Knowing the difficult burden it can be, I’m running NYC’s Marathon to inspire patients facing heart surgery and to inspire resident surgeons in their surgical training and practice.
In 2019 facing open heart surgery, I promised myself that I would run the NYC 2020 Marathon. From Vancouver, I returned to my hometown to have my aortic valve replaced at the Montreal Heart Institute / l’Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal.
The eve of my Ross Procedure, the first time meeting my surgeon, Dr. El-Hamamsy, he mentioned the importance of a positive mindset for my recovery. I just asked him, “When can I start training for the NYC 2020 Marathon”. He said right away. Ninety (90) days later, I ran the Whistler Half Marathon and finished in 2hr12 mins. Three weeks later I was hooked and ran a ‘victory lap’, the Scotiabank Half Marathon and finished at 2hr07 mins.
Amidst the height of the 2020 Pandemic, and keeping my commitment to run the NYC 2020 Marathon, I registered to fundraise for Team Heart & Stroke. The actual Marathon was cancelled in June and I ran my very first Marathon on October 17, 2020 as a Strava participant of NYC’s first Virtual Marathon. In the dark with a head lamp, I started my race at 6:24 am at Vancouver’s Spanish Banks. I ran to and then through, Stanley Park and loops round Beaver Lake, Lost Lagoon and the Sea Wall. By 35 kms, it was clear I was going to finish! Dedicating my last 5 km to my valve donor, it took me 4.5 hours. My muscles were sore by 30km and for the rest of the day but I recovered quickly and went back to training in the water 2 days later.
In preparation for my first marathon, I didn’t run more than 24 km in one day or more than 50 km in a given week. Nursing 2 calf muscle strains, once in August and then in September, I split my running with 2 km swims and up to 2 hr aqua-run sessions in the pool. I had just one cheerleader with me, my husband Johnny driving and biking between refreshment stops. I’m so grateful that I was able to run the whole way without any incident. Prior to my valve surgery, a full marathon was always something I wish I could, even just once! It feels great to have this freedom and a new lease on life.
My NYC Virtual Marathon race results are here on my Strava profile.
Starting next Spring, my training goal for the NYC 2021, is to achieve (if I can) a pace of 5.30/km and finish in 4hrs
Thank you for reading and your support to #TeamHeartStroke!