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Thursday, May 02, 2019

May Athlete of the Month

Once again this year I had the chance to go and witness the Boston Marathon.

Once again this year I took the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots to the Boston Marathon.
This year I got to go with 3 boys while we attempted to cheer on Speedy Mom... For sure the 2019 edition of the Boston Marathon was rough for all who participated.  This event has a tendency to push the limits of people.  Participants overcame whatever challenges this course threw their way.  It is so inspiring to see people battle and overcome to reach that famous finish line.
Blood Clot Survivors not always have a famous finish line to get across.  

For many the finish line is to attempt to live a normal life.

For some the finish line is at an actual race someplace, long or short, that can bring closure to all of the events leading to overcoming the challenges of their blood clotting incident.

Anything is possible for those who believe.

One of those survivors that can provide us with some of that inspiration is our May Athlete of the Month KIM who is here sharing some of her experiences with all of us... As the racing season gets underway please read on so that you too can find some of that additional spark to get your fire and desires going!

What is you sport/activity of choice? Why do you enjoy it? 
My activity of choice is running; trail running when I have the time and can fit in longer runs. Running gets me out of my head and clears my mind. It gives me time to listen to my body. Something about connecting with my breath and my feet pounding the pavement is very therapeutic.   
How did you get started in that sport? 
I wish this was a simple answer. Growing up and in early adulthood I never like
running. I would see people running in the rain and snow and think I could
never be that committed to anything, let alone running. I had a stress induced
cardiomyopathy (takotsubocardiomyopathy) in 2013. After that event I
struggled with ongoing chest pain and shortness of breath. After numerous
visits to my cardiologist it was determined the lingering symptoms were due to
anxiety. I did the only thing I knew how to do to deal with the “anxiety” andthat
was to expose myself to the symptoms. So I essentially started running as
exposure therapy. When I started I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. I used
a run/walk training plan to build my endurance and provide structure. This was
really helpful because I could see my improvement over time. It was grueling
and totally unenjoyable at first, but after a few months of sticking with it I
slowly began to enjoy it. I ran my first race, a 10K trail race, in 2016.

What is the latest milestone you achieved or plan to achieve? 
I have a 50K trail relay race on May 4th. I’m super pumped to be back out on the trail and rock my new polk-a-dots!

Tell us about your clotting episode.  Are you on blood thinners now?
How long were you out of commission? 
I was diagnosed with bilateral pulmonary emboli, with a very large clot in my right lung, on December 14th, 2018. I took a long flight to Australia in September and I think that’s when I got the clot. I had some symptoms when I landed in Australia but they resolved in a few days and I even participated in the Blackmore’s Sydney Running Festival and enjoyed a 10K over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. When I got back from Australia I noticed increased shortness of breath and heart rate when running, but nothing extreme. It wasn’t until I completed a work out at Orange Theory in December that I realized something was seriously wrong – I felt faint and my heart rate was over 200 for most of the class. I went to the ED a few days after that. In hind sight, I waited far too long to seek medical attention. However, with a history of cardiac issues and being told numerous times that my ongoing SOB was due to anxiety it was easy to brush it off.

I was out of commission for a good month and eased into walking in February. I started run/walking in March and was back to full on running in April.

I’m currently on blood thinners and may be for life. I now know I’m heterozygous for Factor V Leiden and am currently ruling out Still’s Disease with my rheumatologist. Still’s Disease can also cause you to be in a hypercoagulable state. I have an appointment with a hematologist soon who will have the final say.

When were you able to get back into your activity?  How did it feel that first time?   
After getting back to running and feeling like myself again (for the most part), it’s really made me appreciate the physical ability I do have and to not take that for granted. Having to take time off from running also made me realize how much I rely on running for stress management. I think my family would agree we’re all happier when I’m running. ☺
What is your favorite piece of gear for your favorite activity?
I haven’t worn my polka-a-dots yet, but I suspect that will become my favorite gear! For now it’s my La Sportiva Bushido’s and pair of Oiselle leggings.

How much are you getting out doing your sport?
I run 3 times a week and do Orange Theory once a week. That seems to be the right amount for me. With autoimmune issues I have to maintain a fine balance of rest and exercise. If I push myself too hard I can tip myself into a flare.

What is your favorite food?
After a long run, especially on the trail, there’s nothing better than a cold beer!

If you could go someplace to visit and explore, where would like to go? 
There are too many even to begin to list...

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
I recommend people listen to their bodies and return to activity slowly. I learned the hard way and pushed myself too soon and would pay for it the next day. I think it’s difficult to know when to return to exercise and we received very vague guidance, very similar to what I just stated above. But in hindsight it’s very true. One day and one step at a time.  
Here is wishing for Kim to be rocking the CLOT BUSTER #StopTheClot polka-dots while racing on May 4th. Can't wait to see pictures of polka-dots out and about on the trails.

No question that we all have to take "One Day and One Step At the Time" there is no really any other way to overcome any of the challenges that we face.

Sounds like Kim is ready to race her 50K and many more races.

I hope that I am ready to race this summer as well... 4 Races to go ahead of my #100th Triathlon. Let's see how it goes.

Here is wishing ALL THE BEST to all reading this who will be going after a finish line out there this summer and beyond. NEVER EVER STOP TRYING!

Thank you for reading,

The Clot Buster

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My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!

My 100th Triathlon Finish !!!