My Heart Journey to Ironman
I’ve taken on a challenge to ‘Do it for Heart’!
The goal is to complete a full distance Ironman (3.8km swim - 180km ride - 42km run)
With it being #heartweek2022 and recently discovering my own heart condition (story below), I wanted to use this opportunity to raise awareness that heart conditions can affect anyone.
My goal is to create awareness around Non-Obstructive Coronary Angina and with an aim to raise funds to support heart disease.
Heart disease remains Australia’s biggest killer, claiming 48 lives every day. Your donation will help the Heart Foundation to transform Australia’s heart health.
Please make a donation today. Every donation, big or small, will help me get closer to my goal.
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Last year I was recovering from (non related) surgery and had started back training to achieve my goal of finishing the Noosa Triathlon (my first full distance / Olympic triathlon). After doing a handful of Sprint Distance Tri’s I was excited to step up!
After the excitement of spectating a friend’s Half Ironman event, myself and a few friends (with a nod of approval from our coach) signed up to a FULL IRONMAN. There was a staged plan to get there - do Noosa Olympic (Oct), Tweed Enduro Half Ironman (Feb), and the full Ironman in Cairns (Jun)! An Ironman consists of a 3.8 km swim, 180km ride, 42km run!
We committed to this INSANE goal knowing we had a lot of work cut out for us and it would take a significant amount of commitment and sacrifices.
The very next day, on 14 September 2021 I went to see my doctor after suffering chest pain on and off for some weeks. Given my father (who is a very fit and healthy man) had not long had three stents, I was told to go to emergency to get the right tests done asap.
The emergency doctor was rather rude and seemingly uninterested, until he came back and abruptly said ‘your results are back, you’ve got elevated troponin which is a sign that you’ve had a heart attack! We have to admit you to the cardiac ward for more testing.’ That is all that was said, he walked out. I was left sitting there stunned so called my family to say I had just been told they think I had a heart attack, but I’m okay, and they want to do more tests.
I was admitted to the cardiac ward where I underwent testing over the next few days with multiple suggestions of diagnosis being thrown around. It was an extremely scary and confusing time.
After a long road of discovery I’ve been diagnosed with ‘Non Obstructive Coronary Angina’. Whilst most people think chest pain comes from blocked arteries etc it can come from the micro vascular system, where your arteries can’t dilate properly and can constrict causing spasms that impact the blood flow to the heart.
I take medication twice a day to manage this, and have a GTN spray for when the attacks come on. I go through periods of no pain but angina attacks can trigger randomly from stress, the cold, exercise, and in turn create fatigue etc on top of the chest pain.
I signed up for the Ironman the day before this unfolded and whilst it took quite some time to figure out what was going on and get cardiologist clearance I’ve still been focused on achieving this goal and now on a rapid journey to Ironman Cairns! The 3:30am alarms are normal now and the training relentless. Things have not gone to plan; I never did get to that Olympic tri, or even the Half Ironman because of flooding, but I am still in training to cross that Ironman Finish Line, with a heart that will be no doubt be beating out of my chest!
‘DO IT FOR HEART’