Posted by: rundadrun | March 15, 2011

Putting my hearts in the hands of Christ…yep, both of them.

On November 3, 2008, just past the 5 mile mark of the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials in NYC, Ryan Shay suddenly fell to the ground, dead from a massive heart attack brought on by an enlarged heart.  He and his family had been aware of the condition since he was 14 years old and he had been cleared to run by doctors at the facility where he trained.  He knew there were risks, but he ran anyway.  He died doing what he loved.

As I sat and watched the follow-up news conference where it was announced that Ryan had passed away, I never even thought about my own running.  I was dumbfounded to see such a finely tuned professional athlete die so suddenly from something that I assumed should not have happened.  But while we were still watching the coverage, my wife told me that I would not be running any more marathons until I had a full heart scan.  I had been hearing advertisements for them at a local hospital, and honestly, had wanted to get one to “make sure”.  Having a father and grandfather who had heart attacks, the risks of heart disease are never too far from my mind.

So, I made my appointment.  I remember how funny it was that I was getting my heart scanned at Christ’s Hospital in Cincinnati.  What a great play on words.  I would be putting my heart in the hands of Christ(Hospital).  It was an amazing experience, and I am happy to say that my heart is in excellent shape!  In fact, here it is:

My healthy heart

I had always had a nagging fear that despite all the years of running and trying to stay fit, I would be felled by a heart that had bad genes and my earlier use of tobacco (14 years tobacco free!).  It was a relief to be told that was unlikely to happen.  Of course, the doctors were smart to not GUARANTEE anything.  There are always things that can happen when it comes to our health.

But I have really never worried about my “other” heart.  The one that I put in the hands of Christ more than 30 years ago.  I know that it is safely where I left it.  In the care of the Great Physician.  I get regular check ups and pay attention to what I take in, but I know that God WILL keep his promise!  I have full faith in the fact that I will have this heart forever.

And when you think of it, that is really the only heart that I can be sure of lasting. 🙂  Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to do what I can to keep the heart in my chest going as long as I can.  After all, I was blessed to have it in the first place, the least I can do is keep it clean. 🙂

Happy running,





  1. I am an atheist who most recently started to question my way of life. I struggle hard to define and understand faith, even though I want so badly to do so. I have tried to seek guidance in the many different religious scriptures from Christianity to Taoism. I am just in this constant struggle between trying to find faith which is in direct battle with my atheist beliefs. Sometimes I seek guidance and spiritual knowledge through reading others blogs. I will continue my journey to find where I belong, but I just wanted to thank you for your post.

    • You are very welcome! I will be praying for you as you are on this journey. I know that for me, it is something that means more to me than life itself. And I LOVE life. 🙂 Please keep in touch and feel free to let me know if I can help in any way. I can tell you that the peace I have is a wonderful thing.

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