Posted by: rundadrun | April 4, 2019

New lease on life

I have not had a lot of times in my life when I have been able to say that someone’s words truly scared me. That is not meant to sound tough, cause I have been scared plenty of times. But to have my cardiologist call me and tell me not to do anything that would cause more chest pain until I get in for my angiogram appointment…that scared me. I guess it made it clear that this was not a test, I had a major blockage and needed to get it fixed. In a way, that scared to death feeling was followed by a real sense of peace. After all, I had spent years afraid of having a sudden cardiac event because of family history and my own high cholesterol and Type 2 Diabetes. I did everything I could to keep these problems under control, but I still had a sense of fear that I was just going to die on a run one day.

So, I was not surprised by the diagnosis, but it scared me still. But I am here to say that my angioplasty and stent placement was a terrific success and that I felt better immediately! I felt instant relief on the table after the two stents were placed in my right coronary artery. And it was all done through my wrist! My cardiologist, Dr. Ronald Lynch, and all the staff at University of Cincinnati Medical Center in West Chester, Ohio were amazing. I even enjoyed my mandatory night in ICU(the subject of a soon to come post). As a sneak preview, imagine being the only ambulatory person on an critical care ward and feeling so good you just want to jog in the halls!

But for those who read this and are afraid of going to the doctor with your chest pains or have a fear of undergoing an angiogram I say this: Please don’t put it off! It is a life changing/saving procedure. And I can honestly say that the IV in the back of one of my hand was the worst pain of the entire thing.

And to add to the amazing experience, I had my follow up 6 days after the procedure and was given the all clear to return to running. I have since logged 12 pain free miles of running! Just 6 days after not being able to walk to my mailbox without debilitating chest pains. I truly feel blessed! In fact, I registered for the Flying Pig 5K that is just 6 weeks after the angioplasty!

More to come as I continue to regain my fitness and preach the gospel of heart health to all who will listen!

God bless and happy running,

Rundad

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Posted by: rundadrun | March 25, 2019

Don’t be dead wrong about chest pain!

Posted by: rundadrun | March 25, 2019

Don’t be dead wrong about chest pain!

For the last 3 months I have been having increasing chest pain. It started in January as I was trying to get my running started up again. At first, I would get a cramping pain in my throat after about 5 minutes of running. It would go away when I slowed to a walk, but then pick up again when I sped up. I should have had it checked out, but I wrote it off as being esophagus damaged from my increasing acid reflux. I quit running and started walking instead…it got worse over the next few weeks. On February 16th, I went for a 4 mile walk and was in enough distress to talk to my wife and decide to go to the emergency room. After 5 hours and multiple tests, I was given the all clear to go home. No heart attack, no abnormal EKG and no real answers. Over the next month, I had multiple tests done. It started with an exercise stress test (I could only go 5 minutes before pain stopped me). Next I was set up for a nuclear stress test. In place of walking on an ever rising treadmill, they injected me with meds that took my heart to the right beats per minute. I was able to complete this test with very little pain and went home feeling like we had eliminated my heart as the culprit. However, a few hours later I received a rather urgent message from my doctor that I needed to get to a cardiologist immediately as I had a significant blockage. The next few days were a whirlwind of doctors and warnings and fear. Finally, on Friday, March 22nd, I underwent an angioplasty procedure and had 2 stents put in my right coronary artery, which was 99% blocked. The relief was immediate! I am happy to say that I am already walking with no pain and planning to start running again as soon as my cardiologist clears me.

But this brings up a very important point: Do not ignore chest pain! I know better. In fact, I have urged others to get to the hospital immediately when they had symptoms just like mine. So why did I ignore them myself? Other than stupidity, my only answer is that I just didn’t believe I had heart disease. I was sure it was something else.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to be very open about my experiences and also provide some great resources about heart disease. This is too serious to ignore friends. About 630,000 people die every year in the US from heart disease each year…that is 1 in 4 deaths in the US!

Let’s all see if we can make a difference with some education.

Happy running,

Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | July 11, 2018

It takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’

Recently a very sad event took place in our home. My faithful old running watch finally gave up the digital ghost. I know that to most people, this would not be worthy of mentioning, much less writing about, but this was no ordinary watch. This is the watch that had timed ALL of my children’s races and workouts for the last 8 years. It would not be an exaggeration to say that it had timed thousands of laps during workouts and races on the track as well as over a hundred cross country races.

This watch had been my faithful coaching companion for many years. I have replaced the battery more times than I can count. The band and face are covered with scars and worn out in places. It was on my wrist timing laps in JV meets in the rain, track workouts in the snow and everything in between. It timed both of my children’s races at the State Cross Country meet and State Track meets. This watch is a legend in our home. It also recorded every painfully slow mile of my last marathon 9 years ago.

But when it comes down to the details, it was just a watch. Specifically, it was a Timex Ironman 100 lap digital running watch that was waterproof to 100 meters. In the end, that was what killed it. It lost its seal and water got into it and ruined it.

So, why go on and on about a watch? Because it isn’t about the watch. It is about what that watch recorded. It recorded time with my kids and with the other kids I coached. It kept a split second record of memories that weren’t erased every time I hit the “reset” button. That watch was there for it all. And I will be honest, when I saw that it was ruined, it hurt a little. But I quickly realized that it wasn’t the watch that was important. It was the TIME. Those times were so important in building relationships with my children and the kids I was blessed to coach. That doesn’t end when I buy a new watch.

Our lives are full of opportunities to make memories out of “times” – those precious seconds and minutes with family and friends. Those minutes when we are so tired, but make time to read to our children, those all too brief moments with an aging parent or friend that we will never regret. No matter how they are recorded, spend the time! The only time we regret is the time we didn’t have.

P.S. I got a new watch. Let the good times roll!

Posted by: rundadrun | October 31, 2013

One year as a Type 2 Diabetic…and a challenge!

The month of October marks my one year anniversary as a Type 2 Diabetic. And what a year it has been! I am not kidding when I say that it has been one of the best years of my life. I truly believe that God blessed me to be where I am, Diabetes and all!

Last October was very sobering. I was told that I have a basically terminal illness. Untreated and ignored, Diabetes would eventually kill me. I have seen it in my own family. It was the wake up call that I needed to change my life. For years I had ignored my weight gain, rising blood pressure, rising cholesterol and general bad health. By ignore, I mean I treated them with medicines and went on living the way I always had. Now, I had an enemy to attack! And attack it was exactly what we did. I say we because my wife joined in the fight with me. She has been my strength and my partner in all this. And along the way, we both ended up getting more fit and feeling so much better!

At the beginning, I looked like this:
Fat Rob

This is what I look like today:
Finish pic Flying Pig 2013

I have never felt better in my life! I am off all Diabetic meds and BP meds. I have dropped my A1c from a starting point of 8.3 down to 5.3.

As we prepare to start November, which is Diabetes Awareness month, my challenge to you is to answer the question in the next paragraph

What are you doing in your life, Diabetic or not, to get and stay healthy? Please use the comment section to share your success stories or your challenges. If you haven’t done anything yet, the challenge is to “Do Something!”

I have been blessed by so many people in my life who have inspired me to get healthy and stay that way. Please share your story!

Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | October 22, 2013

The Race Before Us. A book review

The Race Before Us Photo
Little did I know when I was asked to review the book, “The Race Before Us” by Bruce Matson that I would share so much in common with the author. But as I read, I saw more and more of my story in his.

The book is the story of Bruce Matson addressing his questions of faith as he struggled with his physical health. Faced with turning 50, declining health, and struggling with a real crisis in his faith, he began a journey of running and faith that ultimately brought him closer to God. It is based on the Hebrews 12:1, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us”, and does a great job of showing the connection between faith and fitness.

This is a great book for anyone, but especially if you are a Christian runner like me. Bruce tells his story in a way that can best be described as Lee Strobel meets Marc Parent(The Newbie Chronicles in Runner’s World). I have always loved both of these writers for their approaches to totally different subjects. In “The Race Before Us”, Bruce alternates chapters between The Race (his struggle with his faith) and The Run(his ongoing quest for better health as he trains for several different marathons).

In the race chapters I am reminded of Lee Strobel’s similar faith quest in “The Case for Christ”. If anything, Bruce makes the science of apologetics seem more understandable. I plan on using some of his arguments when teaching Christian Evidences in my Jr. High Bible class. He describes how by listening to Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias, he was able to better focus his questions about his own beliefs into a more full faith in Christ. I actually came to truly enjoy listening to Ravi Zacharias because of reading this book.

In the Run chapters, he chronicles his journey from an overweight, out of shape practicing lawyer who is on the verge of all out Diabetes(a subject very dear to my heart). Through training for several marathons, he discovers that he truly loves running and the time he can be alone to continue his search for God.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to anyone who has ever struggled with questions of faith and the battles of health concerns. But even if you never run a step in your life, you can enjoy this book from a purely self-improvement standpoint. In reading it, I found myself looking forward to the transition from The Run to The Race. I couldn’t wait to see where each of these individual struggles was going to go.

Well done Bruce. I can’t wait to read your next book…

Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | August 31, 2013

Oh my aching heart!

Heart image
You always hear it said, “DON’T ignore chest pain!” I have heard it for years. And you would think, having Type 2 Diabetes, having a huge family history of heart disease and having had a brother recently go through an angio that left him with a stint in a blocked artery, I would know that I of all people, should have been on the phone at the first twinge of chest pain.

But a funny thing happens when you have any pain in your chest, at least it did for me. I honestly started giving myself a long list of other things it could be. And believe me, I had a pretty good list going. Maybe it was my hiatal hernia making a comeback. Maybe it was just the back pain I had been experiencing the week before. After all, it was just on the other side of my body! Maybe it was the result of my 46-year-old body trying to keep up with a bunch of high school cross-country runners as they did their core work and hard mileage. All of these things sounded like perfectly feasible reasons for the annoying pain I had been having for 2 or 3 days under the right side of my sternum.

Add to this mix, I was in the final days of getting ready to take my first child to college(no stress there!)

So, I had lots of reasons to keep from calling my doctor. But after finally telling my wife what I had been feeling, we decided it was time to see my doctor. So, the call was made. I even spent a short time telling the receptionist at my doctor all the reasons I really didn’t need to come in, something I am sure she had NEVER heard before!

Luckily, they have a very good protocol of questions for just such ignorant men as myself. I was bumped to the front of the line to see the Physicians Assistant, and after a wonderfully uneventful EKG, I was told it was probably nothing, but let’s get a stress test just to be sure, and also to have a baseline for the future. So, the next day found me on a treadmill with more wires coming off me than my home entertainment center! I was a bit nervous, which is funny, since I am usually quite at home running. But this was different, this was serious stuff. As we went through the stages of the stress test, not surprisingly, I had a little trouble getting my heart rate high enough to be “stressed”. The nurse and I had a good laugh about that. But finally, I reached the proper heart rate to finish the test. When the nurse told me that she had everything she needed and to run as long as I felt I could, I jokingly asked her if there was a record. 🙂 Sorry, I am a runner, we think that way.
The great news is, I passed with flying colors. The better news is, I came away with a new respect for those little muscles in your chest that are so easily irritated by over-doing a good thing, like push ups, crunches and speedwork with teenagers!

But the real takeaway here was to NEVER ignore chest pain. Don’t be the guy whose last words were “I don’t have time for this”.
Here is a real good link to help know what NOT to ignore.
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/12-possible-heart-symptoms-never-to-ignore

Posted by: rundadrun | August 8, 2013

Stop Pre! Prediabetes that is.

Honored to be asked to guest post on War on Diabetes. Give the site a look, lots of great info!

War On Diabetes

Stop-Pre-Image-SMALL-300x252

This post was graciously contributed by Rob Rice.

The above picture is known to almost all runners. It was the logo on the front of shirts worn by the fans of one of the opponents of Steve Prefontaine during the Olympic Trials in 1972.  Their hope was that their shirts would counter the multitude of hometown fans chanting “GO PRE”. It made for a great story when, after winning the race, Steve donned one of the shirts for his victory laps.  That night,  Steve Prefontaine was unstoppable.

 But, do you know what you can stop?  Prediabetes, or PreD.  Yes, you can reverse PreD, or at the very least postpone the onset of full-blown Diabetes.  If you can stop a disease, why wouldn’t you?  Why don’t you?

As of this writing, approximately 79 million Americans are Prediabetic!  That’s a conservative estimate.  I have seen numbers as high as 85 million. …

View original post 470 more words

Posted by: rundadrun | July 15, 2013

It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

It happened again this Sunday.  One of my more “seasoned ” friends asked me when I was going to end my diet.  He said I was looking too thin (I almost kissed him).  Please don’t read this as my endorsement of trying to lose weight at all cost.  I am in close contact with my physician and I know right where my weight needs to be.  That being said, it does seem like I run across a lot of people who look at me like I am wasting away and they are worried.  I am not upset with these people.  In fact, I understand it completely.  Especially coming from my older friends who are from the Depression Era.  A lot of them don’t see losing weight as a healthy thing. 

But even my younger friends sometimes have misconceptions about what living with diabetes means, at least in the Rundad home.  So, I thought I would explain some of the misconceptions I have heard.  Please understand, a lot of these apply only to me, and I am not saying they should be for everyone.

  1. “All things in moderation”-  This is one I hear a lot, and usually from people who are obviously living in denial.  For me, I say “most things in moderation”.  Not a big difference, but I have some things that just WON’T be in my life, moderation or not.  tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks fall into this category.  These were all a part of my life at one time or another(although the first 2 have been gone for a long time). They will not be a part of my life any longer, they just can’t be if I plan to stay healthy. But can I have the occasional burger or milkshake?  Sure, as long as I control things and go as low fat and healthy with those indulgences as I can. You would be amazed at how good a milkshake made with low fat, no sugar added ice cream can be!
  2. “You are going to ruin your knees with all that running”.  There is LOTS of research out there that has shown that  running actually does not ruin your knees, but in fact, builds stronger bones and joints.  But I understand this one a little.  Running is not for everyone.  But for me, it is essential.  In fact, if given the choice of needing knee replacement later in life, or having the bypass surgery that seems to run in my family like baldness, I choose the knees every time. 🙂
  3. Do you miss eating meat?  This one comes up every once in a while.  But not from anyone who has every shared a meal with me! 🙂  I am a carnivore!  Now, I must say, I am a careful meat eater.  I try to stick to lean beef, chicken and fish.  I have lots of vegan friends and family, but I am not one of them.  This is one area where I do believe in moderation being the key. 🙂
  4. “When are you going to stop dieting?” Although at times, including right now, I have limited my calories, I am not on a diet.  Diets are temporary and by definition have an end point, at which time you generally go back to your “normal” diet.  I have chosen to monitor the foods I eat to help me control my body’s diminished ability to handle sugar.  This means I will not be going back to my normal diet…ever.  I can’t.  If you let your guard down when you are a diabetic, bad things happen.  I have chosen to not allow that to happen.  And I don’t feel deprived.  I LOVE my new lifestyle.

Again, I am not upset with my friends when they ask me these things.  They are not my “pet peeves”.  They don’t cause me to go postal and get all preachy.  But I do see it as a chance to share the gospel of better living.  And I promise not to become that guy that everyone wants to avoid for fear of a sermon. 🙂

Happy running,

Runad

Posted by: rundadrun | July 13, 2013

Running with Thunderhawks

Finish pic Flying Pig 2013

I never planned to be “that”  coach.  You know the one I am talking about.  The one who stands on the edge of the edge of the field yelling instructions to the kids.  I wanted to be the coach who was running with them, teaching them, encouraging them by showing them that you can live your life in such a way as to still be out there when you got “old like coach”.  But, as I looked at myself at the beginning of last cross country season, I most definitely was “that coach”.  I had all the right reasons.  I was just coming off 2 major surgeries.  One, to repair my badly damaged right ankle, and the other to finally repair damage to my cervical spine that was years in the making.  In the long downtime, I turned the corner from needing to watch my blood glucose to full-blown Type 2 diabetic.

So, once I was able to get back on my feet(literally), I decided to do something drastic.  It was no longer enough to coach from the sidelines, I would need to get out there and mix it up.  I would need to run with the Thunderhawks. So, at the end of this last cross country season, I started running with the kids every day.  No more running by myself and not being pushed.  I started at the back of the group and hit the trail with them.  I even started a fun game called, “catch the coach”.  I would start with a one mile head start and try to stay clear of team as long as I could.  This usually lasted till about mile 2.5 when my son and the front-runners would blow by.  But a funny thing happened as I was pushing myself.  I started getting stronger and faster and soon, I wasn’t getting caught…till nearly the end of my 4 or 5 miler.  The season ended with a nice slow jog with my son at the State Championship in November. But the work didn’t end. Next stop was winter training with my track athletes.  I was determined to keep building on my early successes.  I had wanted to see if I could break 25 minutes in my first 5K back and amazed myself with a 22:18 at the local Turkey Trot.  So by the time we entered track preseason, I was able to run the first half of the long runs with the “big dogs”.  At this point, I had lost almost 25 pounds and was on my way to getting off my diabetes meds. 

As we started the actual track season, I was feeling better than I ever had and found myself able to run most of a 5 miler with my boys.  Time to find another race!  I entered the local Shamrock Shuffle and again, had a goal.  I wanted to “beat my age”.  For me, that meant running a sub 46 minute 10K. My PR at the time was north of 50 minutes, so I knew it wasn’t a given.  But I was amazed to find myself not only beating 46 minutes, but running it in 44:24.  Of course, my son outdid me by WINNING the 5K that was run at the same time!  Proud day for old dad!  I was ready for my big comeback!

Our family has had a love affair with the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon for several years now.  It was where I ran my first 2 marathons and in the past couple of years, my kids had started running the 5K there.  But I had been forced to watch from the sidelines last year and this was going to be the big return.  I had big goals for this year’s running and I was blessed to have the Thunderhawks to push me through some tough workouts to help get me ready.  For the first time ever, I was actually running the speed work with our girls team.  I had always sat out the speed work, as I thought I was too old to run fast with these kids. 🙂  An added blessing was the fact that my daughter was now on the team, and we were perfectly matched to be training partners.  So I found myself running 200,400 and 800 meter repeats with my favorite young lady and getting faster every day.

So as I lined up early one May morning in downtown Cincinnati, I found myself nearly overcome by emotion.  I had gone from being unable to walk without crutches and a medicated diabetic to lining up just outside the “elite” coral.  I had set a couple of goals for the day.  My primary was to hopefully break 1:40.  My secondary was to break 1:45.  I had a fall back of just finishing feeling good.  It was just a blessing to be there!

The gun went off and I found myself actually racing!  I got to the 5 mile marker much faster than expected and my family almost missed me! 🙂  But then the famous hills of Cincinnati started.  Miles 5-9 go from roughly sea level to one of the highest points in Cinci, about 820 feet.  But I found myself actually enjoying the climb.  As we separated from the full marathoners at about mile 9, I turned on the gas and really started flying(for me).  I would love to tell you that everything slowed down and I had some amazing moment during the last 5K, but I think I lost my mind a little.  I am pretty sure I set a PR for the 10K and 5K during the race, and I know my last mile was sub-7.  But my next real memory was in the finish chute wondering why they were running strobe lights in the tunnel we were being ushered into.  It was then that I realized it was my eyes!  I was so spent that I was having flashing lights in my vision!  Time to eat something Mr. Diabetic! 🙂  I felt better very quickly, especially when I realized that I had obliterated my goal time.  I had run a 1:36:58! I finished 210th out of 12,129 runners!  My previous PR was 1:47 and change!  That was when I really had a moment of emotion.  And when I finally found my wife and daughter(son was working a water station at mile 19), I learned that she had been having the same moment.

I don’t tell this story to brag.  Believe me, I know how blessed I am and take none of it as being my own doing.  But I am so amazed by God’s Grace and love.  He not only allowed me to heal from my serious physical problems, but He also exceeded my highest expectations. Above all else, I got to “run with the Thunderhawks”!  Thanks team for running me back to health.  You guys are the best!

 Happy running,

Rundad

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