Are you a runner?

Five years ago I had surgery to repair an abdominal hernia. While I was in recovery, I kept setting off an alarm because my heart rate was so low. The nurse came in to check on my to make sure I was okay. I was okay. I set the alarm off again. She came in again to find that I was still okay. I kept setting off the low heart rate alarm. The nurse came in the third of fourth time and finally asked, “Josh, are you a runner?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“That explains it.”


“Runners usually have a really low resting heart rate”

Early in the year I had a non-cancerous mole-like thing removed from my tongue. It was a quick procedure performed by an oral surgeon, but was still considered surgery, so I had the heart rate monitor (and some laughing gas).

I set the heart rate monitor off again. While I was on my little conscious “trip,” I decided to try to trick the machine. I focused on my breathing and controlling my pulse. I would hold my breath for a few seconds and focus on the doctor holding onto my tongue, and then I’d listen to the rhythm of the heart rate monitor. Then I’d slowly inhale through my nose, and take a really long, controlled exhale and concentrate on my heart. I could slow my heart rate. I’d set off the alarm. I’d get a little excited by “winning,” and my heart rate would increase a bit and the alarm would stop. And then I’d do it again. And again. And again. And then the nurse asked, “Josh, are you a runner?”

“Uh huhnnn.”

“Today I took a spill after running a strong 10-mile hill repeat training running. I was jogging home and tripped on a split in the sidewalk. My feet came out from underneath me and, before I knew what I was doing, I hit the ground. Hard. I rolled. I scraped up my palms, knee and shoulder. I first noticed that the wind had gotten knocked out of my lungs. I’d landed on my right side and landed on my right arm. My body landed on my right elbow and said elbow hit my ribs. After a few minutes I was able to recover and jog the last mile home.

After six or so hours, Elise and I decided I needed to go to the doctor. It hurt for me to breath, reach, bend, stretch, and pretty much exist.

We went to an urgent care. The nurse and then the doctor asked me all of the the questions about my symptoms. An x-ray was ordered.

The X-ray tech took me to the X-ray room. She lined me up against the plate against the wall for a chest X-ray. She then went back to her “room” to take the X-ray. She took a few photos. And then she restarted the process. She sighed a couple times as she took the next set of photos. And then she asked, “Josh, are you a runner?”

“Yes ma’am.”

And then she chuckled as she came back into the room. I asked, “What’s up?” She said she couldn’t get a full view of my chest with the default X-ray plate. I asked why. She told me that runners have “really long” lungs. So she had to get the large X-ray plate to get a full scan of my chest.

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