On February 10, 2011, I shared the story of my friend Nicki and her fight with heart disease. February is National Heart Month, but most especially, it is Go Red for Women Month. I wanted to go back and visit with Nicki and update you on how awesome she is and how she is getting along.
The picture of Nicki at the top of the post is from last month when she ran the Goofy Challenge (39.3 miles over two days) at Disney World with her husband, Steve. Steve ran the Dopey Challenge which is 48.6 miles over four days. We texted back and forth through their whole trip. To say they inspired me is an understatement. Here’s what Nicki had to say about the experience….
“The Disney Goofy Challenge was the most fun I have ever had running. Disney keeps you entertained every single stride. The miles flew by. Steve and I laughed and talked most of the way. As I ran through my favorite childhood memories and ones Steve and I have built with Luke (their son), I took some time to reflect and be thankful for all I have. I had just passed the 4 year anniversary of my heart attack making it all just a little more bittersweet. I’ve learned so much over the last four years and I have so much to be thankful for. The Goofy Challenge was something I put on my bucket list after my first surgery in 2010. In early 2013 on the anniversary of my heart attack, I was told another ablation was necessary. February 22, 2013 was my second ablation and Steve promised me if I did everything the doctors told me, he’d do the challenge with me. As Steve and I crossed the finish line, I was so proud of him for doing all four races in the Dopey Challenge, I was grateful for how far I had come and look forward to more. The story always continues and there will always be bumps in the road. The Disney Goofy Challenge taught me to take it on with a smile and you will sail through just fine. I never hit a wall, I never felt like I needed to stop. It was the most positive and rewarding experience. From the amazing volunteers, the child like joy that filled me, the Disney entertainment, each stride of the race made it one of the most memorable experiences ever.”
Nicki speaks at functions for the American Heart Association. She is the most positive person I know. There is nothing that gets her down. At least not for any length of time. She has learned what is important and what’s not and she passes that along in her speeches. She gets it. She has learned the hard way with everything she has been through, but learned she did. She is one of the very reasons that I am on this fitness journey of mine. She is the one who first pushed me and told me I could do it. She continues to do that still.
This past week, I got this text from Nicki…I have to have another EP (electro physiology) study and possible ablation on February 21. Not feeling as bad as last year, but something’s up. The doctor says it’s best to just go in and figure it out. I am FINE to still run and coach up until my procedure. I will only need 2 days of rest after. So no big deal and I’ll be back at it. Glad were catching it and handling it. I always know when something’s up with my body, I just have to listen to it.
See what I mean about positive. Nothing gets this girl down. She’s going in and taking care of things and then it’s back to business as usual. I did have to laugh when I read the text. Notice how she has the word fine in all caps? I gave her a hard time before about continuing to run before her last test and ablation. This time, she’s cutting me off at the pass before I can say a word. She’s awesome!!
Now, here’s what I would like you to do. February 7th is National Wear Red Day. For more than 10 years, the American Heart Association has sponsored National Wear Red Day to raise awareness in the fight against heart disease in women. Let’s all wear red and wish Nicki the very best of luck with her procedure. Let’s also remember how important it is to take care of ourselves and our hearts. Diet and exercise are a huge part of that. So, let’s keep up the good fight. Health and fitness can be ours. We just have to want it and do all the right things to get there. We can do this together.
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