This week was a big fat zero. It’s not my fault really, it’s my body and what the doctors told me to do. And what I’ll continue to do until at least Wednesday.
It started last Saturday, as I was driving home from the Tour de Ashland Half. I was overly tired and I started having a burning feeling in my chest. My guess was that I at my bagel too quickly, and it was probably heart burn. It was a 40 minute drive home and the longer I was in the car, the worse the I felt. I figured once I got home and showered I would feel better. Was I ever wrong. By the time I got home, I was having chest pains, my heart rate was faster than normal and I felt it was working harder than usual. I was starting to panic, thinking something worse was happening to my heart.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with Arrhythmia, which means I have irregular heart beats and sometimes my heart skips a beat. I was also told that I have a small hole in my aortic valve, but neither were life threatening and they wouldn’t prevent me from running. I went on throughout high school and college and never had any problems. I would feel my heart skip a beat once in a while, and that was all that ever really happened.
Last summer I had some intense pain in my chest over so I went back to the cardiologist to have things checked out. After more tests and a 48 hour heart monitor I was cleared, my heart could still handle the long distances I was putting it through. Up until last week, I hadn’t had any problems. So of course with chest pains the first thing I could think of was that my heart wasn’t happy with the mileage I was putting myself through.
After a few long days of being pushed around to three separate hospitals, I was finally able to get a doctor to look at my heart. It was during this time, when I was hooked up to a heart monitor for over an hour, that I realized just how scary things could have been. Luckily my heart was healthy. Somehow during the race I had hurt my rib cage and now it was inflamed. It made sense why I had the chest pain, and why I didn’t notice anything until I was able to warm myself up post race.
So here I am, off all exercise for over a week, until I’ve been cleared by a doctor and I’m slightly ok with it. I took this as my body telling me it’s had enough for this year, that I need to take time off. I’ve been training since last December and never gave myself more than a week off in between training cycles. After January’s race things will change. I’ll give myself time off, and I plan on changing a few things around for 2013.
What does this mean for January’s race? I’m still going regardless. If I can’t run, then I can’t run, but I will still enjoy a weekend with some awesome runners. And sub 2:00? If it doesn’t happen, that’s fine. There will be other races. I’ve never let any of these issues interfere with my running, and I won’t let them start now. But, I’d rather run with a healthy heart, than a broken one.