Yes, it is a story about changes to my fitness goals, but NO, this is not related to New Years. The decision I came to began to form in November and was finalized in mid-December. In the name of accountability, I hinted of it on my Facebook post of the 23rd.

Background: Early in the morning on November 11th, 2019 I was sitting at my mother’s kitchen table talking with her and my brother when something happened that changed my life. Over the course of about three seconds, I felt a numbness travel across the left side of my face and down my left arm. I didn’t say anything initially as I sat there analyzing what was happening while still chatting with my family. About two minutes in, my mind traveled to stroke. My mother had one several years ago and my older brother did as well… was this a stroke?

I asked my brother casually, “When you had your stroke, what did it feel like coming on?” He informed me that he didn’t really even notice what was happening as someone else pointed it out to him. I mentioned what I was feeling (again, very casually) and asked him if he thought I should run up to the ER – just to be safe. We decided it would be a good idea and I slipped out without alarming anyone and drove to the emergency room about a mile away.

Walking in, I waited in line for another patient and then calmly told the receptionist, “I think I may be having a stroke and thought I should get it checked out.” She immediately got on the intercom and called out a stroke alert and within seconds, I was on my way to a ER bed and being tested for stroke symptoms. I took all the standard tests for stroke and passed with flying colors. They then did an MRI with and without contrast, an echo cardiogram and a couple other tests. Although they found nothing, they suggested I be be admitted to the hospital.

It sounded silly at the time, but I was scheduled to take a trip the next day to LA and Seattle for my birthday and told them that I would go see my own doctor when I returned from my trip but was not about to miss it.

Fast forward a few weeks and after a great vacation and a dozen more MRIs, MRAs, echos, doctor and neurologist visits and blood workups I decided the best thing would be for me to drop some weight and eat better. The white coats went through diagnoses from Multiple Sclerosis (ruled out 100% after some tests) back to stroke. The consensus now appears to be that I had a TIA stroke in my thalamus and the only symptom was the numbness – which went away almost 100% over the course of a few days. I can still feel minor numbness in my lips on the left side and a couple of my fingertips.

The Plan: Before I headed to Arlington for the Texas High School Football State Championships, I had already made up my mind that I was going to do a half-marathon (13.1 miles) in 2020. I even found my target event in November of 2020.

I do not intend to hit it too hard (hence the 11 month time frame.) I want this to be a lifestyle change. Right now, I am running very short runs alternating between running and walking and have already lost 10 pounds since THE EVENT.

In future posts I will talk about my training schedule, my dietary tweaks, my successes and failures – heck, even equipment like my new Apple Watch, shoes, apps etc. If the idea of a non-runner Clydesdale transforming into an actual runner interests you, join me and/or share your stories. Thanks

by Chris Doelle