Friends and family, please get your heart checked.
After I finished Ragnar, I heard the sad story that one of the runners on another team passed away during the race. I'm not sure what caused it--but it's probably what kills almost every runner in a race: massive heart attack from an unknown congenital heart defect.
I went to my doctor even though I don't have family history for heart disease or defects and got an EKG.
That EKG showed signs of a very small issue, something I can't pronounce or remember, that basically means that the right side of my heart is a bit weaker than the left. At least, that's what I think it means.
My Dr. said she had no problem letting me run and that most people have some sort of something with their bodies--this one was very very common, in no way an issue, but because I specifically asked, she was going to send me to a cardiologist.
My cardiologist is a nut ball in a great way--she's a middle european (not sure which small czech like country she's from) and full of energy. When she directed me to walk over to my GP across the hall to get my blood work, the receptionist was like "oh, you must be seeing Dr. Hausner...hang on." and went to get my files.
I loved her immediately. She did an echocardiogram and another EKG, all the while telling me about why I should drink Kefir and how good it would be for my bones (my calcium in my bloodwork is in the acceptable range, God knows what set her off)
After the tests, we got the same results and just to cross off all possibilities, I'm doing a full stress test next week.
As much of a hassle as it is, it's a great fear of mine to drop dead in the middle of a race. It's just as much of an irrational fear as my fear of being that person in the first 5 minutes of law and order who discovers the body...but it happens to a small percentage of the population, and I want to make damn sure I'm not in those numbers.
If anyone in your family has a heart issue, no matter how small, please go and get an EKG. They take no time whatsoever, and they may save your life.
When I told my boss that I had to work from home today because of when and where my cardiologist appointment was, his ears perked up, then when I told him why I was going, he said that a friend of his was a Marine, did races, etc...and dropped dead of a massive heart attack while doing a 5k.
None of what I'm saying is meant to scare you, it's just meant to tell you that even healthy people have heart attacks--because they don't know if they have any issues that aren't disease or life style related! Ask for an EKG at your GP's. It seriously takes 30 seconds and it's worth it if it saves your life.