Wednesday, December 10, 2008
December Athlete of the Month
It is hard for me to believe that this month's athlete of the month is someone who came down with blood clots a year ago last December...
If you were to see him around on his daily activities you would never think that he has protein C defficiency and therefore more prone to suffer from blood clots.
Please sit back and read on what I was able to learn about this MACHINE of an Athlete whose name is JOHN VERHEUL. Without a question another inpiring character that can help to drive and motivate the Clot Buster Nation on our continous quest to come back and rebound from a clotting episode as we chase all of our dreams and goals.
Below you will find a question and answer sequence I was able to have with John not too long ago...Would you provide more detail for me about your story and all of the racing you do?
2008 was my 22nd year racing, the focus was on timed events instead of mass-start due to the anticoagulation meds and the safety issue. In mass-start racing (road, criterium, etc), it's more a matter of when you will crash, not if. That's normally not a big deal, except if you're on anticoagulants...in which case when you crash there's a serious risk of death. Anyway, I race primarily road, criterium, cyclo-cross, time trials...I've done some track and mtb, but probably fewer than 20 of each of those (out of a total of probably >1000 starts over 22 years).
(...the protein C defficiency) didn't get diagnosed in me until I clotted up (multiple clots in my lower leg) after a race last December. Fortunately my doctor is a personal friend (so he got me right in) as well as an athlete himself (so he understands about endurance athletes), and he sent me to get an ultrasound as a first course of action. He actually thought the swelling miht be compartment syndrome, but was covering his bases with the ultrasound.So then 2 weeks of lovenox injections twice daily, followed by the warfarin that I'm still on. I had to fly to cyclo-cross nationals while I was still injecting myself with the lovenox, it was interesting to have to do that in a hotel room with the team that I was coaching. It did suck to not be able to race myself, but racing's been mostly a hobby for a long time, coaching is my job.How did you feel after the clot? How long did it take for your to shake off the shock of having clots discovered?
Having been an athlete pretty much all my life, I got over the shock pretty easily. I just treat it as another injury (athletes get injuries, we have to deal with them), and focus on what I need to do to "get better". Given that I'd already decided to go to law school this fall, I knew my career as a competitor was going to kind of end, so this just brought that end a little closer. I'm 41 this year, and it gets a little tougher each year to compete with younger athetes anyway.
Do you have any special inspiration to keep you at it?
Well, right now it's a bit different for me to continue to ride/train, when really I don't know that I'll race again. Racing has been the motivation for training over the last few decades, and now the focus shifts to using cycling as exercise for health and stress release. Frankly I'd prefer to mix in other sports, but many of them (running, basketball, soccer, etc) have been ruled out do to a back injury. But in my first 4 weeks of school I've managed to ride 6-8 hours per week, which I think is good for just staying healthy. It's a different mindset though, exercising to be healthy instead of to win races.
What is your favorite food?
My wife would list (for me) cinnamon rolls and beer.
What is your absolute favorite piece of gear you love to use?
I'm not really a "gear" guy, to me the stuff we use is a tool that enables us to do what we do. That said, probably the most important piece of gear I have is a powermeter, the most advantageous piece of gear is my Trek TT bike, and my favorite is my brand new JBV Coaching clothing (that's my company).
John, THANK SO MUCH for being an inspiraton! I am going to need to get some tips from you to get better with my cycling so that I can improve on my times for upcoming races. You know there is nothing better than seeing the Clot Buster Polka-Dots flying on a race course!
GOOD LUCK IN LAW SCHOOL!!!
Thanks for Reading,
The Clot Buster