Cycling Saved My Life!
I was always active as a young person and all the way through college. I ran cross country in high school and was very competitive. Once I got married I settled into a career became a bit more conservative with exercise. Life just got busy. I hiked quite a bit and did a bunch of rock climbing. When my first child was born things slowed down even more because I put my ropes away. I didn’t want to have a fall and leave my wife and child without a father. This began a downward spiral with my health. My life was all about work & family.
At 28 I was put on a prescription for high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I blamed genetics. That seemed like the easy excuse for a bad lifestyle. At 32 while getting my youngest daughter ready for bed I had a stroke. It started with tunnel vision and then a numb feeling in my arm. Then panic set in and I couldn’t remember basic facts (little things like my kids names, my doctor, my date of birth…) Panic was escalated and we made a very quick trip to the ER. Amazingly I had no lasting issues as a result of the stroke. That was my wake up call.
I began running because I knew that was something that I could do. It was slow at first but I knew that I could do well if I stuck with it. After a couple of years of running I decided to create some goals for myself. I decided to run a half marathon. I enlisted the help of a friend and we trained for several months. In May of 2009 I ran the Big Lake 1/2 in Alton. After completing that run we set our sites on the Manchester Marathon. The race was set for November. 3 weeks prior to the race I was finishing up a 16 mile training run when I hyperextended my left knee. I was out. After a few months of physical therapy I had to face the fact that running was no longer in the cards for me. I started getting depressed because the weight started coming back and my health was not what I knew it could be.
Another friend who was a cyclist kept hounding me to try riding. The idea of lycra didn’t really get me excited… After putting off the offers for a free bike to use for several months I gave in. I tried out the bike one night with a friend. That was a quick 10 mile ride that hooked me. I’ve been riding ever since.
I’ve dropped 45 pounds. My resting heart rate is in the low 50′s, blood pressure is 105/55 and my cholesterol levels are low. I now have time for my family, friends, live a healthy, active lifestyle, enjoy life and know how to manage stress through exercise.
The change in lifestyle brought on by my stroke saved my life. I truly look at the stroke as a life saving message to me from God. I survived and was given a second chance and I and my family are grateful for it.