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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here is wishing all of you...

... A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!!!
May 2010 bring us the opportunity to continue spreading the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders to all who need to know.
I very much look forward to the opportunity to see more people out there wearing the STOP THE CLOT polka-dots in many more events out there as the NATTHlete program continues to expand.Thanks for reading and following along in 2009 and come along in 2010 for some more fun in the adventures of the Clot Buster.

All the Best,

The Clot Buster

Friday, December 18, 2009

Clot Busters in Action over Thanksgiving

Well, you know from a previous blog that I took the Clot Buster polka-dots out for a run on ThanksgivingDay for an all time best performance on my 11th year during the race.
But what I am sure you did not know is that other Clot Busters also were busy over Thankgiving and they too took the polka-dots out for a run...

Well, let me show you on the following pictures Clot Buster - Jim Fenton rocking the polka-dots at the Greensboro Gobbler 5K... THANK YOU JIM for spreading the word about STOP THE CLOT!!!
If you or someone you know rocked the polka-dots at a Thanksgiving Run or anyother run for that matter please let me know so that I can bother you for a picture and get you on this blog for all to see in action.

This year I am done with any racing but looking to what I can do in 2010. If you have any suggestions for me please send them my way. One thing is for sure, no marathon in 2010 as I need a break from all the pounding...but I will definitely consider a half marathon or two... but of course triathlons are definitely in my future. So, send on your suggestions to see what races I will venture doing!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, December 11, 2009

December Athlete of the Month

Finally with most of my christmas shopping done and with ample time at home since the Subaru is at the shop getting repaired I can finally sit down and prepare the post for December's Athlete of the Month.

This month's athlete is someone that is very busy during this time of the year pushing people around and helping his team reach the playoffs and make a run deep into post season. I am amazed that this gentleman got through a clotting episode not too long ago and he still continues to perform the duties of his job remarkably. Please let me introduce to you Mr. BRIAN ROBINSON - Defensive End for the Minnesota Vikings.

I wish that I would have the opportunity to meet Mr. Robinson in person to see if I could get him to wear the Clot Buster polka-dots and see if I had any chance against him in arm wrestling...

Please read on below to learn more about Mr. Robinson's story as it was featured on NATT's most recent holiday email...

"Those of you who are NFL fans likely know that Brian Robison is a defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings. In the best shape of his life, 25-year-old Brian was shocked, when, after a big game, his leg "swelled up," a common sign of DVT. Fortunately, the Vikings' team doctor recognized that Brian's symptoms suggested a blood clot, and ran tests that detected two clots in his leg. Brian and his wife Jayme were understandably stunned when they realized the severity of his DVTs, which required immediate surgery. Had Brian not sought medical attention, his clots could have travelled to his lungs which are fatal in one out of three individuals.

Brian was wise to get his leg checked out and fortunate that his doctor recognized the signs of his potentially life-threatening blood clot. He continues to play professional football today and looks back on his blood clots as an "eye-opener," not only for himself and Jayme, but for the community as a whole. As Brian puts it, "I want to help raise awareness and tell people that they need to pay attention to their bodies whenever they sense that something isn't quite right. Don't wait and expect symptoms to get better - get in and get things checked out." "

Mr. Robinson is very lucky to have had the quick response from his team doctors that potentially saved his life. This is just another example that blood clots can affect anyone at any time regardless of what do. It thrilling to know that we know someone in the NFL who has had a clotting incident and is back in action showing all of us how it is possible to do it.

I came across the following video about Mr. Robinson please check it out...

http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/brian-robinson-speaks-about-blood-clots/989945451

A blood clot is not going to hold Mr. Robinson down nor are 300+ Lbs lineman that are trying to protect their QB from him! Mr. Robinson - THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION!!! Best of luck to you and your team! I am a fan of the Colts, I have been ever since I came to States but now that I know about Mr. Robinson I am also rooting for the man in purple.

Here is wishing all of you out there ALL THE VERY BEST IN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Race - 11th Year Running - PERSONAL BEST!!!

10K >>> 41:53 >>> 6:45 Pace >>> FASTEST EVER!!!

I still can't believe it!

The dissapointment from the marathon earlier this month is finally fading away. I feel somewhat validated that I can still go at it faster than before.

Looking back at 11 years running this race I can't believe how fast I've come in running. When I think back that I only started running so that I could score a date with Mrs. Clot Buster... yep, as a former soccer player running just for the sake of running was only a vehicle to spend some additional time with Mrs. Clot Buster. I guess that I can thank her for giving me the chance to explore new challenges... from 5Ks, 10Ks, Half-Marathons to full out Marathons. I can't see myself stopping any time soon as I need to do what I can to try to keep up with her.

So, I improved in the 10K arena over Thanksgiving, I got a new personal best in the Half-Marathon distance back in April so all things considered I am very satisfied with my improvements. I guess that I am getting better with age. Maybe when I am 35 or 40 I may qualify for Boston...

At any rate, for now I just have to follow Junior around as he is running around grandma's house.

Thanks for Reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Where has the time gone...


I've been wanting to post here for a long time now but life just seems to get in the way... I mean when having choice about playing with Junior and blogging 100 times out of 100 I will choose to play with my son. It does not matter what we do I can't believe the transformation he has gone through in no more than a few months... I LOVE IT!!!

Keep following my tweets as you can because I can update those a lot easier these days...

Checkout some of the pictures I was able to find from the Indianapolis Marathon I did a few weeks ago... slowly my ego is healing from my personal dissapointement with the time I completed. Eventually, I will crawl out of it but for now I don't want to have much to do with marathoning...

These pictures are pretty funny as you see the progression of my suffering throughout the race... as my face changes you can see how my pace also changed to get slower...

Well, it is all in the past now... I will remember the 3:36 for a long time until my next time facing the 26.2 Miles...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November Athlete of the Month

Are you ready to be inspired?

Are you ready to read about someone who has truly overcome some HUGE odds?

Do you think you can keep up with this lady?

Well, please let me introduce you to HOPE GALLEY one of the most amazing individuals I have ever met while associate with the STOP THE CLOT movement.

I had the pleasure to meet Hope virtually and got to ask her my usual questions so that all of us can get inspired and get out to continue doing what we do and spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders.
1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My outdoor sport is Handcycling. The reason why I chose handcycling is because prior to my cancer and blood clot, I was a marathon runner. I missed competing and I missed crossing the finish line and I knew I needed to find a way to get back in the action. I met some soldiers through my volunteer work at Walter Reed Medical Center and they introduced me to the sport.

2) How did you get started in that sport?
The soldiers at Walter Reed and Geoff Hopkins, who works with Disabled Veterans introduced me to the sport.

3) What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?
I finished first in the women’s handcycle division for the Army 10 Miler in October 2008. I also completed the NYC Marathon in November of 2008. I’m planning on participating in the Army 10 miler again this fall and would like to do another marathon in the spring.

4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I’m not on blood thinners now. However, the cancer I had was wrapped around my femoral vein. When the cancer was removed, the Dr’s made a decision to “tie” off my femoral vein because there was so much damage to the vein.

5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
My cancer started with a blood clot which was diagnosed in June of 2006. I was out of exercise till June of 2008 when I did my first handcycle race in NYC, The Hope and Possibilities race through Central Park. The feeling of finishing that race and knowing I was still an athlete still brings tears to my eyes. The race was only 5 miles, but I didn’t care…I finished and I was BACK!

6) What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
My favorite thing to wear when I’m doing my races is a race jersey which says ATHLETE on it. We often forget ATHLETES come in all shapes and sizes. My illness and disability has allowed me to meet some amazing people! The strength and courage of the disabled athletes truly inspire me!

7) How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I work out 4-5 times a week. I ride the stationary bike at the gym and I lift weights (primary upper body) 2-3 times a week. During the spring/summer/fall, I try and get out on my bike at least 2 times a week. However, that isn’t always possible. I travel a lot for work, and unlike running which you can do any where, it is difficult to find a hand cycle!

8) What is your favorite food? Either generally or after a workout.
My guilty pleasure is red wine and chocolate! After a long ride or hard work out, I always seem to find the wine and the chocolate.

9) If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
I’m disappointed that my disability will not allow me to climb one of the great mountains. However, I know there are other things which I can do. I would like to go on a Safari, or hike part of the Grand Canyon, or maybe even jump out of a plane! I’m game for anything, but I do know my body now has limits.

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.
I would first say, don’t wait to have yourself checked out. Blood clots are serious and they can be fatal. I would also say ask questions of your medical team. You know your body the best, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or discuss your fears. Finally, remember our bodies are amazing structures. Mine has taken me through 2 bouts with Cancer, a disability, a blood clot, and numerous other challenges….However, it has kept on going! Remember to love yourself. Take care of yourself, be your true to who you are …and don’t be afraid. With good medical care and self care, you will come out on top!

Hope, I am having chocolate and red wine right now as I am writing this... you even inspired my eating tonight... that is powerful!
Thank you for your willingness to share your story and your kind words. Many out there with blood clots can read about you and learn that although your body may have some limitations due to the clotting episode you still have the chance to keep on rolling.

Together all of us can STOP THE CLOT!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Monday, November 09, 2009

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon - 11/07/2009

3:36.05

1st Split (10K) = 43:32

2nd Split (13.1 Mile) = 1:35.31

3rd Split (30K) = 2:22.50 (three miles later the wheels fell off)

THANK YOU to all who supported me and dontated to benefit NATT's STOP THE CLOT mission.

If you are ever interested in getting your own polka-dots and raising funds to STOP THE CLOT please take the chance and become a NATThlete by clicking HERE.

Someday I may do a marathon again but for now it is time to take a break and rest the legs from the pounding.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPT HALLOWEEN!

Dear Friends,

After returning back to Columbus, OH from Caracas, Venezuela it is time to get back to business... I hope that you have been following along to my updates on Twitter that you can see on the right-hand side panel of this blog.

First HAPPY HALLOWEEN !!!

Junior sure looked adorable this year. It is very enjoyable to dress them up any way we want... for now anyway...

Second, I am a week a way from running my second marathon of this year. This second one is to celebrate the launch of the STOP THE CLOT NATThtlete program. This is a program designed to let individuals get theit own polka-dots and become Clot Busters for their event of choice. This is a great opportunity to spread the word about Blood Clots and Blood Clotting Disorders and to fundraise in order to allow NATT to complete their mission.

Check out my fundraising page @ >>> http://www.firstgiving.com/rolandtheclotbuster

I can't believe that I've been able to prepare for this second race. I am going into it just hoping to complete the race and to enjoy myself. If I can run under 3:25 or improve upon my previous personal best I will thrilled!

At any rate, I hope that your Halloween was a great one.

Keep an eye on my updates through Twitter and see how my marathon goes next Saturday.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

P.S.= If you are intersted in looking into participating in the NATThlete program please take a look at the following link >>> http://www.stoptheclot.org/events/natt_fund_raiser.html

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Times in NEW MEXICO

Weekend get away in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico... definitely an awesome place to visit with Fantastic Friends and plenty to do...!

Enjoy some of my favorite pictures from our trip including the Balloon Fiesta and more!I wish that we could still be out there playing...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mrs. Clot Buster in action October 18th @ The Columbus, OH Half-Marathon

Check out the following link to learn about Mrs. Clot Buster's fundraising effort for her Half-Marathon...

http://www.firstgiving.com/lizvarga

She will be wearing the Clot Buster - STOP THE CLOT - polka dots all around Columbus, OH and you can help her reach her fundraising by clicking in the link above.

If you happen to be racing in Columbus this weekend be in the look for the polka dots!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Now that I stopped drooling...

from following the IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP in Kona I can type again...

What a race we all got to watch on Saturday. I very much enjoyed the coverage and seeing how these athletes get to duke it out from the morning all the way to midnight. I have nothing but the outmost respect for anyone who can cover that distance in any venue but doing itKona that is something very special.

Who knows someday I may get lucky enough and make it on the lottery and you better believe I probably see the scene below of the finish line at midnight...

Someday the STOP THE CLOT polka-dots will make to the Big Island and do the 140.6 Miles to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders that much more.

Anything Is Possible... for all clotters out there!

Thanks for Reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, October 02, 2009

October Athlete of the Month

As many triathletes out there know October is the month of the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Probably the single most difficult one day event in the world.

For many of us Kona is nothing more than a very far away dream since you can only get there by qualifying or getting very lucky on the lottery (shhh don't tell Mrs. Clot Buster but I am applying for the lottery again this year)...

But the race in Kona is not the only Ironman race out there, there are plenty of other Ironman races across the country and every single finisher of those races has my outmost respect.

This month one of those finishers is also a clot survivor and the first one I know of who has taken the CLOT BUSTER POLKA-DOTS to STOP THE CLOT in an Ironman Race... Please meet KRISTOFFER PERRY.


Kristoffer raced IRONMAN COEUR d'ALENE this past June 27th which is a remarkable achievement and one that can serve as a splendid inspiration for all of us.

Please take some time and read Kristoffer's account of the race below, you are going to like it!
"The mass start of the swim went smooth, I had no feet to head combat like I had anticipated. I swam my first lap right on pace like I had wanted, and the second went by mentaly faster with no problems other than a slight leg cramp as I got out of the water on my way to start the bike.

I had a hard time getting settled in and getting a strong rythm on the bike. We had aid stations every ten miles, just as I left the first aid station at mile 12, I got the worst nose bleed. I was surely not going to turn around, so I just gritted my teeth and toughed it out until i reached the second aid station. At the aid station I got a piece of gauze that was big enough to stop the bleeding of a missing a leg so I rode the majority of the bike with this gaint piece of gauze hanging out of my nose. I got some very good pictures of me and the gauze on the bike. From mile 60 thru 90 was by far the hardest part of the whole race. I was trying to stay positve but it was very hard with the discomfort, nausea (so I didn't eat or drink for this time), and fitigue. I just kept pushing on the pedals and when I hit mile 91, I found a new strength reserve. Getting off the bike and putting on a pair of running shoes made me feel like a million bucks.
I knew that there was no way that I could run the whole marathon so I decied to run two mintues and then walk two mintues repetitively. I did this in order to conserve my legs and to keep moving forward. I was walking at such a brisk pace that I was passing people who were jogging. For the first half of the marathon all was well until the rain. That started to make things cold, but lucky for me I had warm clothes in my special needs bag. The second half of the run was a little slower. I started to get nausea again and it was hard to walk longer than two mintues. When I started to feel better, my legs were so accustomed to the slower pace that they wouldn't turn over. I ended up walking the last 10 miles but i was able to run the last half mile until the finish of the race.Finishing the Ironman was amazing. With the family waiting and cheering and all the spectaors cheering, it was the best sight to see after such a long day. Also, it was three years and only a few days since I learned that I had Factor V leiden and Protein S defiency, and made a comentment to stay active by starting to run. Some how I ended up at the finish line of the 2009 ford Ironman CD'A. So saying the finish was like dream come true is an understatement. It is more like realizing that anything is possible even if I have DVTs.

P.S. the Poka dots were with me all the way, however Due to weather the ended up under a lot of clothes."


Kristoffer THANK YOU 140.6 times for your willingness to share your story with us and providing us yet another example about how everything is possible even after a clotting incident and your diagnosis of a clotting disorder.
Keep it up my friend and I am sure some day I will race you in an Ironam Distance Event!

Thanks for Reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't forget...

If you get the chance please checkout my Twitter updates @

http://twitter.com/clotbuster

You can also see my Twitter updates on the right side bar of the blog... just look right...!

Plenty of random thoughts to follow as I try to spread the word about blood clots and blood clotting disorders under the STOP THE CLOT polka-dots.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, September 25, 2009

Not all is training...

This weekend the Clot Buster family took a little trip to Mohican State Forrest for a weekend full of good friends, good times, and incredible food.This was Junior's first camping trip and he did just fine... he did cried in the middle of the night and I am not sure the people around our camp site appreciated that very much... oh well, I guess that comes with the territory... either way we had a sensational time and I think Junior is looking forward to go out and enjoy nature some more...On a side note if you have the chance please take a look at the following link... http://www.firstgiving.com/lizvarga Mrs. Clot Buster is jumping on to help out fundraising herself! If you care to help her reach her goal please donate and help us STOP THE CLOT. I just need to get her to wear some polka-dots but I am told that she will wear her shirt if she reaches her goal... so if you have it in you let's STOP THE CLOT!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Septmeber Athlete of the Month

The last few editions of my Athlete of the Month posts have gone all over the world as I get to spread the word to STOP THE CLOT. Well, last monthwe got to stay state side but this month we get to go to ICELAND via Deland, Florida...

I am please to introduce to you someone I am very proud to know because of her fighting spirit and for never giving up even after having gone through a very serious clootting incident... please say hello to Kolla Kolbeinsdottir.

She is been kind enough to let me bother her and share with us some of her thoughts about her clottting incident and how she is managing her life after going through a life changing event like this...

1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My sport of choice is triathlon - and I love it because it challenges me in so many ways, both mentally and physically. With 3 sports rolled into one, it never gets boring. One of my favorite things about doing tris are other triathletes. My training buds are some of the most interesting, fun, crazy and talented people I know, never a dull moment when we get together to play. My other sport is skydiving - but I'll admit to be a bit of a "has-been" in that one, with about 1100 jumps under my belt.
2) How did you get started in that sport?
By complete chance. Some years ago a good friend said "lets try a tri, come on, it will be fun" - and I said "ok, sure, why not, how hard can it be...". At the time I didn't consider myself athletic, didn't even own a bike and couldn't run 100 yards without passing out. A couple of months later I was a proud finisher of a sprint distance triathlon and head over heals in love with the sport (except the running part).

3) What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
This year has been a bit quiet on the racing front as I got married last June. Trekking home to Iceland with my future husband and 20 of our best friends in tow - and then putting on a wedding in 7 days was an endurance event in it's own right, but very fun :) Triathlon wise, I have decided to dedicate this winter to fight my old nemesis: the run. I got a coach (funny enough, the same person who initially talked me into doing the first triathlon) and now I have high hopes that I will not be passed by quite as many 11-year-olds in future races. I am also planning on an Olympic tri in Miami in March and toying with a half IM in New Orleans in April.

4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I had my first clot (DVT) over Christmas 2006. I embarked on a long trip to see my family for the holidays in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa. At the time I was using birth control (Nuva ring) and training pretty hard for what was to be my first OL distance tri. The air travel was anything but smooth but finally after 36 hrs or so in cramped quarters we arrived. The following morning my leg felt a little stiff, but since I had slipped on wet tiles the day before I attributed it to a pulled muscle and soldiered on. The following day it was worse, so I tried hefty doses of ibuprofen, a long walk/jog, then a massage and a long hot bath, then finally a good few beers with my brothers. I'm still amazed that none of that sent the clot flying. My calf had not changed in appearance, there was no heat or direct pain, just stiffness. My mom actually suggested that I might have a blood clot and that I should get checked out, but I dismissed that and told her that was something that happened to old ladies. Certainly not me, being in such good shape and all. When it came time to return home, I was in a good deal of pain and not really able to walk - but we packed up and got on a plane back to Florida. We got home on December 31st and that night went to dinner at a friends house. The host is a nurse, so I had her take a look and after describing the symptoms she immediately said "go to the ER, this sounds an awful lot like a clot". I dismissed her and told her I actually thought it was getting better, but promised that I would go see a doc if it wasn't markedly improved by morning. She was not happy with that, but I'm stubborn. The following morning I finally went to a doctor and he immediately sent me for an ultrasound at the ER - where nothing was found. They sent me home with instructions to lay low and keep off the leg and go see my general doc to find out what was going on. The following morning the hospital called again to let me know that they wanted me to come back in for another scan right away, and that time around it jumped out at them. I spent 5 days in the hospital and was put on bloodthinners (Warfarin). I did not tolerate that very well and despite strict diet and huge doses was not able to thin out properly. I was then put on Arixtra injections which seemed to work better. The doctor wanted me to stay on blood thinners for a year, but several studies I got my hands on indicated that 9 months after first clot was adequate. We had some hefty debates over treatment but he did agree to the 9 months. I have been drug free ever since.
5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
I started training slowly as soon as the doctor gave me the green light - which was about 3 weeks after being admitted. I started off with swimming and biking. I still had pain in the leg and some swelling and wore compression socks a lot. Running (well, jogging) was awful. Hurt during the run, but the real pain began after it was done. It was also scary to train whilst on blood thinners, I was especially careful in choosing my riding partners to avoid wrecking. It was a little scary going back, every little ache or pain brought thoughts of having another clot. It was a strange transition to go from feeling strong and healthy one day to a sickly little wimp the next day. I did some more reading up, joined internet forums and found out about an alternate "drug" called Nattokinase (Natto). It is an enzyme extracted from fermented soy beans (a traditional fare in old Japan) that seems to break down fibrin in the blood stream. I spoke to my doc about it and he vehemently opposed at first. The research behind it is not very strong as of yet and probably wont be for a long while, as this is not a treatment backed by the drug giants. After having spoken to many people that described good experiences with Natto, I decided I wanted to try it. Eventually the doctor gave me the ok to go for it. To me, Nattokinase was a wonder drug - within 2-3 weeks of taking it, I was free of pain for the most part except after the hardest of workouts. I stayed on the Natto for about 2 months and continued to improve. Since then, I have used it only when I feel something "funny" or am about to embark on a long travel. I waited to go back to jumping until I was off the blood clots.
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...)
My Orbea Ora bike is by far my favorite, I simply love the little beast! I'm just bummed that they didn't have the red and white colors out when I bought mine - would have made for a nice clot busting bike ;) It doesn't always love me back, but together we keep on getting faster and stronger :) One day I am pretty sure that a Clot Buster tri top will be high on the list too :)

7) How much are you getting out doing your sport? (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
I've been a bit of a slacker this summer, it is hard to stay on it in the Florida heat during July and August. But now that I can sense a bit of cool in the air again, the motivation is coming back strong. A ideal week would be 2x swim, 3x runs and 2x bikes, but that is if everything goes according to plan, which it rarely does - so I guess I average it out with 4-5 workouts a week when I'm in training.

8) What is your favorite food? Either generally or after a workout. For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
I'm not much of a foodie, but a nice, ice cold Coke is my reward after a hard workout. In an effort to control my cola addiction and live healthier, I decided a few years to drink soda only on the weekends, so it tastes even sweeter to me now!

9) If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
Nepal and/or Tibet - the terrain and culture are incredibly alluring to me. Seeing the Himalayas up close would be incredible.

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.
For most everyone having a blood clot means a huge change in lifestyle initially - along with a rude awakening to own mortality. I suggest trying to maintain a positive, "can-do" attitude and learn as much about your condition as possible. Explore your options, discuss them with your doctor, talk to other clotters - keep an open but objective mind. Having the goal of completing the triathlon I was training for was very important to me - it gave me what I needed to get off the couch, face my fears and start the journey back to good health. I consider myself very fortunate to have returned 99% to my former self - but it took taking 100% responsibility for myself and my actions. I immediately discontinued hormonal birth control (can I plug here the Lady Comp ovulation monitor? It's fantastic!), I pledged to live a healthy and active lifestyle and learn as much as I could about my condition (I am Factor V Leiden positive). It was scary at first and the thought of "the next one" loomed near. But little by little I got out of that mindset and today, nearing 3 years clot free, I feel I have come to a good balance in my life again. It saddens me when I meet people that have let the clot stop them dead in their tracks. Full recovery may not always possible, but for so many at least some improvements can be made over time. Never stop fighting!
NEVER STOP FIGHTING for sure!
THANK YOU Kolla for your willingness to share your story. Without a doubt your atttitude and awareness will take you everywhere you want to go even to Nepal and Tibet...

Kolla, please know that we are thinking about you and your father on these difficult times. You have learned a great deal through your clotting incident and this will only help to get you guys through. HANG IN THERE!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update on August 2008 and June 2009 Athletes of the Month

Greetings from the Clot Buster!

Having the Athlete of the Month series of posts has been a very incredible experience all around. The best part of it all is getting the chance to know the individuals featured and their journey during their clotting episodes and more importantly how they are coming back and continue to perform.

Just recently I got wind of some continued accomplishments by two of the featured Athletes of the Month...
FIRST - MIKE FRIEDMAN - August 2008 Athlete of the Month.
Just a couple of days ago he found himself on a day long breakaway at the Tour of Missouri on stage number 3. His break lasted about 100 Miles but it was not meant to be on a sprint finish at the end of the stage. We did not get to win but he was out there hammering away.
Good on you Mike!

SECOND - JIM FENTON - June 2009 Athlete of the Month.
This past weekend Jim participated and completed the Virginia Beack, VA Half Marathon. On his own words "It was a blast!".
I am very happy that he was able to train, participate, and complete the event as he had planned. He says that he is not fast but in the end that is not what matters, what matters is that he finished!
Jim CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Do you want to learn more about Blood Clots and Blood Clotting Disorders...?

If you have some time to spare and want to learn more about blood clots please checkout the following link >>>

http://www.itvisus.com/programs/hbhm/episode_1301_Deadly_Blood_Clots.asp

Very good documentary about the very things we are trying to prevent and educate people about.

If you enjoyed the movie, please pass it on to friends and family. The more people know the better!

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Greater Cleveland Triathlon Action Shots

Here is some eye candy for all of you out there who love the polka-dots and can't get enough of them...
Looking good on the bike. The DOLAND HERCULES was a delight on this race... It likes to go fast and I am not about to do anything to slow it down...
Focus trying to make it home without melting away in the hummidity of that morning... this picture is close to the finish and I so want to get there ahead of the two guys in front of me...
I am gaining on them with every stride... always fun to have someone to go after... turns out neither of the guys were in my age group and according to the results third place by this point I had safely in the bag...

Look at my good friend Bill McIntosh going at it less than three weeks after completing in IM Lake Placid.. is he focused or what...?

If you are interested in getting your own polka-dots to spread the word at your races please get in touch with me and I will let you know all of the details.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August Athlete of the Month - PART II

As promised here is the second part of my introduction to you of Mr. Rick Fitzgerald... GET INSPIRED out thre because this 56 year old machine is an example to all of us!

1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
Running, bicycling and cross-country skiing are my sports of choice.

I consider myself to be primarily a runner. I love so many aspects of the sport:
The freedom of being able to run anywhere at just about any time. I run through neighborhoods and on wooded trails. I’ve used running to explore new cities and to make new friends. I love the atmosphere of running events. I love the feeling of accomplishment during races and the feeling of satisfaction after going on “just a run.”

Bicycling offers most of the same satisfactions, with the added benefit of being able to cover a lot more miles in less time. I get a kick out of being able to get myself from one town to another using just the power I can generate on my own.

Cross-country skiing is basically a much easier way to go trail running during a Michigan winter.

I enjoy these sports because they are accessible to “everyday Joes” like me.

2) How did you get started in that sport?
I got started running in the mid-1980s. We were living in Muskegon, Mich., a community along the Lake Michigan shoreline. I worked at the local newspaper and one of the community hospitals decided to sponsor a run. As a way to promote the race, they offered a beginning running clinic, with advice and group runs.

Running was one of those athletic endeavors I had tried to get going on a couple of times without much success. This time, I figured out a way to stick with it my committing myself in print. During the summer-long running clinics, I wrote a weekly column in the newspaper about what I was learning as a beginning runner. Our “graduation” was a 10-kilometer run in late August.

I’ve been running every since.

As for bicycling … First I have to say I am not a competitive bicyclist. I’ve never participated in a bike race. But my wife, Cathy, and I have done lots of week-long bicycle tours over the years and really enjoy spending time on our bikes.

3) What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
For the last seven years, I’ve used my bicycle to help raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan. Each year we pedal 300 miles in three days to help raise money for this organization that grants wishes to medically fragile children and their families. This year, about 700 of us raised $1.5 million during the last weekend of July. We had five family members on the ride this year.

One of the neatest events of the year is a trail run coming up in September. It’s called Dances With Dirt and it takes place in Hell, Mich. It’s a five-person, 50-kilometer relay race that takes us, literally, over the river and through the woods … and through the swamps and over sand dunes, and …

The guy who designs the course calls himself the Head Goat and he’s certifiably insane. The event is exhausting and an absolute blast.

In March, I ran the 8 Tuff Miles rod race in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. It’s this amazing race where you run (if you can call it that) from one end of the island to the other. It’s uphill for five miles, then downhill for three. In spite of that, I finished faster than I ever thought I could. The views are amazing and the location is stunning. I highly recommend it.

4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I learned I had a blood clot when I had a pulmonary embolism in May of 2005. We were attending a community fund-raising event with a group of friends. We were enjoying a glass of wine and some appetizers as we browsed through a silent art auction. Suddenly I had this excruciating pain in the right side of my chest. As it got worse, I had a hard time moving. I propped myself against a wall and suggested to my wife, Cathy, that maybe she should go get the car.

We decided to head for the emergency room, where we spent the next 4-5 hours as I was poked and prodded; tested and retested. After getting the pain under control with some pretty powerful drugs, we were sent on our way with no clear diagnosis. Maybe it was pleurisy, the ER doc suggested.

I felt OK the next morning and went to work. About 10 a.m. a radiologist called. He was reviewing my tests and wanted me to come back for one more test. Sure, I said, I’ll leave work a little and come by. No, you need to come back to the ER now, the doctor said.

So I drove the 30 miles to the hospital. After checking in at the ER I was ushered to into a small, dark room where they administered a doppler test of my legs. It seems, the radiologist suspected a blood clot and, as I learned, the most likely location is in the lower legs.

Well, it didn’t take long before the technician found the clot behind my left knee. That led to a three-day stay in the hospital connected to an IV drip of heparin and then the switch over to warfarin therapy. I went home and in just a few days, the chest pain was back and I was back in the hospital. This time I checked in for a full week-long course of herparin therapy.

The hemotoligist who treated me said I had a really big PE and was lucky to be alive. While I’m thankful for that, I don’t believe it was all luck. I think running had something to do with it. I was healthy and strong and I believe that helped keep me alive. He was never able to completely explain why I got the clot. Tests did confirm that I had one abnormal prothrombin gene, but that’s it. No other risk factors, no big swollen leg that I ignored.

Fine-tuning the warfarin was pretty easy for me and I was back on the bike by the end of June. By the end of July, I was able to participate in that Make-A-Wish bicycle ride, although I did cut the first couple days a little short.

I stayed on warfarin for about 18 months, then went on an aspirin a day. That worked well, until this May. Sure enough, about four years to the day from the PE, I suspected I had developed another clot. And it was running that tipped me off.

I typically don’t run as much during the winter, so each spring it takes a little more to get back up to speed. This spring it seemed to take longer than normal, but some days were better than others, so I ignored it. I ran the Capital City Half Marathon with my daughter, Sara, in Columbus, Ohio, the first weekend in May. We ran comfortably and enjoyed the day.

The next weekend, we went bird watching at Point Pelee National Park on Lake Erie in Ontario. Canada. On the way home I had this strangely familiar chest pain. I called my doctor Monday and later that week, I got another one of those doppler tests. Sure enough, I had another blood clot.

Now I’m back on warfarin. This time it’s for good.

5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time?
I got back to running about a month after that initial stay in the hospital. It felt great to be active again. It was especially good because that shortness of breath – that I thought was just my aging body complaining – was gone.

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 Specialized road bike. I did the first three 300-mile rides on a hybrid bike. What a difference those skinny tires make!

7) How much are you getting out doing your sport? (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
Dances With Dirt is looming on the horizon, so I’m working out just about every day. I’m focused on running now, but still try to get into the gym and get on the bike during the course of a week, too. I try to get out and run in the morning before work, but tend to head to the gym or ride the bike in the evening.

8) What is your favorite food? Either generally or after a workout. For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito... 

I’m a breakfast fanatic. Cinnamon-raisin French toast or blueberry pancakes. There’s just nothing better than one of those choices with an endless supply of strong black coffee. Run, then breakfast. Ride the bike to your favorite breakfast spot. There’s simply no better way to start the day.

9) If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 

National parks. I want to visit them all. We’re hoping Glacier National Park will be coming up next. Yellowstone is one of the most incredible places on the planet.

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.
Shit happens. Get over it and get on with your life. Don’t let the clot define you. Take control of your life.

For me, eating consistently – a salad every day – has helped me maintain a consistent warfarin therapy level. As long as that number stays in the therapeutic range, I just go on doing what I love to do. I run. I ride. I ski. I never was one to play contact sports, so I never had to give them up. I may see it differently if I loved to play hockey.

The one thing I did learn through all of this was to recognize the warning signs and to take them seriously. I knew something was wrong when those chest pains returned. Sure, you could say I was dumb not to head to the ER on the way back from Ontario. But at least I didn’t completely blow it off.

It’s up to you take responsibility for our own health. It’s not your doctor’s job to keep you healthy. He’s there to deal with the bad stuff. You have to take care of yourself. For me, that includes staying active, eating right … and paying attention to certain warning signs.

========== ========== =========

Rick,

MANY THANKS once more for your willingness to share with us your story. I am very lucky to have had the chance to meet you in person and draw on the energy and love of live that you radiate. I saw you running here in Columbus, OH this year... maybe next year you will be wearing one of the Clot Buster shirts to help us spread the word!

It is almot 10PM and I want to get out there and ride my bike... but considering that Junior may decide to wake up around 1AM I better get to bed.

Good night to all.

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August Athlete of the Month

Sorry for the delay in getting around to post about August's Athlete of the Month but due to some technical difficulties and other delays outside of our control I will need to do a partial post of August's Athlete of the month.

This month I have the pleasure to introduce to someone that I admire very much due to his "never give up" attitude even after several clotting episodes that have tried to slow him down but have only managed to make him more determined. Please welcome Mr. RICK FITZGERALD as August's Athlete of the Month.
In a my next post about Mr. Fitzgerald you will learn a lot more about him but for now you need to know that this guy is a true example of how you can definitely bounce back regardless of the number of clots that you have suffered.

Just recently I learned that in a vacation trip to the US Virgin Islands Mr.Fitzgerald participated in one of the hardest run races in the planet... If you have ever been to the US Virgin Islands you know about how steep and twisty the roads can be. Well, this run race takes place in St. John and it is a race from one end of the island to the next. My legs start to shake just thinking about the difficulty of this race on how much it can hurt. It is not very long (8 Miles) but they are a brutal set of 8 Miles.
Mr. Fitzgerald continues to inspire with all the different activities he does even after his clots. Please stay tuned to my next post to learn more about this man and how we can teach us a thing or two about dedication and never giving up.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