October 22, 2009 my life changed as I was diagnosed with a life threatening Congenital Heart Defect resulting in more than 40% of my blood flowing backwards and a dangerous Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia Arrhythmia. Both went undetected my entire life and were not identified until that day.
Just 2 months later, on Dec. 23, 2009 I had open-heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, #1 Cardiac Hospital.
My name is Bob Alexander, Endurance Athlete, and Congenital Heart Valve Defect Survivor. I’ve been married for 36 years and have three great kids.
My 1st race was just 5 months after heart surgery, the 2010 Bolder Boulder. Since having open-heart surgery in 2009, I completed 24 endurance races included 2 Half Marathons, 7 Marathons and the New York City Marathon within 10 months, 2 – 50 Mile Ultras, A 100 Mile Ultra in 24:16, seven Century 100 mile cycling events in the Rockies & a 240 miler climbing 20,000 vertical feet, Ironman Arizona in 16:33:20 just 23 months after open-heart surgery. I gave my Ironman Finisher medal to 6-year-old Heart Transplant survivor Gabriella.
I will be doing 2 more Ironman events in 2013.
I am no one special, I just truly believe, despite the odds, “Anything is Possible”!
Bob Alexander — Husband, Father, Congenital Heart Defect Survivor, & Endurance Athlete who Loves Life
New Zealand cycling in shock following sudden death of Patrick Avery.
New Zealand cyclists are mourning the loss of fellow rider, Patrick Avery, 21, who died suddenly on Tuesday evening.
“If you have not heard, Patrick fell off this bike towards the end of the Crit, there is a possibility he had a heart attack but we do not know the cause,” wrote Peter Clark, President of Cycling Rotorua to club members according to a Rotorua Mountain Bike Club post on Facebook.
“We believe it may have been a seizure of heart attack which caused him to fall off the bike, but we are not sure.”
“Patrick comes from a well known cycling family in Rotorua, he was a fantastic young guy, very laid back and a very good cyclist.”
I met Loren Stephens through this blog and my twitter. It happens that we only live a few miles away. I have only ridden once with Loren, on his recovery day, as I am rarely in good enough shape to even see his wheel. I am thoroughly motivated, and encouraged by what he has accomplished mentally and physically since his open heart surgery and heart attack. He is committed to not let his heart stop him from once again becoming a cycling champion. He wrote his account of hat happened to him below.
by Loren Stephens
I am an elite level masters cyclists in the USA. I have earned many podium finishes in masters time trial and criterium and am a past California State Masters Criterium Champion for 65+ men.
I was diagnosed with degenerative mitral valve disease (60% leakage) in April 2010. On July 1, 2010 at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center I had a 7.5 hour open heart surgery to repair my mitral valve and to do an atrium reduction. My heart was removed from my body in order to make the repairs. I spent 5 days in ICU and a total of 7 in the hospital.
After getting out of the hospital I struggled with some A Fib problems. I ended up having to be cardioverted out of it. I have been AF free since.
I was able to start training on the bike in September 2010. In late September I had a ventricular tachycardia event while riding and passed out cold. My Doc said I was lucky to be alive and took me off the bike and put me in cardio rehab.
After cardio rehab I was given the OK to start training on the bike again in preparation for the 2011 racing season. I was making great progress until February 15, 2011 when I had a heart attack on a training ride. After a stent and few days in the hospital I was out and found myself back in cardio rehab.
After completing rehab I was given the OK to start riding the bike again. I have been riding mainly to gain back my old levels of endurance.
In December 2011 I started working with my long time coach again and started full on training in preparation for racing USA Cycling Masters Nationals in early September 2012. I have no restrictions other than the fact that I’m on Plavix which will limit my racing for the first half of the 2012 season. I have raced a couple of races just to test my fitness. In June I raced the California Senior Games and came in 2nd in the 40K road race which also qualifies me to race at the 2013 National Senior Games in Cleveland. My next races will be USA Cycling Masters Nationals in early September 2012 in Bend Oregon and the Huntsman World Senior Games in early October in St. George Utah.
Not bad for a guy who was told he would never race again. I proved them all wrong.
I have been under a rock lately, focusing on all the wrong things lately, work and associated issues that arise out of too much of it to notice the passing of Micah True. I only recently became aware of the enigmatic man and I found him to be inspirational and of great interest. He apparently died of Cardiomyopathy.
Below are some links to articlse about his life and what happened…RIP
For the last few years HIIT (high intensity interval training) like Little Method the Tabata Method have been big news. Tabata seems to be the most widely talked about, invented by Prof. Izumi Tabta. Since most of the world is trying to loose weight and lose it faster it easy to see why these workouts are now buzzwords – if you are trying to loos weight and /or have very little time to work out, my favorite excuse, these methods might be good for you. The claims are big aerobic, metabolic and cardiovascular benefits, see NY Times article.
Here are some good links I have found to this style of training related to cycling, but there are manny other HIIT workouts involving running, push ups, squats, kettle ball etc… around.
• NY Times
As I have no medical training of course discuss any of what you read here with your doctor before you start these programs. Let me know if you find others or tell me how you like these methods.
Article from Runnersworld.com ©Runnersworld.com
In a new study out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, researchers have found that completing 20-minute sessions of cycling intervals–with one minute at 90 percent maximum heart rate, one minute rest, repeated 10 times–significantly boosts overall health and fitness, even in patients with cardiovascular disease.
It might seem counterintuitive that strenuous exercise would be productive or even wise for cardiac patients. But so far none have experienced heart problems related to the workouts, [lead researcher Dr. Maureen] MacDonald said. “It appears that the heart is insulated from the intensity” of the intervals, she said, “because the effort is so brief.”
Almost as surprising, the cardiac patients have embraced the routine. Although their ratings of perceived exertion, or sense of the discomfort of each individual interval, are high and probably accurate, averaging a 7 or higher on a 10-point scale, they report enjoying the entire sessions more than longer, continuous moderate exercise, Dr. MacDonald said.
“The hard work is short,” she points out, “so it’s tolerable.” Members of a separate, exercise control group at the rehab center, assigned to complete standard 30-minute moderate-intensity workout sessions, have been watching wistfully as the interval trainers leave the lab before them. “They want to switch groups,” she said.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of continuous, moderate exercise five times a week, but this study indicates that 20 minutes of interval training is as beneficial and possibly more enjoyable. And, obviously, the interval workouts are shorter. The majority of Americans who don’t exercise say it’s because they don’t have time.
If you’re in the minority–that is, you do have time for prolonged, moderate exercise–you shouldn’t abandon your current regimen. This type of exercise also has proven heath benefits. But on days when you’ve got to squeeze in a workout, intervals may be the way to go.