8 Weeks – First Run!

20 Aug

This week I hit my 8 week date, 2 months since my heart surgery. This for me meant I was able to go for my first run in 5 months.

I started the day with my first cardiac rehab session at the local hospital. I had almost been put off before attending, wondering what I would get out of the session and if I would look out of place. Still, always curious to learn more about exercise, I went along and really enjoyed myself. I got chatting to many people with varying heart conditions. I was the youngest there but could still relate to others who had gone through heart surgery. As I told my story, I felt pride at what I have been through and humbled that my return to normal life and exercise has been fairly smooth.

The circuit of cardio exercises and stretches was fun and I was able to push myself in a safe environment. This gave me the confidence to push my heart rate on my first run.

Again, to feel safe, I used my friend’s treadmill with the door open and safety key firmly attached to my shorts! I gingerly warmed up and gradually fell into a jog. Over the 30 minute session I did 2 minutes running followed by 1 minute walking. I remembered the Borg scale taught to me the cardiac rehab class and kept my exertion to 4/10 in order not to push my heart too much. On future runs, I will wear my heart rate monitor to keep my heart rate below 164. I covered 2.2 miles in the session and felt good afterwards. I had no chest pain, discomfort or shortness of breath but my legs did ache!!

After a busy few days with family down and lots of walking, I have decided to limit my runs to one more this week, on Sunday with my friend. This will allow me to recover in the meantime and start out fresh for run no. 2!

I have read about others who have returned to running quickly after heart surgery (some after only 2 week!) but I felt I should follow doctor’s orders and stay within my limits. With a tough marathon time to work towards, there is plenty of time for the pain, strain and sheer exhaustion that accompanies running. For now, I am focusing on little and often, slow and steady :)

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