Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gear West Duathlon: An Escape for the Day

I would call this a race report but to be honest i quit racing during the first leg of this race. Let me back up.

After being less than 100% from the race in St. Croix and visiting the doctor more times in a week than i had in 3 years, I was not sure i would be ready to do this duathlon. Not only is it a really hard duathlon, duathlons are hard in general. Tack on a hilly, off road, run plus a hilly, punchy bike, then you get to do the hard part of the run again. Woohoo! And to boot i knew it was not going to be sunny and 70.

But Rich was game and since my team puts it on i knew i would go either way. Why not race. I did not feel prepared in a "race" sort of way. But i was mostly not prepared bc of life's little battles. As you know Rich has been doing Chemo for 8 mos now. Wow. That is impressive. He has not once felt "sick" from cancer, and "knock on wood," has had very minimal side effects from the chemo he does every 10 days.

He gets "hooked up" to a baby bottle/ fuel belt if you will, that transfuses into his port over a 42 hour period. He gets "unhooked" on thursdays. Tuesdays is bloodwork ( INR, to check how his blood is clotting and adjust his coumadin if needed, and other stuff they check to make sure his immune system is working, etc..) They also check a CEA. Cancer Antigen.  Then we meet with the MD, and we talk about all the fun stuff we are doing and try to offset all the Debbie Downer aura we feel anytime we meet with her. We like her, dont get me wrong, but those Oncologists. Wowza. What a tough job. I guess they may teach you do not oversell what you can do. So last week ( tuesday-thursday) we were told that the blood levels indicated he should have another PET Scan. He had one in early April and it was great. Lots of dead tumors, and the drugs he was being given were working. As of last week we were really feeling totally cocky and superior.

Friday he had another Pet Scan. Things are still sorta ok, but there are some signals that tell us that the current drug regimen may not be as effective as it was and it may be time to put together another defense system to beat this awful disease. So we are going to Mayo next week to see what fun stuff they can do for us. Oh Joy. I cant help but get a huge pit in my stomach thinking about Mayo. Where it all began.

So, oh there was a race? Yes. The day i forgot about cancer for a full day.
I forgot about the words " Metastatic. " and "Palliative" and "Clinical Trial." It was awesome.

Run 1: It was super crowded. over 50 men and women in one wave and with singletrack it was not ideal, and you could NOT get past people. I got passed by at least 2 girls in my AG that made me mad. Not mad at them, but mad that i hadnt done any speedwork. Mad that i was sick after STX, mad that i decided to race an early Half. Mad at anything. I wasnt actually mad that it was pissing rain, which is funny. At the end of the run i knew i had run as best i could on no training for speed at all. And you know what? I ran the same time as last year.
This is not a PR course, trust me, twisty, turny and hilly. And Mad has been my theme as of late.

T1: Fast and fine I was out of there.

Bike: This is where my legs said "WHAT ARE YOU doing?" You bike THEN RUN/ not Run then bike. Yup. 3 miles of OUCHIE followed, but i repassed one girl and got out of sight. And actually after that I just decided to shut up and race. I took a gel I drank my EFS and i tried to see as the rain just made my face a combination of snot and spit and rain. Lovely. I hope i see a photo. Unlike STX I felt great, i did slow at corners a bit bc of the rain but i was confident and i rode hard even into alot of headwind. I did notice that my disc has a 12-23 and i have been racing hilly courses with a 12-27. Ouch. I would have loved to ride another loop. When you turn 46 you can feel it takes 17 miles to warm up too.

T2: Suzy's bike had drifted ( windy) with a disc into my area and so i could not for the life of me get my bars past her's! That cost me more time than i wanted. But i eventually got in and out of T2 and let the run begin.

Run 2: Passed the guys i came in with and then somehow led about 15 people past a turn and went to a sidewalk and a street that i knew were not on the course. Oops. Not sure how much time that added but i would bet 30 seconds. I knew there was a girl behind me and i just did NOT look back, but the course is back and forth in a few places so you can see how is tailing you. In and out of woods, so its quite deceptive, then you finish up a steep hill and take a lap around the track bfeore you finish. I did not quit Tri on this run, i just ran. Tried to keep my form and ran. I did a quick peek on the track and saw no women so i just ran hard into the finish. and you know what? my 2nd run was faster than last year. So out of shape "blahblah i have done no speed work" was just self talk that was not helpful.

So it goes. Rich raced too, he did awesome. and he finished with a huge smile as i yelled at him on his track lap " COME ON, WE ARE STREAKING THE QUAD..." get moving. I am not sure anyone else got it, but he did.

We froze, waited for awards, I won my AG, I Didnt win all the cool schwag but it was nice to hang out and shiver with my friends. Caribou was next and then home for a warm epsom salts bath.
The biggest thing about this race that made me happy and proud wasnt that i didnt win top masters, it wasnt that i won my AG, and it wasnt that i ran faster than my negative self thought. It was at each corner when we turned the volunteers said "Nice Smile." It just made me really appreciate during the ride ( ahem, after run 1 I was not feeling it) how lucky I Was to be out there with Rich.

I think i question things alot more now. I seem to sometimes be taking Rich's journey harder than he is. He said that is bc he knows how he feels and I dont. So I am working on that, trying to let go, but i cant tell you how hard it is to not "Go there."

Next up is Kansas 70.3. 99% sure i am doing that. If not BSLT. But the thought of an airplane right now does not appeal to me. A few things to overcome before kansas but hopefully it will all work out.

Thanks for reading. And for your always lovely comments and prayers.


The Miller Family said...

Yeah Julia and Rich...your determination during these times is AMAZING!!!!!

Keeping you in our thoughts!!! Hope it warms up there soon.

Angela and David said...

You guys rock! And I think that mad run was just what you needed.

Anonymous said...

Good luck at Mayo. So glad that you have Caribou to warm up with after rainy races. Keeping Rich and you in my thoughts.

Danielle G.

Beth said...

Praying for you guys all the time! I think you are both amazing people and I'm very glad that you have sport that you can do together to help get through this. Running mad...not such a bad thing! ;) Good luck at Mayo!

Steve said...

Sorry Julia fell a bit behind in my reading. I woke up at 12:30 last night ready to run the dog, and bike to work, and ummm, fell asleep til 4:00.

This was a great race report. :)

Best to you both of course, and yessss, you have a lot going on. :)

til next time... Hope you both have a good evening. :)

Melissa said...

Volunteers are awesome! Ever since I volunteered at LP I have a greater appreciation for them.

elizabeth said...

Rich seems to have the BEST attitude... I cannot imagine!!! I am sending the most positive thoughts your way! DO Kansas, the airplane sucks! :)

Heidi Austin, PT, DPT said...

you guys are awesome... congrats on the AG win... yummm caribou coffee..... sending positive thoughts and prayers your way girl.

Caroline said...

Keeping you and Rich in my thoughts - you two are tough as nails and that's more impressive than any race win. Good job on working hard and not giving up, perhaps being mad is helpful? And I hear you on the airplanes. HATE them. But you should do Kansas anyway...