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Friday, August 01, 2014

August Athlete of the Month

How is August already here?

Now that my oldest is attending the official school system our mindset about summer is taking a serious re-adjustment.

We can't no longer plan for get aways or races in late summer or fall that are not exclusively on the weekend.

And then WE are going to start fall soccer and I say "WE" because now it is going to be a family project... I will be the coach of a group of 1st graders looking to learn about soccer.  This proposition either will turn out to be an amazing experience or it could turn out to be a complete disaster... Stay tuned as I will do my best to keep you posted.

Speaking of interesting experiences getting to know the clotting story of this month's CLOT BUSTER Athlete of the Month really blew my mind.  Not only because of where it went down but how the road to recovery has shaped this young individual on to a youngish adult who is training for the NYC Marathon and enjoy life each and every day.

Please let allow me to introduce to you AMARIS WHITE your AUGUST CLOT BUSTER ATHLETE OF THE MONTH!

Read on to find out about her extraordinary story...


1)      What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I've never considered myself an athletic person, and I've always been a bit of a klutz, but over the last few years running has become a huge part of my life--for social, mental, and health reasons. It helps me clear my mind of daily stresses and gives me a social outlet. Most importantly, running saves my life.

2)      How did you get started in that sport?
I used to run high school track, but I was never much good. I started running during my third year of law school to clear my head. It was a good way to de-stress and be outside.

3)      What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I'm training for the NYC marathon! After my DVT doctors told me I would never be able to run again. Running had never been a huge part of my life. I had run two half marathons in the year before my leg clotted, and I was really upset to hear I'd never be able to do so again. Five post-DVT half marathons later...I'm determined to be better and stronger than I was before and run my first 26.2!

4)      Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
My clotting episode was particularly traumatic because I was traveling abroad in Malaysia with my friends. It was two years ago, and I was only 25 years old. My roommate and I went out for dinner one night, and suddenly my leg became tight and swollen, and within an hour I could no longer walk. My leg was a darkish color and progressively more and more painful, and my foot was becoming blue. It took doctors two days to diagnose me, and when they finally did, I learned that I had one giant blood clot going from my left ankle all the way to my heart. I received the wrong treatment because the Malaysian doctors had never seen a clot as bad as mine!
I ended up flying to Japan (where I have family) to get treated more aggressively and was in the hospital for a month. The doctors discovered multiple PEs, gave me an IVC filter (which ended up getting stuck), and they hooked me up to an IV to melt my clot. Unfortunately the treatment wasn't aggressive enough, and by the time I was back in NYC, my clot had become scar tissue. Doctors told me the clot was now permanent and that I would probably not run again.
Thankfully I found a doctor in California that removed my IVC filter, gave me a stent, and has been more aggressive with my treatment. With his help and a lot of exercise/running, I have been able to get to where I am now. Overall, I have had seven surgeries in four hospitals over the course of about four months. I'm on xarelto and a baby aspirin, maybe for the rest of my life.
 
5)      When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
It took me a while, but I finally started going to the gym about four months after my initial diagnosis. I think this time would have been shorter had I initially received aggressive treatment.
The first few weeks of working out were terrible. My leg was filled with permanent scar tissue (clots become hard after the first few weeks) and the blood could go in my leg, but not out. I definitely wanted to just go home and give up. But I kept going to the gym every day and gradually pushed myself to walking, jogging, running. The more I pushed myself, the more my body compensated by making new collateral veins. Running was therapy. The more I ran, the healthier I became.
6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? (Bike brand, running shoes, perhaps a running singlet or the Clot Buster's
Running Polka-Dot Technical Shirt...)
I would definitely love to get my hands on a polka-dot technical shirt, but for now my favorite new toy is my Garmin Forerunner 10 watch. It's simple--keeps track of time, distance and pace. I can leave all other technology behind and focus on just my run.
7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
Currently with marathon training, I'm trying to do 4-5 times per week. It's not easy while working, but I'm doing my best. Weekends are for my long runs and I will definitely be sure to do all those runs!
8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
Lately I've been getting into chocolate milk. Gives me protein and calories--and it's delicious!
 
9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
That's a tough question. I love to travel and want to see the whole world (and space). At the top of my list right now are Taiwan, Korea, and Iceland.
10)  What would like to say to someone who is going through a clotting episode, perhaps very similar to yours?  How can people return to do what they enjoy? Tells about your concerns and what you look out after as you got back.
Don't give up. Don't let yourself become the victim. DVT and PEs are horrible, and they can derail your entire life and leave you with lifelong physical struggles. But with patience, discipline and sheer determination, it is possible to make a recovery and be better and stronger than before. Your body is amazing, and if you work with it, you can make enormous progress. When I first started running, I honestly could not imagine that I would be running multiple half marathons a year and training for the NYC marathon. But I took it one day at a time, and I slowly realized that my body was capable of a lot more than even I realized, and so I kept pushing. You can too! :)
 
Thank you for your amazing and inspirational website!! I'm sure there are many people that read this and are motivated to keep going!

I don't know if there's space for this, but I am trying to share my DVT/PE story by getting on the cover of Runner's World Magazine. People are allowed to vote daily and any support would be great (Runner's World picks 5 men/women to interview to be on the cover of the magazine. Social medial helps, but you don't need to be top 5 to get an interview. I just want to be on their radar so they will hopefully share my story.)

http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/1003/

Also I'm trying to keep up a blog where I talk about DVT and my learning experiences. My goal is to post weekly with an update on my marathon training. I learned a lot about DVT and recovery through debacle and hope that this site can be a small resource to someone!

www.fightdvt.com

Sadly blood clots can happen to anyone and at anytime.  But how we overcome the challenge that clots throw in front of us can be the galvanizing force that can shape the rest of our lives.

Certainly Amaris is an example of that process.  THANK YOU so much for sharing your story with all of us.

Please be sure to vote for her to see if we can one of us CLOT BUSTER Stop The Clot Athletes on the cover of Runner's World.  Go ahead vote for Amaris and VOTE OFTEN!!!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, July 28, 2014

Don't Train Like I Train...

Based on my results from last Saturday EVIDENTLY I am not doing too well...

After several days of playing the race back in my head I have to say that I AM VERY LUCKY to be able to participate and complete the event.

Since the accident on June 22nd it has been a battle to get back to form and shake out both the internal and external injuries.  But getting to cross that finish line last weekend it was a sensational feeling!

It was a tremendous feeling to overcome the last several weeks and despite the stomach cramps my soul was dancing because I was able to finish.

Now, clearly something I consumed between the start of the race and the start of the run did not sit well with me. 

I have a number of guesses as to what it could have caused the issue but I can't be sure... Also, I DID NOT DO ENOUGH and LONG ENOUGH BRICKS...

 
 If you listen to me at all please listen two things...

1)  Get your CLOT BUSTER StopTheClot  polka-dots to CELEBRATE ALL BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS and TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT BLOOD CLOTS and BLOOD CLOTTING DISORDERS.

2)  When you are training for triathlons make sure you do ENOUGH BRICK WORKOUTS to get your body ready!

This season has been up and down but outside of more "bricks" I would not change anything.

Being at the back of the race provided me the chance to extensively talk about the CLOT BUSTER StopTheClot polka-dots and why I was wearing my jersey. 

LOVED THE OPPORTUNITY to spread the word and hopefully I said enough to get people to remember STOPTHECLOT.org

So, on we go.

Working on building in some more "bricks" as I have two more long races coming up.  I am looking forward to them and hopefully see some more polka-dots out there racing with me!

Keep it at it!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, July 03, 2014

July Athlete of the Month

The CLOT BUSTER Stop The Clot polka-dots are truly going global!

Never in my wildest dreams I would have imagined that this simple polka-dots that represent this cause of creating awareness for blood clots & blood clotting disorders and to celebrate blood clot survivors found their way to AUSTRALIA!!!

Soon enough I will have to put up a world map and start pinning all the places where the polka-dots are going...

Of course the polka-dots are not getting anywhere without the valiant participation of a blood clot survivor or a family member willing to spread the word.  In this case, the CLOT BUSTER Stop The Clot polka-dots were requested by TIM GUNTON who his a blood clot survivor living in Tasmania and your JUYLY ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.

Why is Tim July's Athlete of the Month you ask...?!?!

Well, how about I allow him to tell us on his own words via the report he filed to me about his latest athletic achievement...

Please read and get INSPIRED!

"
I thought I would give you a brief rundown on m Ironman at Cairns so here it is:

 I won an entry into Cairns Ironman through Wiggle and High5 so someone does win those competitions! I found out I had won the entry about 8 weeks prior to the Ironman which was quite ironic considering my history. Cairns is about a 4 & ½ plane flight from Launceston, so the day before flying I thought I had better see my Doctor and ask what precautions I needed to take prior to flying. My Doctor advised that seeing my INR was steady at 2.7 that I would not need any Clexane, just wear compression sock, do the standard leg exercises , stay hydrated and no alcohol. The conversation changed to how much exercise I should be doing (I occasionally run with my Doctor so he  has an idea about running and exercise) he advised me that there is no set limit, however whatever I make sure I take it easy. So I told him on my holiday I might do a little swimming, maybe a little bit of bike riding and a few easy runs, he warned me about being careful on the bike so I said I would not ride in any packs. The good news was my Doctor did not say not to do an Ironman  - he will probably point out to me that I did not tell him I was planning to do an Ironman! (the reason I did not tell him was I knew what he would say and this way I did not completely ignore his advice). It was about 14 weeks since my second PE – which forced me to pull out of Melbourne Ironman in March this year and about 13 months since my first bilateral PE that forced me to pull out of Cairns last year. I am now on Warfarin for life.

 My support crew (my wife Sharon, who competed the year before) arrived in Cairns a few days before the race and I did a few short easy runs and rides, there was another fellow Tasmanian who I had trained with, Maggie, doing the race so it was great to have her and her son (Tom) with us. As Tasmania where I live is the coldest state in Australia and Cairns is in the tropics I thought the heat could be a problem, little did I know that on the day of the Ironman it would be the coolest June day in Cairns since 1967 and that it would literally rain all day. 2 days before the race I bought a sleeveless wet suit and this was the best investment I have ever made, as there is a small chance of being marine stingers in the water wetsuits are allowed and are advisable in the swim, I tried the sleeveless wetsuit out the day before the race and it felt incredible, it provided buoyancy even though it felt like I was not wearing a wet suit – in a full sleeve wetsuit I have always felt constricted in the chest and I did not want that uncomfortable feeling which can lead to shortness of breath.

 To the day of the race: The first thing I did was write a motivational message on my forearm, for me his motivational message was quite easy – I recently joined a Facebook page called I run for Michael, where basically runners team up with kids and adults that through different reasons are unable to run. The week prior to the Ironman I was matched with my buddy Chris, so I was lucky enough to be able to dedicate my Ironman to Chris , so I wrote on my arm ‘I Tri 4 Chris’.  Lining up at the mass start of the swim I made my way to the back of the pack and tried to stay calm (trying not to think about my first triathlon where I got pulled out of the water after 100m after suffering panic attack and thinking I could not breath). I started slowly and kept a comfortable pace for the whole swim and did not feel any discomfort with my breathing for the whole swim and finished the swim in 1 hour 33 minutes, I was aiming for 1.40 to 1.45 so I was quite happy. In T1 I sat down and took my time to dry off and get changed, remembering that I was there to complete the event not to set any records, so I took 14 minutes

On to the bike leg, I planned to ride smoothly for the whole distance and watch how my breathing was going and slow down if my breathing felt labored, I planned to take it fairly easy and average about 25kph to do the ride in a little over 7 hours. I averaged 28kph for the first 100k’s and felt pretty good, there were a few hills but they weren’t too bad, a few times I started to push it a bit, but thought I had better slow down a little. As expected the last 30 k’s or so was a bit hard and there was a slight head wind but I looked at my motivational message and made it to the end of the ride. The ride took 6hrs 37 minutes and it rained the entire time on the bike, which was probably a good thing because it kept me cool and made sure I watched my speed. I averaged 27.2kph on the ride so I was happy with that, once again in T2 I took things nice and easy and fully changed – this time taking 8 minutes.

Starting the run I knew I had 8 ½ hours to complete the Ironman before the cut-off time so I thought I could take it easy without pushing it, I ran/walked the first 12 k’s in 1hr 30, at 7.30 km pace. This left me with about 7 hours to complete to last 30k’s, I still didn’t have any pain in my lungs or chest and I thought I would not take any chances so I changed to a quick walk for the last 30k’s, during the run which was 3 x 14k loops I passed my wife about 6 times and received fantastic support from her. Surprisingly to 30k walk in the rain went quite quickly as there was a lot of opportunity to talk to other competitors who were also having long walk breaks. I had a few short jogs to keeps the legs moving but nothing for over 200 metres.  I finally made it to the 41k mark and knew that I would finish the event with a final look at my motivational quote and a thank you to Chris, I was near the finishing chute I saw my wife Sharon and had a quick cuddle, then it was onto the finishing chute where I heard the words “Tim Gunton You Are An Ironman” I felt pretty good, I had a quick bite to eat in the recovery area, then I went to see Sharon, as it was still raining we decided to head back to the Hotel.

My run time was the same as the bike 6 hrs 37 minute at 9.24 min per k pace, for a total time of 15 hrs 11 minutes, which was 1 hour under my estimated time. Throughout the race my lungs/chest felt pretty good, there was the odd pain now and then but it only lasted a few seconds, after showering and more food and a beer I laid down and tried to sleep, this was probably the time I was most worried as we know once the exercise stops there is the fear of possible chest/lung pain – luckily I had almost no pain at all that night and the next few days basically no pain either.  Apart from a few blisters on my feet and tight quads I was relatively pain free after the Ironman.

That is basically it for my Ironman experience, I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to complete an Ironman after having a couple of PE’s and being a warfarin lifer, but I also believe that almost anything is possible if you cover all the risks and take it easy – and always check with your Doctor before doing anything (just sometimes don’t tell him/her the full story)

Regards

Tim Gunton"
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE is one saying that has pulled me through many difficult situations throughout my life.  Without a question it helped Tim push on and achieve the finish line of his Ironman event as a  survivor of multiple blood clotting events.

I am AMAZED of what survivors can do.

Can't help but to be inspired by the story that was shared with you above.

I can't wait to hear what will be Tim's next adventure but one thing is for sure blood clots WILL NOT BE STOPPING HIM NOR EVEN SLOW HIM DOWN!

Thank you for sharing your story Tim.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

 
 

My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 60th Triathlon Finish !!!
First Time ever My Son got to cross the finish line with me. Without a doubt a Wonderful Experience