BENEFITING: National Blood Clot Alliance
ORGANIZER: National Blood Clot Alliance
2016 was supposed to be my year . For the first 10 months, it was. Work was going great. I moved to Oregon and was adjusting well. I was logging some of the best miles of my young life.
I closed out 2015 with a 1:17:50 PR in the half marathon in late November. I trained all winter and ran the NYC half marathon two seconds faster (1:17:48) in March, 2016. The result was solid but a little disappointing. Workouts were indicating that I could go faster. I ran PRs in the 1500- 4:27 (4:47 mile or so) and in the 10k 35:32 in the summer. I then started to attack marathon training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October, 2016.
I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and was ready to run in the 2:40s or better. I put in some really excellent workouts like a 13 mile tempo at 6:00-flat pace 3 weeks before the race. By 10k into the race, my legs felt like they were cramping. I tried to settle in with a group hitting 6:10/mile but I fell off it a little after 11 miles and went through the half in 1:22-mid. I was perplexed. I'm not a quitter so I just kept going even though my body was protesting with another half to go. At 22ish, my right calf cramped so bad I had to stop and walk for about 10:00. I started running once I could and crossed the line in 3:00:23. I didn't even break 3 when 6:00 pace was feeling pretty comfortable in training.
In the couple weeks after the race (which was on 10/9), I started to log some miles, determined to get in a good marathon in 2016. I signed up for the California International Marathon. I hit a really good 22 mile long run in training where I alternated 2 miles at 6:00 pace and 2 miles easy. I did 5 sets of this. The only problem was that my legs were cramping during the whole thing which was very strange and made things significantly tougher. What was going on?
The next night I woke up in the middle of the night to some pretty intense chest pain. I went for my run that morning and to work. There was pain in my chest whenever I would take a deep breath. I woke up for a third straight night and was sensing something was wrong. I did a workout on 11/2- 3 x 4 miles in 24:35, 23:57, 23:39- and then went straight to the hospital. The doctors did not seem overly concerned. My vitals looked normal. They were just going to do a CT Scan of my lung/chest just to make sure that everything looked good. A new doctor came into the room after the scan and told me that I would be staying the night. I had a blood clot in my right lung.
1 person will die every 6 minutes in the US due to a blood clot. 274 people in the US will die every day due to a blood clot. This could have been me. I was unable to process this news in the moment. I was 24. My health has always been good. I had never taken any sort of medication. My routine for the last 6 years had been to go for a morning run and then take on the day. I was given a series of shots and told that I was to be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. I was told not to run and to take things easy.
I started to run again after taking two weeks off. My PCP said a few miles a day would be fine. The doctor had told me that I had to be careful because the clot could, at any time, detach and move to my heart or brain which could cause some serious medical problems (heart attack, stroke, etc.). I was picking up some items at a local bakery in late November and everything went from being good to not so good in a matter of seconds. I felt dizzy, my heart started to race, my body was shaking. I did not feel in control. My partner was with me and she immediately drove me to the ER. After being there for 6 hours or so we were told that everything was just fine. Things were better than fine. All of the blood testing was normal and we did another scan to see if the clot was getting bigger but the clot had actually fully dissolved. I stopped running for a month and went back to the hospital once more feeling the same way. I checked out again. It was starting to sink in that I was having panic attacks. I was feeling anxious 24/7. I was not running. It was difficult to get through work.
When the calendar year switched to 2017, I was relieved to leave 2016 behind. I started 2016 feeling like anything was possible and closed out the year scared to live my life. Over the last few months I have gotten back to running. Work has gotten much better. The anxiety is still there and that is the biggest thing holding me back right now. I am fearful of developing another clot. I am fearful that if I feel a twinge in my chest that the worst is about to happen. There are days where I am seem to forget what happiness feels like. Anxiety/depression are often stigmatized and they are hard to understand if one has never experienced them before. It takes an incredible amount of patience to help someone through this and I am beyond grateful to people in my support system who have been helping me. I could not have gotten through this without all of you in my life. I do not know what the future holds but I am determined to keep fighting. I cannot wait to run the NYC Marathon with Team Stop the Clot. I am excited to raise money for NBCA and encourage anyone reading this to give what you can. Clots still feel like a big unknown to me and, without better resources, others will find themselves in a similar position. Anything we can do now to help will benefit people down the road. NYC will come almost exactly one year after my diagnosis. Right now, I go through good days and bad days. But I'm not done yet.
I am a survivor. I will keep moving forward.
***Update: I ran the Eugene Half Marathon on 5/6/2017 in 1:16:40 (5:50 pace) good for 19th overall of 2500 and 3rd in my AG. I followed that up at the Newport Marathon with a 2:46:43 (6:21 pace) good for 5th overall. Onwards to NYC!!!
National Blood Clot Alliance wrote -
Team Stop The Clot® -- Six Years Running.
We’re proud of our history, and even more proud of our 39 runners who've crossed the finish line, raised more than $200,000, and brought blood clot awareness to their family and friends throughout the country.
Our Team's goal is to raise funds for our mission of education and awareness. Typically, it's a Team of blood clot survivors or those running to honor a loved one touched by blood clots. As you read their stories you'll learn about their commitment and dedication to raise funds, awareness, train, and run 26.2 miles on an early November day in NYC.
The startling blood clot statistics tell it all:
- 1 person will die every 6 minutes in the US due to a blood clot.
- 274 people in the US will die every day due to a blood clot.
- Between 600,000 - 900,000 new blood clots are diagnosed annually in the US, with 100,000 deaths related to blood clots. The #'s do not include those who survive but live with complications.
- Blood clots kill more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer, and car accidents combined.
Tragically, too many lives are affected by blood clots, and too many lives are lost because public awareness about life-threatening blood clots is so low. Numerous studies have shown that fewer than 1 in 4 people are aware of the signs and symptoms of blood clots.
Blood clots don't discriminate. Regardless of age, race or gender, we are all at risk. No matter how young or physically fit you may be, you can still be affected.
Please donate today to help NBCA save lives. as we continue our mission to advance prevention, early diagnosis and successful treatment of life-threatening blood clots such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and clot-provoked stroke.