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Saturday, November 30, 2019

December Athlete of the Month

Although we have reached December I am still THANKFUL for an incredible year in 2019.

Without a question I am incredibly lucky to have had the chance to meet many individuals who happen to be blood clot survivors. Every single one of their stories are incredible and very much inspiring.  There is so much to learn from every story that can make a positive impact on our daily lives.

The more I learn about the journey that each survivor has gone through the more I believe that BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS CAN DO ANYTHING.  Every accomplishment is meaningful and should be celebrated.

As we close out the year we have the opportunity to read about a blood clot survivor with a story that you don't want to miss.

I am very Thankful that THOMAS has been willing to share his story with all of us.

The story Thomas shares here will leave you thinking about one of my favorite phrases "Anything is possible to those who believe."

Read on and Get Inspired!

  1. What is your sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My sport of choice is mostly running, although I enjoy heavy weight lifting as part of my running training. I love running because I’ve been around it all my life. With a track and cross country coach as a father I basically grew up at cross country/track practice. It’s always been my sport, I coach it, I ran all through high school, 2 years in college, and after a brief phase of being a bit burned out on running, I came back to it as a recreational runner. It has been my life as long as I can remember. As much as I love running there are definitely days where it’s more of a love/hate relationship but that happens with things you’re passionate about. Also, I’ve had attention problems all my life so it has always been good to have some alone time with my thoughts.


  1. How did you get started in that sport? 
Besides growing up around it as mentioned above, the first time I realized I enjoyed running was during the mile run in 3rd grade PE. I got 3rd that day and while I enjoyed numerous sports through middle school, running was always king. I actually started focusing on running because I got annoyed with all the other sports I played using it as a punishment.

  1. What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did) 
I ran the NYC Marathon under a fundraising bib for the National Blood Clot Alliance. It was actually a pretty rough day for me, I just didn’t feel right out of the gate and was about 50 minutes off the time I felt I was capable of during my training. However, I was super proud of my training leading up to the marathon and had some awesome workouts leading up to it. I was really proud of my final workouts where I covered ~18 miles at a pretty strong pace. I’m probably going to focus on some half marathons and the 10k for a bit. I enjoy marathon training a lot but I’m just not a fan of a race as long as the marathon where so much can go wrong. My best event was always the 800m so the marathon is obviously quite far away from that.

  1. Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
My clotting episode started on Sunday 10/21/2018 which was the week of the Cross-Country Regional Championships. I woke up feeling a cramping feeling in my rib cage and upper back. I had done an upper body circuit on that Friday and a hard workout with my team that Saturday. After hard workouts I would often get a lot of soreness in my upper back because my posture is not the greatest, but the ribcage soreness was new. I chalked it up to delayed onset muscle soreness from the upper body circuit and spent the morning with my foam roller rolling the upper back because that’s the attachment point for your many of the muscles in the rib cage. That Monday the pain went from cramping to stabbing. My fried had popped my back the day before and I thought he had done so in a way that had broken a rib or damaged the cartilage in my ribs or something similar. I felt pretty terrible but I thought it was just soreness from an injury. I missed my day job that day because I was feeling rough, but I actually went to cross country practice and ran a set of sprints with my team that day… That Tuesday I woke up and it had gotten worse. I told myself that if it didn’t get better by the next day I would go to the hospital. My coworkers, my wife and the nurses she works with all tried to tell me to go but I wouldn’t listen because I was more concerned about my insurance deductible. I went to practice that Tuesday but didn’t run because I was feeling too rough. We had a team dinner after practice and it was on the drive there that I realized I was in serious shape. Just driving my car was the most intense pain I have ever experienced in my life. The dinner was at my parent’s house and when I got there I told my mom that something was really wrong and I needed her to drive me to urgent care. She drove me to urgent care; I explained my symptoms and they said I needed to go to the ER. I was admitted faster than I had ever gotten into the ER, but after that it felt like I was met with skepticism. Maybe they thought I wanted opioids but it felt like they doubted how much pain I was in. It didn’t hurt more when they pressed on my ribs, my chest x-ray was clear. If it wasn’t for my blood test I think I would have been sent home with anti-inflammatories. They said my D-Dimer was high and that could indicate a blood clot so they ordered a CT scan. They ran the CT scan and it came back that I had a pulmonary embolism. It was just recently that I had read about athletes like Chris Bosh and Serena Williams having clotting episodes. I couldn’t believe it was happening to me. They told me I would be put on Eliquis and sent home which caught me off guard because I thought I would have to be admitted to the hospital.  The NP explained that blood clot treatment has come a long way and that since I didn’t have a fever and my pulse oxygen and heart rate were good I didn’t have to be admitted. I was sent home that night but I couldn’t lie down without pain and had to sleep in quite possibly the most uncomfortable position on my couch for the next few weeks. It was uncomfortable but any other position felt like I was being simultaneously stabbed and smothered. I was also told no running for the near future which was extremely depressing considering I was in REALLY good shape at the time. All I wanted to do was go on a run and sleep in the same bed as my wife but I was basically stuck on the couch. It’s wild to me how serious my situation was at the time but how long I waited to go to the hospital. I consider myself extremely fortunate that my clot was not more serious or I might not be alive right now. However, with so many of my symptoms mirroring sports injuries/soreness it makes me fear that this could happen to many athletes. My clot was considered unprovoked meaning it did not start as a DVT but based on what I have read about DVT symptoms there’s a very real possibility I would have just tried using my foam roller thinking it was a sore muscle. Since my PE was unprovoked, I’m on Eliquis indefinitely. I started on 5mg twice a day for 6 months, now I’m on a maintience dose of 2.5mg twice a day. My wife was a rock star through this whole episode. She’s been my rock and I don’t think I would still be here without her.



  1. When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?
I was cleared to run again 2 weeks after my PE. I was told that I could basically do as much as my body would allow. The first run back was humbling. It felt like running a 5k even though I was basically jogging and my lungs hurt the whole time. As I got more and more back into it, my body and legs felt like they could do more but like there was a road block in my lungs keeping me from going faster. My muscles felt like they were out for a jog while my breathing felt like I was sprinting. It was very frustrating.

  1. 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 favorite piece of gear is my Clot Busters hat. I’ve always been a hat person and would run in a different hat every day. Ever since my PE I haven’t worn another hat for a run and it’s really the only hat I wear.

  1. How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week) 
I’ve been getting out running about 4-6 days a week. Some days I was running 15 miles a day split between two runs during my marathon build up.

  1. What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito...
Favorite food would definitely have to be cereal. I could probably eat cereal 3 meals a day (and probably did in college).

  1. If you could go someplace to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
My wife and I have a bucket list with a couple of places we would like to visit. Ireland and Italy are the big ones I’ve never been to and I would like to go back to Australia again at some point in my life. I went there in high school and really want to go back again now that I’m an adult. Ireland is definitely a big one though since that’s where my family came from. With a last name like McDonough I really want to make it there at some point.

  1. 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.
Number one thing I learned was to be kind to yourself and look at your fitness and recovery as a blank slate. It felt like my PE wiped a lifetime of fitness away and if I had tried to judge myself based on what I was able to do before I would have given up. Remember that there are good days and bad days. Even things like the weather affect me in ways I didn’t have to think about before. I ran a race in the humidity and it wrecked me, I almost dropped out, but I refused to give up while wearing the polka dots. I found the Clot Busters the night I was diagnosed with my PE and being a part of a team has pushed me in my recovery. I try not to stress about my situation too much but it does freak me out a bit when I get the slightest pain in my chest.

So glad that Thomas did end up going to the ER when the symptoms of his clotting incident got too evident and painful.

I got the chance to meet Tom right before the NYC Marathon and I hope that our paths can come cross soon enough so that we can run together.  No chance that I can match his pace but hopefully we will be running in the polka-dots so that I can spot him from the distance.

Remember... ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Friday, November 01, 2019

November Athlete of the Month

PART 1I

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING!

Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors CAN ALSO DO ANYTHING!

This is the time of the year when the inspiration is abundant from both camps... 

Blood Clot Survivors and Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors join together wearing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while running in the iconic NYC Marathon.

But this effort is not only about running it also about raising funds to support the great work that STOPTHECLOT.org is doing everyday.  Take a look at the team's fundraising page...


On this edition of the Athlete of the Month post I would like to highlight the second part of the 2019 volunteers who will be taking part on this iconic race representing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Each of these runners have an unique reason as to why they are running which can provide a great of inspiration to us all.

Read on and get inspired by the stories of the second part of our OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEERS!

Perhaps next year you can consider joining Team #StopTheClot to participate in the experience of your life while running through the streets of NYC!


Here you go MIMI & CHRISTIE...


Early on the Saturday morning before Mother’s Day, I suffered a massive pulmonary embolism that travelled from my legs to my lungs,  stopping my heart. Having been revived twice in the ambulance en route to the hospital, I spent 36 hours in an induced coma, and two additional weeks in recovery. I’d nearly lost my life due to a medical condition caused by hormonal birth control, which had been 100% preventable. The symptoms were obvious, but neither my doctors, friends, nor I knew enough about blood clots to seek adequate and timely treatment. Fortunately, I am now fully recovered from this incident and training for the New York City marathon. But I will always need to monitor my health through a hematologist. My involvement with the National Blood Clot Alliance has already made a difference. For example, this past year, I urged a colleague to visit a doctor based on the symptoms he described, which were common early warning signs of blood clots.” - Mimi
Immediately after Mimi passed out, I called 911, and the quick response time of the EMTs was critical to her survival. Luckily, I’d been there for the incident and knew enough about Mimi to help the EMTs rule out possible explanations. However, it took a second ambulance and a female EMT who understood the dangers of birth control as a trigger for blood clots to suggest that her condition might be the result of a pulmonary embolism. The first responders, doctors, and nurses seemed to try a little harder that morning, but in the moment nobody there could have guessed this story would have such a fortunate outcome. For years after I suffered from anxiety attacks worried that I, or those around me, would have a blood clot and the outcome would not be so fortunate. Becoming better educated about blood clots has enabled me to move past the stress brought on by Mimi’s ordeal and allowed me to address anxiety. Running the New York City marathon is a way to celebrate Mimi’s recovery.”- Christie

Here you go MELANIE...

"In February of 2019, I noticed some very minor swelling in my right ankle along with some trouble breathing while going up the stairs.  Knowing that I was already at a high risk for venous thromboembolism with 2 copies of the Factor V Leiden mutation, I went to the Dr not really realizing how  serious of a situation I was in.  Once examined, I was diagnosed with a full blockage DVT in my right leg and multiple pulmonary embolii in both lungs.  If I had not gone to the doctor that day, who knows where I would be today.  
I hope that with your support, I can spread the word about blood clots and drive awareness around the dangers they can cause due to lack of understanding around how serious the creeping symptoms can be.
I will run with "Team Stop the  Clot" wearing my spots proudly, I will run for my parents, who have both had blood clots, for my husband who holds a copy of the Factor V Leiden mutation and for my daughter who has surely inherited the risks from me.  I run for other friends and family who have been afflicted and for those who have lost babies due to blood clots in utero."

Here you go ELIZABETH...


"I am delighted to join Team Stop the Clot in NYC and fundraise for this important cause that is so close to my heart!
 I have been a part of NBCA since it’s Founding,  serving as an original Board member.  I became involved due to my own diagnosis of thrombophilia which preceded my training in genetic counseling.  During my  terms  on  he  Board  and  later  the  Medical  Advisory  Committee,  I had the opportunity to meet so many people and families struck by blood clots, and those with familial risk.  I am so proud to see the progress that has been made in providing educational resources, increasing awareness, providing support, and helping advance public policy and prevention of blood clots.  I am proud to point patients and families to the valuable tools on the website, and know the women’s health campaign  specifically has saved lives.  I also know individuals who have received an early diagnosis of DVT/PE because they knew the signs thanks to NBCA, and therefore took their symptoms seriously and advocated for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.  I could not be more thrilled to support NBCA’s efforts and mission.  Thank you for joining me!
Oh  and PS- I am also the wife of the self-proclaimed clotbuster triathlete who started this whole campaign 😉  "


So that you can remember here are the fine folks who were featured on our October Edition of the blog.

Here we go BRITTANY...


Here you go CHRISTY...
Here you go THOMAS...
Without a question their tenacity and dedication is very much appreciated!
Here is wishing the team the best of luck with what is left of their training and the race itself.  This is an experience they WILL NEVER FORGET.
Thank you for reading,
The Clot Buster

Monday, September 30, 2019

October Athlete of the Month

PART 1

Blood Clot Survivors CAN DO ANYTHING!

Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors CAN ALSO DO ANYTHING!

This is the time of the year when the inspiration is abundant from both camps... 

Blood Clot Survivors and Friends or Family of Blood Clot Survivors join together wearing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while running in the iconic NYC Marathon.

But this effort is not only about running it also about raising funds to support the great work that STOPTHECLOT.org is doing everyday.  Take a look at the team's fundraising page...


On this edition of the Athlete of the Month post I would like to highlight part of the 2019 volunteers who will be taking part on this iconic race representing the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots.  Each of these runners have an unique reason as to why they are running which can provide a great of inspiration to us all.

Read on and get inspired!

Perhaps next year you can consider joining Team #StopTheClot to participate in the experience of our life while running through the streets of NYC!

Here we go BRITTANY...


"When I was a sophomore in college I woke up at 4am one night with an intense sharp pain in my abdomen and chest. Thinking I was having a muscle spasm  from  a  work  out  earlier  that  day, I loaded up on Advil and tried to sleep it off. A day later I found myself in the emergency room and after  a few ultrasounds, x-rays, and cat scans, I was admitted to the ICU with a pulmonary embolism. For those who do not know, a pulmonary embolism is a condition where one or more arteries in the lungs are blocked by a blood clot. At 19 years old, I didn’t understand why this was happening. I was a healthy, fit and young college student and overnight found myself to be the youngest patient on the ICU floor. 
After further testing, I was diagnosed with Factor V Leiden, a genetic blood disorder, which makes me prone to clotting. The combination of flying for spring break trips, birth control pills, and my unknown blood clotting gene created the perfect storm. I am thankful for my parents who pushed me to go to the ER and for my doctors whose immediate attention and care is why I am still here today. I feel compelled to share my story with others and help educate those, like me, who knew so little about blood clots until I experienced first hand."
Here you go CHRISTY...
"When I was 25 years old, my mom passed  away very quickly and tragically from a Pulmonary embolism.  This is a blood clot that had traveled from her leg into her lungs.She had just had a simple outpatient surgery and two days later she was gone. We were extremely close and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her.

Over the years, I have always wanted to do something to honor my mom and raise awareness to blood clots.  The New York City Marathon has always been on my bucket list and I know that this would be an amazing way to honor my mom who has been such an influential person in my life."
Here you THOMAS...

"My name is Thomas and a significant portion of my life has been dedicated to running and being in the best shape and health possible. However, on 10/21/2018* I woke up with a cramping pain in my rib cage and upper back that would change my life forever. It turns out I had a blood clot in my lungs aka a pulmonary embolism. I went from being in the best shape I had been in years to not being able to walk down a hallway without getting out of breath. My primary care doctor was in shock when they recieved the report from the hospital saying I had a pulmonary embolism  and that it happened to someone so young and in good health up to that point.  Since then I have fought hard to get back to where I was before the embolism. I still get dizzy often and have about half the energy I had before, but I'm fighting every day to get back to where I was before I got sick. Since it's considered an unprovoked embolism meaning they do not know what exactly caused it I am on anti coagulants(medicine that keeps your blood from clotting normally) indefinitely. 

The NYC marathon has been on my bucket list for a while now and when I saw that I had the opportunity to run for Team Stop the Clot almost exactly a year after my pulmonary embolism I had to give it a shot. Nothing would mean more to me than showing myself that this embolism didn't beat me by running a marathon in the Big Apple almost exactly a year after it happened. 

One silver lining of all of this is that I found a race team to represent in Team Stop the Clot and I now don the Red Polka dots of the Clot Busters for every race I run. Another reason is because I want to raise awareness about blood clots and blood clot related illnesses and their symptoms. I waited almost 4 days to go to the hospital because I had no idea what was happening to me. I thought I was just sore from doing pushups, and when it got worse I thought that I had broken my ribs or something. It wasn't until it felt like I was being stabbed while driving to my parents house that I decided to go to the ER. So I would like to use my running, something that the pulmonary embolism almost took away from me, to raise awareness about the symptoms and hopefully give people information that could save their life or the life of someone they love. This has taught me what is important in my life: My wife Allison who has been my ride or die through all of this, my pets, my family, the runners I coach, and just being able to run, something I took for granted until I could barely walk without losing my breath. I hope you will consider donating to this cause and educating yourself on the symptoms and risks of blood clots."

Can't wait to see these runners in their very own polka-dots running down the streets of NYC.
Next month we will get to meet the rest of the crew of volunteers that are part of the Team StopTheClot.
Without a question their tenacity and dedication is very much appreciated!
Here is wishing the team the best of luck with what is left of their training and the race itself.  This is an experience they WILL NEVER FORGET.
Thank you for reading,
The Clot Buster

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

September Athlete of the Month


Change is always challenging.

From the very simple or minor to the more complicated or major.

From the outdoor pool closing for the season the change of the season is certainly upon us... I don't like it one bit... Not because fall is coming but instead the dreaded winter... But this type of change is certainly minor and I can suck it up...

But the major changes are the ones that take a lot of effort and dedication to overcome.  Health issues like facing the diagnosis of blood clots is one of those major changes that represent a mountain that you must climb in order to return to normal... or at least the best normal that you can given what your body and mind went through.

Anything is possible for Blood Clot Survivors... time and time again it has been demonstrated... and it never gets old because it is INSPIRING!

Speaking of INSPIRING... September's CLOT BUSTER Athlete of the Month is a story that without a question will make you reflect on how anything is possible to those who believe.

LESLIE has been able to overcome the challenges of her own clotting incident and turn things around that are truly inspiring.  Please read below to learn more about her story as she has been willing to share it with all of us.

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it?
My sport of choice is boxing. In addition to it being a great cardio workout it is an amazing mental release for me. However, I also incorporate weight training (slightly below boxing) and other forms of cardio. I am definitely doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) That said, I go for a walk every morning which I refer to as my moving meditation.

How did you get started in that sport? 
I fell into it by luck. Back in the mid 1990’s I had a personal trainer who introduced me to it. The first time I worked with mitts I missed the mark and the first time he had me jump rope I tripped over my feet and could not get past 15 seconds without getting winded. But I loved it and got much better!


What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? (Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did)
I have never been a runner but after my PE I discovered the Alt G treadmill. I loved it, I was weightless! It was part of my rehab. Once I got good at it we progressed to interval training on a regular treadmill. I am now running and in October I will be running my first ever road race!!! A 5k. I am nervous but excited to do it. In the back of my head I am already thinking about my first mini triathlon! I truly did walk before I ran.

Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission?
My PE happened in June 2018. I live in NYC and the hospital I went to could not figure out my shortness of breath issue. 6 hours later they finally did a scan of my lungs. I had bilateral clots.  I was immediately taken to the ICU where they put me on heparin. Up until that day I had no idea what a blood clot was.  When I left the hospital I transitioned to Xarelto. 

I started short walks shortly after my PE. Literally walking around the block. I remember two weeks after my PE I had a day where I actually felt “good” and I walked up a hill. When I got home I had to get in bed because I was so wiped out. I could hardly function. That day happened to be my birthday. I kept telling myself to think forward one year from today. My 2019 birthday was very different. I exercise with intensity 5 days a week. And I have lost 50 pounds since my PE while also incorporating a vegetarian diet. I hate that word because my food intake is anything but a diet. Fuel is probably a better four letter word than diet!


When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
I started boxing again about 8 months after my PE. I was terrified my lungs could not handle it-and I have had moments of anxiety when I became winded-but it is simply me getting to an anaerobic state, it means I am working hard! And I recover.  After my session I went home drenched and so happy, I cried walking home. But they were tears of joy. I was back!

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 fitbit and my apple watch! It is great to be able to monitor my results and set goals. For several months after my PE I was obsessed with monitoring my SPO2.  I still monitor it but I monitor all my stats!

How much are you getting out doing your sport?  (Everyday you do some training, 2, 3, 4 times per week)
I walk 7 days a week and get those 10,000 steps! Or at least try. 5 days a week I do a combination of boxing, running, strength training, HIIT, swimming and balance exercises.  I mix it up so I don't get bored. 

What is your favorite food?  Either generally or after a workout.  For me there is nothing better than a Chipotle Burrito..
You may laugh but I am obsessed with the Beyond Meat burger. I crave it!

If you could go someplace to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
Rome. I have been there several times but the art history is amazing. You can just walk everywhere, into a small church for example, and find a priceless piece of art. And through different time periods. They all thread together and tell a story. 

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.
For me, I got very depressed after my PE. Eventually I started to feel a little better and setting small exercise goals helped me tremendously. Setbacks were normal, still are. But I kept moving forward and telling myself “a year from now” think about where will you be “a year from now”. Last year I was just starting light weights. This year I am deadlifting 175!  I hope “a year from now” I will be telling you about some great event I am training for. Nope, I will be telling you! Honestly, you can come back from this. I am probably in the best shape of my life now. . Keep thinking about where you can go not where you are. 


Can't wait to see how Leslie will tackle her upcoming 5K!

Without a question that she will overcome the distance challenge with the same dedication and effort as she was able to overcome her clotting incidents.  Small steps will add to great distances and MONUMENTAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

Everyone has their own monumental accomplishments ahead of them.  Go ahead, find them and achieve them!

Thank you Leslie once again for your willingness to share your story.

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Saturday, August 03, 2019

August Athlete of the Month


I love how the network of Blood Clot Survivors that I know continues to expand.

From sport to co-workers to school related activities I keep coming across individuals who are Survivors or know someone who is one.

Every story has an inspiring impact on me that keeps me going with this effort.

Getting the chance to send the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots all over the country and sometimes around the world is truly a pleasure because the message of creating awareness about blood clots and celebrating all blood clot survivors continues to expand.

Speaking of this growth and expansion the following story featured on RUNNERCLICK.COM came across my feed and I could pass up the opportunity to share. 

This month's Athlete of the Month features TINA's story of overcoming the challenges of an unfortunate big crash, the onset of a clotting incident and her return to BEAST MODE triathloning...


Blood Clots can happen to any one that is why we must be aware and vigilant.

At the same time there is hope to come back after your clotting incident.  It make time but a come back is always possible.

Never stop believing that BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS CAN DO ANYTHING!

Read on!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TRIATHLON #100

Hard to believe that I have been able to do 100 Triathlons...So lucky to be ale to pursue this crazy hobby and to push the boundaries of my own limits. 

For me it was truly a celebration of doing these 3 sports... It felt easy as crazy as that sounds... 

I was inspired by multiple racers throughout the event letting me know that THEY WERE BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS... IT WAS FANTASTIC to see them go and get after it.

Very much enjoy what the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots can do while out training and racing... 

BLOOD CLOT SURVIVORS CAN DO ANYTHING!







Here is hoping that I have another 100 races in me...!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

July Athlete of the Month

Love Summer Time!

Bring on the Heat!

Can't get enough of being outside when the sun in shinning.

Every day Blood Clot Survivors complete huge achievements as they battle to overcome blood clots and blood clotting disorders.

July will bring a major challenge for me... Checkout twitter through my handle @CLOTBUSTER to learn more about what I will be having going on.  It is not going to be easy but if blood clot survivors can overcome monumental challenges so can I in mid-July.  WISH ME LUCK!!!

Speaking of being able to overcome.  July's Athlete of the Month ALEXIS has remarkable story to tell which I am certain that you will find very interesting.

MANY THANKS to Alexis for her willingness to share her story.  Read on and get inspired to overcome any challenge!

1)  What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
 I love to run. I truly believe that I love this sport because of my fellow runners and the comradery we share on the trails and roads. Runners are a special group of people and I’m thrilled to be among them!
2)  How did you get started in that sport? 
 I started running in middle school as a 400 meter track athlete. I continued to focus on middle distance racing in high school, also running cross country as a means to build up a solid base prior to track season. 

3)  What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve?(Long bike ride, some race coming up or that you did) 
 I recently ran my first 10 miler post-clot in preparation for my upcoming comeback (I’m calling it a “clot-back”) full marathon. It felt amazing to be able to comfortably increase my mileage and heart rate. MCM 2019, here I come!

4)  Tells about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now? How long were you out of commission? 
 My clotting episode occurred in October 2018 amid a myriad of work, travel, and activity. I was 24-years-old and just weeks out from my second full marathon. I was working full-time as the Marketing Director of a Pittsburgh-based law firm, training for the marathon, and applying for MBA programs in my evenings – talk about a full schedule! I had no time to slow down, let alone get sick.
I had just spent two days in South Bend, Indiana interviewing for a seat at Notre Dame’s MBA program when I returned home to Pittsburgh via midnight train. I was traveling alone and was admittedly afraid to spend the night sleeping on public transit, so in order to ease my nerves and get some shuteye, I popped two Benadryl pills, put my legs up, and crashed for a full 8 hrs into the city. When I awoke the next day, I noticed a lump and tightness in my right leg, just behind my knee, of which I foolishly attributed to a tight IT band from a rough night’s sleep. As it turns out, I had a big race planned for the following morning, so when I stopped at the race expo to pick up my bib, I had a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and nurse check out my leg to ensure that I was fine to race…and got the all clear. No one realized that my “tight IT band” was actually a DVT!

The next day, unaware that I had a serious medical problem, I ran my race as planned. I PR’d in the 10k, knocking 5 minutes off my best (I was in the best shape of my life) but noticed that my heart rate was lingering above 195 (a first for my Garmin!). My leg pain, however, was gone, so we no longer thought anything of it.

The next day, I began to feel short of breath. It started gradually – a feeling of windedness on that first early morning run – and progressed to major SOB walking up short flights of stairs by the week’s end. I was stubborn and on a strict schedule, however, so I persisted into my last 20-miler of training that Saturday morning. That run went terribly as I struggled at mile 2 to keep my heart rate below 175. I felt lethargic, my vision spotted/blacking in and out, and my body just not wanting to move. I shut the run down at mile 9, and the next day attempted my 20 again, this time only reaching mile 6 before I called it quits. Something wasn’t right and I knew it, but my coach, running mates, work demands, and MBA dreams were counting on me to keep going, so I continued to press on. 

The following week – 1.5 weeks post-DVT to be exact – I finally went to see my PCP. I told myself I felt fine aside from this annoying inability to breathe, and just wanted to feel better in time for race day. Upon examination, my doctor told me I must have had a virus and sent me home with a prescription for a Z-pak and script for bloodwork, which thankfully included a d-dimer…even he initially missed the signs and symptoms! Thankfully I was called the following morning as my d-dimer was positive. One CT-scan later and I had the entire emergency room staff scratching their heads – I had 3 acute pulmonary emboli residing in 3 different lobes of my lungs…and I RAN that morning! 

5)  When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
 When I finally mentally allowed myself to get sick, I got really sick. After spending 2 days in the ICU on a heparin infusion, I was discharged with strict orders to stop running and overscheduling! I felt relatively fine leaving the hospital (and actually drove myself home as the determined and willful woman I am) but after 2 days of fighting myself, the intense dizziness, chest pain, increased SOB, constant elevated heart rate, lethargy, and nausea began. I spent weeks at home trying to rebuild my stamina and regain balance. After six months spent on anti-coagulant therapy (I took 1xdaily Xarelto, of which I cannot speak more highly!), I was finally approved to run again! 

My clotting episode is still baffling medical professionals to date. I saw three different specialists, one of which blatantly admitted to having no idea how to treat such a young PE patient, before being diagnosed as having an unprovoked clotting episode. I’ve tested negatively for all hereditary clotting disorders, including Factor V. My new hematologist believes that the combination of extensive travel, paired with 10+ years of daily hormonal birth control, caused my DVT. We hypothesize that my racing the day after I contracted the DVT day caused the clot to break off and travel in parts into three different lobes of my lungs, and the length of time between clot break and treatment caused the clots to grow.

I’ve had many medical professionals tell me that I’m lucky to be alive, of which is true on paper and considering my continued attempts at training mid-clot. However, I genuinely believe that my running is the reason I’m so fortunate! Had I not been so conditioned, I may not have realized that my shortness of breath and elevated heart rate were out of the norm. With so few symptoms to base such a serious, life-threatening diagnosis, I am fortunate that my self-awareness and absurd training schedule allowed me to know that something wasn’t right, and am thankful for my amazing PCP for running that “just to be safe” test to ensure my safety and proper recovery. 
 
6)  What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity? 
 I’m partial to my SPIbelt and Powerbeats wireless headphones for long runs, but I am SO looking forward to spotting my dots at MCM this fall!

7)  How much are you getting out doing your sport?  
I train with a running group 6 days per week. When time allows, I also like to incorporate strength training, yoga, piyo, and/or cycling as a second daily workout.

8)   What is your favorite food?  
I am obsessed with cheese – I have yet to meet a cheese I haven’t liked!

9)  If you could go some place to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
 I’m planning a trip to Africa in 2020!

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. 
 You have to be your own health advocate. No one knows your body and your health better than you do, so listen to it and speak up/out often! Many amazing and talented medical professionals missed my initial DVT diagnosis because my age and overall health didn’t fit the stereotypical criteria for a DVT patient…if it can happen to me, it can happen to you. Stay vigilant!

To those running MCM this fall, I’ll see ya on the course! Let’s make it a “clot-back” to remember!

Here is hoping that Alexis gets her "CLOT-BACK" !!! 

For sure all of us will be looking forward to see you crush your come back race.

Get inspired to BE VIGILANT and TO ALWAYS BE AWARE!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!
#100 TRIATHLONS