Tyler Smith, who had a heart transplant on Feb. 26, took part in the Vancouver Sun Run on April 17. He submitted this report to the Times Review:
For the Sun Run, I walked the first eight kilometres and ran the last two. My official time was about one hour and 45 minutes.
I had been running for about 3–4 weeks before the Sun Run because I knew that I wanted to be able to participate. My training goal was to be able to run 2.5 km because that was the length of the Shaw mini-run. I was able to attain that goal.
My doctors hadn’t necessarily wanted me to run at all during the Sun Run and, understandably, certain docs were concerned that even walking the whole 10 km was too much.
Different doctors, of course, have different opinions and I see more than a handful of different doctors. On my last hospital visit before the run I had told the doctor that my goal was to walk the 10 km and just cross the finish line but of course in my mind my real goal was to walk 8 and run 2.
It all went extremely well. I always wear a heart rate monitor on my wrist when I run and kept my heart rate at a constant 170 beats per minute during the run.
During heart transplantation, the surgeon must sever a main nerve that allows the brain to control the heart’s rate and also how my heart feels to me. With that nerve being severed and with this heart being so much smaller than my own had been, I no longer feel my heart pounding at high heart rate. It also takes longer for me to get my heart rate up and longer for it to slow back to normal.
After the run I felt really good but quite exhausted once my heart rate went back to normal. I must have still had some energy though as I walked home afterwards. On a separate note, because of my health having been stable for the last two months and because of the run going so well I was able to move home.