From Heart attack to a marathon - British Heart Fou...

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From Heart attack to a marathon

mandm65 profile image

Hi Guys

I was in two minds before posting this. Part of me wanted to share the positive news with fellow forum users, specially runner’s community but equally part of me was mindful of those who may not be as fortunate. So my apologies to those who may find my post stressful.

Last year when I was told I had a heart problem, I felt like my whole life had been tipped upside down. As some of the regulars here aware of my medical history and the challenges I faced, if you like to know more then I suggest you take a look at the below link.

Part of my recovery strategy has been to keep my running going. Although I accepted the verdict given by my cardio team that my marathon days are over and have no option but to cut down my running distance to bare minimum. I decided to say goodbye to my ‘marathon running’ by participating and hopefully completing my last marathon, ‘marathon retirement’ I called it.

I am pleased to say that I flew to Japan a few weeks back and completed the 2018 Tokyo marathon on Feb 28th. Naturally It took me longer than my usual time (3:40ish) to complete the course but the important thing is that I completed the marathon, for those who are keen to know the time, it was 5:09.

I am not sure if I have words to describe my feelings, part of me is blissful for what I have achieved in such a short space of time but there is a little part of me still feel that anguish, perhaps acknowledging what is taken away from me!

I guess the purposes of the message here is that we have condition which impacted our lifestyle but it does not mean that we should stop enjoying our lives. We must celebrate our achievement, does not matter how small or big, its all about readjusting our mindset.

31 Replies
skid112 profile image
skid112Heart Star

Hi mandm great news and well done to you, just shows what can be done

mandm65 profile image
mandm65 in reply to skid112

Thanks, yes i still can't believe what i have done

Fantastic achievement and a great positive post too :-)


mandm65 profile image
mandm65 in reply to stevejb1810

Thanks Steve, pleased that you found it positive

Great news, it's obvious how much running means to you and I'm glad you were able to achieve this. For every person who is upset by a positive post, I think there are a fair few of us who are cheered and I was very glad to read this :)

Thanks Lura, yep running was way of life for me so it was hard to accept the decision. Glad to see that positivity trickles down, I just did not want to upset anyone.

It is hallways good to read positive posts. Well done, great you have recovered enough to do this.

mandm65 profile image
mandm65 in reply to anke123

Thanks Anke, yes i had been a runner so assume endurance probably played a part in the shorter recovery time.

Had my heart attack in August of 17, at the not so grand age of 46, I'd not run/ran since school.

I have no intention of ever running a marathon, but I am in "training" to run a 5k, something I've never done...ever

My MI has given me a do or die mentality, 46 years of abuse, it's time to pay the body piper back.

I don't plan on setting records , but when I check out, it won't be because I didn't try to fix the wrongs.

All any of us can do ,,is do!

a little, a lot, matters not.... just don't sit and accept the cards you dealt yourself.

mandm65 profile image
mandm65 in reply to vapochilled

Hi vapochilled

Glad to know that you are setting yourself a target, that’s how I started running, it was my lifetime goal to run a 5K, never imagined that I would run a half let alone full marathon. Like I said we all have potential to do greater things in life, we just to put our mind to it.

All the best for your 5K training, do come back and let us know how you got on.

Hi.... well done fabulous news. And the fact that you were able to achieve this must have given you such an amazing feeling.... and they say PMA and staying positive also helps the heart.

And positive news stories do spur us all on to know that we can get back to a

" normal" life and to go out there and live life. Brilliant news.... and wow Tokyo too.... what an adventure 😀 many congratulations!

Thanks, Heartlady1, yes like I said earlier I still cant believe that I have actually done that, unsure about long term effect, if any, this marathon may have?

Yes I thought the flight itself was like running a marathon, I think I made a mistake by going direct, would have been better to have stopover.

Once again many thanks for your encouraging comments.

Well done it is great to hear you have been able to carry on we all need to focus 9n positive things and what we can do and not what we can't x

Thanks Heather, couldnt agree more, I firmly believe that There’s so much to lose by living in fear and passing on the opportunity to impact the lives of others.

Fantastic, well done! I'm awaiting surgery, so I found your post very inspiring, thank you. And I think that having come from surgery, to a place where you could even complete a marathon, must makes your 5 hour time a personal best which can never be beaten! What an achievement. Don't be sad about marathon retirement - how about a new challenge? I have marathon- running friends up here in Scotland who also enjoy Munro-bagging. There are loads to 'collect'! Keeps you very fit too. ☺

Yep it was a PB that would be cherished for the rest of my life, i agree there were times when i thought would i ever be able to run, running marathon was not even on the horizon.

I was very positive from the outset so i guess that played a part too. Thanks for the suggestion, i have not given up on running yet, just limiting the distance to what the cardio team has prescribed. I also play badminton once a week so i think i have handful at the mo.

Hope your surgery goes well and looking forward to seeing you on the running track at some point :-).

Take good care of yourself and stay in touch.

Mrsbeevintage profile image
MrsbeevintageHeart Star

Congratulations on your marathon achievement ...stubbon or brave or positive ,springs to mind but the fact that you flew and did what you loved after such a short time from your diagnosis is wonderfully encouraging .thanks for sharing your triumph .Jax

Thanks, yep stubbon or brave or positive and possibly a few more sprung to mind :-).

Like i siad we do have potential to achieve greater things we just need to put our mind to it.

Thank you so much for sharing how you feel and what you have done. It really is inspiring to hear what is possible. Yes, everyone's situation is a bit different, and the stage that we are at will be different. I was working towards my first marathon (I had got to 31k). Now I feel that I am starting all over again - but I have done it before, so I can do it again. And your achievements show me what is possible.

mandm65 profile image
mandm65 in reply to NineToTheSky

Off course you can do it again, your certainly have the will power to do it.

I was reluctant to share the achievement but after receiving so many positive responses it feels as though that i did the right thing.

Stay in touch and take good care of yourself.

Well done mandm65, its great to see someone posting positive outcomes. I've had such phenomenal treatment throughout and such a great outcome after my CHD and subsequent 4x CABG that I almost feel embarrassed posting about well I now am.

I have no doubt that more of us should post about positive outcomes, I know now how scary CHD and surgery are from personal experience, but from my experience, positivity is the best help for those of you at the start of your journey. Do as much or as little research as you feel you need. For me, I needed massive amounts of research as I needed to totally understand everything that I was to face, risk statistics, op details, meds, recovery programme, post op rehab, everything you could possibly think of. I make my living managing multi million £ construction projects and am, not surprisingly, a self confessed control freak, seriously, you will not believe how much of a control freak I really am. I know many people however, don't want to know the detail but just need to trust the specialists who are looking after you. Go with whatever works for you.

Post op, physically I found the recovery very straight forward, hardest part was limiting myself to the amount of exercise recommended by the physio team rather than how much I felt I felt I could do and there's no doubt that they were right. Despite all that, I was totally unprepared for the psychological trauma post op that no-one and no amount of research, had prepared me for. However, even then, help was available from a cardiac specialist psychiatric nurse who helped me through that stage as part of my Cardiac Rehab training.

Like mandm65, I too am now fully recovered and living the normal life I had been told I would be able to lead, working, walking, golf and mountain biking.

Hopefully my positive outcome along with mandm65 will reassure others, that there is indeed light at the end of the tunnel.........and no, its unlikely to be a train coming the other way!!

Stay positive everyone.

NineToTheSky profile image
NineToTheSky in reply to BAGS17

'Despite all that, I was totally unprepared for the psychological trauma post op that no-one and no amount of research, had prepared me for'

I really agree with this. I had no idea what a huge impact it would have - and is having - on me psychologically. It is very reassuring to hear that it isn't only me.

lovely post, thanks for sharing your experience. Pleased to know that I am not the only control freak out here. I couldn’t agree more that there are folks out here who would be happy to trust the specialists who are looking after you but some of us, rightly or wrongly, don’t prescribe to this school of thought.

Glad to see that you made full recovery and living the normal life. I really hope that our positive experiences can give hope to others.

Could I ask whether you were on beta-blockers during your marathon and training?

Sure, you could ask, no i was not on beta-blockers during marathon or training. Having said that i have started the BBs after returning home. I shall be doing a light 10K, my first run on BBs, can report back if you want?

Thanks for letting me know and it would be interesting for me to learn the outcome/differences of training with/without the BB. I have a sporting background myself and BBs are currently providing a question mark and debate between myself and my medical consultants. Cheers, and best of luck!

I did a 10K t, first run after the marathon on BBs. I felt fine but i felt tired later in the day so unsure if its down to lack of running or BBs, its early days!

Let me know how sort of runs you are doing and how often?

Actually, I cycle rather than run. I am 2 months in from my cardiac episode. My resting pulse was low anyway before my BBs and I am tring to deduce whether the angina-like symptoms I get towards at the end of my daily exertions are because the lower pumping rate is providing insuifficent oxygen and without the BB I would be ok. With a low pulse anyway, I am not sure what the BB is really doing for me. But next step is my stress test next week when I'll be off them.

Yay...well done you..I find your positive post inspirational...thank you mandm65...keep on keeping on...yay

Thanks for the thumbs up, yep happy to help.

So great to hear that you achieved your goal! Making those life adjustments must be hard for something you love doing. It’s early days for me but hope I can get back some of that courage you have x

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