uphill roadMost people who know me don’t know that I was born with two heart defects. That’s because I’ve always tried to stay active, and I’ve not used my defects as an excuse to not do anything. One of my defects is called Ebstein’s Anomaly, and it is quite rare. It has been known to be the cause of a young athlete’s sudden collapse (or even death) on the court or field. Even so, my cardiologist recommends that I stay active and limits me in only two areas: no running and no inclines.

I’m pretty stubborn and do pretty much whatever I want to do, but running is not one of those things. I’ve always wanted to run, but my heart problems have held me back. As a child, I would dream of running on the playground, but in real life I wasn’t able to run much at all.

As for inclines…those have never stopped me. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have gotten to class on time if I had relied on elevators and avoided the stairs. Also, I have loved hiking ever since I was a little girl. There’s nothing quite like getting to the top of a mountain (or, in these parts, hills they call mountains) and looking back down to where you started. The past several years I have hiked very little, and I didn’t realize how out of condition I had become until a couple nights ago. There is a road near my apartment that goes straight up hill. I have walked partway up it several times, but Thursday night I walked all the way to the top. Although I was panting by the time I got up there, I was quite proud of myself. Tonight was when the achiness really set in, though. As I was doing my usual walking tonight, I felt the burn in muscles I had forgotten I had.

In order to reach my ultimate goal, I’m going to have to start hiking more and walking up that steep road more often. From now on, though, I don’t think I’ll walk up it at night because it’s a scary hill to come down in the dark.


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