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I’m a runner. It just so happens that I’ve also had a couple of heart surgeries.

When I was 14, I was told that I had an aortic insufficiency that would ultimately lead to heart surgery. I didn’t let it stop me, even playing lacrosse in college. After my first year of college and a great lacrosse season I was told my heart couldn’t take it anymore and I needed to be operated on. My first surgery was a success at the time, but resulted in only a four-year fix.

I had my second heart surgery at 23. That surgery was much more successful by all accounts. I felt great and immediately started running again. I ran my first marathon 15 months after that surgery and want to keep the journey going.

I’ve never been overweight, never eaten poorly, never pumped my body with harmful drugs. Some things, like a heart-related birth defect, are just beyond our control. Running makes me feel like I have some of that control back.

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