I’m not one to turn down an opportunity to talk about heart disease for the cameras, so just across the finish line after the TC 10 Mile race on October 6, I was happy to do a live 30-second TV news bit and tell whoever was watching that I, and my teammates, were running for heart disease on this 31st Twin Cities Marathon race day.
The team was running to spread the word about the risk for heart disease and raise money for research and treatment. I was running to keep myself healthy enough for next time. I was running because I could.
“In 2011, I tried to run this marathon for the second time. Instead I had a heart attack,” I said to the TV guy. (Or something like that; I haven’t seen the tape and frankly, I had just been running for almost two hours, so I don’t want to.)
“In 2012, I tried again; that race was supposed to be my victory lap. Instead I had a heart attack. Again.”
“But today I finished. Today is a good day.”
It was a good day — a great day — and a great weekend. My son ran the TC5K with tons of heart on Saturday. My running cousin Janna, my brother Mike, and his wife Beth were here for the weekend. The Run with Heart team gathered for pasta, inspiration, and thanks (and no surprise, a few tears of gratitude from me). We took photos, loaded up on carbs, traded tips, made signs, and tricked out our shirts for race day.
Then we ran, the culmination of 16 weeks of training and at least 400 training miles each — and along that long and sweat-soaked road raised nearly $30,000 to fight heart disease.
But my goal is that we raised so much more — that we got attention, got noticed, and made people see heart disease in a different way. That maybe they realized that heart disease can and will attack anyone. That it affects more people than you could ever imagine. That it takes away things you thought were yours — abilities, choices, dreams. That it can kill you.
Or, that you can live, and you’ll be stronger than you ever thought possible.