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?