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Monday, September 19, 2011

Followup with Cardiologist

Just completed a recovery week of no walking but still managed to lose a pound and a half. Doctors office called on Friday and wants me to come in today (Monday) to review the results of my recent Echocardiogram. Dr. Bhakta received the video from the Cleveland Clinic of my heart catheterization and also of the 'Echo'. His estimation of the blockage was a little higher than the doctor at the Clinic, but he still feels that my approach of diet, exercise and medication is a sound one and worth trying. I was hopeful that we would be able to get some blood work done and start adjusting the dosages down on my medication. He didn't want to do that yet. His reasoning is that it takes at least 3 months for the medication to have a significant effect and 6 months for the diet and exercise to have a marked effect. We scheduled the next followup for December 23rd.

Cleared to Run.

I told the doctor of my desire to run in next May's Cleveland Half Marathon and the Bridges 5K at end of October. I outlined an approach of working running into my daily walks, starting with 1/8 to 1/4 mile intervals of running. He approved, now I'm geeked about expanding the workouts to a new intensity level. Hoping to gradually increase the running distances weekly over the next six weeks so that I'll be able to at least jog the entire 3.1 miles of the Covered Bridges 5k.

First running workout. Walked the first mile of one of my usual 5 mile courses keeping the heart rate in zone 1 (Less than 114 bpm), a painfully slow pace of about 20 minutes per mile. Once I reached the mile mark, I escalated the pace up to towards the 130 mark which was going to be where I would take off on my first jog. As my heart rate approached 130 I felt like a horse at the starting gate waiting for the bell to ring. My strategy was to jog 1 block then walk till my heart rate returned to 130, then to jog another block. Once I reached the intersection of West 13th and Norwood Ave, I took off. I felt strong with nice long strides, it took me back to "Glory Days" of high school cross country competition. It felt great to be running again, for about 30 seconds! My first jogging session went two blocks instead of 1 and my heart heart shot up to 167. The physiological max for my age is supposed to by 173, so that took me up to 97% of max heart rate (probably a little too much intensity for my 1st day). I decided then to stop each jog at about 90% of max which is around 150. Throughout the rest of the walk/jog I would jog until my heart rate reached 150, then walk till it returned to 125. I did this seven times till I was withing a half mile of home, then did a cool down walk the rest of the way.

The workout didn't go as planned, in fact it took me 3 minutes longer to do this course than my previous best time which was all walking. The big difference between this time and the last time was that first 20 minutes of zone 1 walking which took 20 minutes.

Bypass? After my 1st workout I'm thinking to my self that I've been walking 4-5 miles a day for two months now and still can't go a 1/4 mile without being gassed. Maybe I should consider the bypass surgery after all. Nah, I'm going to stay the course at least for now.

The Day After: Felt muscle soreness for the first time. I attribute this to the sixty minutes of zone 3 work yesterday. Zone 3 is a heart beat range of 80-90 % of max. In this range the body is calling for more glucose than can be delivered from the blood stream, so it draws energy from muscle tissue. I never knew this before I had my heart disease diagnosis and started reading up heart rate training. Just going to walk today and do another walk/jog on Wednesday.

Early morning walk/jog: Got up early this morning to get my walk/jog workout in. Only spent 5 minutes in zone 1 and started my first jog at the seven minute mark. Strategy today was to walk seven minutes then jog to the next 1/2 mile mark. My previous best pace had been 16:21 per mile and I was hoping that this approach would get me under 15 minutes per mile. I got close finishing up the 4.07 mile course at 1:02:22 or 15:19 per mile. Too early to start thinking of a goal to try for in the 5K, but 13 minutes per mile I think would be reasonable, I'd be ecstatic with 12 minutes.

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