For Jeremy Woodward, Ironman athlete, it’s all about his heart

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 12:44:31 AM. The doctor studies the screen, looking at a grainy, pulsating blob that could pass for, well, a grainy, pulsating blob.It’s an undefined shape, hard to describe, with a regular rhythm, openings that close then re-open, and a restlessness that Jeremy...
The doctor studies the screen, looking at a grainy, pulsating blob that could pass for, well, a grainy, pulsating blob. It’s an undefined shape, hard to describe, with a regular rhythm, openings that close then re-open, and a restlessness that Jeremy Woodward hopes will carry him to the finish line next weekend in the Ironman Arizona, one of the most grueling athletic events on the planet. The cardiologist at Elliot Hospital in Manchester, Carl Fier, is playful, answering Woodward’s question – what’s the doctor looking for on the echocardiogram that might prevent Woodward from competing – with this: “If the heart is exploding, that’s no good. Or if we see an alien inside.” The coast is clear. There’s no explosion, and there’s no sign of a little green man. Fier tells Woodward, “Everything is fine,” meaning it’s okay for him to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, then run 26.2 miles. Woodward is relieved, beaming. “Great,” he says. “Great.” Those numbers above are associated with this three-sport monster, and this event, on Nov. 19, will be the second Ironman for the 39-year-old Woodward, but his first in five years. That’s a miracle really, when you consider what happened to Woodward, who played basketball for Bishop Brady High School in the late 1990s. In 2000, he received a tissue valve to replace his damaged aortic valve, something he was born with. A mechanical valve would have been better, stronger, but Woodward, then just 22, wanted to continue competing in full-contact...Read more
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