Thursday, July 7, 2011

Live Baby Live

Live, Baby, Live...  That INXS song was stuck in my head today.  It could have a lot of meaning especially today.  Today marks 40years since my father passed away at the age of 38.  (No one every thinks of 19 as middle aged.  I think it hit me harder today now that I've been diagnosed with heart problems.  And today I had all kinds of palpitations, to the point that I called my cardiologist.  We had discussed meds for me a few weeks ago, but she was concerned that my heart rate was already low and didn't want to make it lower. 

Interesting though, while waiting for her to call me back, Chisholm called me to discuss the Double Dirty Dozen event.  He wanted to know my plans.  ME TOO!!!!!  Am I in for the 6, 12 or 24?  Oh, how I wish I knew.  I won an entry to the 6 Hour, I want to do the 24, but should I settle for the 12????

And being stressed about my heart sure doesn't help anything.  If I can't run the way I want to, is this the life I want to live?  Live, Baby, Live...

So Dr. Craven's nurse called me back and it was decided I try the medicine.  So now I'm on Metoprolol.  It's mainly a nedicine to lower blood pressure, but I guess it also works on PVC's.  Let's see.

Now what have I decided about the 24 Hour Double Dirty Dozen?  All of it!  I'll register for the 6 with the understanding that when I have my follow up appt with Dr. Craven's in August, I'll figure it all out.  In the meantime, I'll train for 24 HOURS!

Ah, back to Live, Baby, Live..... Could that be Scott singing to me, not to do 24 HOURS?

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Treadmill Run

There isn't much I dislike more than running on a treadmill.  Well, with the problems I've been having with my heart, I knew it was inevitable.  Today I had my Treadmill Stress Test.  I lasted 10 minutes!  Boy, that should tell you that there is something going on with my heart.

If you've never head a treadmill test, they hook you up to a heart monitor and start you off at a walking at a minimal incline.  Every 3 minutes, the speed and incline increase.  Within 39 seconds of walking, my heart rhythm changed to quadrajeminy.  Every 4th beat is a Premature Ventricular Contraction. (PVC)
About 2 minutes after that, my rhythm converted to bijeminy:
 (These are from a website, not my actual test.)

What's happening here is that every other beat is not perfusing - sending oxygenated blood to the muscle.  Now remember, I'm running on a treadmill here, so my HR should be around 120.  (In the above photo the HR is about 60).  On the monitor going twice as fast as that, it looks pretty crazy.  Only 1/2 of my beats are perfusing, so if my running HR is 140, I'm only getting the circulations of 60 beats - the same as if I'm sitting in a chair!  No wonder I get tired so quickly when I run!

So, I failed that test miserably and will meet with the cardiologist soon.  At this point, my doc says I can keep running - just cut the intensity.  I'm running so slow lately that if I cut the intensity, I'm not sure I can still call it running!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

From A Dog's Point of View

In honor of Mother's Day, Karma the Dogma will be writing this entry...
Today is a great day!  This morning my momma took me for a run at Bluff Creek.  Sometimes when we run there we meet up with the short girl, or the one with dark hair, or the one that falls a lot.  Sometimes other dogs come today, but today was just me and my momma.  I didn't have to deal with those squawking birds at our house or that other dog, or even my dad.  It was just us.

Sometimes I think she is part dog, too.  When she runs, she's like that great ancestor of mine that lived with Pavlov.  She'll run for a while, then hear a beep and start walking.  Then she walks until she hears a beep, then starts running.  I think she's one of Pavlov's dogs.  She's well trained.  But, she never stops to sniff!   That I just can't understand!  There are some many great smells out on the trail that she misses out on.  I try to tell her, but she just keeps on going.  Occasionally she stops to look at something, but I think she's too tall to small all the cool stuff down here.

Speaking of smells, I smelled one of those weird cats today.  I've met one once before and was quite offended.  Usually when I see a cat, or they see me, the RUN.  Last year I met the most beautiful cat.  She was black with a very fluffy tail.  She had this great white stripe that traveled the length of her body.  She didn't run when we met.  I tried to be friends with her, but she turned her back on me and FARTED!  Oh my what a fart that was!  Mom and Dad wouldn't even let me in the house.  I smelled one of those farts today but didn't go investigate.

The things she collects!

My mom does this other crazy thing when she runs.  Whenever we come to a little yellow sparkly thing, she stops to pick it up.  Today she got, umm, what am I saying?  I can't count.  Not sure what she does with those things, but she sure has a lot.  If I had hands, I'd help her carry them.

Before we even started running, mom filled my bowl with water and tried to get me to drink.  But, I wasn't thirty then.  Oh, mother knows best.  Halfway through the run my tongue was dragging on the ground.  Thank goodness she carries a drink with her.  I used to be afraid of that bottle.  It splashed in my face.  But, there's some good stuff in there!  Today it had a little grape flavor. 

I came across a rock that I think was alive.  It smelled like some kind of creature, but it didn't move.  I was puzzled.  A rock that smells alive?  I looked at my mom and she said something that sounded like "Turtle."  Whatever that means...  We ran on.

Eventually we came to my favorite place on the trail!  The pond!  I swam, drank water, and my mom didn't even yell at me for getting wet and dirty.  Oh, how I love it here.  Trail running with my mom!  OK, she's not my actual birth mother, but she IS MY MOM.  And I'm so glad I got to spend Mother's Day with her.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Humbling Experience

So, my heart isn't working the way it is suppose to.  After quite a few syncopal and near-syncopal episodes, I saw the doctor.  The tests weren't real bad, but they were as good as they should be.  I'll be going in for more testing soon.  Basically, my heart is beating from the bottom chambers rather than the top about once per minute.  And, at times, it slows down to 40 beats per minute instead of my regular 60-68.

  As if fainting isn't enough, it sometimes gets hard to breathe when I run.  Now, next time your run, and you're having a hard time breathing, try to determine if that how it always feels when you run, or if you out of breath because your heart isn't pumping adequately.  I could tell something wasn't right after about 4 minutes while running with the gang at Draper.  I slowed way down.  I even switched to run for 2 minutes, then walk for one.  That way was the only way I could run, and let my heart and breathing remain somewhat comfortable.  It's a humbling experience to be a runner and resort to this type of activity. 

I got in my goal of 12 miles, but it took me 3 hours.    Rather than struggling to get back my pace, I'm going to be happy that my heart and body still allow me to do what I love.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The 6 Hour Run and Jerry

OK, it's been a long time since my last post.  I guess I just lost interest, but today's run gave me a lot of time to think.  Chisholm and I got this crazy idea to do a 6 hour training run.  He's one of those amazing ultra runner's that can just run for days.  A lot of the events he does are on 1 + mile tracks/courses.  He mapped out a 1/3 mile loop that he's used for other training runs, so we decided to do it there:   the west side of Lake Hefner.

With a 7:00 start time, we hoped to beat the heat projected for the day. Well, it was hot and WINDY, Oh it was WINDY.  Only a few other people told us they'd be there, so I knew I was going to have a lot of alone time.  But this is the view from the start.  Nice way to start the day.

I don't like running around the track, and I soon realized I don't like 1.3 mile loops.  (But, I seem to be OK with 2 mile loops??)  In fact, I was bored to tears after 4 loops.  Chisholm, Tanya and I all run different paces, and we changed directions periodically, so we got to see each other often.  After some confusion about where we were, Janice joined us for some mileage.

How did we keep track of our loops?  Glad you asked!  I try to be creative, so I brought a pile of brightly colored beads and a muffin tin.  Participants claimed a hole in the muffin tin and dropped in a bead after each loop.   Multiply your beads by 1.3 to get your mileage! Clever, huh?  Then, when you're finished, string your beads on the provided ribbon for a unique Finisher's Necklace.

After finishing a loop, I saw a note from Tanya that said, that she just couldn't handle the boredom and was going home to finish her run on the treadmill.  Really?!  Now that sounds boring to me.  After a while, I guess I just went on auto-pilot...  

The Women's Room
We had this great aid station set up at the cars with water, Gatorade,  cookies, oranges, and those most excellent ultra food:  Candied orange slices!  While I was there re-fueling,  Keith come up on his bike to check up on us. It was near the 3 hour point.  It's always nice to have a visitor!  But he brought some distressing news:  a man very special to me had recently died.  I hadn't heard, and it sent me reeling.   You know, when you can feel the blood rush out of your face?  Not necessarily a good thing when you have 3 more hours of moving your body forward.

Jerry Reece was a man that I met while I was training for Palo Duro 50K in 2004.   I was around 18 miles into a 26 mile run out a Bluff Creek when I hear a scream and a crash.    The nurse in me kicked into gear and I ran in the direction of the scream.  In about 30 seconds, I came upon a man laying on the ground  some 10 feet from his bike.  His bike had gone off the bridge and his body continued forward.  I'm not going into the full story here, but he was initially conscious, but fell into a respiratory and soon full cardiac arrest.  I maintained CPR while his friend directed traffic on the trail until paramedics arrived.  Jerry regained consciousness before being transported to the medical center.   Some people referred to me as "The Angel of Mercy"  I didn't finish my run.

Where's the water?
While this was going on, my aunt in California was out talking a walk.  She mis-stepped off the curb and broke her leg and couldn't get up.  She didn't have to wait long before her own "Angel of Mercy" arrived.  This woman called for the paramedics and stayed with Jackie to the Emergency Room where her husband was the attending physician!  He quickly got her the best of care.  God puts people where they need to be.

Later that day, I found out that the man I helped was the brother of Sherri Rector.  Sherri and her husband Jack were quite prominent figures in the OKC running community.  In fact, I saw Jack earlier that day out running as I ran lap at Lake Hefner before I headed to the trails.  I stayed in touch with Jerry, his wife Janice and the Rector's as Jerry recovered.  I visited him at the hospital and re-hab several times.  Jerry had a very freak spinal cord injury which caused paralysis to the upper body, but not the legs.  Very unique indeed.

Both my Aunt Jackie and Jerry were released from their hospitals near the same time.  Jackie didn't survive much longer.  As she convalesced at home, she had an instant death event.  My uncle didn't want an autopsy, but I'm assuming it was a pulmonary embolism from the leg.  It was horrible to lose her as she was my mother's only sister.  When I arrived back in Oklahoma City after her funeral, there was a message on my answering machine from the Rectors.  They wanted to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner with their family and the Reece's.  I cried.  With both my parents gone and now my aunt, I didn't have any other other blood relatives accept my siblings.  I was so honored to be  asked to join their family.

Hearing that Jerry died 7 years later due to complications of his initial injury was devastating.  An everything you just read kept my brain occupied for many more miles.  Thoughts of my aunt, my mom and Jerry.  The rest of the run I dedicated to Jerry.

Why can't I run fast like them?


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Scott on the Trails???

Don't be shocked, but Scott joined us at Clear Bay!  Quite a group showed up for the run at Clear Bay on Saturday morning - about 20 of us!  Scott, Scott Coleman and Julie's BF Dave did their on thing on bikes.

It was one of those crazy days where my Achilles hit me almost as soon as I stepped out of the car.  I tried my best to shake it off.

I did most of the first loop with Cara, Peggy and JenHenry.  The miles went by rather quickly with this social group.  Jen helped - verbally through some struggles I've had with yoga.  I have this goal to do a forearm stand, but I keep collapsing.  We laughed because it's not like we're gonna stop on the trails and start doing yoga - but we did once we got back to the parking lot!

Scott and the other riders were at the parking lot by the time we got back, and seemed to have had a good time.  The guys bonded well.  Coleman had to leave, but Dave and Scott were willing to go out again as I wanted to get in some more miles.

Shay and I ran a modified second loop, consisting of about 5 miles.  My right hamstring started cramping bad and she was just plain worn out.

Back in the parking lot, I was cold, I hurt and just wanted to get home.  Others were planning to go to Panera.  I wanted to be social - wanted Scott to get to know my friends better, but sometimes you just can't do it.  I love my running friends, but with 20 or so people, lunch at Panera would be too much!

I'm seriously questioning whether I can do the marathon at Cross Timbers.  This leg thing is a pain - haha no pun intended.  I guess I'll just wait until the event gets closer...

Happy Trails

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's Like An Easter Egg Hunt

While training for the 24 Hour run last Summer, Tanya and I collected reflectors that we found on the trail that had come off bikes.  We glued them to plant sticks to help guide us and the other runners on the trail that night.  It was a nice effect.

So last weekend, when I ran 12 miles at Draper, I found 1 reflector.  Today, in just 30 minutes of Bluff Creek, I found 5!   That tells me that my home trail is a tough one!  I found myself continually scanning the area for them.  Made the short run go by much faster. 

Get me any reflectors you find and let's light up the trail!

Happy Trails~

My treasures!