Once again this year, we asked you to tell us, Why do you run Canada Army Run? We received several inspiring stories, and are pleased to announce this year’s winner, Pierre Guindon from Ile Perrot, QC. Guindon will be running the Canada Army Run with Sergeant Audrey Gravelle on Sunday, September 21, 2014.
This story has many starting points, and the ending has not yet been written yet.
First, a bit of personal background. I started running in my late teens, early 20s. I completed many triathlons and 10K events. Like most, all stopped when I started a family. It wasn’t until many years later, when the boys were finishing grade school that I returned to an active lifestyle, in the process dropping a sizeable amount of weight.
I ran, swam and lifted. Then I caught the bug and the thought came: “If I train smart I could complete my first marathon, and who knows…maybe more.”
Over a one year period, using a proper plan, I clocked over 1859km with the 2013 Ottawa Marathon six weeks away.
On the morning of March 27th, my wife walked into our bedroom to find me laying on the floor clinically dead, no pulse, no breathing. She administered CPR while my youngest son dealt with 911. Presumably, it took the first responders many long minutes to get to me and paddle me — and once would not be enough. My body apparently, took a few swings at these men and collapsed. After the 2nd paddle session they thought it would be wise to restrain me for transport.
At the hospital they dumped my body in a bag filled with ice, this is meant to slow down oxygen depletion and cell decay and administered some anti-convulsion treatment. They prepared my wife for the worst. The fear was that too much damage had been done to the brain due to the lack of oxygen.
What doctors needed while I laid there in a bed of ice, was a sign of a working brain. I was still in restraints, with my wife, Sandra, holding my free hand. She pointed out to the doctor that I had a repetitive hand gesture, as if I was trying to spell with my fingers. It was presumed to be some autonomous twitch. Sandra placed the doctor’s pen in my hand and held his clip board. I scribbled like a two year old H2O. “He’s thirsty”! And suddenly I was en route to a second hospital for surgery.
Days later, following a quadruple by-pass, when the induced coma was lifted, I woke to the sound of my wife’s voice telling me everything was going to be OK. My first words to her were “will I run again?” Recovery was off to a quick start: relearning to walk over a few days. Putting on distance meant two laps of the hallway. The test allowing for me to go home was completing one flight of stairs. All was going very well very quickly.
One day, after a sizeable hospital lunch, I was getting comfortable, ready for a nap when a team of medical staff barged into my room with the crash cart.
“Are you OK”?, the staff asked. “Yes, try next door…I’m fine.” They moved me to a different room, closer to the nursing station. It was later explained to me that I had started fibrillating and was a prime candidate for sudden cardiac arrest. That night the nurse would sit outside my room facing in. The immediate goal had changed, I needed to be more stable for a second operation. I remember those long nights falling asleep staring at the monitor hoping for an event-free sleep. To this day, any day I wake up is a good day. A defibrillator was implanted in my chest and I was sent home after a few days later. I haven’t seen proper sleep in long, long time.
After I returned home, I started walking longer distances. Eventually walking and jogged on the treadmill. We’re not talking 10s and 1s but quite the reverse. After a few more months, I began to run more than I walked. Ottawa owed me a marathon, and I was fighting back. Less then a year later I completed my first half marathon, 2nd to last, the volunteers where gone and most of the setup was in the back of the trucks. Very humbling. Next up: Canada Army Run.
iRun the Canada Army Run, so we can all appreciate that whatever our challenges maybe we owe it to ourselves push forward.
iRun the Canada Army Run so others will say “I can too”.
iRun the Canada Army Run so I can say “I can too”.
iRun the Canada Army Run for my family for everything they have done for me.
I wake up, it’s a good day, I run it’s a great day. Completing the Canada Army Run will be an excellent day.
I read and googled a fair amount on my condition. Surprisingly, we are everywhere. Men, and surprisingly, so many women. There are a couple of things I would like to advocate if given the opportunity:
Better lifestyle choices: Physical activity and proper nutrition can be a life saver. Those 1859 kilometres of training can help save your life, minimize the sequel and provide a better recovery. Off course we run, we are runners because we are compelled and somewhat addicted.
CPR training: it can make heroes and survivors. I urge you to learn CPR, it can save a life and only takes minutes to learn—it might even help me finish my run some day.