Ironman with Peripheral Arterial Disease?

Hi folks,

I’ve been quiet here lately, as it’s about my athletics with an abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft and now progressive peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The PAD has been a pain in the ass. I still plan to try to qualify for Kona, but my run has to improve.

The problem: any impact slows blood flow to my feet, as the retrograde pressure wave cancels the systolic arterial driver, causing my feet to go numb with variable amounts of calf pain and locking up. This does not occur on the bike or the elliptical trainer.

Solution: Zero impact on the run, by creating a very smooth glide, not even a shuffle. This I’m mastering little by little.

Results so far: up to an hour on the treadmill, but it loads my hip flexors and hamstrings, as I can’t engage the recoil of my spine so easily. Furthermore, the high cadence is a challenge. But it is slowly improving, and I’m doing short intermittent workouts on the road (asphalt).

The test: I signed up for the Asheville Marathon in March, 2020. If I can achieve a sub-6 hour (13:40 pace) I’ll be ready to sign up for my next Ironman. So, I’ll build the bike and swim to be ready over the winter. I ran Boston 10 years ago, with a 4:07:59 qualifier in Charlotte, and now I’m struggling to run a sub-6. But I’m not dead, so I’m happy. No complaints.

I’ll write short intermittent progress reports here, which may be of interest to others dealing with PAD. All ideas much appreciated.

As I live in a tiny house with only 12-volt power, I can’t use the CompuTrainer, so I’m substituting elliptical trainer and plenty of not too deep (to protect my stent) squats. Based on my power up hills this seems to be working for the bike.

Life is good!

Never give up.


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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.