WEATHERFORD, Okla. (KFOR) – If you’ve been going one way your whole life, it can take a while to realize that way might just be the wrong way.
For Billy Smith, who already belonged to a family with a history of heart disease, his life as a traveling salesman who didn’t exercise or eat right, was a sprint to trouble.
“I would get on the road and drive for work,” he recalls, “and eat at all the truck stops and fast food chains.”
It’s been less than 4 years since he suffered a heart attack at the age of 40.
“Chest pains, pains in my jaw,” he describes. “I sound like a heart attack Public Service Announcement, but that’s what it is.”
Forced to finally listen to the signals his body was sending, Smith had also developed adult onset diabetes.
Smith continues, “My surgeon told me my ‘widow maker’ artery was 100% blocked.”
By the time he left the hospital, Smith had a new determination to get moving.
“That was the day everything kind of changed.”
By the fall of 2020, Billy had run his first 5K race.
In 2022, he ran his first half-marathon.
Then, last spring, he finished his first full marathon, plus a number of other races.
Billy tells us, “Only .01% of people every run marathons so I wanted to become part of that club.”
He trains regularly now.
The heart is good.
His cholesterol is down.
His diabetes is under control, medications no longer needed.
Switching from running toward an early death to a longer, healthier life took a scare and some determination, but so far, so good.
He’s miles away from the man he used to be and getting farther with every step.
Smith credits an Apple Smart Watch with helping keep his training regimen on track.
He’s dedicating his latest run to World Diabetes Day, which is November 13, 2023.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center