Scott Wallace, head of the Chicago-based National Alliance for Health
Information Technology and chairman of the congressionally mandated
Commission on Systemic Interoperability, is well-known in the healthcare
industry as an IT pusher.
But after being hospitalized by a heart attack, Wallace, a lawyer, also
proved he can push himself just as hard.
Battling wet gusts of wind up to 30 mph, 40-degree
temperatures, an injured hip that led to a fall and battered knee,
Wallace completed the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 22, six months to the day
after his MI.
"It was just miserable," said Wallace, "but I finished. I went in with
a hip injury. At 14 (miles), my left knee gave out, and I went
tumbling. I lost a good 40 minutes sitting around in aid centers
waiting to be taped up. I was thinking, 'There's got to be some way when
you stop into an aid station to stop the clock,' but there isn't." His time? Wallace didn't want it published, so let's just say he's
going to have to at least double his efforts if he wants to challenge
winner Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya, who completed the 26.2 mile race in 2
hours 7 minutes 35 seconds, or, on average, 4 minutes 52 seconds per
Wallace, who said he followed doctor's orders and pared off 30 pounds
with an almost vegetarian diet, noted that medications posed a
challenge to his training regime and race strategy. Wallace countered
by organizing a care team that included his cardiologist, a dietitian,
an exercise physiologist, a chiropractor and a pharmacist for periodic
"David Lawrence's idea of care teams really works," Wallace said.
"Beta-blockers slow your heart down, and that makes it hard to run. The
dietitian and the pharmacist figured out I needed to eat more because
my body wouldn't burn fat the same way. They got me eating every two
miles some kind of gel paste."
The Chicago Marathon was his first, but Wallace said he's now focusing
on his next event, either the marathon in Memphis on Dec. 2 or one of
several in Florida in February. -- By Joseph Conn / HITS staff writer
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