Thursday, July 23, 2009

What a Day...

My day started with a bang and has been a busy one! This morning I dragged myself out of bed, wanting more sleep and with nerves. Not nerves like Sunday before the race "something's gonna happen" nerves, thank goodness. More like, nerves because I had a 1 1/2 hour bike on the schedule which meant facing the demons that were from the crash.

Yes, I know I got up after the crash and finished the race... but I wasn't thinking about crashing then. I was thinking about finishing. I've had a few days to mentally deal with the scrapes and cuts (that are starting to itch, which means they're healing!) and the muscle pains that are still lingering. With the knowledge of the crash and my boo-boos, I had to get on a bike and ride it.

And ride it I did! I did my best to keep up with my friend Ryan today. I don't know if he was taking pity on me, taking it easy, or if I was just having a good bike day, but I was able to keep up with him and even sustained 18 mph for a good stretch in part of the ride! I think we averaged around 16.5 to 17 mph for the entire ride. As I rode with him and he told me that he had a run to do after the bike (and I did not) and we were passed by some of the really fast cyclists in our morning group, I realized that I am an unlikely athlete for whom sports do not come easy and that most likely my Coach recognizes this too and perhaps was why I didn't have a run scheduled after too. (Or it could have been that I crashed my bike on Sunday or that I have back issues.) But it made me wonder if I am chasing a pipe dream with my triathlons. Do I really have the stuff that makes a good athlete?

Later as I was driving home after the bike, I realized that I may never be a fast athlete. I may never run a 7 minute mile, finish a half-iron man in less than 5 hours, or swim as fast as I would like in an open water competition. But it really doesn't matter. I am a triathlete because I like it. I like the challenge. I like seeing what I can do. The problem is that competitive streak I have. I see someone else do it faster or "better" than I can do it, and I not only want to do it too but also belittle my accomplishments as "not good enough." I think the problem is that my brain knows that I am an athlete because I want to be and I try to be, but my ego wants more. I need to focus on what I can do and try not to pay as much attention to what other people do.

I got home just in time for work and had a deluge of things to take care of... questions, minor fires to put out, regular work to accomplish, a report to complete. Plus, I had to fit a shower in because this afternoon I had a cardiology appointment. It was 12:20 before I knew it and I was jumping in the shower and getting dressed in something other than my sweaty (and most likely smelly) cycling attire. Back to the desk to take care of one or two more things before hitting the road.

Cardiology. I think cardiology is really interesting. What I think is even more interesting is that with a few electrodes and a little machine you can see the rhythm my heart is taking. No arrithmia, thank goodness. Then more waiting. Someone had a cardio issue in another room, so the doctor was a little late to talk to me. We talked about the family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attacks, hardened arteries, and the like. He looked at my recent cholesterol test of 194 and said hmmm. This one number is 129. For other people that's ok but with your family history this should be under 100. To which I replied, "C'mon. That's my good cholesterol test!" He laughed. We talked about what's been going on with my blood pressure, which was 151/87 in his office and he declared too high especially with the triathlon training I'm doing.

So, tomorrow I go for specialized blood work. A test to see how "sticky" my cholesterol plaque is, one to see something else that I can't remember at the moment, and yet another to tell them what type of cholesterol I have - not just LDL vs Triglicerides, etc. but what size they are. Turns out big bouncy LDLs are less scary than the densely packed small LDLs. Which ones I have determine my propensity for more serious heart disease issues.

When I get back from the cruise, I'll be going back for a stress test and an echocardiogram. And they'll give me a special 24 hour blood pressure cuff that I'll have to wear for 24 hours (obviously) and that will take my blood pressure about every 20 minutes until 10 pm at which point it will then go to every hour. Then I'll take it back to them and they'll download my data.

The following week, I will find out the results. Being the eternal optimist, I am hopeful that nothing will be wrong at all. But the realistic side of my brain says we'll just have to wait and see what they say. He's already determined what class of blood pressure medicine he would put me on, if he needs to put me on such a thing. It's one that won't keep me from my triathlon training or competing on triathlons. As the doctor put it, the triathlons will do me a lot of good so we don't want to mess with that.

And I asked the dreaded question... do I need to cut back at all on training for my Half-IronMan in September? Happily, the answer he gave was "no." At this point, he said, keep doing what you're doing.

So while I have yet one more item for my to do list before our cruise, I'm feeling pretty good about the cardiology front. Sure, I'd rather not have to worry about it at all, but I'd also rather get everything looked at and be able to be around to see my grandchildren graduate from college and get married and have great-grandkids. All scheduled, I headed back to work. And then to do my blog.

And now to get the girls... we'll see how it all goes! Wish me luck!

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