LEARNING TO LIVE WITHIN MY LIMITS
Do you remember the popular slogan “no limits?”
It was emblazoned on t-shirts characterizing a mindset that knew no boundaries and was willing to push the limits. I’m all for getting outside of our comfort zone and growing, but I’m also learning that limits are designed for our safety.
There is a redline on a tachometer to let you know that you’re exceeding the limits on the engine and if you don’t back off, you will damage the engine. This past weekend I stayed too long in the redline zone.
I was participating in a race and went out strong with the leaders. I was feeling good and had a good pace (at least for me) during the entire race. It was hard but I was able to push through the pain. I came in first in my age group and also won the grand master division. I came home, got showered and was having breakfast but lost my appetite. I was feeling wiped out for most of the day and then after supper started feeling better. I rested the next day and felt good. Monday I went out for a six mile run but was still feeling sluggish. I took an easy week on my running since I had a race on Saturday. I struggled through the race on Saturday but was able to come in second in my age group. I came home, showered, had breakfast with Jeanne and we made our weekly Costco run. Later that afternoon I felt wiped out and asked Jeanne to take me to Health First.
We went to Health First and they ran an EKG. The technician who ran the EKG said, “Let me run that again.” After she ran it again she went and got a doctor. The doctor looked at my EKG and said, “You’ve recently had a heart attack!” I was thinking the machine was off, my cholesterol numbers were good, blood pressure 120/80, and a resting pulse in the low 40’s. He sent us to the hospital.
The Emergency Room also ran an EKG that corroborated my earlier EKG. My blood work indicated a heart attack and the ER doctor consulted with the Cardiac surgeon who concluded that I had a Stemi. I had no idea what a Stemi is but it sure created a lot of excitement. (Stemi stands for ST elevation myocardio infarction.) I felt like I had an Indy pit crew around me: they were hooking me up to an IV, shaving me, getting me into a hospital gown, signing papers, and whisking me off to get a heart catheterization. I discovered that my left anterior artery was 100% blocked.
Jeanne and I came home and for the next few days I felt like was in a deep, dark, valley – my world was changed. Running, swimming, and biking were a significant part of my life. I love my job – I have the privilege of walking with people through the valleys of their lives. Exercise is a way for me to pray for people and release the pain that I hear. I love experiencing a “runner’s high” and the endorphins that create a sense of well-being. Is there a walker’s high?
My plan was to work to age 70 – will I be able to make it? I am determined to make the lifestyle changes to live within my limits. I want to be there for Jeanne, my children, and my grandchildren (they sent me a beautiful card that reminds me to take good care of myself).
I am confident of my future, I exclaim with the Apostle Paul:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. — Philippians 1:21