Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Running Tomorrow!

I saw the doctor today and I am cleared to run and do Pilates! Whoo-hoo! He said to listen to my body as to how far and how fast, and to expect to be tired for about another month. He also told me that when he took the gall bladder out, it was inflamed and had crystals growing into the walls - which is what was causing me to feel so sick. It's nice to have it confirmed that there was a definite problem.

Now the question becomes how to ease back into running. I don't think two weeks off will have too much of an impact, but I do think the surgery will. My plan is to go two or three miles tomorrow and Thursday morning, then depending on how that goes, maybe run again Thursday night - just a slow couple of miles at the track - or if I don't think I'm up for it, I'll walk at the track. This weekend is all messed up with volunteering at the Y Run for Kids on Saturday morning, and the Mt. Si 50K for Eric (and the relay I would have been in) on Sunday. If I'm feeling good about running, then I'll try to get three milers in each afternoon. I'd like to get right back to my normal 20 to 25 miles a week, but I think I'll need a couple of weeks to get there. Once I'm there, then I need to bump up to three two-a-days a week in order to prepare for the next two relays I'm signed up for. The first one is coming right up in early June.

Once I'm feeling good and have got the relay training going, I intend to push against the limits given to me by the cardiologist. Gently. Eight miles or about an hour and 20 minutes have always been the point where I start to develop chest pains and breathing problems. I am going to try working up to that again and see what happens. I know this sounds scary, but I've done this before - I've gotten very adept at recognizing the first twinges of symptoms and will stop as soon as I feel them. My hope is that I will be able to increase my overall running time, my run/walk breaks and even speed up a little.

I think it is possible that some of the ill effects I have had in the last three years were from this gall bladder problem and not necessarily my heart defect. Especially considering that it is a congenital defect and that I ran for nine years without a problem. The cardiologist has never been able to pin down a cause, and doesn't believe the defective valve should cause the problems I have. The pulmonologists think that it could. I consider the limits they gave me to be guidelines, and since they allowed me to run comfortably I have always abided by them. Now I wonder if they were distracted by the fact that I have a known defect and didn't consider the gall bladder - I've read that gall bladder problems are often mistaken for a heart attack. One of the things I have on a regular basis is PACs and PVCs - basically strong extra beats (it actually feels like a skipped beat). Those have not gone away - I've been having them off and on over the last two weeks. Last year the cardiologist said he could prescribe a medication to control them, but the side effects were often worse than the skippity-do-dah beat. Anyway, there has not been a change with those, so I'm not sure what to expect.

Trust me, I will be very careful with this. I'll wait till I feel like I'm back to normal before I start, and I won't try it if I have any inkling that there is still a problem. However, I will drive myself nuts if I'm feeling good and I don't give it a try. The truth is that I end up trying this about once a year - I guess I'm like a kid that needs to test my limits. If I hit the same old wall, at least I'll know I gave it a shot, and I promise at that point, I'll go back to all the old rules.

In the meantime though, I'm running tomorrow and I can't wait!


robtherunner said...

Glad to hear that you were cleared to run. I hope everything goes well in getting back into shape for the relays.

angie's pink fuzzy said...


I know you know this, but take it easy...glad to hear that you listen to your body. I'm interested in finding out if alot of your problems over the last few years were indeed tied to your gallbladder!

Donald said...

Hope it all goes well...we'll tune in tomorrow for the report.

Anonymous said...

We all test the limits once in a while. Hope easing back into running goes smoothly for you.

Flo said...

Yeah!!! That was quick. Sounds like you have a good plan, just stick to it. I know how you athletes can be ;)