race week

It’s race week in our house! Tonight my family and I will head to Virginia Beach for the Shamrock Half Marathon on Sunday. This time though, I am not the one racing. It’s my husband Robert’s turn, and he is going to have an amazing day. I can just feel it in my bones.

When I met Robert, let’s just say that he was not a runner.  Robert was diagnosed with a heart condition, supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) when he was a teenager. He would notice, even at periods of complete rest, that his heart would involuntarily beat at a very accelerated rate (upwards of 200 beats per minute at times). The condition was unsettling to say the least and also, with reason, made him a bit fearful of exerting himself with exercise. As a result he was a pretty sedentary guy for the most part, and just took it easy … never pushing his limits or really even finding them. As the years went on though and stress levels increased as a working father supporting a young growing family, his general health and wellbeing were impacted and the episodes of SVT increased. He gained weight and was depressed and on edge so much of the time. Several years ago he went to a cardiologist and began taking a heart medication every day (a beta blocker), stopped drinking caffeine and reduced his alcohol consumption to try and control the symptoms. These changes helped a little, but not nearly enough.

He needed to begin exercising and what made more sense than to ask his wife to help him with that? So, he started running little by little. I put a training plan together for him and he ran his first 5k in February of 2013. Turns out he liked it. He wanted to do more, to see what else he could do. Over the course of about a year, Robert lost over 30 pounds. He ran a 10k. He ran a 10 miler. A half marathon. And then he was ready to go for a full marathon! The instances of SVT did not seem to dissipate however, and when he was dehydrated or pushing himself very hard, they on occasion were much more serious. We had a couple of scares when he passed out after a run and a workout – going completely unconscious. We spoke with his doctor and decided that an ablation surgery would make a lot of sense for him. It was a simple procedure that would completely cure the condition. Robert had the surgery this fall, a few weeks after running his first ever full marathon at Marine Corps (he did awesome)! Since then, he has continued to run and take care of himself – he is stronger and lighter than he has ever been I believe.

I could not be more proud of my husband.

Robert has worked hard all winter long to keep up with his training and to improve his fitness. We added a weekly speed workout to his training this cycle and I really believe he has made awesome gains in both his physical fitness and his mental strength. I feel a PR is right around the corner for him, no doubts about it. I cannot wait to cheer for him this weekend in Virginia Beach!

I have been a runner since Robert and I met, completing my first marathon about a year after we first started dating. Back then people would ask him if he was a runner too and he would tell them “no way,” and laugh it off with a little “I only run when something’s chasing me, and even then it’s a stretch.” But something was missing for him that he found when he began running.

Robert was and always has been my biggest fan, in running and in life. It feels amazing to be supported by someone I love so much … but to be honest the feeling of being the one supporting him, well, that truly lifts me up even more. Watching someone I love and believe in with all my heart have the courage to do something he never imagined or dared he could do, to totally redefine himself and stand up for himself in the face of fears and doubts, is truly the most incredible feeling ever. He inspires me and reminds me that anything at all is possible when you set your mind and heart to it and do the work to achieve it.

This weekend I am so grateful for the opportunity to watch him run. It is so exciting! I hope that everyone who is racing this weekend, whether at Shamrock or elsewhere, has a wonderful race day!!

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