The state of my heart.

Happy Friday, everyone! I have lots to tell you today. Get a cup of tea!

Heart Update

Firstly, let’s talk hearts. My heart, in particular. I don’t talk that much about my heart condition because I am lucky enough that its effects on my daily life are minimal. I train carefully, I run carefully and I’ve been very lucky. This week I went for my scheduled check-up. I had an echocardiogram on Monday and on Wednesday I went to see my cardiologist for the results.

The original intention of this blog was to talk about running/being active with a heart condition, so I’m going to talk about the results here, even though it feels a little strange to do so. But I would love nothing more than that this blog encourages other people with similar conditions to see that you can live healthy, normal lifestyles. Obviously I AM NOT A DOCTOR and you should always listen to your cardiologist rather than a random girl off the interwebs.

It was pretty much all good news. My leaking valve has not got worse. My enlarged aortic root HAS got larger, but less than my cardiologist would have expected over the three year period since my last echo.

We talked at length about my running. My cardiologist is about my age and I like him immensely. He runs a little as well. I was upfront about trying to get faster, about my training and about my PRs this year. (He was very impressed….which was obviously a big ego boost.) He said that faster running puts more pressure on my heart valve, which isn’t ideal so I shouldn’t push my pace too much! However longer, slower running seems to be fine and he seemed to be fine with tempo running as long as I don’t go any faster than the 8.20 pace I was managing before Anklegate.

When I mentioned I’d given up meat, he was VERY supportive of this for heart health, even though it’s primarily recommended for high cholesterol, which I don’t have. He even asked if I’d given up dairy and although he agreed this wasn’t necessary, I thought it was interesting that a cardiologist would be so pro-vegetarianism! It struck me that neither in the UK nor the US have I been sent to a nutritionist to talk about how to eat to PREVENT heart disease. Feels like a missed opportunity.

On the less shiny side, I am likely to need valve and root surgery within the next 3 – 5 years. I’m not thinking about this too much at the moment. Back burner. All in all…I think this is good news. I have his blessing to keep running up to half-marathon distance (sorry Mum) and my heart is as good as it could be. I am really very happy about this.

I’m thinking about registering for the Kaiser Half Marathon in February. (My health care provider is Kaiser and I spent some of my consultation trying to talk my poor cardiologist into running it and ideally pacing me to a 1.52. He didn’t jump at the opportunity).

Me at the Kaiser Half in 2012
Me at the Kaiser Half in 2012

Running this week!

Apart from my heart, this week was wonderful in that I got to start running again post Anklegate! I’ve spent the week trying to build up my mileage again – I felt very unfit all week.

Monday…2 miles. No pain, lots of gain 🙂

Tuesday…3 miles at 8.59 pace. Felt quite hard!

Wednesday… 6 miles on a treadmill at roughly 9.00 pace. Felt much better.

Friday…8 miles in the cold sunshine at 9.32 pace. Slightly disappointed in the pace but not stressing about it.

No yoga this week – I had to go to an exciting evening discussing Transitional Kindergarten for the Dude. Fun!!

Colorado, here we come!

And finally…this is a very exciting day in the Ramsden household as we go to Colorado today for a week. (The house will be full of workmen during the day and a cat-sitter at night, so don’t bother burgling us!)  We’re in Boulder until Tuesday and then we’re going to Steamboat Springs for a few days’ skiing. I’ll be honest, my dreams for this trip didn’t include a winter storm coming in which will involve daytime highs of -9 deg C/16 deg F… but there you go!

My last ski trip in 2009 - I was unknowingly 8 weeks pregnant!
My last ski trip in 2009 – I was unknowingly 8 weeks pregnant!

Time to put on the thermals and head to the mountains!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Glad your heart is doing well. Have fun skiing! Steamboat is beautiful and I have always loved skiing there!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks! It was GOOD news! In Boulder now and it’s FREEZING! 😉

  2. Bean says:

    Yay Colorado! I hope you are having an amazing time!!! And not freezing. Do you feel like you can’t breath. Even though I grew up there every time I go back to visit my parents I feel like I can’t breath. Yay for heart health!! It doesn’t look like the ankle has slowed you one bit!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, we’re freezing but it’s kind of breathtaking. I’m going to try running tomorrow…let’s hope it doesn’t kill me and my aortic root 😉 The ankle has def slowed me down but it’ll come back. At least it’s too cold for alligators!

  3. Angela says:

    So happy to hear that it was by & large good news! My doctor is always bugging me about my blood pressure (it is high) since that & heart disease run in my family. BUT every time I’ve had my lipids tested, it’s always pretty low, so although I don’t eat all that much red meat, thus far I haven’t been told I have to give it up.

    Have fun in Boulder! Also I vote yes, run Kaiser! 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      My blood pressure has always been really low which I’m grateful for. But yes, generally good news. The whole ‘valve replacement surgery within 5 years’ shook me a little but two glasses of wine later and I’m fine 😉 I did find myself telling my cardiologist that I’d rather give up dairy than running…didn’t see that coming!

      Boulder is ARCTIC!

  4. Nicola Johnson says:

    Good news on the echo results! Can understand your nervousness about the replacement valve but the bonus about being alive right now is that that kind of thing must be SO routine for the medics (although not for you!). And great to find a consultant on your wavelength! Keep up the running! X

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