Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Return to Lucky's and You Want me to Wear What?

Return to Lucky's Lake.
This morning I got up early, picked up my friend Ryan, and headed down to Lucky's Lake. We both had a 2500m (a little over 1.5 miles) swim to take in. Normally, Lucky's Lake is a nice lake. Meaning that I don't worry about the cracken coming up from the depths of the dark waters in which I cannot see farther than my elbow while swimming. The lake was still ok, but there were games afoot in it today.

First problem? I couldn't swim straight today, although oddly it got better the farther I went. The 1st 500 m was a big zig zag during which I bumped into said friend Ryan, a turtle, something that I have no clue what it was, and another swimmer. Not typical for my lake swims, although I do tend to drift a little. The way back was better directionally, but this time I had something that ran down the entire length of my legs, something else that brushed my arm, and then later something that felt as though it grabbed my foot. When the foot grabbing thing happened, I kicked like no body's business and was a little speed demon until I was sure I had gotten away.

Now Lucky's website jokes about there being a sea creature in the lake, one that might like to touch you but is not harmful and is "just curious." Whatever it was, I wasn't thrilled. But then the next 1500m were incident free, so all was good.

I had a good laugh when Ryan told me I was too fast today when I finished my 2500m as he and Brandi were finishing their 2000m. I'm fast when no one is around me swimming. Put me in an open water race and while still decent, I slow down. I figured it out while talking to Ryan. I don't like getting kicked, hit, or generally mauled in the race. I like my swim space and after 2 races where I was sandwiched between swimmers, 1 race where I got kicked in the forehead and 1 where I was kicked squarely in the eye, all those people give me pause. I need to find a way to get myself not to care if I am kicked or mauled, and just turn on the speed.

Then it was back home and work, work, work. Until...

You Want Me to Wear What?
I had to go for my stress test (and first stop by daycare with shoes so the girls could partake in water day at school). I arrived dressed in running shorts and the only top I have that is "button down" other than my dress shirts (because I sweat alot when I run and I was not wearing something I need to dryclean for a stress test)... my Team in Training singlet, which while fitting less snugly than it did in May still is made of fabric containing a decent amount of spandex. I was ready to run.

The stress test was relatively easy until they put me on a super high hill at a speed that was probably faster than I run on a regular basis, just so I'd hit my 187 max HR. I almost asked if they would just make it 186 since my birthday is toward the end of the month. My legs still hurt from Monday's sprint session and here I am trying to max out my heart rate in the doctor's office while being told I have to hold on to the bar and someone takes my blood pressure every so often and asks me if I'm having chest pains. I think my blood pressure topped out at 178/90. It started at 142/90. 2 minutes after I finished the test, it was still at 170/90. But then 3 minutes later it was back down to 142/90.

On to the echocardiogram, which for whatever reason I didn't realize was an ultrasound of my heart. Pretty cool stuff, except the technician couldnt' share the pictures with me because of how I was laying and how she needed to see my heart. Got to hear different things, which she taped. Your heart does more than just lub dub, it turns out. Of course, something happened that made me think of my friend Angela. There was a calendar in the room and it had fun facts about fighter planes, which included the fact that during WWII, the RAF dropped more than 75,000 bags of tea over Dutch towns that had the message "Holland will arise. Keep up courage." I couldn't help but imagine the sight of it all and then the Dutch townsfolk finding their propaganda along with a bag of tea. Angela loved those sorts of things and it pained me not to get to email her with that little tid bit. But hopefully my thought waves reached her anyway.

After that it was the blood pressure cuff. Yup. I have to wear it for 24 hours. For some reason, I imagined this high tech device that was all integrated into a cuff that I wear on my arm. I guess it's more high tech than having a nurse follow me around and take my blood pressure at 30 minute intervals, but it is not what I had envisioned. It's a bright blue blood pressure cuff that is about 5 inches wide that is attached by a rather long (a little more than 2 feet long) grey tube to a 4 inch long box where the memory card and the blood pressure taking device is stored. All of which sits in a carry bag that you have to wear on your arm or around your neck the entire time.

So logically, I asked
"Can I wear that large device for a 2 hour bike ride tomorrow?"
Nurse: "Yes."
Me: "But how? I have to keep that box attached, right?"
Nurse: "Yes, you can wear it around your waist or hang it around your neck."
Me: "I ride in a tucked position on my bike, like this (insert image of me imitating being in arrow while seated in a chair). It'll be about a 2 hour ride."
Nurse: "Yeah, you have to wear it. It'll give us a better picture of what your blood pressure does."
Me: "Any suggestions of how to do that on the bike?"
Nurse:"You'll just have to figure it out!"
I guess they're not used to too many triathletes with possible heart issues. Especially since I think I was the youngest patient in the office that I could see. All of the other younger people were there as a driver for a parent or grandparent. One person even asked me if I was a patient or someone's ride.

I'm not convinced it's going to work while on my bike ride tomorrow. It appears to have had an error (if not 2) taking my blood pressure just on my drive home from the doctor's office. But it works just fine sitting flat on my desk here. The sound of it when it starts up is kind of loud and makes me jump, but my blood pressure has been around 136/84 or 130/80 the times I've remembered to look at it. Who knows what the deal is... I just hope it's not like taking your car into the shop to get them to listen to that funny sound the car is making and then the car doesn't make the sound in the shop. I guess I'll just have to wait to find out next Wednesday.

I meantime, I'll be wearing my neon blue contraption and turning heads.



  1. Lucky's Lake... :o) I get all weirded out in the Gulf too. Seagrass turns into snakes and other creatures. Imagination runs wild!

    I'm curious to see how your ride with the HRM/BP cuff goes. I'm sure you'll manage and it will certainly provide some good information about what your BP is doing while you are working.

  2. 2500m in the water. that's 8+ times what I swam at my first tri and i BARELY survived! VERY IMPRESSIVE!!!!