Guest Blog: Just 10 Months After Heart Valve Surgery, Fran Conquers The Gulf Coast Triathlon

By Adam Pick on May 16, 2016

The pictures show Fran’s transformation…

 

fran4

 

Fran’s words amplify his inspirational journey… He wrote to me:

Hi Adam,

On Saturday, I completed a 70.3 mile triathlon. It was the day before my 10-month aortic valve replacement anniversary. Here’s a recap of the triathlon – if it can be of any encouragement. Keep up your wonderful work!

Recap: Gulf Coast Triathlon May 7, 2016
Location: Panama City, Floria
Mission: Complete Ironman Florida (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride + 13.1 mile run)

I started the swim very cautiously, in the back & waited one minute after the horn went off for my wave to go. Then, I stayed to the far outside, swimming to the first buoy turn. The first 100 meters I had several thoughts scrambling through my head of: turning around after getting out!

I was uncharacteristicly experiencing a lot of intense high anxiety, fear and rapid breathing or shortness of breath.

Having started in the back and off to the outside, I told myself to just relax, think of my stroke, moving forward, saying a few prayers to calm myself. I stayed on the outside and away from most swimmers for the first 900 yards.

Although I was very happy exiting the water, I was quite chafed around my neck and under my right arm. Thinking more of how my pre-race body was feeling, I forgot some of the basics… Vaseline. Once on the bike, I happily rode out of the transition area feeling good. Making a right-hand turn that led toward the 20-mile marker.

I started my run and after only 1.2 miles I just had no more energy.  I stopped around mile four and actually sat. I took off my right shoe and massaged my toes. It was a lot longer day than anticipated, but with much hope and gratitude at the finish.

Stats from the race:

  • Heart rate average was 144
  • Heart rate maximum was 153
  • Swim time: 42 minutes
  • Bike time: 2 hours 57 minutes
  • Run time: 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Finish time: 6 hours 56 minutes

No excuses! Just GRATITUDE!!! 🤓❤️👏  And, a whole lot more respect for the basics.

God willing… I’ll complete the Ironman Florida (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride + 26.2 mile run) on November 5, 2016

All the very best,
Fran Fidler


Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.


Kathryn W. says on May 16th, 2016 at 8:01 pm

Thats awesome im in the gulf coast too. 😉



Clay Rowe says on May 16th, 2016 at 9:35 pm

Awesome…you inspire the rest of us to step up.HA.



Joanna Prisiajniouk says on May 16th, 2016 at 10:09 pm

That is awesome! I am curious how your recovery right after surgery was like? I read so many negative posts about memory loss and depression after being on a heart lung machine. I worry about this as I will need this surgery next month.



Brian G. Walsh says on May 17th, 2016 at 10:22 am

That is fantastic! I can’t imagine how you trained for this with just 10 after your surgery. I took the first year off from running any races after Mitral Valve. Keep on going and inspiring others!


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