Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kyle's frozen heart

Life has interesting ways of reminding us about breaking free from our daily grind. Sometimes it's a vacation. And sometimes it's getting 220 volts to the chest. Kyle tried both last week. And even after his heart was frozen, I fell more in love with the warmth inside that man. He is my life companion, my best friend and my lover and I know I'd be lost without him.

I'll save the Tahoe vacay for another post, but mention that it was a much needed break away and we both had a blast. Even car troubles couldn't bring us down. We came back energized for the grind ahead. But I don't think either of us were prepared for the events of those 3 days. 

Trying to keep this relatively short: He experienced some high heart rate stuff at work on Thursday. Like 250bpm high. Onsite EKG was showing abnormalities and Balboa wanted him transported via ambulance. Anyone who knows Kyle knows that he isn't a fan of anything hospital related. After almost 2 hours with the elevated HR, and 2 doses of adenosine, his blood pressure plumited and they decided to defribulate him, unsedated. 

It reset his heart and he claims after the initial millisecond of sheer pain, gave him instantious relief. And it was about that time that I got to the ER. His work called me that morning and made it sound like he was going in for some routine testing and may be there for a half day and I can go if I want. No mention of ambulance or puke fest he had on the way. 

I got to the ER and saw that things were much worse. His bed was surrounded by docs, EMT's and nurses and he was covered in wires. I gave him a kiss and his first words were "I got shocked" and "It felt like I was on tv!" Okay, we're gonna be here for a while. 
he made me post this. he was "resting his eyes"
We finally got moved upstairs and out of the madness of the ER around 4pm and heard the plan for day 2. An Electropathway study and possible ablation. He's diagnosed with AVNRT and they weren't going to let him leave till it was fixed. {Wikipedia is helpful to someone unfamiliar with medical vocab.}

I went for a run through Balboa Park to clear my mind from the emotions and went back to tuck him in for the night. 
running on empty
Day 2 was long. I got there at 7am to sit in for the Doc meeting and plan for the day. He got bumped to third in line, and without being able to eat or drink until after the study, we knew it was going to be a long day.
movie watching day
Around 2pm they came in and got things rolling with a dose of Valium and rolled him down to the cath lab for what was a 4+ hour study. They put him into tachycardia to find the bad node. It was close to his av node, which meant they freeze it instead of burning, because they have more control. After retesting, they couldn't get him into the crazy rhythm again, which means she fixed it. 

5 hours of laying flat and still to make sure the holes in his groin and neck from the 4 cath ports clot properly. He did get to eat (Gagillone Bros cheesesteak from his boss) which was a relief. Another overnight stay. 

The drive home on Friday was hard. All of the emotions and fears caused me to get a bit tearful. Even knowing it was over and he's fine, I think the stress of those two days and magnitude of what had happened finally hit me. Trying to be strong and supportive can only last so long in the energy sapping environment of the hospital. Lucky for Kyle, he got some drugs to aid in his sleep. I had an empty bed. We had a lot of friends and family reach out, but all I really wanted was a hug and kiss goodnight from my man. In our bed. 

Saturday morning I went for my tempo run in OB before heading to the hospital. Trying to burn off some of the "woe is me" feelings of the night prior and oh yeah, I am still training for a race. If Kyle couldn't use his heart, I best use mine to some potential here. 

Saturday was a crappy day of waiting for discharge papers. Docs came in at 9 and said all is well and we release you. What that really means is they have a lot more rounds to cover and your paperwork is not our top priority. By noon the nurses still had no idea we were leaving. I think by 2 pm they finally started pulling the iv's and removing his monitor leads. 

"Thank the maker" as Kyle always says.  We were out of there in time to see the sun set over the ocean. 

So he's out of the woods with the electric stuff but they did find an aorta issue during his echo which he's receiving follow up appointments for soon. 

He's a happy, healthy, very bored sailor right now who'd much rather be back on his bike chasing those local KOM's. Soon enough. In the meantime he had some computer games to win. #willsdynasty

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Carlsbad Triathlon 2014

Here's the lowdown on the shop throwdown. Getting JT Lyons to the start line takes a little inter-shop smack talk these days. A lot of you didn't know or don't remember, but long before our road team started, JT was a pretty competitive triathlete. After starting a business, his fitness lagged as we grew. 2008 he raced IM Arizona and killed it. {Meanwhile, I did my first Tri in '08} He made a slight comeback for a bet with an old friend in 2011 at San Diego International {which he beat me in.} All the pre-race polls had me picked for the win, but I knew better. Jim and I had our bets on JT getting 2nd in each leg, but taking the overall win. Jim and I held up our portion of the specialization, taking the run and swim respectively, but not sure what happened to Vince on the bike. Oh wait- he put heavy cage pedals on his Dura-Ace 9000 cranks, thus using his running shoes on the bike because he "didn't want to get his Sidi's wet." And then there's that whole octopus dragging thing. Yeah, the bike did include the transition 1 and 2, but the clock doesn't stop in triathlon. He lost by 2 seconds. That hurts. 

From my perspective, it wasn't going to be a close race so sadly I didn't take it seriously enough. I had a pretty big week of training, as my coach wasn't going to let me taper for a shop competition. {Next year I may reconsider the race calendar}. I came to the start line with 15 miles of running and 3 rides, 2 which were interval work. Looks like I left some watts on the silver strand on Friday. 

The swim was ho hum. I'm not the greatest at the run-in, beach start, so I just tried to follow JT's line into the water. We were almost to the first buoy before I reconnected with him and saw his wetsuit. So, yes I figured it be a great idea to pull his leg, fully knowing he'd go ape sh*t on me. A hard dunk and a near kick to the face later and we were on our way. I put in a bit of an effort after the turn buoy and didn't see him again. 

T1 was slow as I use socks and road shoes. I'm not really a sprint specialist, so transition times usually aren't a top priority for me. Foot comfort and no blisters matters much more in a half/full ironman and these swimmer feet can't seem to knock those comforts. Hopped on my bike and felt like poo. Power ended up being 15 watts less than my last tri, 2 weeks prior, and the effects of the training were showing. Apollo Ono passed me in the bike lane around 4 miles in {on the right!! He'll get a penalty in Kona if he pulls that crap} Apparently speed skater legs translate well into cycling. Then the inevitable JT pass occurred. I had 2 options, draft my way back or be fair and represent the shop and myself in an appropriate, legal manor. Grr, stupid morals. I let him go. 

I got off the bike and hobbled through transition like a crippled old lady. {still struggling with the low back issue.} Lynne yelled that I was 30 sec down but I didn't see JT, so it had to be more. I ran hard on the boardwalk and wished I'd have known JT walked up the ramp! I started on the downhill towards the final 180 and these random men who were running but not in the race became my personal pacers and cheer squad. I told them that my boss is ahead and I need help. Trip him, please. :) We passed by as he was on us way back up and yeah, his running style looked like hell. Maybe I had a chance! I saw Jim with perfect run form and calculated that I'd at least, hold him off. Vince a little later looked like he'd thrown in the towel. I ran as hard as my legs allowed on the day and finished less than 2:30 min behind JT, keeping my job. :)

Racing my coworkers on a gorgeous So Cal day is pretty awesome. I ended up 3rd in the Elite category which was a fun bonus, ending up on the podium with Michelle Jones. (Olympian, ironman world champion and a Felt IA rider) She crushed all of us and edged out Apollo for a sprint to the finish. 


We're on our way to Tahoe! Vacation responder is on. Kermit is packed and I'm so ready to jump in that lake. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

2014 SDIT

The yearly benchmark race. I almost didn't register as my run prep wasn't where I'd have hoped it would be, but the lovely folks at TCSD granted me an entry as a thank you/retirement present for my help with the JCC swim program over the last 6 years. Coach's advice was solid and I went for it. And it was everything I had hoped it would be. A great confidence builder in the plan and in the work I did this year on my bike. I can't believe it, but crit racing actually helped me race triathlon. That silly full gas on, rest, sit in, full gas, unpredictable, controlled by others, way of riding and racing somehow translated to an individual pursuit. 

The swim was ho-hum, as it usually is. Gun went off and I started out moderate. Looked around and saw a couple of lurkers, but decided to drop the hammer and get them off my feet. Kyle commented on the swim start, "Babe, before the first buoy you've taken half as many strokes as the girls around you and you've already dropped them." I watched a video he took and yeah, my stroke rate is a bit slow right now. I really don't have the swim fitness to keep it up, so I relied on my strength to pull me through. Time was close to my slowest at this race but was still first out in my wave. {12:31}

Kermit was back in action this year, and I got to hammer the bike. I PR'd the course {49:12!} and had a blast up at Cabrillo. It's so nice to know every bump in the road- and there were quite a few! Gotta love the city of SD and their water line issues. Once they are done digging up OB/Point Loma, I can only hope and wish they'll actually dig up the entire road and resurface. It's a disaster out there right now. Power was where it should be {200 watt average} and I {not so gracefully} got off the bike still holding the lead. 

If you saw me in T2, I ran to my rack like an old lady. My freaking jammed low back was NOT happy coming out of aero and standing was a bit difficult. I knew I'd eventually shake it off as it had before, and just after the sand out of T2 I was able to stand straight. Phew. My run garmin wasn't cooperating, so I finally switched it to timer mode and went by the course mile markers. Was hitting my 8min/mile goal and feeling pretty great, surprisingly! 

Kyle was yet again an amazing Sherpa and has this race down pat. He drops me of at transition, drives to the finish line, rides his bike back to the swim start and cheers the entire way. He gives me time checks on the run.

hanging out before the swim.
This year I had the lead until mile 4 on the run. It was the latest I'd been passed on the course, yet I'm never surprised when it happens. The first girl ran a freaking 38 run, to which I have no answer to. The second came past me and my legs refused to respond. Not that I blame them, as they've had no speed work an haven't even ran a mile under 9:15 in training. Pulling off just over 8min miles for 6 miles was a huge feat for me and I still can't believe they did it. I ran 49:08 and the muscle soreness was quite the reminder for the next couple of days.


Overall at 1:53 this was my second fastest SDIT and I was pleased with the result. Last year I was Debbie downer after a less than spectacular day and it was nice to redeem myself, if only for the confidence it gave me going into this summer. I ended up 3rd in my AG.

cycling podiums are fancier.
It's funny how my bike times at this race seem to mimic my run times each year. 

2009: 52/54
2010: 50/50
2011: 50/51
2012: 49/47
2013: 49/51
2014: 49/49

In 2012 I was coming off decent fitness from Carlsbad half marathon, and Panama 70.3, and Kyle was deployed. After a couple months off, I put in an almost 30 runs in 30 days during April which kickstarted my training, but still I lacked focus and consistency leading up to the race. One of these years, I swear I'll actually schedule my training plan to peak for this race (i.e. actually train for it!). I'll eventually get to that elusive top spot on the podium!

Onto Carlsbad Triathlon this weekend! It's the Moment Employee showdown. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 7, 2014

MBGP & Upgrading

My last race as a category 3.

Solo 2 lap TT for two primes.
Pain face after getting caught from said breakaway. 
The wining move. Orange girl attacked at the last kicker, so I had no choice. 
I hammered down the hill and took the last corner perfectly, coming 
around with enough time before the line. There it is. My race report in pics. 
{thanks for the shots!}

Finish line video by Kyle

Prime hunting with Deanna and podium shots with my Parlee. The winner's
jersey made by Capo was an awesome touch by the race organizers! And of
course, APX was my drink of choice for this short, hot race. {35min}

I've been struggling with how to fit in, and I realize by trying to do that, I'm only lying to myself about where I can go. Let's face it, I've never fit in, and as a women in her 30s, it's not looking like I'm going to anytime soon. As a female athlete, I think we have plenty of opportunities to second guess ourselves, doubt our abilities, and hold ourselves back. That's a lot of internal struggles, matched with the external pressures and fierce competition, and it's no wonder our sport lacks participation numbers. It takes a certain type of person to be a bike racer, and for once I'm willing to admit that I have it. The courage to race.

I've submitted my upgrade and pending USAC approval, I'll be a Category 2 racer. 

If you read my blog or see my Instagram or Facebook pics it's no surprise that I've had a little success this season. Upgrading wasn't one of my goals, but I suppose that's what has to happen after accumulating all the other goals. I'm leaving Cat 3 without a state championship jersey, which is something that was a goal. I'm leaving my teammates and won't have the ability to help them upgrade. And I'm indebted to them for dragging me to the line and helping me rack up these points. I'm leaving the category that often had two opportunities to race; gaining invaluable experience hanging on to the pro fields, and being at the forefront of "racing" and tactics in the category 3/4 fields. I'm leaving the category that afforded me the experience of racing 6 times in 3 days at the 805 Criterium Weekend. I'm leaving the comfort of the known.

I know no one really takes USAC rankings seriously, but it's pretty cool to say I'm going out on top.
So why upgrade? I'm 3 points away from a mandatory upgrade and if anyone calls me a sandbagger again, I may hurt someone. So, I'll take that aggression out in my training and racing. All joking aside, I shouldn't hold myself back from becoming better. My teammate Greg said it best "Be excited, Rachel, if just not to undermine the gravity of the achievement for the rest of us whom upgrade points don't come quite as easily. Congrats! First Moment to two." So I've been dabbling with the big girl racing, but now it's time to show myself that I belong. To show myself how far I've come since my first criterium a week after my first Ironman in 2010. 

after my first Ironman and a week later, just before my first crit.

And that's how it's always been. I've dabbled in the two sports, cycling and triathlon, since living in San Diego. There has been focused training blocks towards one or the other, but most of the time, for me, it's about getting out there and racing. My current preparations for Tahoe 70.3 are going well. Manhattan Beach Grand Prix was sandwiched between SDIT and Carlsbad Triathlon this coming weekend. There's always been something about toeing the line that motivates me much more than the daily grind. The race day adrenaline can't be duplicated outside of competition and that's what fuels my fire to train. I'm a competitive person by nature. I've honed my racing skills and craft of winning, and I'm ready for my next challenge. I didn't push for an upgrade, because I wanted to learn from the best and I knew I had to personally "feel like a cat 2 racer" before actually becoming one. There are a lot of riders who put upgrading first, but I think my patience will pay off. I want to be a smart, safe rider, someone who has others looking for my wheel. So here it goes.

Expect the best for yourself, and nothing less.

{I have my husband to thank for always encouraging and supporting me throughout our journey. He's a big part of the reason I've experienced success and have kept my head high, through controversy and failures. His love {and bell ringing} is second to none. My sherpa, my teammate, my best friend and the love of my life. #willsdynasty}

Saturday, July 5, 2014

summer love

Zen running. I've never believed in it {or understood is probably a better word} because I'd never experienced it. Runner's high. Yeah, not so much from the "land" of swimmergurl. But tonight, I think I've come as close as I'll ever get to the feeling of floating. We aren't talking about cranking a 6min/mile pace, floating like Meb. Just one of those runs where no body parts are barking back. Where your mind is at ease with every step. Where I finally felt at peace with where I was at, in those exact moments. The run wasn't forced, nor planned and definitely not fast. I ate dinner {a lovely one, prepared by my husband} and watched an episode of House of Cards. We discussed tomorrow's plan and then I decided to run.

At 8pm. On a perfect summer evening. In Ocean Beach. I don't think a run can get much better. The sun had just set and the clouds were colorful, hovering above the ocean. A slight breeze made the run out quiet and the way back tranquil. The San Diego river was calm and the ocean was tucking itself in for the evening. 

Anyway, I digress with setting the scene. It was just one of those runs I won't soon forget. I'll fold that into my heart and bring it out during this next run block of training, where I'm sure the zen will quickly fade as the mileage and pace ramp up.

June has come and gone. And there was only a hint of gloom, which has since past. I get to keep my husband home for a couple more months. I'll reflect back including my yearly benchmark race report alongside my first mtb race in a post to follow. 

Is this real life?
I got to meet Meb!
Happiness is.