Monday, December 31, 2007

Kaua'i update

Hello from Kaua'i. Here's a pic of the giant koi that live in the pond in the hotel's courtyard. One of them is 226 years old. Later today we will send out our Happy New Year! from the Na'Pali Coast.

The kids are getting up to get ready for the most beautiful hike in the world. Bob and I hiked the centuries-old trail when we were last here in '96. It's whale season, so hopefully we will see one while we are up there.
Below is Bob with Ally - After a couple hours at the beach watching tropical fish swim beneath them, we got then into dry clothes and went to watch the spouting horn "geisers" for a while. I had forgotten how noisy they were.

Have a great day everybody. Thanks for being a part of my 2007. You all enrich my life and I am grateful you are all a part of it!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Family vacation

So there was about a foot of fresh snow in Minneapolis when we left. But we're in sunny Kaua'i right now, and it's beautiful! Yesterday the kids ran down to the beach jsut as we arrived - below they are actually putting their feet into an ocean for the first time.

Here the kids are on the beach at sunset near Waimea. Bobby and I ran down this beach for about 30 minutes. Bob and Ally drove the car down and picked us up. Bobby never tires... my little endurance athlete. Who know that the age of nine would mark the time that he can run farther and faster than I.

The temperature calls for more lows of 70, highs of 80 degrees... I went running for about 75 minutes this morning and found a cute church called Kaua'i Christian Fellowship, so I ran in, borrowed a cell phone, and called Bob to bring the kids down. It was a nice service - very casual (which I like). The lead singer in the band didn't even have shoes on, and the pastor wore jeans. But the message was true and beautiful in its sincerity.

We have spotty connection here in our room, but I will try to get some more pics loaded later.

Happy New Year everybody.

Well, we are off to explore the island.....

Saturday, December 08, 2007

We did... and here's proof!

It was -4 degrees when I got up, and Laura and I had to do an 18-miler today. So we agreed to help each other tough out a dreadmill run - and we did it~! This is the furthest either of us has ever run on a machine, so we are really proud of ourselves!

Thank you to IronGreg, Rachel, and IronNick for talking us through the tough moments. Woo-hoo!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Confession time...

First I have to confess that isn't really me in my last post. If you thought it was Shame on you!!

Well, it's my head, OK? My girlfriend Holly is a whiz with Photoshop and when she has a spare moment and needs to amuse herself, she does things like this. She's the one who travels to marathons with plastic fake poop and leaves it on the floor in bathrooms and stuff. I love having her around and I am so glad she's my friend because I think it's just hilarious when these pictures come over unexpectedly. I just can't stop laughing!

It all started about three years ago when somebody sent me a picture of a really fat lady and I forwarded it on to Holly with a note that said, "this is why we run". She sent it back with a reply, "yeah"... only now the picture had my head on it. I laughed so long and hard that I ended up using this picture as my profile picture for the Tri Club. It still makes me laugh. You can actually see her belly button sticking out from under her dress. C'mon - it's funny - admit it!!!

Below is IronGirlNyhus also having a fat day, and killing time at the casino after the Deadwood Marathon:

...yet she's also been spotted having days when she just needs a decent meal:

... and this is our Gear West Triathlon coach, Kris:

Remember when I went to Brazil to do Ironman with TriNick? Well, Holly caught him sporting a swimsuit we've never seen him wear back home. Busted!!!

So who is this Holly? Well, here she is below (in black arm warmers and hat), racing in the NYC marathon with our friends Deb, Rom, and Cathy-Mac.

Ahhh... anyway, I love when these little pick-me-ups arrive in my inbox.

My other confession is this:
I know I told a few of you that I was "done with Ironman". I felt ready for the "next adventure", I'd already done it five times, and it's so expensive and with business so slow it's just not a priority, (three completely valid reasons) but when push came to shove and the deadline approached for submitting my slip entry for Ironman Florida 08........ I buckled. I went ahead and registered. I couldn't help it. I love this sport and want to keep it in my life. It's who I am and it's what I do. I LIKE having an Ironman on my calendar. I like hanging out with true-blue fantastic people, meeting more truly fantastic people, and having a decent reason to watch tv (on my trainer). Watching tv by itself makes me feel like I'm doing something I shouldn't be.

So. I'm in.

My girlfriend Erin will be doing her first Ironman in Florida, raising money for Team Ortho, and I want to be there. She hasn't even done her first triathlon yet, but that's okay. She ordered a bike and it should be here in about a week. She said she remembers how to ride one because she had one as a kid. [Gosh, don't you just have to love that spirit??] I'll try to get her to blog because you all will just love her. Those of you doing/ spectating Phoenix Rock and Roll will get to meet her, as she is rooming with me, IronGirlNyhus, and Greg.

Have a good night everyone.

IRONJenny ;-)

Friday, November 30, 2007


This is just part of a funny blog post that one of my Gear West teammates just sent me. He's describing Cycling in the Fall Season. This is his take on triathletes:

For the full hilarious blog post, go here.

The Triathlete
At this point in the year The Triathlete has transitioned from short-shorts and half-shirt to full-length tights and loose-fitting long-sleeved runner's jersey (which is an outfit that is a helmet away from a pair of pajamas). However, he (or she, of course) has not yet transitioned from the 53x14 gear, nor from the "tuck" of questionable aerodynamic benefit that is less Pro Tour time trialist than it is pedantic professor resting his elbows on a lectern. Not even the vibrant colors of autumn are enough to distract The Triathlete from his or her mission of beating leisure cyclists over modest inclines, striving to improve on "personal bests," and abstaining from all aspects of cycling except for the going forward with your head down part.

So now that I am in the off season, I think I'll get some sun in the tropics.
okay... so my friend Holly has too much time on her hands again. She titled this one How Not To Wear A Thong...
Aye. Que Cosa???

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am thankful 4 u!

This morning I got up to run the Drumstick Dash with my good friend Diane. We made a new friend Norbert along the way. It was a beautiful run - fluffy snowflakes falling on our 10K....
Then home to make sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach, spiral ham and a chocolatey dessert. No traditional Thanksgiving fixin's this year.
Below is Bobby - yesterday they were off from school so he and I went exploring in the woods. We found a stream and a foxhole and a lot of kindling for the firepit.

Have a wonderful day, everyone. I am truly thankful for all of you!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Before/ After


Since we've lived in this house for two years now I decided to decorate my room. The paint is Benjamin Moore's "Meditation" from the Affinity Line; the bedding, lamps, pillows, drapes and candle are Target.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ironman Florida

We arrived at the airport with sufficient time for TriNick to visit "the bathroom"... you know... the one made famous by the horny still-in-closet senator. Nick promises he did NOT tap his foot or reach under the door, as this security guard will attest.

After we arrived, we headed down to the beach for a warmup swim with some of our Minnesota buddies: Nick, me, John, Leanne, and IronGirlNyhus. I got stung three times by jellyfish.

Here is the group picture of the MN Ironmen.

We made a bunch of signs for our friends... that's Betty, Laura's mom on the left.

And Laura made one for the legendary Frank Ferrar. Do you realize he raised over $200,000 in charity for this one race? He is an amazing man.

... that night we found a few bloggers (surprisingly!) in the hotel bar... MicheleK, Lana, Trimama, me, and Mrs. Bigun.

Here I am on the bike course... IronGreg drove by ringing the cowbell. Can't ever have too much of that... I did have some trouble on the bike between mile 49 and 63 when my heart started pounding out of my chest. I could not get it below 230 beats, so I sat upright and coasted at about 15 - 17 mph for about 45 minutes. I threw up when I tried to get back into my aerobars. I was getting freaked out because I was in the middle of nowhere, so when I got to the aid station at mile 63 I got off my bike, went to the bathroom, ate, put some more sunscreen on and stood next to my bike until my HR was down to 139. Then I got back on and was fine the rest of the day. Hence my negative split if you were following

... and dancing on the run course - halfway there! My heartrate average was only 132 on the run - I never even SAW 140 beats. So I was low on the run and high on the bike. Weird.

... and at the finish with IronGirl Nyhus. Laura decided not to race, so she took pictures and supported/ cheered all day. Thanks Laura! I love you!

So my stats were:
Conditions: no wind on the bike; nice breeze on the run. Low temp maybe 55; high temp maybe 75degrees. Ocean? not even a ripple. Smooth as glass. I did see two jellyfish on the swim, but did not get stung.
2.4 miles - 1:08:15 (pace 1:49/100 meters)
73 miles - 3:53:14 (pace 18.78 mph)
39 miles - 2:00:36 (pace 19.4 mph)
112 miles - 5:53:50 (pace 18.99 mph)
13.1 miles - 2:27:02 (pace 11:13/mile)
13.1 miles - 2:35:54 (pace 11.54/mile)
26.2 miles - 5:02:00 (pace 11.34/mile)

Here we are at post-race registration for 2008 with Lana, MicheleK, Taconite Boy, and Trimama - who is on the phone with Kahuna, who said he'd do it with us.

The day after is always a relaxing one with chillin' and swillin'. Here are Bigun and Tac Boy getting out of the water after about an hour swim. Di and I watched them for a while, but they swam too far down the beach and our Bloody Mary was getting hot, so we gave up.

Me, Di, and Bigun poolside. Have I told you how delightful and funny these people are? I would go anywhere to a race with them.

Blogger girls: Trimama, IronGirl Nyhus, TriFeist, Mrs. Bigun, me and TriandBeHappy.
This is Di, Trimama, Bigun, me and Taconight Boy after the awards ceremony, posing with my 1st place Athena trophy. Even though I was 24 minutes slower this year, I defended my title!

Last day - meeting at Java Joey's to share pictures and say goodbye.
... and a good time was had by all...
The End!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

IM Florida '07

Best part of the weekend: meeting Diana and Bigun. You guys are just the bomdiggity. ;-)

Watch for full report and pics; but first I have to get the kids to school and watch Thursday's episode of Survivor. But you guys are RIGHT after that. For now I'll just say thank you SO much for all the emails, comments, phone calls, well-wishes, prayers, etc.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Monster Dash!

Hundreds turned out for the annual Team Ortho Monster Dash around Lake Harriet yesterday. We dressed up as runaway patients. Here are Ally and Bobby waiting for the start.

And here are Bobby and I running and handing out candy..

... the view as we ran by...

... Flash...

This guy is a baby in a high chair... how clever!

There were also some people paddling a canoe, three blind mice walking a seeing-eye dog, etc. I love these kinds of events.

Bob pushed Ally in the burley which she didn't once get out of. Oy.
But Bobby did great! We finished the 5k in a net time of 35 minutes, which I think is great for a 9-year-old! this was his first chip-timed event and now he wants to try to beat his time at the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. woo-hoooo! go Bobby!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Here's a rule that I actually like!

Those of us doing Ironman Florida received this email today...

Notice in regard to family members through the finish line
Due to increased concerns about safety in regard to the finish line area at North America Sports events, the following policy has been put in place.
Athletes will be allowed to cross the finish line area with one family member ONLY. Please respect your fellow athletes by adhering to this policy. If this policy is not followed at NA Sports events, we will be forced to eliminate the privilege completely. Please adhere to the following points as well.
Please only have persons accompany you that can run through under their own power. We recommend children only be allowed from the age of 6 and up. No carrying of infants. Many athletes are not coherent enough to handle infants safely.
NO PETS OF ANY KIND. Crossing the finish line with an animal of any kind will be grounds for disqualification.
Please understand that the Ironman is a unique accomplishment for ALL competitors. Many athletes who do not run through with a family member have had their photos ruined at events due to excessive congestion.

Also remember that safety is our primary concern.

Thank youNorth America Sports Staff

Much as I hate to spoil the fun for those athletes who bring their families to share their accomplishment, this is great news to me because...

I don't even HAVE a finish photo from Brazil '06 because some guy had at least ten family members kneeling and posing for a group shot as I tried to squeeze past them.

I think this is a fair ruling and I hope people adhere to it. We ALL have a right to be there, including those of us who are lame enough to even bother showing up to do an Ironman without our families. We ALL still want a finishline picture!!!!

p.s. My race number is 2487...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A nice day...

It's BEAUTIFUL in Minneapolis today - 70 degrees, sunny.... I got up and ran 15 miles with my running club this morning. It took us 3 hours to run 15 miles, but that's OK. My heart does do its racing/ pausing thing, and I am huffing and puffing and even talking is a huge effort. (Those of you who know me will surely wonder if I will ever again even bother putting my running shoes on knowing this!) But I got it done and need to just be grateful that I am running at all. But I believe you can be hawt and slow at the same time.

The "fractionated potential" which is the name of the irritated spot Dr. Doug saw, is about the size of a quarter, and on the back side of my heart. It's where a lot of the random electrical charges stem from. Dr. Doug thinks it will go away by itself in a couple of months, and I hope so too. Otherwise he can try encircling the area with ablation, in essence shutting it off, but that still sounds like a lot of burning on a heart that's already got its problems. I will wait out the next couple months and then re-visit.

After I got home, my kids went to a neighbor's house to help them decorate for their Halloween party, so my girlfriend Stephany and I finished another little project. Steph is entering some of her works in an interior painting/decorating contest and she wanted to add something in which she had used metalic paints, so we did this today...

... isn't she insanely talented? The middle part of the wave is copper metallic paint, and it is so cool looking in person.

[I still have to post my pics from the Art Wall - I know, I know... but I need to buy a couple more frames: for Di's and Andrew's and the second one of Cheryl's. They don't have the exact frame as the others, but I will just have to mix them up. The ones I have there already look awesome.]

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Test Drive

On my last two 50-mile bike rides I tested a new product that I LOVE. They are the arm-warmers from Zensah. They are so soft you almost can't tell you are even wearing them. They protected me from the 50 degree wind, yet I never felt like I needed to roll them down after I warmed up.

I have worn them twice. I washed them with regular clothes (another bonus - no special care needed) and hung them.

Laura took a picture both times, so I will post them when she gets around to forwarding me the pic. Momo will be glad to know they are available in PINK!!!

I also tested Zensah's compression shorts. While they are super (I mean SUPER) comfortable - no seams, no riding up, no tight or itchy hems, unbeatable breathability - they weren't a style that I would wear. But for the men?... I see you guys wearing compression shorts under your running shorts - you really have to try these - I can't imagine anything else this comfy.

If you head over to Tri-Dogmom's website, you can order online and SAVE 30%...! Go do it! It's her post dated October 10th. You won't regret it. While you are there, check out the winter tops and beanies. I will be buying some of those, too.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting back in the saddle

Well, I was given the green light to train again this week:

Run for 70 minutes (10:45 pace)
Swim 2700 yards
Trainer for 40 minutes

I feel slow and "winded" but I'm out there. The hardest thing for me to get my head around, is that it's "OK" for me to be out there! I still can't grasp that this feeling in my chest should be considered "normal". But I've seen three different cardiologists and I have to assume they must know what they are talking about.

The good news is that after about 20 or 30 minutes, my heart settles into a rhythm that I don't notice, and that must be good. Even though Dr. Doug couldn't ablate all the areas, I'm still banking on it all just going away someday, just like most non-heart-related viruses do.

I am going to IM FL on Oct 31st; bringing my gear and bike. I'm just going to try the swim, and see how that goes; if well, then start the bike and see how that goes, and take on the day in segments. Last year I finished this course in 11:48, so that gives me a spare 5+ hours before the cut-off time at 17:00 hours. I'd like to try to finish it, but won't be embarrassed by a DNF if that's what the day brings.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Twin Cities Marathon Report

Boy, I sure picked the right one to sit out. It was sticky, hot, humid... I've never seen so many zombie faces! My friend Robert said that people were walking as early as mile 10 and 12. That's crazy!

There were a few of course who toughed it out with a smile:

... and the spectators looked great...

But all the people I train with and know were between 30 and 90 minutes off of their normal pace. Even the announcer kept commenting on how she'd never seen so many people still coming across the finish line at the 6 hour mark.

Kudos to the fan who still managed to stay live and cheer for his wife in this outfit. Oh, wait... omigosh... we KNOW that guy!!!

Over in Chicago, I called my girlfriend Diane to see how her race went and she told me that even the first water stop was already out of water, and the temps were rising up -- she saw 95 on a bank's thermometer, and then again, no water at mile 17 either... . She said there were so many ambulances screeming...

Finally, the medical staff could not keep up with the need for them, and the race was "called" at about the 4 hour mark. So everybody had to either get on a bus or walk in. No more running. I can only imagine the phone calls that race director is getting today... but what can you do? That had to be a pretty tough call. 40,000 people do that race, although I read that 10,000 registrants didn't even start. But at least 20,000 disappointed runners... wow. One confirmed dead and three in critical condition. Just too hot a day.

Diane did walk in around 5:15 and receive a medal at least. She was a good sport and declared, "oh, well, at least I got to be a part of history!"

Congrats to all of you who raced in the heat - that was amazing.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

"The Greatest Night of the Whole Year!"

... according to Ally.

It happens only once a year.

The FDD.

The "Father-Daughter Dance."

We ordered her dress online, and she was SOOO excited when it arrived in the mail just hours before the dance. (I know, I know... these kinds of last minute things happen a lot. But I've been out of the running for Mother Of The Year since, like February, so, whatever. It will be different in 2008, I promise.)

Her tennis lesson ended at 5:45 so we raced home, stopping at Target to buy a curling iron, and she was undressing all the way upstairs - clothes dropping everywhere - to shower. We dried and then curled her hair (for the 1st time) - and she was so sentimental about it. She would give a little bounce and then giddily she'd say, "Omigosh! This is my first time to ever have my hair curled!" She's seven, but that's actually true.

I was so impressed when Bob came out with a tie that matched her dress. Thanks, Honey! You both look great - have a good time!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Good mornin' - I'm baaack!

Ok - here's what went down on Tuesday...
Checked in at 6, and was sent in to the "lab" at 8:00. Dr. Doug threaded cables in through both my femoral arteries as well as my neck. These three little cables had cameras and weapons. Here's what he found:
1). He agreed with the first cardiologist's theory about this being caused by a virus because he did see an area that still looked pretty irritated. There was a charge being fired from there and when he tried to ablate that one, it just moved over to another area right next to it, and he didn't want to just chase it around my heart, burning my heart wherever it went, which is what ablation is - I learned that ablate just means "destroy" in the cardiac world - I got to watch a video before going in.
2). He successfully ablated two other areas that were mis-firing.
3). There is still one mis-firing area that is on the back wall of my heart, but he couldn't ablate that one because my esophagus was resting directly behind it, and being that the heart muscle wall is only about 2mm, he would have damaged my esophagus, even though he and his weapon were on the inside of my heart, and my esophagus was on the outside. So he left that one.
4). Everything else he could see along the way looked really good.
5). Hopefully, as I lay low for 3 or 4 days, my heart, which has REALLY been irritated now, will settle down and most of this will go away... forever, I hope.

So here's something to brag about in a strange sort of way -- being in such good athletic shape and so efficient (in SOO many ways.. tee-hee) I kept metabolizing the anesthesia and WAKING UP. I remember three times waking up and asking them if they were STILL doing this and how much longer it would take and if they all had lunch yet. I awoke again later and learned that it was 2:15 p.m., and again when I heard myself snore - seriously! Bob says I never snore! And again at 2:45 just when he was burning at a certain spot. Let me say OUCH!!!!. So the nurse fiddled with my IV again and I fell asleep.

After it was all over, I think the doc spent a little over 6 hours doing this procedure. I went to the recovery area where I had to lay still for 3 hours -yep - along long, long time when you've already been on your back with no lumbar pillow and your head turned to the side with a cable sticking out of it. I was just dying to move. I guess they have to allow your arteries to to close fully before you can bend anywhere.

Anyway, when it was time to go at 7:00 or 7:30, I couldn't stand up long and would turn white and feel pukish and my blood pressure would drop (to 87/36 at one time). I guess I'd had too much anesthesia yet to process. So I ended up getting checked in for the night around 9:30 p.m.
Much as I wanted to go home, in hindsight it was good that I stayed over becausxe I was hooked up to the EKG machine all night.

And if I thought my heart was wigging out before, let me tell you it was REALLY wigging out now. The alarm was going off every 10 minutes. I'd have runs up to 7 beats long of ventricular tachycardia (the one that is supposedly "not compatible with life"), pauses much longer than before, and racing sessions that would start for no reason - like, I hadn't even moved - and hit 180 beats, then drop back down to 39. The only good thing... and this is going to be hard for me to fully "get"... is that the nurses would come in and say it was not anything to worry about. I guess if you don't sustain these things for like a minute, then you just have to learn to deal with it.

So, anyway, I am home, laying low for my 3 to 4 days, hoping my heart will settle down. Twin Cities is out - so I will be there cheering for a bunch of folks doing the marathon and the 10-miler. Jumper is planning on doing that one so maybe I will tool around on my bike and find his wife and daughter and cheer with them for a bit.

You guys have all been such a great support - I wish I could hug each one of you.


Monday, October 01, 2007

Tomorrow's the Day!

I start my fast at midnight tonight, and report in to the hospital at 6a.m. tomorrow. Dr Doug said I should expect it to take about 6 hours. Hopefully I won't have to be on the blood thinners afterward because that would totally hinder my lifestyle. (And you have to give it to yourself in a SHOT - eeeww).
Thank you everybody for all your kind thoughts and prayers. I love you! I will check in with you tomorrow afternoon or maybe Wednesday morning if I'm groggy...

Iron Jenny

Can't wait til I'm back to my old self... This is my official IM Zurich finisher photo - Joe-Bobby and I finished with the exact same time - how about that?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Things are moving along!

Dr. Doug called today and said he'd like to do my ablation earlier rather than later, so he has scheduled me for October 1st. I am so looking forward to getting this behind me. It is truly driving me crazy. The only setback, and I realize this is minor, is that I may not be able to do the Twin Cities Marathon. UNLESS he gets in there and can do the cauterizing he needs to do without too much circling of the pulmonary vein(s). If he has to do some of that, then I will have to be on a blood thinner for 1 to 3 months. And even getting a blood blister on my foot would turn into a nasty bleeder. BUT - he said not to cancel TCM until he gets in there and looks around. But he did say I should focus more on IM FLorida, and be ready to just let TCM go. I told him that I'm not a pro, so giving up a race isn't like saying my kids won't eat dinner for a few weeks. It's just my hometown marathon and the course is one of the most beautiful urban marathons around and EVERYONE goes or watches so it's like a huge family reunion.

I swam a couple thousand yards today, and I took it nice and easy. Tomorrow I was hoping to bike after school drop off, but got invited to play golf instead, so I will do that.

I take my Sotalol tomorrow, and then stop until the ablation.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

"Hello Reality", or "Who Did I think I Was Kidding?"

OK, so I get this great positive outlook pep talk from the new doc, and he says I can run TCMarathon, and that it's okay to jump back into training. So yesterday I set out on a conservative 5.2 mile run. Which takes me 1 hour 6 minutes to complete! I had to walk the last 20 minutes. I felt like I really really really really really really really needed to just lie down. I got home and ate a tbsp of peanut butter on pretzels and drank some more water and that helped pretty fast. But you'd have thought I just ran the marathon. I mean I was SPENT.

I figure I must still have the old beta blocker coursing through my veins. Although upon reading the side effects of the new drug, Sotalol 80 mg, it says it will also make me "tired, weak, short of breath, slowed heartbeat, and dizzy." Arghhh. Is this going to be my new life until I get the ablation?

So if I plan to do this marathon knowing hy HEART is okay, just my ELECTRICAL SYSTEM is whacked, I should probably schedule 6 hours on my Franklin Planner on Sunday the 7th. I certainly also should bring a lunch box because I simply can't go that long without eating. And at that pace, I risk getting to the finishline party after all the pizza is gone.

But as long as the doc says I will live through it, I'd like to go ahead do it beause I've never missed a year at this race since 2001 when it was my very first marathon. And next weekend it will mark my 25th marathon. So as long as I can stay awake for it, I'd like to try it.

On a fun sidenote, remember that my friends were taking pictures of my head on a stick during the Colorado Relay? Well, Holly emailed me yesterday telling me that when they returned the rental minivan, they left my head in the glove box with a note asking to go with them wherever they were traveling, and at some point to mail me home. I wonder if the next car renter will do it? I know I would!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Finally - some peace of mind...

Oy. What a ride this has been with my heart wigging-out on me since September 4th...

Today I met with Dr. Hodgkin, the other electrophysiologist. This is the guy who is married to my girlfriend, whose kids went to Early Childhood classes with mine when they were one year old, and now his daughter is in Bobby's class at school and his son is in Ally's. So although I don't know HIM, I do go pretty far back with the rest of the Hodgkins!

The first thing he said when he walked into the room was that we should just call him Doug. He had reviewed my reports and listened to my heart, listened to my symptoms, ran a fresh EKG, heard about my lifestyle and history, etc. and almost immediately started putting my mind at ease. He used words that I actually know (some even fewer than 6 syllables!), and when he used words I didn't know, he exlained them like a friendly professor would. Everything made better sense to me. He explained why the symptoms were so much worse at night than during the day (because there is some stretch in the heart and vessels when reclined and that can exaggerate the arrythmic beats).

He took me off the new medication and ordered something different and gave me some options for how to make this all go away (which he feels confident it will). I will be going with the "ablation" option, hopefully on October 8th. He's done this procedure thousands of times (I asked;-)), so I feel confident having him do it. About 70 -90% of "otherwise healthy" people (like me) come through this, recover for about 3 or 4 days, and then feel "cured". Ablation is where he'll go in through a vessel via an IV (so no stitches even), thread it up to my heart, and look for what is causing the erratic beating. Then he can cauterize the villains, reestablish the real beat leader, and retreat.

Sounds like a plan.

He also explained why he thought I should go ahead and do Twin Cities Marathon on Oct 6th, and also Ironman Florida on November 4th: that while these rumblings, grindings, fast-slow-fast beats, poundings, pressure, etc... this all sounds and IS very unnerving... but since my echo and MRI show that my structures are indeed healthy... these unnerving symptoms are nevertheless still benign. Meaning I will not drop dead like Will did (my classmate who got a virus in his heart and promptly died about 5 months ago).

So. Here's the skinny: I'm an Ironman. I tough things out. I can tough out freakish heartbeats.

I told him that I haven't been training, and he assured me I can get back to that right away. I just have to know that I may feel the sensations of my heart making these weird thumps and noises and that it shouldn't freak me out. Also, as an endurance athlete, I will have to use other methods of assessing my "current condition", since my heartrate monitor won't offer much as a tool. When I said, "but I'm so exhausted! now", he said that was most likely caused my the medications I was taking. That's their job - to slow everything down to try to get the rhythm to come back.

Ah, ha!

This would explain why at IM Wisconsin, I was running up and down the streets taking pictures, full of my usual energy, piss and vinegar, yet after I got home I started getting so tired... well, that's when I started the medications (and stopped drinking caffeine and alcohol), so that part of what he explained to me today, also made sense.

So that is the scoop. I start the new medication today, and will get back on my bike and not worry that I'm going to pass out and fall off of it. I still think that I will do a dreadmill run today, rather than an outdoor run, just so that I can familiarize myself with my erratic heartbeats while running, and not freak myself out.

Thank you all so much for all your prayers, and good thoughts. Although my BODY feels the same, my MIND feels better.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

9/22 Yesterday's EP meeting

Hi Everybody - I really, really, really appreciate having so many of you wishing me well, posting, PRAYING. It does help and I want to thank you.
Yesterday I met with the first electrophysiologist (Dr. Melby) who said it does indeed point to a heart-attacking virus, although he was perplexed that I didn't first catch a whole-body virus that left me vomiting and feverish, but I didn't. He took me off of the two meds that the regular cardiologist had me on because even though they had been doubled twice, they were not putting a dent in my symptoms. (Grinding, rumbling heart, tightness, backache, lightheadedness if I stand up too long, the sensation of whole-body oxygen-debt if I walk up the stairs, etc.)

So now I am taking Indomethacin and Cartia XT. Hopefully the latter will ease the tightness. Dr. Melby said that I have paracarditis, which is affecting the lining of the heart, not the muscle, which is GOOD, and that's why I feel the tightness in my chest and upper back. I will likely be in this for another two months, but when it's over, he expects I won't have any lingering symtoms.
But that still makes Twin Cities marathon a definite "no", and Ironman Florida a "probably no". Even if I have whipped the virus, byNovember, I will not have trained a single day for 9 weeks. So an Ironman would be my first day back? I would have to guess not... even for someone like me who thinks training is overrated!

Anyway, I apparently am having a blast in Colorado.

I got to meet some ponies:

... and Kevin Bacon....

... and I even got to direct traffic! "Slow down 'fore Mama gits yew!!!"

The relay team (Puke-and-Rally) is having some hardships out there. Mark S. tripped and fell tumbling on his 2nd leg, which left him with a nasty gash on his knee and cuts and scrapes on his back. Being dark, I guess there was nothing to do until daylight, but he may need stictches. Brooke got sick and has been just sleeping in the back of her van while her 4 van-mates are running her legs for her. Jeff S completed his 2nd leg only to get to the exchange point, wet and freezing and find that his van went to the wrong exchange point. After 20 minutes he just took off running agian towards the next exchange hoping to meet them, but they were doubling back to meet HIM, so there was some confusion and they lost a lot of time. Last year they were the only team of 5, so obviously they won their category. But this year there are 5 teams of only 5 (called an Ultra team), and they want to hold onto their title.

My van? No hardships, other than aches from incessant bellylaughs. My van has Joe and Jeff and really, I have never known funnier people and to have them BOTH in the same van must really be something. I can't wait to hear wahat Stronger thinkks! So they are having fun, and will have perfectly toned abs by the finish later today.
... now I see I've befriended a bear...
... was taken for a lovely afternoon stroll...
... and have become art in somebody's yard... Joe-Bobby git yer haind offa mah breast!!!