Heart problem, no problem for Shepard

By Matt Sandstead published February 3, 2006

Over the holiday break most students were at home relaxing. Sarah Shepard was not one of those students. While her teammates trained, Shepard was stuck in bed.

Before the 2005 cross-country season, Shepard underwent heart surgery to remove an extra AV node in her heart.

The AV node is the heart's natural pacemaker. Since Shepard had an extra, her heart was constantly fighting itself to keep a normal beat, which caused arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias are simply irregular heart patterns which, in most cases, are harmless. Unfortunately, this was not the case for Shepard.

"It would make me get really dizzy sometimes and I would pass out," said Shepard. "Sometimes, I would just lay in bed and my heart would jump up to 200 (beats/min)."
Shepard was bed-ridden for a good portion of the holiday break.

"[During the break] I was in bed all the time and I couldn't run," said Shepard. "It really took a toll on my fitness."

Shepard is currently recovering from the surgery but is not yet 100 percent.

Aside from that, Shepard still competed in the women's distance medley at the Air Force Invitational Feb. 3.

"I'm getting back into shape slowly," said Shepard. "It's really hard to take a break and get back into running shape."

UCCS freshman Jessica Hudson finished 29th in the 400 meter run and eighth in the 800 meter.

"It was hard to breathe up here today," said Shepard. "It's always tough to come up here [Air Force] and run."

 

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