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Friday, November 16, 2012

November Athlete of the Month

As luck will have it we are taking a different path this month.

In fact, in the more than 4 years that I've been doing this series of Athlete of the Month I almost certain that this month's individual is very unique and certainly off the regular path.

I mean we are talking EXTREME SPORT in this case. 

Please allow me to introduce to you November's Athlete of the Month TRINE VIK.

I can't even begin to describe the level of adventure this young person has in her even after a clotting incident not too long ago. 

Again, the inspiration from her own words can be very powerful and I urge you to read to learn more about this outstanding individual.

1) What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
SKIING!! Then climbing, then mountain biking, then trail running. I love the cold clean air, deep powder, companionship and freedom that I experience when I click into my skis. I LOVE being in the mountains at any time of year and my these activities continuously challenge and inspire me.


2) How did you get started in that sport?
I was pretty much born with skis on my feet. My father was a coach for the Norwegian Alpine Racing Team and my mother is a Park City, UT native. My parents would take my sister and I skiing every chance they got and I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to pursue my own ski racing career and work as a professional ski patroller.

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve
After I got off of Coumadin I summitted the Grand Teton in Jackson Hole Wyoming! It has always been a dream of mine to summit this classic peak and this fall a girlfriend and I had a perfect weather window so we drove there and busted it out! The weekend before I completed my second mountain marathon so I was well acclimated and almost skipped my way up the mountain, I was so excited to be there.

4) Tells about your clotting episode. Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
I had a pulmonary embolism in March 2012, two days before my 22 birthday. I was lucky enough to be at home (and not in the mountains) when I woke up with chest pain and couldn’t breathe. I spent a week in the hospital, missed my mid-term exams and was on narcotics for the pain for almost four weeks. It was a struggle to keep up with my classes and I was absolutely devastated that I couldn’t ski, climb or mountain bike for a while. I did Lovenox shots for 6 weeks and was on Coumadin for 6 months. Most of the time I was terrified that I would be a Coumadin lifer and I was depressed that my normal lifestyle was not permitted. After I regained my strength I started running A LOT and doing cross-fit type workouts (with supervision). I got off of Coumadin three months ago and got tested for FVL and Prothrombin mutation for which I am negative.

5) When were you able to get back into your activity? How did it feel that first time? 
I went rock climbing within 48 hours of stopping Coumadin. I was SO excited! My climbing strength was mostly gone, but it didn’t even matter because I was bursting with joy. That feeling has been a theme for me with most of my activities. I’m so happy to be alive and out there doing what I love that I’m less critical and serious when I do them, which makes it so much more joyful!

6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?

My Black Diamond Zealot skis! My Giant Trance mountain bike & my trad rack.

7) How much are you getting out doing your sport? (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)

I workout in some form or another 6 times a week. Lately I’ve been able to climb & bike 2-3 days a week. I’m SO STOKED for ski season! I’ll probably be out there ski touring before work 4 times a week now :)

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

Chocolate!! Many of my climbing partners know to pack an emergency stash of chocolate in case our mission goes longer than anticipated.

9) If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go?
 I cannot wait to go back to Denali National Park to climb Mount McKinley. I am nervous to hear what my doctors will have to say about my blood at high altitude, but that and other world-wide peaks are my dream playgrounds!

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 spent so much time suffering, depressed, and alienating myself when I was dealing with my PE and blood clot. My physicians did a wonderful job taking care of me medically, but they were quite detrimental emotionally. I was overloaded with information that worried and upset me constantly. I should have seen a therapist, but the only person I would listen to who could console me was another young woman who had had a stroke. There are several mind-body and other tools that I’ve learned throughout my experience that would have greatly improved my perspective. People need to regain control emotionally and develop ways to mentally overcome any perceived obstacles they may face as they seek out better health or happiness. Toward the end my anxiety was quite high and I made a definitive reckoning with myself: either be on Coumadin for the rest of my life, become a kick-ass physician & get into fly fishing or get off Coumadin, become a kick-ass physician & keep skiing/climbing. I did my best to be head strong, but little things would still make me crumble. I don’t want anyone to have to go through that fear and I am doing everything I can to provide the support to others that I so desperately needed. I write a lot about advice for others on my blog: blog.trinevik.com

After this incident I take much better care of my body. I prioritize exercise, good food and sleep. It has been a struggle to not freak out about every twinge of pain in my chest or headache (I’ve been into the ER and to my doctor twice thinking I was having another blood clot). Sometimes I’m afraid that I will have a blood clotting episode again. But now I KNOW that I can get through it,
continue to thrive and become a stronger person for it.


I am incredibly THANKFUL to have had the opportunity to cross paths with Trine and her story.  Even more thankful of the fact that she has been willing to share her story with us.

In my day before triathlon came into my life I had the chance to be an extreme sport participant.  I've done my fair share of rock-climbing and mountaineering back when I had hair... I have to my record the summits of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo mountains in Ecuador which I was very lucky to be able to climb.  At any rate, I can completely related to Trine and her love for being outside enjoying it all.  Now, she can keep the skiing because I don't do so well on them.  If you ever want a good laugh ask me about my skiing attempt as a freshman in college in Colorado.  You will not believe how funny that story is due to my inability to ski.

Now, I want go dust off my old pair of climbing shoes and see what I am able to do still... although it has to be in an indoor gym.

Trine I am very THANKFUL to have met you and for your willingness to share your story.

Keep going and never ever give up!

By the way, someday I will need your help if I ever attempt skiing again...

Thanks for reading,

The Clot Buster

1 comment:

Edward Franklin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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