Eva's Ironman 70.3 for Heart Arrhythmia

Hi, I’m Eva. In 2021, I got diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia. Running helps me to deal with the condition's physical symptoms and mental impact. On June 3rd, my 27th birthday, I’ll be completing my first ever triathlon—the 2023 Ironman 70.3 Hawaii—and raising $2k for the American Heart Association to help fund research on arrhythmia treatment.

My Story

In March 2021, I landed in the ER because my heart was beating irregularly. A few weeks later, I got diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia. This diagnosis was challenging for me, both physically and mentally. For the first couple of months, I was constantly terrified of ‘dropping dead’ for lack of a better expression. I had to stop exercising and became fearful of anything that increased my heart rate.

Fortunately, after multiple tests, my cardiologist found my heart was strong and reassured me that I would not ‘drop dead’ although the arrhythmia felt really uncomfortable. She told me I could resume a moderate exercise routine as long as I attended regular checkups to evaluate the condition's progress. In May 2021, I went for my first run. Despite being scared, I managed to run 3 miles. My heart responded well, and it felt amazing!

The following 6 months were a rollercoaster as I learned to live with the daily symptoms that came with the arrhythmia. I realized that going for short runs in the morning made my physical symptoms more manageable for the rest of the day. Mentally, every run I completed reminded me that my heart was strong and contributed to reducing the anxiety the situation gave me. Once I managed to push through the initial fear, my morning runs became therapeutic for me, and I slowly started to run longer distances.

Exercising became my oasis.

In November 2021, with my doctor's approval, I signed up for my first half marathon. Unfortunately, a month before the event, I had to halt training while they ran tests to make sure it was okay for me to continue exercising. Luckily, they gave me the green light, but my longest training run was 7 miles due to the break. Nonetheless, on May 1st, 2022, I turned up to the race and, thanks to the support of friends who ran with me, finished it in 2 hours 15 minutes. It felt great!

I kept training and improved my half marathon mark to 1 hour 55 minutes. My goal for 2022 became to complete my first marathon. My cardiologist said she didn't recommend that I run several but greenlighted me for one, so I signed up for the 2022 Philadelphia Marathon. Unfortunately, an injury required me to defer my entry to November 2023. Instead of donating the funds without completing the race, I decided to aim for something even bigger: the 2023 Ironman 70.3 Hawaii on June 3rd, which also happens to be my birthday.

This event is a world-renowned triathlon that includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. I'm now training for it, determined to prove to myself that I can overcome obstacles that seem impossible at first. I still have arrhythmia and feel my heart skip hundreds of beats daily, but as time goes by I’m getting better at dealing with the symptoms and the stress the checkups give me.

I want to make the most out of this opportunity by using it to not only challenge myself but also to contribute to the development of treatments against arrhythmia and other cardiac conditions. For that, I need your help to raise $2k for the American Heart Association.

Any amount, no matter how little, will help to fund their research and improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. All your donations to this page will be sent to the organization.

Thank you for reading my story. See you at the finish line!
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Eva Esteban
Brooklyn, NY
American Heart Association
Registered nonprofit
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