Since everyone seems to be throwing down, I thought I would at least throw down a blog post.
Some years go to plan…. training session by training session, race by race, and result by result. Then there are the ‘other’ years. The years that things just happen, and you don’t know why. Things that make you look at the problem in a whole new light. Things that don’t make you look at power numbers, rather you look at life. It happens to all of us.
In a nutshell, here goes.
Mid May my right arm was paralyzed. .. couldn’t lift it. Had some motion simply because it’s a lever, but could not reach above my waist.
I got 3 MRIs. One at a stroke unit in fear that I had had a stroke. Was admitted to the trauma unit where I sat awaiting the results.
Result, dissecting vertebral artery between c4 and c5 (upper mid neck). Definition, the inner wall of the artery was coming off and tearing away from the middle wall. The fear was pooling blood behind the flap and a subsequent clot. If that happened, the clot could find itself in my brain, and, well, not so good. Dissecting arteries are an increasingly recognized cause of stroke in patients younger than 45 years. That’s me. Treatment: blood thinners. Time to call Bruce Gennari.
It was great they found the dissecting artery…but my arm still didn’t work. They figured it was a virus and mobility would come back in 3-6 months. Hmmm…now what. It was later discovered that there were 11 cases in the nation that had a dissection in the same place that caused paralysis, but the treatment was the same…3-6 months and blood thinners. When you only have the use of one arm, you do things a lot differently, or at least you learn to.
Training was tough since essentially I had 3 muscle groups not functioning. I could fake swimming for about 25 yards when my body would recruit muscles in my arm to swim that were not designed to. Cycling and running were no treat either. It was like training with a broken collarbone. A lot of time in the saddle, and even when running, the swing of my arm got tired because other muscles were trying to take over. I wondered if I would have a secondary injury because of it?
People asked what races I still planned on doing. Races? I am not thinking about races…I cannot pick up my 12 month old boy right now.
Time went by and IM Cda was happening. I was able to work at the TIMEX tent with Tristan and Tres from Quintana Roo bikes. That was fun to be around all the fun again. Though I would not be participating, the atmosphere was invigorating.
Early July rolls around and all of a sudden, one morning, I could lift my arm. Wow. I showed Jessi and she could see that it was able to move a considerable amount more. Not perfect, but an improvement. Start the clock, the nerve is talking to the muscles!
So when something shows improvement, you sign up for a race, right? I signed up for Race the River Tri. This served as our PNW Sprint Championship. It was a down river swim so I figured I could just float if my arm stopped working. I raced in the elite division and ended up 2nd. The guy who beat me was Brian Hadley…also on blood thinners. Things felt awkward, and painful…like all sprint tris. The QR CD0.1 flew though. Posting the fastest time of the day.
Next race, 2 weeks later, would be the PNW Olympic Championship. We all know there is a big difference between the two races. This would be on the same course as the 2000 USAT Nationals (also won by Bruce). I would finish 2nd overall to Matt Seeley, former TIMEX athlete and stud. Arm was functioning, and I was racing. Run was solid, and again, fastest bike split on my QR.
I then went and did another Oly race at beautiful Priest Lake. I ended up setting a new course record. The swim felt good, and I was first out in my wave thanks to the silky smooth B70 Helix. My run felt strong too. Things were looking good.
The following week was the 23rd annual Titanium Man Oly triathlon. I won this last year and had a blast. The race is…get this…$35 and is chip timed! And yes, it is USAT sanctioned. Crazy huh? It sells out every year. It, too, has a down current swim. I ended up winning and setting a new course record there as well. My run was one of my better. I rolled out a 36:40 in my plush Kswiss Kruuz. Bike, again, fasssst. Swim was good too, but always tough when current aided. I was a couple minutes faster than last year. Things are looking good.
So that brings us to the present. I will be going in for a CT scan this Friday to see if the dissection has healed. If not, more thinners.
I have 2 more races this year. Portland Triathlon and the Lifetime Fitness race in Dallas, thanks to Daniel. I am excited to race, and hoping the body holds up. As a teacher, when school starts, inconsistency in training seems to take over. It has been a great year so far. If you were to have asked me in mid May what my plans were, I would have said, ”Nothing.” I guess you can only control what you can, and accept what you can’t. Everything else, seems to fall into place.
Thanks to all the amazing TIMEX Multisport Team sponsors. They have all kept me faster, safer, and definitely looking better.
The happy ending to it all is, I can lift my son again. Life is great!