Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Thyroid and I

Three years ago this week I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism caused by a toxic nodular goiter. The week before my wedding was a scary one and one that involved not only a happy time with family and friends to celebrate our marriage, but one that involved waiting to hear either good or bad news.

It all started like this:

It was my first year teaching, not a whole lot of working out, but VERY, very tired. I was living with my parents at the time and would come home and crash the very second I walked into my room. My mom kept telling me to go to the doctor. I just chalked it up to a stressful first year of teaching. I also ate like there was no tomorrow. I could eat my husband under the table! I would also get up several times at night and just eat and eat. I could eat a whole box of cereal and still feel hungry. I could eat a giant portion of Thai food and then eat the rest of my husband's. And I lost weight.

Before I turned 30 I decided I should have my cholesterol and everything else checked just to make sure everything was healthy, wealthy and wise. I got the results back and went over them and noticed something wasn't jiving with my thyroid numbers, they were nowhere near the optimal range. But the doctor said everything was fine. She looked again and told me to get a blood test again. Sure enough thyroid ranges were nowhere near normal.

I came into the office and she palpated my thyroid and felt a small lump. And then got me an appointment for a radioactive iodine test. If the thyroid tested hot it was good, if it was cold it was not good. This was where I had to wait until we were on our honeymoon to find out. A "cold" test result could mean cancer. A "hot" result meant something not so serious, but still needed to be taken care of.

Anyway, my symptoms were as follows:

Nervousness, and anxiousness

hungry all of the time

sweaty hot all of the time

heart palpitations

fast heartbeat

shaky hands

losing weight

Eventually the goiter on my thyroid becoming large enough to see.

While awaiting treatment, I went to an endocrinologist and started taking beta-blockers to help with slowing things down, as being hyperthyroid speeds everything up. I was still a nervous wreck and had difficulty with my nerves even with the beta-blockers. But the doctor wanted to get some symptoms under control before deciding what he wanted to do.

I found out I had two options. One was a partial thyroidectomy and the other was Radioactive Iodine Therapy. After consulting both the surgeon and endocrinologist I decided to go with the RAI. It was very simple. A giant radioactive pill had to be swallowed and I couldn't be around children for three days. I felt fine during the treatment and about three months later everything tested normal! The endocrinologist said there would be a chance of swinging the other way and going into hypothyroid, but so far so good. I had to get a blood test every three months and then every 6 and now just once a year.

I could not believe how sick I was until I started feeling better! I thought everything I felt had to do with the stress of being a first year teacher, but it was really my whacked out thyroid.

The moral of this story is to listen to your body and if something is not right, find out why! And also, listen to your mom, she is probably right!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

2010 Goals revisited

I made some goals for myself in January and revised them again in May. Today is another revisit to my goals and possibly add some more!

Here are my original race goals that I wrote in January. Here is an update and I would like to add a few more.

1. Run in at least two more marathons, I would be happy with one as I have found it's pretty tough on my body. I want to run in 4:30 or faster. Need to find a race or two and sign up.
I've signed up for the Seattle Marathon set for Thanksgiving weekend. It looks like I'll only being doing one this year. That's ok! Time for a PR! Can I break 5 1/2 hours? I think so!

2. PR in a 5k. I can't believe how long it's been since I have PRd in a 5k. I am embarrassed to admit that my best time is only 28 minutes... yeah, I'm slow! Check! I have another 5k coming up May 22, except it's untimed. Will it still count if I use my own watch? I would like to go a :26 or faster!

3. PR in a half marathon. I think the 1/2 is the best race distance. I need to go faster than a 2:13. So far the last three 1/2s I have done have all gotten slower. Here is to a fast 2010 for my half marathon. I am on the fence about doing a half marthon this weekend. I'm not really ready, but it would be nice for a training run and perhaps a PR! No PR yet, but I would like to do 2 half marathons leading up to the marathon in November. I have not signed up for anything yet!

4. Sign up for and finish my first half ironman. I just got a new bike trainer and I am hoping that will keep me in bike shape until I can get outside. Well I have signed up for this race and I am scared to death! Now I just need to finish and finish strong! CHECK!!!! I did it! I finished and I think I finished strong!!!!! Woooooot!!!

5. Swim a sub 6 minute 500 free at a masters meet! I haven't done this since high school. I think I can do it for sure. My first meet in 2010 is in April. It would be helpful to achieve this goal if I actually signed up for a swim meet! This month I am planning on ramping up the swimming. It's something I love and want to spend more time doing, however, there aren't any swim meets any time soon!

New 2010 Goals (May 2010):

6. Sign up for a 10k. I've never done one before. No 10k races on the schedule yet!

7. Get a PR in a sprint triathlon. I need to go faster than a 1:29. I think I can smash that this summer! Not yet :(

8. Get a new PR in an Olympic distance tri. Check back in September. I am hoping for a strong race to be proud of!!

New Goals for 2010 (July)

1. Join a triathlon team.

That is enough for now!! I'll update in a few months!

Happy Training!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our Garden

Our garden is out of control!! Too bad it hasn't produced anything to eat yet. But it does look amazing. We are growing corn; some from seed and some from starters. The starters are doing much better, they are starting to produce some edible goodies, but nothing close to being ready to pick. We are also growing tomatoes, again nothing to eat yet. There are some squash growing and they could be ready to eat soon! And last but not least, pumpkins. We are hoping for a great pumpkin harvest this fall. So far there are flowers and fruit growing, albeit small.

My husband made the raised beds and together we planted everything. We tilled the soil, put down compost and planted. We also added some grass to the top of the soil. All seems to be good. We go down every day to check out the progress.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chelanman 70.3 DONE!!!!!

I did it! I finished!

Packing: I laid out all of my things before I put them in my race bag. I took a picture. Looked at picture and realized something was missing. Can you tell what it was?

Morning of the race: We camped and arrived at the campsite on Friday night. We realized the campsite was about 12 miles from the race start. Not exactly ideal but it worked. I woke up at 4am and stumbled to the bathroom to brush my teeth and try to wake up from a not so sound sleep.

I got back to our campsite and lit the camp stove to boil water for my oatmeal. Made my oatmeal and almost gagged each time I took a bite of food. It was awful. I had to force-feed myself. I also ate a half of a plain bagel and one banana. All of it was GROSS!

Transition area: I checked my bike in on Friday night, so all I had to do was bring my race bag and set up my transition area in the morning. I laid everything out, put on some sunscreen, got my cap and goggles and headed to the potty. And from there down to the swim.

The Swim: It was a fairly breezy morning, but a warm breeze. The lake temperature was 71 degrees. I decided last week that I didn't need a wetsuit for this race. The water was the perfect temperature. However, the water was so choppy and wavy I knew I would be in for a challenge.
I was really lucky enough to be in the first wave. I really wanted to just start and get it over with. The gun went off at 7am on the dot. I positioned myself to the left of the pack towards the front. I got going and about five minutes in I had a panic attack. It was so incredibly wavy I could not catch my breath. I waved down a lifeguard in a kayak and told her I was panicky and she told me to take three deep breaths and start again. I did that and was fine! I was really worried that the anxiety would continue but it didn't.

I made the turn around and headed for the swim finish. It was rough and it was challenging, even though I am a strong swimmer. Most everyone I talked to agreed it was a brutal swim.

I finished the swim in 39 minutes, much slower than my average mile pace but managed to finish 4th in my age group and 67th overall! Not bad for such a difficult swim!

Notice all of those dudes in wetsuits and notice the STUD without one!!!

The Bike: HOLY COW!!! This was HARD!! The first 30 or so miles were rolling hills, not bad, beautiful scenery, somewhat challenging. I was very good about taking a serving of gel about every 15 minutes, sipping on Perpetuem (YUCK! Didn't finish the whole thing), water and Nuun.

The last 26 miles were BRUTAL for me. Including a giant climb up the side of a mountain. By this time it had become fairly hot and the ride was not in shade. All of the racers were so awesome, everyone kept cheering each other on and helping out when it got rough. It was great.

I ended up finishing in 4 hours because of all those incredibly challenging hills. My husband met me in transition and asked if I was OK, I was. I had trouble getting my right shoe on and kept swearing up a storm. I told him that I would see him in a very, very long time. I was so tired and it was so hot! But I knew I could do it. I just kept telling myself that "I can do it, I can do it!"

The Run: The most difficult thing for me during a triathlon. It was HOT, HOT, HOT. During my training I was not able to train in hot weather because we have had such cold spring and not a very warm summer.

I was able to borrow my mom's Garmin for the run! It helped me so much. My goal was to keep my pace at an 11:00 minute mile or under. I was able to do this for about 6 miles. By this time the temperature had crept into the 90s and again there was no shade on this course.

This race was so well supported, it was awesome! Water, gel, orange slices, Heed and ice at every stop! Thank God! By mile 6 I was hurting. I could feel a blister forming on my foot, but I kept thinking how I just need to keep going, it's just a little blister. I kept on trucking along, taking two minute walk breaks when I felt I needed to. I would kind of mosey through the water stops because it was so hot.

There was this incredible woman that was not racing but coaching some of her clients. She stopped to see if I was OK. She was asking all sorts of questions and saying such motivating things to help me keep going. She left and said she would be back after she checked on some people (she was on a bike). She ended up coming back and I told her my hands were really swollen. She quickly gave me a salt pill and said that should help a little. She caught up to me again and gave me another! Bless her heart, she did not have to do that at all!

Mile 13: Wow! Hot much?? I could see the finish line in the distance but still knew I had a ways to go. At this point I was crying and then I would stop and get my head straight. I was crying because I could not believe I was so CLOSE to finishing! It was an unbelievable feeling! The closer I got the more emotional it became. There was a hill right at the end and I actually ran up it because I knew at the end of the downhill was the finish line! Once I started running downhill I could not contain myself. I was crying like a baby. I couldn't believe that I was going to finish this!

I saw my two friends at the finish line and they were cheering for me, the announcer didn't say my name :( and I didn't see my husband :(. But my girls were there and greeted me with hugs and cheers and told me I was their hero!

The other person that greeted me was the medic. Apparently I had no color in my face, which could indicate something was wrong like heat exhaustion, dehydration etc. He put his arms around me and walked me to the medic tent. I laid down, they took my shoes and socks off, I took my shirt off and they put bags of ice in my pits. They took my pulse which was fine, gave me water and made me stay there for about 10 minutes. I was so high on adrenaline that I didn't even realize that I was overheated.

My friend called my husband who was nearby, constantly checking to see if I was coming in, but since the announcer didn't say my name he missed it. She told him I was in the medical tent and he raced over to see me. He felt so bad he missed my finish, but at least someone was there to see it!

Results: I met my two goals! Finish, and not to come in last! Boy was I close to not meeting one of those goals! I finished 185 out of 200 and 11th in my age group in 7:50. Eeeek! Oh well, I finished!

Things I have learned:

1. I can do anything I set my mind to!

2. Obviously I did something right by training all on my own... I did finish ;)

3. Would like to join a team to help me get better and biking and running.

4. I need to ride my bike MUCH, MUCH more! The trainer will be my friend in the winter for sure!

5. I will do another one soon!

6. I'm not ready for an Ironman... not yet!

7. I don't have swim that much!

8. Bring salt pills when you know it's going to be hot!

9. Encourage your fellow racers, they will encourage you!

10. Don't camp while participating in a big, long race. Get a hotel! It's much more comfortable!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Triathlon #1 Complete!

Yesterday was my first triathlon of the season. I'm jealous of all you triathletes who live in warm climates and are able to race sooner! Looks like next year I'll have to do Lavaman in Hawaii in March!
Anyway, yesterdays race was really fun! I woke up at 4:30 left the house by 5:30 and made it to set up my bike and transition gear and was down by the lake before transition closed at 6:45. Did I mention it was incredibly foggy? Thankfully we have had some hot days this past week and the water was a warm 71 degrees, the fog must have kept in the warmth!

The swim was not very good :( It was foggy and I already race without prescription goggles so it was very difficult to see the buoys and other people in front of me. I have done this race two times before and was able to swim it in a little over 12 minutes. This time I did it in a little over 14 minutes. I was so disoriented by the time I got out I almost tipped over. Thankfully they had a guard rail set up or I would have fallen back into the lake. It was kind of funny :)

The bike: I was really surprised that I didn't do the bike very fast :( but I felt VERY good. I can't figure it out. I guess I just have to try harder next time! I finished 12 hilly miles in 48 minutes.

The run: Was really hilly and we had to do the course two times. I ran four miles in 41 minutes. Not impressed with my time at all. But I was passing people on the hills, which NEVER happens! I guess hill training helps!!

I was 6th in my age group and 35th overall! I am happy with the results, but just thought I would do much better! Onto bigger and better things next weekend!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Things I have learned while training for a 1/2 Ironman

1. It's hard training on your own. Yes, I had a training plan, a good one it seemed, but it would have been so much easier training with a group for all three events. Next year I am joining a local team. They have planned workouts and have an awesome coach that I have talked with before.

2. Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition. Triathlons fourth event! I started thinking that what I was doing on my own was not working. So I talked to a tri coach and he fed my mind with way too much information three weeks before my race, and I am hoping to god that my not so thought through nutrition plan will work.

3. Wetsuits: We have had one cold spring. Not enough warm temps. to warm up the lake. Lake temp. as of last week was 62. I reserved my wetsuit for race day weekend, but I have never swam in one during a race. I guess that is what race day is for...practice ;)

4.Bike: I LOVE my bike and I LOVE biking! I have actually been able to ride my bike much more than I ever have and I have so much fun, every single time! I went out on my last long ride on Wednesday, it may have been a little slow thanks to a headwind but I loved it!

5. The Run: I am really starting to feel very confident in my running! Yay! However, I have never run 13.1 miles after a 56 mile bike ride, that scares me. And I have to confess, I have only done one brick workout (see what I mean, I need a team and a coach!). But, I do have a sprint tri this weekend and that is where I will get to squeeze in a second brick!!

6. I feel great! I have made it through training with:
Zero injuries!
One cold
Hives and an epi-pen
A brand new speedy, awesome bike!
Very little swimming
LOTS AND LOTS of running!
A skinnier me!
A Smaller bra size!
A huge sense of accomplishment!
Knowing I can do anything...even without a team or coach!

7 days and counting until race day! I am nervous but I can't wait to get it done once and for all!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Your Advice, Happy Thoughts and Words of Wisdom Needed!

I am about to embark on my first half-ironman! (7/17) Wooo! Hooo! I can safely say that I am ready! I won't be coming in first and I swear I won't come in last! Either way though it's an automatic PR. But, I need your help! I am very negative sometimes, especially as race day comes closer and closer. Negative self-talk can cause havoc on race day. Whether it be "Everyone looks faster than me." "They have a better bike than me!" "That girl next to me must be a better runner than me" "I'm not ready, so I'll take it easy" "I've never done this before, so that gives me an excuse to walk more than run" and on and on!

I need your help! I need your words of advice, happy thoughts and words of wisdom. I don't care if you have done a 70.3, a full ironman, or just completed your first 5k. Your words WILL inspire me! So bring them on and feel free to pass on my blog post to anyone who you think will give some great advice!! I appreciate it very much!!

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