MY BLOOD CLOT STORY
In 2010, I ran three marathons and intended on running three more in 2011. I tore my meniscus playing soccer with my son Ty, which resulted in a 12 minute surgery in August. My doctor assured me I would be back training in time to run Chicago in October. A week later while standing in the garage with the boys I felt like I had just done a 10 mile speed workout. I was short of breath, my heart was racing and I was sweating. Sue, my wife rushed home from the ER and took me in.
Turns out I had massive blood clots in my calf and multiple bilateral Pulmonary Emboli in my lungs. After getting through the initial diagnosis the doctors did a bunch of blood work and discovered I have a Prothrombin Factor II mutation, a blood clotting disorder. I then went on a 6 month battle with Coumadin. I was lucky though and stopped at 6 months. *Important Note* you do NOT have to have a blood clotting disorder to get a blood clot.
Getting back to work was a struggle.
I am a wedding photographer. A normal day is 10 to 14 hours of running around. It was tough to breath and the near 100 degree temps and humidity didn’t help much. The first couple weeks my heart rate would sky rocket and every time I felt a pain in my leg or chest I wondered if I should go back to the ER. I actually developed a little anxiety. Funny to think how much mental prep I do for ultra marathon training then my brain actually convinced me of a problem that don’t exist. That said, anxiety sucks. I would have sworn my heart was racing in the 140s-150s but sure enough I took my pulse and it was 60 or lower.The doctor told me I could get back to running anytime I wanted.
Of course I tried running a few days after I got home. 1 mile, 15 minutes. Realizing there was no way I could run I then took 4 months off. I spent some time in the gym but that was almost as hard. My heart rate would hit 175 or higher lifting. I had to take breaks to catch my breath. I’ll never forget the day an old lady was walking by and looked over at me trying to catch my breath. I’m pretty sure she was taunting me as she mimicked my breathing. I had to laugh. I also made some new 80+ year old friends in the locker room. We traded a lot of stories about Coumadin and compression stockings.
Back to training and slowly back to normal.
I finally started training again in January almost 6 months after a week in the hospital. Time to start with one mile at a time and work my way back up to 26.2. I started with walking. Training was frustrating. I was minutes per mile slower than the previous year. It took me a while to come to terms that recovery was going to take longer than I thought. In fact it took me about three years to finally feel normal again.
This year was my 3 year anniversary from surviving blood clots. 1 in 3 die from PEs (blood clots in chest). I ran over 2,100 miles this year which included my 20th marathon, 3rd 50 mile race and 1st 100 mile race.