Today my wife Nicole and I started our official training for the NYC Marathon. I've been inconsistently doing some weight training and running since my heart surgery, but with only a few months left it's time to start seriously training for the NYC Marathon on November 7.
We are away at a dude ranch in upstate New York, and we decided to hit the country roads for a run after a day of horseback riding, waterskiing, and fishing with the kids. My mom was brave enough to take over as commander in chief of the Carey kids while we were gone and so we laced up and hit the dirt road. I wanted to run on the trails but Nicole was nervous about getting run over by horses, so we agreed to run on the dirt roads instead. The countryside was beautiful, but after the first car passed and we choked on road dust she too thought it might be better to risk getting run over on the horsetrails next time!
Since we didn't know where we were going or have any idea of mileage we decided to just run for about a half hour. The roads were very hilly, and I was feeling sluggish immediately. I am so out of shape. People often compliment me on my condition for my age, but it's all relative. In my prime I was an NCAA Academic All-American in Cross Country. I clocked a mile once in 4:36 and ran a 5 mile race in just under 27 minutes. Today I feel like crap and it's frustrating. At one point during the run I felt a frightening heart palpitation. Since my open heart surgery any little flutter of my heart, and even the slightest gas pain scares the hell out of me. These are not any more frequent than before my surgery, and not related to the surgery itself; but they do get my attention in a way they never did before.
I enjoy running with Nicole. It's one of the few moments we get to spend alone. It makes me feel good that she has taken such a liking to running. She was a soccer all-star in high school, but never did any consistent running. When we met I was doing a lot of running and weight training and she started running with me. Ironically my dedication waned over the years, and she turned into a running nut! It's been real nice to see the positive things running has brought her. She gave birth to our third child four months ago and had to have a cesarean section. She is determined to get back in top shape and as she says "get her body back". She's been running for a month already and I'm trying to keep up with her. I keep reminding her to enjoy the dominance because it won't last long :)
We ran for 24 minutes and the last half mile of the run was up a progressively steep hill. I had to use every ounce of willpower to not walk up the hill. I could hear myself telling my six year old daughter during runs that it's okay to run as slow as you want as long as you don't walk. I purposely leaned my arm and bodyweight on Nicole going up the hill to slow her down and we both laughed.
It's different now exercising. I can't help thinking whether or not I'm going to drop dead or something. It's morbid, but I personally think it's only human for the thought to cross your mind after what I've been through. I push on though. As my favorite rapper once said "i'd rather live like a man, than die like a coward".