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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't forget...

If you get the chance please checkout my Twitter updates @

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... 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!
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!

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 >>>

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

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!