Running towards a new life
Jul 2, 2012 / 5:00 am
22 months ago, Lyle Stoneman's life changed forever.
Overweight and out of shape at 56 years-old, he suffered a serious stroke and woke up in hospital facing a bleak outlook.
"He was a 360 pound couch potato," says his daughter Kandace. "Most of my life, I've never seen him ever be active, really, a day in my life."
Once he came home, things were worse. "He came home from the hospital and he could barely walk. His arm would hit the fridge and he would barely know it."
But instead of retreating inward and giving in to this debilitating blow, Lyle decided he wasn't ready to quit. So he simply got up and started walking.
He started a little bit at a time on the treadmill, facing exhaustion after just a few minutes. But then, slowly but surely, Lyle found he could go a little longer and push a little harder.
"Then he started to run a little bit," says Kandace. "He took up running really to save his life."
10 months after his stroke, Lyle completed his first marathon, covering 42 kilometres in the process.
Now, one year after that, Lyle Stoneman is still running. Over 2,000 kilometres and counting so far in 2012 and the progress has been remarkable.
In 2011, he set a goal of completing a 10 kilometre race. At the beginning of this year, he set a goal of 2012 miles and now runs more than 10 km a day.
"One day at a time for me. I'm proud of what I've done. I hope I can maybe inspire and encourage others to not let themselves go and then have a stroke," says Stoneman.
At the end of June, he tested himself even further by completing 50 km of running (and sometimes walking) during the Scorched Sole Ultra race up Knox Mountain.
He considers himself lucky to have survived the stroke, but points out that he still suffers symptoms from the event and is on medication to prevent a relapse.
"It's not bad. They're small things compared to what some people go through."
Stoneman's message to others is really about prevention. "I think obesity is the big thing. A stroke is what happened because I was obese."
So heavy in fact, that he avoided stepping on the scale, especially ones which didn't go high enough to give him a reading.
"It's an embarrassing thing."
These days Stoneman is down to about 235 pounds and is more active than he has ever been, out pounding the running track at Ben Lee Park in Rutland at least six days a week, come rain or shine.
In the end, Stoneman hopes his story of survival will inspire others to believe that positive change is possible and to get active now before it's too late.
He wants to warn people of all ages to take the necessary steps to avoid having to go through the trials he faced after the stroke.
And most importantly, to never give up.
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