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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

August Athlete of the Month

Are we feeling the heat...?!?!

I can't get enough I have to confess...The hotter the better for me.

But although it is hot I need the inspiration that I can harvest from reading the SURVIVAL STORIES of BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS I am fortunate to learn about.

Overcoming the challenges of blood clots is a journey that is unique for every individual.  But it is a journey in which you can re-discover yourself and come back as best as you can.

Certainly the story you can read below can serve as a perfect example of that inspiration and commitment to overcome and never stop.

Please allow me to introduce to you ANGELA STANSKI who is a member of the 2016 Team Stop The Clot that will be running the TCS NYC Marathon in November.

If you can and wish to donate to Angela's Fundraising effort please click HERE to access her page.

Please read on and take it all in!

"It happened so fast that it almost seems like a bad dream.  The picture on the left was taken during the Steamtown Marathon in October 2013.  I was on my way to running a 4 and a half minute PR from the previous year's marathon and feeling terrific.  I was in the best shape of my life.  Fast forward to about two weeks after that, I started getting out of breath doing normal things, like walking up stairs, and my resting heart rate was higher than normal.  I thought that I was just trying to do too much too soon after the marathon and that I was a little overtrained.  I was having a bit of an annoying chest pain with deep breaths, but nothing that set off any alarms in my head.  
I kept running during the week with friends, feeling winded at an what should have been an easy effort, and by the Saturday run with my local run club, I ended up cutting a run short and walked it back two miles after going that far out.  Friends asked if I was ok because it was so unlike me to be walking, and I said yes.  Something was wrong, but I had no idea the seriousness of it.  I went home and rested.

Sunday, things got worse.  I remember having a panic attack; crying on the floor of my bedroom, my heart was racing, I was short of breath and my lips looked a tinge of blue to me.  My husband helped to calm me down and wanted me to go to the ER.  I got control of my breathing and not wanting to believe I wasn't invincible, I convinced myself that I was just hyperventilating and that I would be fine.  In hind sight, I absolutely should have went to the hospital.  But I didn't.
I am so thankful that I woke up on Monday.  That morning I started coughing up blood.  That answered the question right there about something really being wrong.  I headed to the walk in clinic and was seen by a nurse practitioner.  My oxygen level was ok and because of the shortness of breath and breathing pain, she was talking about pneumonia or costochondroitis.  I told her this was very unusual for me and what she was she was saying didn't explain the blood because I wasn't coughing much.  I know she didn't want to jump to worst case scenario, but she decided it was questionable enough to send me for a CT Scan.  I was told to head right over to the hospital.

I did just that.  I remember having a hard time walking from my car to the hospital.  I felt short of breath and dizzy, as if I was going to pass out.  After the CT scan, I was told I needed to talk to the nurse practitioner who was on the phone.  As if she couldn't believe it herself, she told me I had multiple blood clots in both lungs.  I thanked her for sending me for the test, and I shudder to think what would have happened if I went home from her office with one of the alternate diagnoses. 
I was taken from the CT room to the emergency room.  From there, an ambulance came to take me to a bed at another hospital. Things went from bad to worse.  I developed pleurisy and an infarction and I couldn't breathe without an intense amount of pain.  I cried a lot.  But that only made things worse, because it involved taking even more breaths, and I felt like I couldn't catch my breath.  I was hooked up to a blood thinner drip and given pain meds.  They worked well for maybe half the time they were supposed to until my next dose came.  It was horrible.  I cried through my entire EKG, and at one point during my stay, the neighbor in my room came over to comfort me from all the pain I was in.  I could only speak in sentences broken by heavy breathing, as if I had just finished a race.  My resting heart rate was ridiculous for someone who was supposed to be in the best shape of her life.  I was told this was all caused by birth control pills.  On the bright side, I was also told that being in such great shape may have saved my life.
I am so thankful for the support that I had from family and friends over that whole ordeal.  I spent the first week or so after coming home mainly in bed, watching the entire Breaking Bad series, and I especially feel blessed for my husband, who made sure I had all I needed and took care of everything for me and the kids.

I am also very thankful for the National Blood Clot Alliance, which was an invaluable resource for me in my recovery.  I had questions.  Oh, so many questions.  They gave me hope and much needed guidance at the time I needed it most.  I've been wanting to run for Team Stop the Clot for some time now and I am thrilled to be able to fund raise for them and help in their goal of promoting awareness.  I had no clue and neither do so many others.  Many people think it is something that only happens to the elderly or overweight folks.  This is not true at all.  It can happen to anyone and knowledge is power!  1 in 3 people with blood clots in the lungs will die and often the first symptom is death.  Very scary indeed!
Recovery from PEs is very individual and I've heard stories that run the gamut.  Thankfully, I had a swift recovery and things improved greatly for me.  I worked my way back to health.  I took my first running steps in my third week out of the hospital.  By five months after my diagnosis, I was able to toe the line at the Boston Marathon, which I had signed up for before falling ill, and ran it 7 minutes faster than the year before!  A month after that I ran my first ultramarathon, a 50 miler. I have gone on to run Steamtown two more times since then, running another PR there in 2014, and am currently training to run the Boston Marathon again in April.  In the fall, I will most likely run Steamtown again, and then, what I am most looking forward to, a celebration run at the NYC Marathon with Team Stop the Clot!  I am so honored to be a part of it!"
THANK YOU Angela for being a part of this year's team.
No question that you will make the CLOT BUSTER TEAM #StopTheClot polka-dots look amazing during the race in November.
Thank You for reading,
The Clot Buster.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

July Athlete of the Month

How fun is it to play outside during the summer? 

From sun-up to sun-down it is non-stop at my house.  

Sometimes we even sleep outside...

Pretty much we do it all... you name we do it.  We now even do "American Ninja Warrior" courses on the play set.  Who knew the slide would work as the coveted "Warped Wall"...?

Although it feels like it we are not engaged in playing for 24 hours continuously... 

However I can tell you about a Blood Clot Survivor who can indeed "play running" for more than 24 hours while Ultra-Marathoning...


Please allow me to introduce to you Mr. Steven Stewart who has been very kind to share his story with us so that we can get some inspiration from the insight he can provide to overcome the challenges of blood clots and run crazy distances...

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
Running. Can do it any time of the day or any season of the year.

2)  How did you get started in that sport?
The company I worked for sponsored a 10k race and I thought that would be a good challenge... The rest is history.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I ran 2 self-supported 250Km stage races in the desert.  In June I will also be running my 4th 100Mile Trail Run.

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
 My first dvt was in the spring of 2013. On warfarin for 6 months. Ran Boston marathon one month after diagnosis. Was hard due to leg getting tired so easily. 2nd dvt (and PE) was spring 2015. After that one they put me on xarelto indefinitely. The dvt was in the other leg. I notice now that I cannot run as fast as before and sprinting is very tough. However running slow I can run for a long time though. First incident was worse. Off my feet for a week then walked a bit more each day.

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?  
My first incident was worse because of the swelling by far but the second one involved a suspected PE too. I was off running for a few weeks. I notice now that my legs get tired sooner and have a decreased lung capacity.

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 wear my polka dots at all races now and always get lots of comments. This weekend will be my 25th race of marathon or greater distance --- SIMPLY AMAZING!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I run 3-4 X per week plus I walk about 60k plus I bike when I can.

8)   What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
In the summer I feast on toasted tomato and cheese sandwiches. I make rhubarb squares too but they don't last long around our house. Coffee is a good post-run treat and so is a beer with my friends.

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
There are so many places I would like to go. If I had to pick a few it would be Scotland and Western Europe.

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. Realize that even healthy people are not immune to blood clots and be aware of your body.
I was able to diagnose clot #2 faster because I knew what it felt like even though the swelling was not the same as the first one.

I am still not sure how this guy can do what he does... 

I can't wrap my head around running for 100Miles regardless of how fast you are going.  I am so impressed that a blood clot survivor can do this that I want to push my own body to see what it can do.  I 100% agree that you should NEVER EVER GIVE UP and keep on trying despite the challenges.  I always smile when I learn of one more his successful races and just hope I can do  small fraction of what he is able to do.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, July 01, 2016


This weekend celebrate the RED - WHITE - & - BLUE in style...


No matter your talent level...

Just the simply fact that you are able to train and eventually competing is a POWERFUL message about the fact that blood clots CANNOT and WILL NOT stop you...!

Send me your best photos of CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots in action.

With or Without polka-dots get out there and enjoy each and every day to the max!

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