Allen Gorrelick

I BELIEVE RUNNING SAVED MY LIFE

In 1983, at the age 42, I began jogging. My running quickly developed into a routine of a 5K run three times a week at an 8 minute per mile pace. On occasion, I would build up to 10k and run in races.

In 2001, I suffered a silent heart attack. The only reason I knew something was wrong was I became winded after 4 minutes of running. I consulted a relative who was a doctor. She sent me for blood tests to see if there was a bacterial or viral infection. These came back negative. I therefore went to a local doctor who administered an EKG. When he looked at the results, he turned white. He had a nurse wheel me down to the hospital in the next building.

The ER doctor administered an echocardiogram and told me there was heart damage. I was taken to a larger hospital by ambulance. I should state that except for the difficulty running, I felt fine.
The next day I had an angiogram which showed severe blockages in several arteries. The following day I had open heart surgery. I was told they replaced four sections of arteries with 98%, 95%, 90% and 80% blockages, respectively.

If it had not been for my regular running, I might have had a second and fatal heart attack. Fortunately. I had the surgery and because I was in good shape, I recovered rapidly. I was back at work for a few hours eight days after I was released from the hospital and full time a week later.
I was itching to run again. However, my cardiologist told me not to start immediately. I therefore substituted power walking for two months. I was given the okay and was able to go back to my regular running routine less then 3 months after the surgery. I ran in a 5K race a month later and a 10K race six months after that.

I am a strong advocate of regular running. To this day I maintain my regular schedule. My only disappointment is that at age 76, I am now running my 5k at a 9 1/2 mile per minute rate.