I’m a long-time TrainerRoad user, as a Triathlete and Quadrathlete I train somewhere between 12-20 hours a week with much of the cycling portion on TR as it’s the most time effective way. I was the V40s European Triathlon champion in 2013, placed in the top 10 in the world champs in 2014 and 2015 then changed to Quadrathlon where I won the V40s British Trophy series in my first year, won the overall series the following year and last year won the V40s trophy series again. I eat healthily, I don’t smoke and never have, I only drink very occasionally and then only a single beer. I was, I thought in perfect health.
However, a couple of weeks ago after a morning of training, I had a shower and then had a massive heart attack. Totally out of the blue. It took 5 hours to get me to hospital, all the while I was in agony, working as hard to breathe and stay conscious as I would towards the end of a ramp test and of course I was scared shitless. Once at hospital the angiogram showed that my right coronary artery was 100% blocked so the right side of my heart had been starved of its blood supply for at least 5 hours. They removed the clot and inserted two stents. After a few days in hospital I was sent home to re-evaluate my life.
I won’t go into the mental side of things as that way lies self-pity, but needless to say I’m not feeling great and haven’t yet come to terms with it. No one knows yet what the long term prognosis will be as that depends on the amount of permanent damage. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to train again. Just running or riding etc might be a problem. As you can imagine it’s all been quite a shock and there was no warning at all. In hindsight there was an anomalous HR spike on my morning run that day but as I was using a watch based optical HR monitor rather than a chest strap I assumed it was just a recording error. It was reading 189bpm whereas my usual HR at that pace would have been c.140bpm and my max is 174bpm.
The consultants have said that all the training I’d been doing over the years had led to athletic cardiac hypertrophy. This adds mechanical stress to the coronary arteries in the form of shearing stresses. This can lead to small micro-tears in the artery walls. Clots form on these tears to repair them and that causes a blockage. I always thought the exercise was good for me but it looks as though I was doing myself a disservice. There are of course genetics and posssibly stress at play too.
I’m not sure why I’m sharing this here, but take it easy out there and make the most of every day. You never know what is around the corner. I have no idea what’s next for me but I’m keeping my TR subscription going for now - I can’t use it for at least 3 months apparently but once I can it should be the perfect tool for allowing me to exercise at closely monitored specific intensities. They will of course be depressing, sadly low intensities but that will be better than nothing.