New runner showing plenty of heart
Okotoks: Terry Siquiera running Sheep River Road Race 17 months after surgery
Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014 06:00 am
An Okotoks man is going for the run of his life when he tackles the Sheep River Road Race on Labour Day.
Terry Siqueira, 51, will lace up his runners for the 5km portion of the run some 17 months after having a quadruple bypass.
“I was told basically that I have a second-chance at life,” Siqueira said. “The doctor told me I could walk as much as I want and then I could start running slowly… After about a year, I started thinking if I could walk 10 or 15km, why couldn’t I run 5km?”
Siqueira had worked out regularly at Motion Fitness, but had noticed he was becoming winded quickly and had chest pains which he self-diagnosed as indigestions. When he went for a check-up, he ended up having a not-so-pleasant break from teaching music at St. Mary’s School.
“I was admitted to what I called ‘all-inclusive’,” Siqueira said with a chuckle. “Usually, they release you after the test and tell you to come back, but I was admitted right away.
“They told me they wouldn’t let me go because it was so serious… I was a ticking time-bomb.”
The surgery was successful, but his endurance level left him about five kilometres short of being able to run five kilometres.
After a year of walking, he started to do some slow running. All of these walk/runs were done on the treadmills at Motion Fitness.
“I thought at the gym, that if anything happens to me, all they will do is call EMS and I will be okay,” Siqueira said. “I walked in the Color Me Rad in Calgary (in late June) and I thought why couldn’t I do the Sheep River Road Race?”
He has since started running outside to build his endurance.
“I have been consistent with my exercise and I have learned to take care of myself,” he said. “If I feel stress from work — I will back off and make sure I will go for a walk or a run. Had I done this 20 years ago, I would be a lot better off.”
The teacher always makes a point of encouraging the younger people at the gym or on the Okotoks trail system for getting started at a young age.
While running has helped strengthen his heart, his wife Andrea continues to fill his heart.
She also happens to be an avid runner who has encouraged Terry every step of the way.
“Andrea took me by the Sheep River path (two weeks ago) and I ran 5k — slowly — but that was big for me,” Terry said. “
Andrea, who runs about five half marathons (21k) a year is also participating in the Sheep River Road Race— although she is considering running the 10km.
Terry admits he’s nervous about the run, but nothing like he was when he was laying in a hospital bed waiting for surgery.
“At night time, sirens go off from ambulance or STARS and I got so scared thinking this is how people end their life, they get no warning,” Terry said. “I was getting poked and prodded and I started thinking: ‘You don’t know how lucky you are. I could have been brought in as a corpse.’
“Labour Day is a big thing for me. I have never ran a race before… My legs feel great, and I have been eating well and I have been running.”
The Big Rock Runners out of Okotoks organize the Sheep River Road Race. It is an informal running club, which meets Saturdays at 9 a.m. at the Okotoks Recreation Centre for a casual run.