I just reached the 1000-mile mark last weekend. This alone is a miracle for me, even though I have reached the milestone several times before.
2021 came for me with many challenges that go beyond the Covid pandemic completing its second year. I faced serious health challenges that, held by the hand of the Lord and with the support of my wife, family, and friends, I have been able to overcome. It has been quite a journey.
On June 23 I underwent open-heart surgery after two years of trying to manage the issue. My arteries had a wiring problem since birth that suddenly, at age 53 and having been active all my life, started becoming an issue. I also got a coronary artery by-pass.
Recovery was an arduous process. I started walking around the ICU floor, two days after the procedure despite having 13 different things connected to my body. Once I got home, I developed a circuit around my house (living room to kitchen, to living room to 2nd bedroom, to master bedroom to bathroom and back). I made sure to walk right by my medal rack so I could make sure to see where I had been and where I wanted to get back.
Then the walk progressed outdoors to pick up the mail and then to half a mile. Finally, on July 10th, 17 days after my procedure, I was able to walk a full mile. One month from my procedure I was walking 4 miles a day, and after 2 months I started cardiac rehab. I had walked close to 200 miles since surgery.
By August 30 I was able to run five, one-minute intervals and two-and-a-half weeks later I ran 20 minutes straight and was released from cardiac rehab. From there I started a run/walk protocol to enhance my endurance and little by little was able to run more, walk less and rack up mileage.
On November 3rd I completed my first 10-miler and on December 4th completed half marathon distance in 2:25. On December 18th I run/walked 17 miles and the next day I completed 1000 miles for the year. If it wasn’t because I am the one doing all this, I wouldn’t believe this was possible. I would need Strava proof to make sure nobody is trying to trick me.
There is a reason why I write this, and it is not to toot my own horn. I am writing this because I am the living proof that having an active life if the key to develop a body capable of repairing itself promptly and efficiently. I have been active my entire life and have been running or walking non-stop for 14 years since my return to the asphalt. In my estimation, this has been the key to my miraculous recovery. So much that, with my cardiologist’s blessing, I will be participating in the Houston Marathon on January 16th, just 207 days after my procedure.
This could have not been possible without surrendering my health and recovery to God, while doing my part to assist. This could have not been possible without the devotion and dedication from my beautiful wife, Meki, during my recovery. This could have not been possible without the support of my family, who were ready to help in anything I could need. This could have not been possible without the support of my buddies from No-Club Runners, who epitomized why runners are such a special bunch of crazy people. This could have not been possible without being fit and healthy for a prolonged time.
So, as life got back to normal, I returned to work after seven weeks of recovery and the pandemic continued to wreak havoc in our lives; my cardiologist told me it is time to pass the page on this episode of my life. To move on to bigger and better things. And thus, as I reached the psychologic barrier of the 4-digit number of miles for this challenging year, I reflect on the year that was and the life I have left.