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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)


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


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

June Athlete of the Month

Slowly at a very steady pace the CLOT BUSTER StopTheClot polka-dots are spreading far and wide.

THANK YOU to ALL who have made a purchase so that they can help spread the work about blood clots and blood clotting disorders as well as inspire other blood clot survivors to get back doing what they loved doing either in sport or outside of sport.

Getting polka-dots out of people is very exciting to me because I am always asking to learn about the purchaser's blood clotting story.  I know that it is a bit forward but all stories intrigue me and I always find them fascinating.

June's Athlete of the Month is indeed a victim of my questions...

This lady just wanted to get her polka-dots and get out in Central Park to wear them proudly... but here I was asking away my usual set of questions and of course making in roads to see if she would be willing to share here story with a all of us... Well, THANKFULLY she was willing to share her story of survival from blood clots which you can read more about below.

So, please allow me to introduce to you ANGIE MOREFIELD!

1)   What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
I have been competing triathlon for about 4 years. I love pushing myself and seeing what I'm capable of physically and mentally.

2)  How did you get started in that sport?
I originally started doing triathlon for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program to help find a cure for blood cancers. It was a great program to learn the sport and help a great cause at the same time.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did) .
I am currently training for Ironman Mt. Tremblant on August 17th. I've been training since October. I've put lots of mileage on my bike, in the water and on my running for the legs to get stronger since my PE. This past Memorial Day weekend was the hardest and longest mileage yet in training. I was able to log about 200 miles on my bike, and about 20 miles running. Not to mention a couple open water swims all up in beautiful Lake Placid, NY.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
Last June I was training for what was then my 2nd Ironman competition. I had flown out to Lake Tahoe to do a Century ride with my brother. After a fantastic day riding 100 miles I then hoped on a red eye flight back to New York City. The next day I resumed my training but something felt off. Wasn't sure if it was the jet lag, the red eye, the NY humidity but something didn't feel right. I continued to train that week. On Saturday I was supposed to run 18 miles but could barely crawl through 4. The next day on Sunday (1 week after my Century ride) I went out for an 80 mile ride with friends. I couldn't ride up the same hills I had been able to ride up for the last 4 years. I just didn't have the breath or energy. I thought maybe I had allergies or some sort of exercise educed Asthma. The next morning, going to work I had a very difficult time walking up the Subway stairs. A close coworker looked at me and recommended I go to urgent care and just have my symptoms looked at. I thought nothing of it but agreed. When I got to urgent care they asked me 3 questions (1: had I done any recent travel, 2: do I have a history of blood disorders in my family, and 3: are you on birth control (I was currently on the Nuva Ring). When I said yes to all the questions they insisted I go to the ER immediately because they thought I had a Pulmonary Embolism. I was familiar with this because my mom had had 2 PE's in the past. But, how could this happen to me? Young, athletic, healthy. Quickly I learned it can happen to anyone.

 5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?
I was released from the hospital 4 days later. My doctor said I could try to run maybe a mile after 2 weeks. So I did. It was the hardest mile of my life. From there I just gratually started riding my bike at a studio and slowly running trying to get my lungs back. I even competed in a Tough Mudder 3 months after my diagnosis. Wasn't easy by any means, but I did it. I was on Rivaroxaban for 7 months and wasn't able to ride my bike outdoors for fear of crashing and bleeding out. The day I was able to ride outdoors again was with my brother. It was very emotional and I couldn't of been happier.

 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 love my bike. Miss Roo is her name. She's a black and pink Quintana Roo and she's gotten me through some rough times, races and emotional moments.
 7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
I currently train 6 days a week with 1 recovery day (thank god).

 8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
Being a California girl living in New York City, I love mexican food. But during training it's not the best food to generally eat before workouts. :) So, I will always still with a good cold beer immediately after a race or major workout to be my favorite.

 9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
I would love to go Greece some day. Do they have races there? :)

 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.
Coming back from having a PE while being so young and healthy has been quite the emotional rollercoaster. Being and athlete the frustration I've gone through with why my body won't respond the way it had in the past or the way I want it to can really screw with your head. But each day, I remind myself of my favorite mantra "What doesn't kill me makes me stronger" and I just keep swimming...or biking...or running. I'm so lucky to have supportive family members, friends and teammates who are always cheerleading for me and pushing me. The body is an amazing things. All I think about these days is the moment I'm going to be able to cross the finish line to my Ironman, and come back from one of the scariest moments of my life. #SUCKITPE

Angie - THANK YOU for sharing your story with us and giving us and insight of what you've been through and how you are able to battle the fear to move on.

Amazing that you are preparing for an Ironman.  I can't even begin to imagine what it takes to get to that place... someday I hope to find out.

However CLOT BUSTER nation is rooting for you from everywhere as you will represent the polka-dots during your training and racing.

Keep at it and here we are WISHING YOU THE BEST OF LUCK!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dealing with Injury...


I DON'T deal with injury well.

I try to push through it to the best of my abilities but I can't stop or slow down. 

It is specially frustrating when the summer season full of racing is just ahead.

No other option here but try to adjust and see what I can do heal and keep at it with getting the CLOT BUSTER STOPTHECLOT polka-dots rolling in order to spread the word.

Very much looking forward to be racing this coming Sunday.

I appreciate changing things up with introducing kayaking instead of swimming.  After 3 years of doing this race I am changing some things up to maybe get faster and provide some competition to the folks I've seen year after around this race down the Little Miami River in North Cincinnati.

Let's just hope that this injury that I am nursing let's me go to the speed I would like to go.

We will see on Sunday.

If you get the chance to change things up GO FOR IT and enjoy the new feeling or experience that may come my way.

For sure on Sunday I will enjoy the calm of kayaking down the river on an early summer morning before it is time to run and ride to the finish line.

Racing with the CLOT BUSTER STOPTHECLOT polka-dots in celebration of all blood clot survivors I know and those who I am yet to meet.  Knowing that these folks can overcome near death experiences is so inspiring that you can't help but to get out and attempt your best.

Cross your fingers for me so that I can make it through!

Thanks for the 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