It has been 8 months since my heart attack, and I am finally feeling some real improvement. I have some energy back and have found myself thinking about running again.
I even went for a semi-run recently.
I had a heart stress test at the hospital, where they wired me up to an ECG machine, took an ultra sound scan of my heart while I was rested, then put me on a treadmill for a bit and took another scan to see how my heart responded.
In the days beforehand I was quite excited at the prospect of running , even a short run on a treadmill with wires hanging off me. And it was as good as I had hoped. I was having so much fun during the test that they told me I was one for the very few heart patients who actually enjoy it. And they couldn’t remember when anyone else had asked for the treadmill to go faster.
To get a scan of my heart under stress, they wanted me to get to my “predicted maximum heart rate” – which they calculated at 169 beats/minute. When my heartbeat got to this target, they said the scan is best if I can keep working for longer, so I kept going and eventually got to 112% of my predicted maximum. I think that is awesome, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure whether it was good for me either. I’m an ultra runner, the whole idea is to go slow and conserve energy. My heart rate probably hasn’t been that high any other time this century.
The test results were negative – which is a positive result. No abnormalities in my heart at rest or under stress. This is great news, and I can officially “resume gentle exercise”.
Except that I can’t just yet. I have had chest pains and lethargy since the test. I am hoping that it is because my heart and lungs are not used to working that hard, and that it won’t happen when I get to do some gentle running. And of course the medical staff can’t tell me why – the scan shows there is nothing wrong with my heart.
We are still frantic at the office, but that all goes away at the end of the month, or perhaps the first week of April. I deliberately chose not to try and run while I am working long hours, and am really looking forward to being able to dust off my running shoes next month.
I just have to recover from my hospital check up first. That really was hard work.