Friday, June 18, 2010

One Hell of a Week

Whoa. My last race was one to forget, and this week was one that I hope to never repeat. It was scary, reflective, and painful. And frankly, I feel odd throwing it out there for all to read about. But given that it will likely have an impact on my season and partially explains last Sunday's race, it needs to be told. I won't include every detail, but you'll get the picture.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to quit Saturday's brick run because of the widespread and intense pain/cramping all around my torso. Sunday's sprint tri was a lousy effort, but free of pain. On Monday night, I was feeling uncomfortable in my torso, and asked Christine for a short massage. It felt good when she was doing it, but caused considerable pain and discomfort during the night. It was hard to breathe- I certainly couldn't take a deep breath- and my ribs hurt all around.

So that got me to my doctor, a great D.O., who I've been with for a long time. He poked and prodded front and back, all around my ribs, and tried to see if he could trigger the pain- without success. He drew blood, then sent me for a chest x-ray and said I'd also get an echocardiogram.

That night was the worst of my life. The only position without serious pain was my left side, but my shoulder became very uncomfortable. I took Tylenol or Advil every two hours. At about 2 AM, I tried to roll over, and got stuck. I couldn't move and could only take short, shallow breaths. It was frightening to think of all of the things that could be wrong and what they would mean. While irrational, I kept picturing Lance Armstrong's chest x-ray with all of the golf ball tumors. And triathlon, while on my mind, was WAAAAY down on the list. Sitting or standing was tolerable, so I messed around on the computer for 90 minutes. At that point, I was able to get another hour of sleep.

Wednesday night was a little better, and Thursday was much better. The further away I get from the massage or prodding, the better. Today I had a CT scan in the beautiful new Mercy facility on the Fore River. (By the way, I was in the waiting room for just 2 minutes- I was amazed by the efficiency).

So after blood tests and three diagnostic tests, what's going on? No idea. With only a couple of very minor exceptions, everything looks great. As my doc said, "The good news is we don't know what's going on. The bad news is we don't know what's going on." I have another blood test next week to see how one particular reading has changed. Other than that, his orders are to be my own judge of effort. After taking Mon-Wed off completely as planned, I swam a really slow 1,000 yards yesterday and ran a really slow 2.3 miles today. Both times it took a while to be able to breathe normally. Tomorrow I'll sit on my trainer in the garage (I'm SO excited!) and go for as long as I can tolerate it mentally.

As for Urban Epic, I'll make a judgement at the end of next week. At that point, I'll have two weeks to go and I'll know if I can train up to the level I need to. I don't want to do the race if I'm not in good form- I'd rather wait for Bethel.

In the very remote chance something is really wrong, I don't want to be one of those black swans who is incredibly healthy and keels over. And if this is just going to take some time, that's OK. The big race is in September, and my base is so strong that I can afford to go through this down time.

I look forward to getting past this week.


  1. Keep us posted! Sounds like you are all over it. I'll do a few miles for you this weekend! Be well.

  2. Oh God. I hope it was something like a really bad pull or strain in a bizarre place.... They must have ruled out big hitters...they must have.
    But keeping my fingers crossed that it is all okay. Keep us posted.

  3. yikes Steve!! that stuff is scary! I'm glad you called the doc immediately adn are getting thoroughly checked out. thinking of you...

  4. Ouch dude...I'm echoing mary's sentiment Fingers crossed. Heal well man.

  5. Jepers.. how freaky weird. I guess we are all getting to that "age" when weird things happen but I hate it when even the doctor can't explain it. Can you get a second opinion? Sometimes even the best doctors miss an obvious diagnosis. I hope you are feeling better fast and at the very least it is a blessed reminder of just how lucky we are for every healthy and active day we have. Hang in there!