Congenital Heart Defect Survivor completes marathons, 100 mile runs & Ironman Triathlon’s

Heart Inspired
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

Via CyclingNews.com_dsc5874_600

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.

 

Via tvnz.co.nz

“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.”

High-intensity Interval Training

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

Active.com

Shape.com

Indoorcyclinginstructors.com

About Prof. Izumi Tabata

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.

Can Athletic Drama Cause A Heart Attack?

“Could excitement – even a good kind of excitement – give you a heart attack?  The answer, some cardiologists say, is yes.”

“Here’s what happens when you’re under stress, whether it’s good or bad. Your body releases hormones called catecholamines, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.”

Full article @ CNN Health

I Think I Had A Heart Attack 6 Years Ago?

I have never been good with dates of important occasions. As I get older (45 next month) what year something happened to me is far less accurate than my Garmin is at knowing how many calories I have burned.

I know it was August that I had my 2 heart attacks (within 12 hours). But a few years ago I had forgotten the day and I think it was in 2007 sometime that I stopped recalling the year it happened also. The only way I know it was 6 years ago is I have to repeat to anyone at least 3 times who hears my story that “Yes, I was 39” So since I’l be 45 next month this month is my 6 year anniversary of being alive. My wife just came in and said “What are you talking about? You were 36, not 39”. OK so it was 9 years ago. Proof I just can’t rememebr or do I choose not to? I still have my stent ID card that tells me the date of my first stent(of which I have 7, stents not cards) but I keep that in a drawer somewhere and choose not to look at it. Each year around June I think “Oh I’m going to celebrate the anniversary of my heart attack by riding a century or a 200 mile week or a 10,000′ day of climbing” none of that ever happens.

While I still plan to do something(?) someday(?) to mark the occasion with a post cardiac feat of super human strength I think to my self- ” Isn’t being here everyday to see my family and friends a daily celebration better than any ride I could do?”

I was wondering how anyone else celebrates or doesn’t their cardiac “event”.

KEEPriding- Eric

Arguments Continue Over the Metabolic Syndrome “Label”

Excerpt from  theheart.org article.(an excellent website and cardiac news source which I highly recommend joining their newsletter)

New York, NY – Years after the term metabolic syndrome was first coined, controversy continues over the validity of naming and treating this clustering of certain risk factors as a separate condition. While different organizations use different definitions, metabolic syndrome is generally defined as having any three of the following: increased waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, reduced HDL cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, or elevated fasting glucose.

But for almost as long as the metabolic syndrome has been around, disagreement over its relevance has pitted some of the diabetes community against some of those in cardiology. This came to a head in 2005 when the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) issued a statement discouraging the use of the term metabolic syndrome, and then just a few weeks later, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) released their own statement encouraging use of the metabolic-syndrome concept. Five years later, it appears that little has changed, with arguments still raging over whether there is any point in identifying and labeling individuals with this clustering of risk factors.

Full article link here http://www.theheart.org/article/1106159.do

How Exercise Effects Metabolites and Genes in Your Bloodstream

Great article on how exercise, as little as just 10 min., “Almost immediately, the metabolites, in combination (but not individually) ignited a reaction that resulted in increased expression of a gene involved in cholesterol and blood-sugar regulation. In other words, the metabolites weren’t just marking activity that was happening elsewhere in the body; they also may have been sparking some of that activity directly.”

“…after 10 minutes of treadmill jogging or stationary-bicycle riding, the healthy adults showed enormous changes in the metabolites within their bloodstream”

But more importantly than how little exercise one has to do to effect change -scientists are starting to understand more about how exercise effects the bloodstream and how that relates to heart disease.

Link to complete NY Times Article.

Why I Check my Oxygen Levels When I Ride

I have been trying to get ready for a the Avenue of the Oaks Century on May 1 and my training has been inconsistent at best….insert excuses here. Today I was able to spend 2 hours on a ride and I wanted to push a bit harder that normal.

SInce I no longer go to cardiac rehab. I try to mirror what the “maintenance” program I was on did when it comes to protocol. Each time I went to rehab the workout started with the following:

  1. Weigh myself.
  2. Relax and sit in a chair (of my own choice I closed my eyes and relaxed my whole body durigng the next steps).
  3. They would hook up the blood pressure cuff, and oxygen monitor.
  4. Then take the reading for my BP, resting HR & Oxygen level.

I do my best to do  all of the above things before I do any type of workout or riding (I’m in the market for a new blood pressure monitor as the electric one I had been using was not accurate when I brought with me to an appointment with my doctor and compared it with hers). Now during the cardiac rehab sessions they would check my oxygen levels 2-3 times, more if I was trying something new or pushing up a level of intensity. At home I only check it before I workout and occasionally after my cool down and when I push myself (now getting to the point of this entry) like I did today. Since I was heading out to ride twice as long as had I the past weeks I decided to take my Nonin Onyx Fingertip Oximeter with me to check throughout my ride. I want to point out at this point that this is same monitor 1 of my doctors uses, and 2 of my rehabs use so that is how I qualified it’s purchase. (one other point it is a nice way to check the accuracy of my heart rate monitor as well).

Today I used at the first sign of feeling like the ride should have been a bit easier and I didn’t believe my HRM, it was correct the oximeter read 138bpm and 98%O2. The next time was after a moderate climb and I hit 164 bpm (my doc say to stay under 160) Oximeter read 161bpm ( it took a few seconds to stop and put it on my finger) and 96% O2. It is also a good thing to have when I’m sucking wind and I can be sure it’s just from being out of shape vs a true loss of O2. I used it one more time when I started to feel tired and then after my cool down. I probably won’t bring it with me on a ride again until I do the century on May 1.

It is a useful tool to have if you work out on your own. It provides me with 2 things, 1: Ability to let me doctor know more information about my health & 2. Oxygen content of your blood is only a small factor when determining your risk for a cardiac event but it does provide me with a bit of assurance that my heart is doing O.K.

KEEPriding,

Eric