Monday, April 6, 2009

Oceanside 70.3 2009

Been there, done that, no big deal.

That's about the extent of what I have to say about Basta's Oceanside day. He wasn’t stressed at all about it, he was well prepared for it, and he knew the course.

Also, this really wasn't an important race for him. His focus is on Brazil. Brazil, Brazil, Brazil. Oceanside was just a training day.

It showed in his time. Last year -- 6:21:56. This year -- 6:18:44. 3 minutes faster. Big whoop.

He was actually 3 minutes faster on the swim, 4 minutes faster on the bike, but he had leisurely transitions and a slower run by 3 minutes. He just wasn't pushing it. He wasn't racing. He was cruising at a comfortable pace.

Which is all fine -- we do this for fun and fitness, after all -- until we sit around the athlete food table with fellow triathlon club members and hear them bemoan not getting sub-5 today. These are a speedy group of people, and being around them makes you feel woefully inadequate for not being fast enough. I told Basta if he wants to get to be sub-5 himself he needs to set time goals and work hard to achieve them. He just wasn't interested in that for this race.

And then there's me. Long story short, I didn't compete. DNS. Did Not Start. My blood pressure is still high, my resting heart rate still often in the hundreds, plus a whole host of other oddball symptoms that I haven't really talked about here. I've been getting worse instead of better. Climbing a staircase leaves me panting for breath with my heart pounding. Doing 70.3 miles was inconceivable. I can't even imagine running 100 yards right now.

But I did go to registration and get my athlete's wristband and swim cap. Basta was doing this, and so were my friends from work. Same as last year, we all stayed in the same room and went down to the event together. I went into transition with them, pretending to be an athlete, and set up my rack as if I were competing. Then I took pictures and hung out, trying not to let my disappointment become a sucking vortex of negative energy and impact their days.

I wasn't feeling very good, as usual, that morning. My heart was pounding and I was a little light-headed. I saw the Medical Tent near the finish line and thought I'd check, just one more time, to make sure I was making the right decision. I went over there and asked them to take my blood pressure.

A very nice doctor sat me on a bench and took it. I told him what was normal for me and the reading he got was 40/40 higher than that. He talked to me about how I felt and how long I'd felt that way. He took my pulse and said it was quite high. He very carefully said that he recommended I not compete this day. I thanked him. That made me feel better, actually, to know that a doctor felt I shouldn't do this event this day, too.

Now, two days later, nothing has changed. Basta feels fine, no pain or soreness. He's going for a short run when he gets home tonight, then it's back to regularly scheduled training.

I am still thinking I'm having an allergic reaction (or intolerance) to something I'm eating or being exposed to somehow. I ordered the ALCAT test and have high hopes for that showing something. I also ordered a box of vegan meal-replacement drink mix. You can supposedly live off of this stuff without eating anything else if you wanted to. I plan to try consuming just that for a week or so to see if that helps.

At Basta's insistence I have also scheduled an appointment with my internist. I suspect that will be a complete waste of time, but maybe she'll surprise me. Really wish I could find a good doctor but they don't seem to exist in the HMO system I am stuck with. At least she'll probably run a bunch of blood tests and we can rule out any problems there. Then she'll tell me to eat better and try to get a little bit of exercise. Yeah, she never bothers to ask how I eat or what kind of exercise I do. Just assumes I'm your typical sedentary fat American.

But I actually have been a sedentary fat American for a while now. I haven't had a decent workout in what feels like forever. Since this obviously isn't going away quickly, I've started doing what I can to help keep me in the game without actually making my eyeballs explode. I've discovered I can walk without trouble. A walk raises my heartrate up to around 130, so it's a nice Zone 2 workout. So walk I will. Also, I can lift weights. And do yoga. All low-stress activities but it's certainly better than nothing. This vegan thing should result in some nice weight loss, too. Maybe I'll be leaner, more muscular, and bendier as a result of all this.