I prepared for IM CDA with meticulous execution. I ate perfectly. I took my recovery from workouts and races seriously as I must have taken hundreds of ice baths. I used all of my First Endurance products on a daily basis. I rarely skipped a workout. I only skipped if I was absolutely smashed. I had the BEST training partners to help me prepare for this race. Lastly, I trained in warm weather at sea level for 5 months to help me be the BEST that I could be on this day. In fact, I can honestly say that I am the fittest that I have ever been in my triathlon career. There is not one more thing that I could have done to be more prepared for IM CDA. Not only was I in the BEST physical shape that I could be in, but I was in the BEST place mentally. The workouts that Cliff killed me with gave me so much confidence. This confidence overflowed into my racing and I was able to get in the mix with the best of them!
Race day in CDA started at 3:30am with a nice breakfast of hot rice cereal, Justin’s almond butter and a banana. I stretched, ate, braided my hair, and considered what I would wear for the cooler temperatures that awaited me. 30′ prior to the race, I went for a nice ten minute run to get my core nice and warm before putting my wetsuit on and heading out for the rough water swim. I wasn’t nervous. I was excited. I wanted to see where all of my hard work through out the winter had gotten me. I lined up next to bff, Terra. Terra and I are pretty comparable in the pool… although she seems to do better than me in open water. I figured that if I could stay with her, I would be in good shape. The gun went off, and I got the shit kicked out of me. I was kicked so hard under my jaw that my head rang. I was slugged, kicked, dunked…you name it. I felt like I was barely moving. Everyone was thrashing around. As soon as the dust settled, I found myself with two men. The pace seemed easy and slow. I tried to go around them a few times, however, I decided that I better not try any heroics. It’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve been used to having crap swims in the past couple races and I figured this was another one…however, with about 50 yds to go, I noticed a pink cap behind me. After a few seconds, I realized that it was TERRA! LOL! And then I saw Katja…It was then that I realized that I had in fact put myself in a good position. I was in the meat of the race! I ran into transition as quick as I could. With the cooler temperatures, I had decided on a bike jersey and arm warmers. GOOD DECISION! I may choose different arm warmers next time, however as I got left behind by Katja and TC whilst fighting with my arm warmers…grrrr. In any case, I jumped on my bike and I knew that I didn’t feel “right”. My legs didn’t feel like they did at REV3. My legs just didn’t seem like they were there. I wanted to be conservative on the first lap anyway…and I figured that it had taken me about 45′ to warm-up the previous day. I tried to become alright with the “dead legs” and tried to let them come back to me. I felt like I was fighting it a lot. I felt like I was pushing it a lot. However, I just couldn’t get my heart rate up during the bike. I hovered around 145…which is fairly low for me. I just couldn’t get it to come around. I started to question if racing two weeks prior was smart…
While the leaders put time on me, I noticed toward the end of the bike that I was putting time on the girls behind me despite not feeling great. Every time I saw someone that I knew, they said that I was riding great. And towards the end of the bike, I realized that despite feeling sluggish that I had a decent ride. I was stoked!
I came into t-2, took a potty break, switched clothes and started my run. Immediately, I knew that I was in for a great run. My legs felt fresh and light. I felt bouncy. I was finally able to get my heart rate up a bit. My nutrition on the bike was just about perfect. (To see a nutrition report, please check out the First Endurance team page: www.team.firstendurance.com. I post all of my race day nutrition. Coeur d’Alene will be there in the next day or so.) I knew that I was in for the race of my life. Miles 1-5 were easy, effortless, perfect. At mile 5, I took in half of a gel. Immediately upon taking the gel, my heart rate shot up to 200. I anticipated that this might happen as it had happened before. I walked through the mile 5 aid station, hoping that my heart rate would drop. My heart rate still hovered around 190. I tried to run lightly…slowly. I tried walking. I even stopped. However, my heart rate increased after stopping. I tried to stay in it. But my heart rate would not budge. Because this had happened before in a race scenario, I was optimistic that it would eventually drop. I waited, waited, and waited. It would not drop. Cliff called Michael. Michael alerted the medical team. The medical team pulled me off the course. It was the right thing to do.
Thankfully, Ironman has some of the best athlete medical care. I was fortunate enough to meet Dr. PZ Pearce. ML gave him all of my medical history concerning my hernia and acid reflux disease. He assured me that he thought that I was “fixable”. After all, he had worked with patients who had the same symptoms as me. He explained that when I am racing at 80-90% of my max, my stomach muscles are under a great deal of stress (which is why it does not happen in training). After ingesting food, Gatorade, a salt tab, or anything for that matter, it is likely to come up from the acid reflux to where my hernia is. The hernia then squeezes the muscles which hit the atrium sending my heart into a “flutter”. Basically, he suggested getting my hernia stitched in order to fix the rapid heart rate problem.
Right now, I am in the process of seeing my GI specialist in Boudler, talking to surgeons, and working on getting this hernia fixed. Ideally, I wish that I had done this last September when I initially found out that I had it. However, I had several doctors’ opinions to not do the surgery. I need a doctor to approve the surgery or else insurance will not cover it. The one person who said to fight to get the surgery was my dad…and I ignored him. Never ignore your dad. Daddy knows best…lol!
Not only will I be making sure that I get this hernia surgery scheduled in the next few weeks, but I also plan on getting a stress test. Just in case this heart rate thing is not related to my hernia. After all, it is my life. It is my heart. Racing is not worth risking my life.
I look forward to ridding myself of this hernia, and to all the problems it has caused, but I am anxious to have my body back to normal, after battling various GI/ hernia/ digestion issues for over five years now. After putting together a consistent block of training this winter and spring, I have finally gotten a glimpse of the performances I am capable of having. I have never been a pill popper or a doctor person, and perhaps this is why I have taken so long to finally reach a diagnosis, and find a plan of action. Deep down I always knew I was attending to every detail, and that my body that was letting me down, but it is somewhat comforting to finally see that there may be a medical solution to my woes.
Thanks for all of your support and good wishes. I’m on the right track with a great doctor behind me…and the best husband ever!
I look forward to racing and fighting more battles eventually…but not until I get this sorted.