Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Adapting: The mind is willing but the body...

When did I get so old?  I spend a lot of time remembering lately.  I do this alot.  Every time I sign on Facebook I see and remember simpler times and places. 

Grade school friendships that started in my childhood.  Gene and Kurt are two friends I have reconnected with on the FB...It seems like yesterday when I was hanging out at Kurt's house, during the 22 hour alaskan summer days or skipping church with Gene to talk baseball and hit rocks with stick in back of the church.

My high school friends are too numerous to mention by name here, but I remember each one and  have great memories about all of them. Hilarious times in class, wrestling and running.

Sometimes I think I never grew up in my mind...34 years later I still want to do the things I did in high school...Like running.  As you all know last week I ran what can only be described as the slowest 5K in the history of mankind. Sore, yet somehow proud  I was determined to run again...first two times a week then 3, then well who knows...

I began my second run sore but (literally) determined to make steady progress and not stop.  The Goal was two miles and on the recommendation of my Doctor, keep my heart rate to no more than 140.  The location was Bear Lake, Utah.  At the one mile mark, I was forced to walk due to my heart rate but proceeded with a variation of the Swedish training regime called "fartlek" that I can only describe as "walk slow, jog even slower"...

Being last is a new experience for me...Uncharted territory.  Running, which was always so easy, is much more difficult than I had ever imagined.  I have a new found appreciation for all those who struggled to finish races and the courage and determination they all had.

Two miles in 24 minutes, a new baseline..it certainly felt faster in my mind, but, still was somehow satisfying. Adapting is difficult, but, we all have to do it at some point in our lives...and I am more appreciative of the gifts I 've been given.

I accept that my body will never return to the fitness of my youth...age and CHF have taken care of that...yet, my mind still thinks I'm 18....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Small victories; my return to running

I ran today.  Another victory on my road to recovery.  It was hot.  It was Ugly.  It was frustratingly slow. It was satisfying.

Running, one of the joys in my life for almost 40 years appeared to be over after I staggered and gasped my way to the car after my latest heart surgery 2.5 years ago.  I was unable to get in the car without the assistance of my wife Karen.  Broken and humbled, I felt there was very little left for me as far as quality of life.  I watched my fathers health deteriorate from heart desease and felt I would soon be joining him.

I began Cardiac rehab after a few weeks  and could barely walk 50 feet without my heart racing and my lungs gasping for air. Slowly I progressed.  As my health slowly returned I returned to some activities, water/ snow skiing and golf.  All with limitations, but enjoyable.  Yet every time I attempted to jog a few steps, I was reminded of the damage that my heart had sustained....lungs burning, heart racing and fear gripping my soul I stopped......it was paralyzing.

Today I did it....it was probably the worlds slowest 5K (Maybe I should say 2.5K...I only ran the middle half and walked the front and back ends), but, it was just as satisfying as running that 8:34 two mile in Germany at age 30.

Maybe more.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day Dad!

Happy Fathers Day Dad!

Even though its been 38 years since you passed, I still remember everything you taught me.  Your influence has made me the man I am.  I have tried to follow your example and be a good father, husband and provider.  At times I have fallen short, but, I have no regrets.  I have done my best, which is all you ever asked of me.

I remember the great vacations we had growing up.  Even when there was very little money you always found enough for us to do something fun that helped us stay close as a family.  Yellowstone, the Black Hills, you even found a way to buy a boat so we could enjoy Flaming Gorge.

Alaska was a very happy place and time for us as a family.  I shall never forget weekend drives or the 3,000 miles trips to Utah every summer.  I shall never forget fishing on the little Susitna with you.

I shall never forget your heart problems or the strength you showed up to the very end.  Little did I realize how much your strength  and stoicism would help me through my own problems with heart disease.  You taught me to strong to the very end and I haven't forgotten.

I love you dad.. and honor your memory on this Fathers day 2011

Your son,