Posts Tagged ‘Bolder Boulder’

Why We Fight

May 8, 2009

There’s no doubt about it, I’m blessed. Other than my hernia (Which has not hurt very much in the last week, thankfully!) I am in pretty good health. I can come and go as I please. I walk every morning, do my exercises, walk my steps and generally try to keep myself going.

Others are not as lucky as I am, through no fault of their own. Paul Cardall has Tricuspid Atresia, the same defect I have. I’m active, Paul is on oxygen and on the list for a heart transplant. But we could easily share the same fate. (If you’re looking for good music, check out Paul. Not only is he a fellow Heart Warrior, he is an awesome pianist!)

Elyana Twiggs describes her heart surgery in an article for The Daily Michigan; she was 15 years old at the time. She was like any child in that situation – scared to death and in great pain.

And then there are little guys like Colby, nine months old and already a member of the “Zipper Club”. And Lucas, the newest member of our blogroll. His first ride wasn’t in dad’s car heading for home, it was  in a helicopter going hell for leather to a hospital.

Paul and Elyana, Lucas and Colby. That’s why we fight; that’s why I’m heading to Colorado to participate in the Bolder Boulder with other members of the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

To stand up for those who can’t.

We’re moving on up!

May 5, 2009

Here’s an interesting research topic: A team of climbers and scientists climbed Mount Everest, and on the way up (and back down) they took Arterial Blood Gas readings from each other. As you may know, Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is 29,029 feet above sea level. That’s about five and a half miles up!

As they climbed and the air became thinner, the Partial Pressure of Oxygen readings in the sample dropped. However, the amount of Hemoglobin in the blood increased – our bodies can compensate to take care of itself! The readings showed that the extra hemoglobin was able to keep the body thinking that it was functioning at lower altitudes until the climbers reached 23,300 feet. After than, the air was too thin for the extra Hemoglobin to help.

When the group from Denver came to Philadelphia for the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) convention last year, they found out that this theory was true. Living in a city more than one mile above sea level had caused them to develop extra Hemoglobin molecules in their blood – not much, and certainly not outside of the acceptable ranges – but it was there. And when a couple of them decided to work out, they nearly ran the wheels off of the Fitness Center’s treadmills! The thicker air and that extra hemoglobin combined to give them an energy boost.

When I go to Boulder – which is a little higher than Denver – I fear that it is going to work in reverse for me. My blood oxygen is already at 80%, at rest, moving up in altitude will cause it to drop. That is one of the main reasons I’m not participating in the Bolder Boulder: I’m not used to the altitude, and I won’t have a chance to become acclimated enough to participate.

So I’m working hard now, walking every day and doing stair climbing exercises, and I’m going to take it easy in Colorado  – use my PulseOx a little more often than usual, chill out, and don’t get a burr under my saddle and decide I’m gonna whip that six mile course anyway. I have supplemental oxygen in the hotel room, just in case.

And my friends are all Funky Hearts too, so if I start falling apart at the seams, they’ll recognize the signs and come to my rescue!

Sea Level is for Sissies!

May 4, 2009

File a flight plan and warm up the jet, we’re going on a trip! The Funky Heart will be in Boulder, Colorado for the 31st Annual Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day, May 25, 2009!

The Bolder Boulder is pretty tough… the distance is 10 Kilometers, or 6.2136 Miles. That’s considered a short course in the running world, but the city of Boulder is at an altitude of 5, 430 feet above sea level – more than a mile high! That makes the Bolder Boulder quite the challenge; one of the race slogans is “Sea Level is for Sissies!”

But that’s nothing. Try running, walking, or jogging 6 miles at 5400 feet with a congenital heart defect… but that is what a group of my friends are going to do! The local chapter of the Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is going to participate in the race, for the fourth time. And I’ll be right there with them! I don’t plan to walk or run (There no way I could get acclimated to the altitude quickly enough) but I’ll be helping out, blogging from Boulder, and I plan to twitter on Memorial Day during the run.

We’re going to raise funds for the local ACHA chapter and raise awareness of CHD Survivors. It’s going to be great fun – the local ACHA chapter is doing a lot of different, but related events over Memorial Day weekend.  So if you’d like to join us at an event, email the Denver group at for more information. And if you see someone in an ACHA t-shirt zoom by during the race, cheer us on!

And stand united with a bunch of Funky Hearts as we Rock Boulder!