Thursday, June 29, 2017

Running with Heart

So, you may remember that I have had concerns about heart palpitations during certain races or runs. If you don't remember, you can read about some of them here and here.

You may also remember that this is the second anniversary of my father's death after a heart transplant.

If you put the two together, you might conclude that I should be seeing a doctor to determine if I have heart problems of the same magnitude as my father. This is definitely what my mom thought (Hi, Mom! Love you!), and so I made a series of appointments for tests and consultations with various specialists. Every test turned out normal. During my echocardiogram, the technician kept saying, "Boy, I wish every patient had pictures like yours!" I take a strange pride in the fact that I have pretty pictures of my heart.

This is EXACTLY how my heart looks in the echocardiogram pictures.  Except it isn't a tree.
The fact that all my tests were normal and I hadn't had any episodes since last Thanksgiving led me to believe that the palpitations (tachycardia) were probably stress-induced. My cardiologist (a young kid, by the way), however, wants to monitor my heart activity for a month to see if he can catch an episode. I have to wear the monitor at all times and do everything I can to provoke the tachycardia so that he can get a recording of it.

Me: Wait, so I can run, do speed work, race, all that stuff?

Doctor: Yes, exactly. I want you to provoke an attack so I can study it.

Me: Won't this be harmful? Couldn't I, like, die?

Doctor looks at me for a full minute, then says: Do you honestly think I would tell you to provoke an attack if I thought it was harmful to you?

Me: I don't know. Maybe you don't like me.

Anyway, now I'm sure he doesn't like me because wearing this event monitor SUCKS BIG TIME.  It's huge, so it looks like I'm carrying around a beeper from the 80s.  It has suction cups, which I have to move to a different place each day, so it looks like I have hickeys on my chest.  I have wires protruding from all parts of my body. I have to sleep with it, so I roll on it and it pokes me or vibrates to let me know that I'm killing it.

This morning I went for a long run (12 miles), and I wore the monitor.  This is how it looks:

One electrode here

The second one here just under my bra
They connect to this big, freaking box.





























I can't see any data from it.  There are only buttons to push and one light that blinks when I have to upload the data.  How do I do that? I have to call a number, hold the box up to the phone, and let it play a whiny fax-machine-sounding thing for at least five minutes. I'm not exaggerating.

The good news is that I feel much better knowing that this isn't really harmful; the word the cardiologist used was "nuisance," which I know pretty well. I can live with this nuisance, but I'll wear the damned monitor while I have to (love ya, Mom!).

I'll leave you with something positive--my view at the Beaver Marsh on the Towpath this morning:

Those green plants are lily pads!
And this is how I felt when I finished my 12 miles:

I'm hot, I'm sweaty, and I'm fabulous!

Also, my fellow-Cleveland Marathon Ambassador Andrew (@Andrewrunsalot) found a picture of me on the Akron Marathon page!

I'm in the bright yellow. Look at that ass!
However you run this week, I hope you run with your heart--see what I did there? Until then, run happy, Peeps!

Like what you read? Follow me on Twitter @itibrout!