Those two words have been in my life for the last 20 years. They shaped me, changed me, and they have destroyed me. So trying to summarize their impact in some kind of conscience vaguely well written post seems almost impossible. But bear with me, I am going to try.
Heart Disease has broken my heart both literally and figuratively. Literally with my own diagnosis. And figuratively with the loss of my father. The impact of both - profound, devastating, and life-changing.
I was diagnosed with my arrhythmia at 17, and fitted with my first pacemaker/defibrillator at 18. Who I was and who I was going to be was forever changed. I know how lucky I am that I woke up on that fateful day the summer before my senior year – many people do not. Arrhythmias often strike only once, and once is often fatal. And I know how blessed I am to live in age where an ICD is option. But my health is no longer a given, it is something I have to work for and cherish every single day. I know all too well how quickly it can be taken away. There is still no cure for Long QT syndrome, and because of that, I will spend the rest of my life trying to mend this broken heart of mine.
Losing my Dad this summer broke my heart in a new and horrible way. In an instant he was ripped from my life in a way that reinforced the precarious edge between life and death on which we dwell. The pain I felt still overwhelms me. It is raw. It is real. And it is all consuming in a way that I have never experienced. My heart continues to break every time I am forced to face this new reality.
I was unprepared for all that 2013 had in store me, and I have yet to process all that has happened. But I know I need to do something positive with my pain in order to heal. And healing is what 2014 is all about. My struggles have become part of my story. Every struggle and every setback has led to something greater. I have grown, learned lessons, come out stronger, and more often than not happier because of the things I have faced. 2013 broke me, so in 2014 I want to heal and rebuild. So I am asking you to join me in finding my Happy Heart again.
I am training for the Muskoka Ironman 70.3 in honour of my Dad. I will swim, ride, and run 70.3 miles to commemorate both the joy and tenacity that defined him and his life. And I will be working closely with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise money to fund new research and awareness about Heart Health. February is Heart Health Awareness month, and the start of my Happy Heart Project.
You will notice that there is a new button the the right side of my blog. The Happy Heart Project button takes you to my donation page. I am also teaming up with Imprint Pilates for a local Friday night Karma Series. We will be meeting at the Upstairs Studio at 101 Spadina for Run-Yoga-Pilates Fusion Workout. There will be an optional 30 minute run at 5:30pm for those who are interested, followed by a Yoga-Pilates Fusion Class at 6:15pm. We are asking that you make a $10 donation to the Heart Stroke Foundation and then come make your heart happy with this fantastic workout. (Check out the Imprint Pilates website for all the details and email to reserve your spot)
This year I will be putting my #BESTFOOT forward and training my butt off to keep my heart healthy and to help it heal.
This Week's Training...
Monday - Easy 30 minute ride on the indoor trainer
Tuesday - Easy 10km on the treadmill
Wednesday - 60 minute ride on the indoor trainer in the AM. Followed by an 8km Run in the PM
Thursday - 30 minute swim
Friday - 10km Speed Workout on the treadmill in the AM. Followed by 45 min of Happy Heart Yoga-Pilates Fusion with Imprint Pilates
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 18km long run at 6:40km/pace
What drives your training?
Will you join my Happy Heart Project?