There have been many times, I have to admit to myself, over the past five decades when I say to myself, How about easing up on this running thing. In fact, the two most typical questions I’m asked during social occasions are:
“You still use a flip phone?” (This usually with a degree of scoffing disbelief)
“Are you still running?”
It would be fair to say that often I’ve used this blog to answer those questions – for myself, but also in terms of what it may say about the research and thinking in these areas in the hope readers will benefit from what I’ve written here as they seek answers for similar questions in their own lives.
Which brings me back to Running for Your Life. As in easing up on that.
Well, something happened recently that has finally put the question to rest. I will, as long as I am able, be running for my life. Now I have pretty clear evidence that that choice has saved mine.
I won’t go into all the why’s, the therefores, the subplots. It’s enough just to say this:
As regular readers of this blog know, I began running for therapeutic reasons. When I was 20 years old I had a near-death experience due to a blood-clotting horror. When I left hospital a shadow of my former self in 1976, I promised myself that I would get back to where I was before I’d been felled by a freak condition for someone as young as I was at the time.
I started by walking (referring to myself as “Gunsmoke” Chester, because my damaged leg moved like a wooden one), then jogging. Before the end of that year I was running every other day (daily and the leg-swell was too bothersome) and taking blood-thinners.
And so I have done. Faithfully running every other day for 41 years, through five decades. (For a long time I did stop the blood-thinners, but resumed taking them in 2001 (Subplot 1).
Fast forward to Saturday, March 18. I learned much to my considerable dismay that I’d been accidentally overdosing on my blood-thinners (Subplot 2). So much so that I was in real danger of internal bleeding (NOT good for the brain). In a Brooklyn emergency ward, doctors flocked to me. One kind doctor told me the health of my heart, my liver and kidney were extraordinary. Off the charts, he said. He didn’t say so, but he didn’t need to. The health of my organs saved my life.
And that can be traced back to running. I’m not an expert, but I firmly believe that.
So, yeah, here I go again. Running for Your Life.
Next: Running for Your Life: A Word About Knees