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Katerina’s IRONMAN Journey


How do we achieve our goals?
How can we push further than we thought possible and achieve more than we had envisioned? Katerina, our Nurse Practitioner at Arizona Center for Bleeding Disorders recently embarked on her own mission to compete in an IRONMAN triathlon and put some great methods for achievement into action. IRONMAN races consist of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride, and a marathon run of 26.22 miles raced in that order without a break. How does one go about preparing for such a physically, emotionally intense event? She set goals, monitored her progress, and relied on a supportive network of friends, family, coaches, and patients to make it across the finish line!

A few years ago, Katrina says she was “overweight and could barely lift ten pounds”. The furthest she had ever run was three miles, and she did not know how to swim freestyle. The first time she got on a bike in 2015, she got clipped, went down, and came away bruised and bleeding. Then a friend of hers who was undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer invited her to run part of a full marathon with him, and her journey towards IRONMAN began.

Having a plan is a key to tracking and achieving goals
Katerina spent 5 days a week in the gym and ran three to four times to build her endurance for her first marathon run. She relied on the expertise of her Triplex training team and stuck to her training schedule. She listened to her body, becoming even more in tune with her muscles, breath, mood, and diet. She ate for fuel and scheduled her training into her already busy workdays to stay on track.


She built a team of experts
Katerina’s longest run before deciding to compete in her first marathon was three miles. With a marathon run being 26.2 miles, this meant she would have to run almost seven times further than she had before! She enlisted the help of a coach to come up with a training plan to build her endurance. When she decided to participate in an IRONMAN, she had to learn to swim freestyle and partnered with a local coach. Any time Katerina needed guidance on this journey she reached out to the experts and made sure to learn the skills she needed to excel.

She found inspiration when things got tough
I asked Katerina if there ever was a time she felt like giving up. During the grueling race, it is common for participants to experience a myriad of ailments like cramps, blisters, nausea, and delirium. When Katerina got off her bike after her 112 miles, she couldn’t feel her feet; her toes were completely numb. Her neck and shoulders were in severe pain, and she was so nauseous that she could barely keep food down. Any one of these would be discouraging, but Katerina says the whole time she “felt grateful, I didn’t think
one time about quitting or being in misery. It was just a feeling of being grateful that I had a chance to be out there and feel like a champion.”

Katerina dedicated portions of her IRONMAN to friends who had battled cancer, friends and family who were dear to her heart, and the patients she see at Arizona Center for Bleeding Disorders. When I first spoke to Katerina before the race about putting our logo on her race gear, she expressed how important it was for her to participate in this event for all of the patients she had who were not able to compete in these events, and how this motivated her throughout the process.

Congratulations to Katerina for becoming an IRONMAN athlete!

She crossed the finish line to the applause of her friends and coaches, and proudly claimed her medal to commemorate her remarkable accomplishment. The amount of dedication, preparation, and hard work she poured into this achievement is incredible. She recognizes that our patients face their own challenges daily, and how important it is to have a plan of care, enlist the help of experts, and work as a team to overcome them. As we move into an exciting new year, we thank all of those in the Bleeding Disorders community who have joined our team and partnered with us for care. We look forward to a 2017 of new opportunities to empower, educate and collaborate. And when the going gets tough, Katerina said it best, “it takes a village to achieve a big goal like this.” We have your back, now get ready. Set. Go!

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