"I think it is just terrible and disgusting how everyone has treated Lance Armstrong, especially after what he achieved, winning seven Tour de France races while on drugs. When I was on drugs, I couldn't even find my bike."
(I think Willie must live near here. He was billed to be on stage downtown at Friday's after 5 downtown Charlottesville. Wouldn't it be great if at age 84, you were still doing what you loved? I heard he didn't make it though.)
|Perhaps Willie has a flight plan of his own.|
Many of us fly some distance to an event, do the race, smile, get a finishers medal - or better if we're lucky - pack up and head to the airport. This can be a dangerous strategy. Despite being in peak condition, we may be little dehydrated (or a lot dehydrated in some cases - ring any bells here?) and this puts us at risk for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots in the deeper veins in our legs. Although these may cause us mild pain or leg warmth, occasionally there's calf swelling, but in many cases little to no symptoms at all. According to WebMD, When you have a deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), you need to treat it to avoid a life-threatening complication: a pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism (PE) usually happens when a blood clot in the leg breaks away, travels to the lungs, and blocks a lung artery. It can damage the lung and other organs and lead to low oxygen levels in the blood. It can even be fatal!
In short, DVT can be a big deal, and like the other medical issues you had no knowledge of prior to starting this sport, like hyponatremia, understanding how to avoid DVT and it's related problems is the winning way.
First, start that rehydration in earnest before leaving the race course and continue until you are urinating again and it's light yellow. Experienced competitors already know that depending on the conditions this make take some effort. In an earlier blog I mentioned talking with one finisher after the Ironman World Championship. This was at Splasher's Restaurant located at the finish line in Kona who said he'd had several glasses of fluid post-race, more to drink in the condo, and two beers at Splasher's - not one but two beers - before we started chatting. So after what amounts to nearly 100 ounces of fluid replacement, he still had no urge to pee.
If you have some of those knee high compression hose, put them with your post-race clothing so you know to wear them on the jet home. And even though you may prefer that window seat to rest your head against the bulkhead and nap, grab an aisle seat this time so you can get up and move around frequently. It keeps the muscles in your calves contacting and the blood flowing throughout your legs.
|Note right calf appears larger than left calf from behind.|
Although the development of a DVT and subsequent PE is fairly rare, I've seen it in my patients enough times to have great respect for the process. One only needs to check Slowtwitch or other tri forum and the number of athletes who've suffered a DVT is surprising!
Those who are obese, have a blood clotting disorder, take birth control pills, are pregnant or who smoke are at greater risk. If you can remember a few of the symptoms you'll be half way. As noted above, these can be non-symptomatic but then again you may notice a little calf swelling, perhaps more on one side than the other. Or, an unexpected leg cramp. Similarly, a pulmonary embolism can be asymptomatic but frequently there's chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood and a feeling of rapid heart beat or sudden sense of doom. If this description ever fits, it's an emergency and you need get immediate medical attention.
Excellent Resource: http://www.stoptheclot.org/news/article126.htm