It was chilly too … about 54°F. I laced the shoes and booted up the Nike running app and started running.
I haven’t run in about 7 weeks. Shortly after the July 4th holiday, I started experiencing severe chest pains. I ignored the pains for a week or so before I finally told my wife what was going on. Minutes later, I found myself in the ER with all sort of doctors and nurses and machines trying to figure out if I had a heart attack. The doctor was concerned about my “abnormal” EKG … but decided that I did not have a heart attack and to refer me to a cardiologist.
A month later, after an echocardiogram and a nuclear stress test, and many blood tests, the cardiologist said that I have no blockage and my heart is (thankfully) strong and fine. She concluded that the abnormal EKG must be a result of enlarged heart muscle due to my running activity over the years. Although she had no explanation for the chest pain she said there was no reason I shouldn’t be running again.
Thankfully, the chest pain wasn’t a heart attack. But, they did ‘discovered’ that my blood pressure is too high. On average, it’s about 150/110. I’ve been on medication for years and it has controlled the blood pressure. But, for some reason, as of late, it’s been climbing. So, they doubled the dose of the medication to help control it.
Last week, my family doctor encouraged me to get back on the road. She reminded me that exercise is effective at reducing blood pressure. And, she said, since I’ve put on some weight the running should help me lose a few pounds (if I control my eating and stay away from soda and processed foods).
So, this morning … I mustered up the courage to get outside and run. It was a slow run, about 10:25 per mile on average … but at least I ran. And, no chest pain.
Two months ago I would have thought a 5K run wasn’t worth the effort and would run a 10K or longer. A month ago I believed that my running days were over. Today, I’m grateful and humbled for the 3.1 miles.