Saturday, May 25, 2013

I Got it From My Papa

The last five months have flown by in a blink of an eye.  I started a new job, which I love, and enjoy everyone I work with.  I had one of my toughest classes of my masters program (and subsequently got my first B.  Cataloging you are a 4.0 RUINER!)  And I just wrapped up 3 weeks of 3 classes/week for 5 hours/night.  So essentially on days that I had class, I was up at 5am to finish up homework, work til 5, class from 5:30-10:30pm, and repeat.  It... was tough, but so very worth it.

medadbuck Also this semester my dad had a heart attack.  It was terrifying.  I was all gearing up for spring break, and a chance to breathe and get caught up on school work, and have time to run and relax, when I got a call from my mom.  He's fine, and got set up with a brand new ticker (pacemaker), but it was an extremely scary week, that's for sure.  Another thing I learned is that our family doesn't have the greatest hearts.  My dad's mom had an arhythmic heart beat, that eventually she needed to go on medicine to regulate.  My dad has the same thing, but was so severe that medicine wouldn't fix it, as the top half and bottom half of his heart no longer beat in tandem with each other.

And after listening to my dad explain what his heart has done for years and years, guess who else is a lucky one?  Me.  There have been times when my heart was beating so sporadically that I freaked out and went to the doctor, only to arrive, be hooked up to an EKG and have it be normal.  And there was a half marathon in 2008 that I was grossly unprepared for, in which my heart freaked out for over half of the race.

It only acts up when I'm stressed and when the heart itself is stressed--not running, except that one incident (from what I can tell).  I've never had any other instances where it has been weird while running, but I am being faithful to my HRM going forward just to be sure.  My dad, of course, freaked out, and said that I should quit running, and something to the effect of "well, the doctor said our hearts only have so many beats in them, and mine are all used up at 64, think of how much extra yours is beating from running!"  <--That may be an exaggeration, but that's what I took it as.  :)  I talked to a friend who is a nurse at the heart hospital, and told him my dad's fears.  He said running is one of the best things I can do to keep my heart strong, and that I should focus on eating healthy now so when the time comes, I will be a-ok with just medicine to control things as well.  Welp, ok.
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When I was home for Mother's Day, my dad was telling me a story from when he was in the forest service in Montana, before I was born.  They would have to run a certain distance 1/4 mile to 1 mile, I can't quite remember.  And they would have to do it while keeping their HR under a certain number.  He would fail every time unless he went and ran a mile or two before hand.  This makes total sense, as every time I do a race or hard workout, I do my best when I have a decent warm up, and then run a half mile hard-ish before actually attempting goal pace.  If I just go straight in to it, my HR goes skyhigh, and takes a couple of miles to come down.
This is probably a lot of babble, but I found this all pretty interesting.  Might as well learn something from a terrible thing, eh?

1 comment:

masher52 said...

Totally feel your pain with heart issues (literally). I have a few different issues that I've dealt with since high school and it's not fun. I've had times when running and my heart will completely flip out, and then go back to normal a few minutes later. Unfortunately mine acts out at normal times and during workouts. Our hearts are probably breaking because we're not in Green Bay ;)