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Wed 24th Apr 2019
Not again... stupid clot
Posted by: Bob Holloway
Posted on: Thursday 21st May 2015

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One of our regular columnists Bob Holloway has had some tough times in recent years, including collapsing in 2009 with bi-lateral pulmonary embolisms (blood clots on the lungs). After recovering from that - and more triathlon comeback attempts than he would care to remember - Bob really did get back to training and racing in 2014, and even enjoyed some Hever Fever, with an Age Group win at the end of last year, leaving him motivated for 2015.

Unfortunately, mother nature hasn't been kind to Bob lately, as a return to A&E, CT scans and echocardiograms has put a (temporary) halt to his ambitions. Best wishes to you Bob from all at Tri247.


Following my comeback win at the Hever Castle Sprint last September, training-wise, I took things pretty easily up to Christmas. The plan was to ease back into winter training in the New Year in preparation for the 2015/16 season. Sadly, once again, lady luck was not on my side.

My main focus of training was the Surrey Half Marathon in March where I had agreed to run as part of a team from Woking High School where my wife works as a teaching assistant. I slowly built up to three runs a week but in early February I tore a calf muscle and tore it again in early March despite three weeks of complete rest from running. I thought I might be able to rescue the race by spending hours on the turbo trainer but on a test run a week before the event, the calf failed yet again after only half a mile. Needless to say, I did not start or complete this year’s Surrey Half Marathon!

I continued to exercise on the turbo trainer with the very occasional short run but on 10th May while warming up on the turbo trainer, I became breathless on very little exertion and saw my heart rate hit 150bpm. Discretion being the better part of valour, I abandoned the turbo session and after a few minutes felt fully recovered and back to normal. However, on my walk to the station the following morning the breathlessness returned and all the signs were that I was experiencing the onset of another pulmonary embolism following the earlier episode in 2009.

I trundled my way into work but left at lunchtime having made an appointment that afternoon to see my GP. She more or less confirmed my view that blood clots had made their way to my lungs. Within 20 minutes I was sitting with my wife in A&E at St Peters hospital in Chertsey. After a six hour wait, it was decided that I should be kept in overnight, though finding a bed would not be easy. I spent the early part of Tuesday morning sleeping on a trolley in a triarge cubicle but was woken at two in the morning to be told that a bed had been found.

To cut a long story short, I underwent endless blood tests, a CT scan and an echo-cardiogram with the result that I had suffered another bi-lateral pulmonary embolism. But spotting the symptoms at a very early stage was a clear plus factor and I was certainly in much better shape compared to 2009 when the clots in the lungs were so bad that I blacked out at home to 20 minutes.

I was discharged from St Peters on Wednesday afternoon having agreed to continue the heparin injections at home. I was also put on warfarin tablets and later discovered that after the repeat episode, I would now be on anticoagulants for the rest of my life. Although I have started this regime on warfarin, I will soon switch over to the latest range of anticoagulants which dispense with INR scores and regular monitoring.

It is now a week after the latest episode and I am now back at work. I managed a very short 20 minute session on the turbo last night with no ill-effects and will continue to build up my strength and fitness over the next few months. I have no firm thoughts about racing this year but if all goes well, I may look at a few triathlons or duathlons towards the end of the year.

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