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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


Unknown said...

Really inspiring! I have just been diagnosed with DVT following a PE in June which I thought was asthma. I’m on Eliquis (10 mg/day) and wondering whether I will be able to return to intense training again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Unknown said...

I am an ER and sports medicine physician as well as a patient with 2 DVTs. YES - you can probably train and participate, but I would need to know more about your situation. you are more than welcome to reach me if you like and I can advise better. I in the process of writing an article on "Athletes on Anticoagulants - is it Safe to Play?" My linked in profile is and my email is

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!