2nd June 2023

Guest blogger: Ed Hodges

Ed Hodges is taking on a year of challenges to say thanks for the care both his parents have had at Bristol's hospitals.

Taking on a range of endurance challenges, you can read more about Ed's crazy year of "fun" below...

Why Ed's fundraising

Ed with his familyIn February 2021 my mum, Sandie, had a cardiac arrest at home and was rushed to the Bristol Heart Institute (BHI). She was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and fitted with a CRT-D. She spent a number of weeks at the BHI recovering finally being discharged on 7th April 2021. She recovered slowly at home and was back to a semi normal life partaking in her most favourite of activities, dancing - even partaking in a tapathon for Children in Need in November 2022

In December that year, fluid started building in her legs, resulting in reduced mobility and pain. The GP surgery put it down to some infections and put her on antibiotics, however it was a cardiac nurse at the GP surgery who convinced mum to go to hospital to be checked out.

She was referred the RUH in Bath where it was found that she also had fluid on the heart. She remained at the RUH for about four weeks with little to no progress it wasn’t until scans revealed that her kidneys were not functioning as they should. Mum was taken to the renal unit at Southmead to be started on dialysis, where she remained for a number of weeks.

She was discharged not long after Mother’s Day 2023 to start her new life having to have dialysis three times a week.

Only after a few short weeks she developed severe abdominal pain and was unable to eat, she was taken by Dad to the RUH on 2nd April and her health deteriorated rapidly. On Monday 3rd she was told she had ischaemic colitis and sepsis and there was little that could be done other than palliative care. Mum passed in the early hours on Tuesday 4th April 2023.

Dad had his cardiac arrest in October 2014 at the RUH in Bath. He was transferred to the Bristol Heart Institute for surgery and was discharged two weeks later. Since he has been back and forth to the BHI for checkups and insertion of stents.

The loss of mum has been hard on all of us, my Mum and Dad were together for 43 years, my Dad is now lost without her, but taking each day as it comes. My sister was very close with my mum and relied on her for a lot of things, she is still coming to terms with what has happened. I miss my mum terribly, even though weeks could go by without talking to her I knew she was always there, that is no longer the case and is difficult to get my head around. I am coming to terms with her passing in my own way.

The challenges

I have been ‘competing’ in triathlon since 2017, these built up from shorter ‘sprint’ distance triathlon to middle (half Ironman) distance. After catching the bug I always said I’d do a full Ironman (2.4mile swim, 112mile bike and 26.2mile run) by the time I was 40.

In mid/late 2022 I felt I was ready to ‘step up’ to the full distance so I entered Ironman Copenhagen 2023. I thought that I could add some more events as part of my training and also try to raise some money for the fantastic Bristol hospitals and my ‘crazy year of fun’ was born.

I wanted to do as many events as I could, and am always trying to shoe-horn other events in.

The events so far:

BWHC Logo sunburst icon Team Vegan TimeLaps – a small sub-team of four of us racing against other sub-teams of members of an online Zwift community. We had to cover the most distance in a 25-hour period. Our sub-team came first, covering 1,064km.

BWHC Logo sunburst icon Westonbirt Christmas 10k – Ironically cancelled due to snow, it was re-organised for a later date but the dates didn’t suit my schedule so unfortunately I didn’t take part.

BWHC Logo sunburst icon #51fiver Olympic distance triathlon – an Olympic distance is 1500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. I do this event most years and it is a favourite of mine. I completed this in my personal best time of 2hrs 20mins smashing my 1500m swim time (24mins down to 20mins this year).Ed is completing a year of challenges

BWHC Logo sunburst icon How far can Mr Hodges cycle in a school day  - this event was thought up pretty quickly after my mum passed as an easy way to raise some more money through sponsorship. I am a teacher and the students guessed £1 each for the distance that I will travel on my bike (on Zwift). The student who guessed the closest won a £20 Amazon voucher. The issue I had was it was two days after the #51fiver triathlon – poor planning from me!

BWHC Logo sunburst icon Endure24 – a 24 hour running relay race in early June 2023. A team of us are coinciding a meetup with a little run around a park, many times, over 24 hours.

And the big event still to come:

BWHC Logo sunburst icon Ironman Copenhagen 2023 – This is the main event and the one that started all this craziness. My aim… to finish!

Ed's year of fun

There are two particular things I am looking forward to with these events. Endure24 will be a great opportunity to meet some of the members of the online Zwift community (Team Vegan) in real life, as we currently only know each other through racing together and chatting through discord. The other thing is the finish line of Ironman Copenhagen, in particular the finish line announcer calling out “Ed Hodges, you are an Ironman”.

I am not looking forward to the sheer volume of training, some days I will have a six-hour bike ride followed by an hour run off the bike, I love training but this is another level!

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