“Oct 2019 (51 year old female) and I’m training for a half ironman as part of a relay. I’m going to swim 1.9km and ride 90km. Training is going well, saying to my friends that I’m feeling like I have a balanced training program, not fatigued in the least. 70.3 event was for November 2019. On 27 Oct 2019, I entered Nepean Triathlon where I was to swim 1km and ride 30km and a friend ride 10km. This was at the Penrith Regatta Centre, the venue where the Half Ironman would be held. I was feeling good on the morning, water temperature was nice and warm. I hopped into the water, tread water until the starters gun and off I went. 150m into the swim and I felt a tearing sensation in the right hand side of my chest. My breathing went very erratic and arms quite heavy. I thought I was having an asthma attack – never had asthma in my life. The life guard was telling me to relax, get my breathing right and keep going. I just couldn’t. Got assisted to the side of the lake where I sat with my coach and kind of flet like my breathing settled. I then snuck through transition and on to my bike for 30km. I felt bad, felt lke my legs were not connected to the rest of my body. Once I finished, my friend did the run leg. It took me about 5 pit stops to walk approx 100m back to the grandstand, just had no energy. I had a few tears with my coach, beating myself up about the upcoming half ironman. I ran through the finish chute with my team mate when she finished and said I still didn’t feel well and needed to go see the medics. I was bundled straight into an ambulance, given a gtn tablet and taken to Nepean Hospital. Blood tests showed troponin levels were high and again 3 hours later, so I was admitted to the cardiac ward. That was a shock, I was too young to be in the cardiac ward. I had many tests ecg, angiogram etc and was still short of breath but the scans showed no damage to the heart and no obvious blockages for stents to be inserted. It was the cardiologist who picked up a tear in one of the very small arteries. I was very lucky that day… I am forever thankful that when it happened I was in a controlled event with paramedics on site. The previous week I’d ridden 120km around the southern highlands – could’ve been a very different story”

This photo was taken with Sue’s coach (on the left) about half an hour before her SCAD Heart Attack