Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Learning Experience in Miami

I wanted to put up a quick write up about Miami 70.3, as I know many friends have been asking. It was quite the day out there. I decided to come here somewhat last minute, feeling rather good after Hawaii and still having a strong motivation to race again. Mentally I was far from 'fried' and physically I seemed to bounce back decently. Remember; that was my second Ironman, so I may not be the best judge of what that means! :)

Long story short, I decided to solo it to this race, being a quick trip. The race kicked off soon after 7:00 and the pro field of women (maybe 15 or so of us) was off. It was still quite dark, so sighting was interesting to say the least. Luckily Nina Kraft and Leanda Cave were here and we often swim well together, so I stuck with these girls. I felt decent in the water; not spunky, but not too bad. We exited and I was third out of transition and on to tackle the streets of Miami.

Nina and I seemed to find a rhythm near one another, as we were riding exactly the same pace. We seemed to yo-yo a few times; especially if one of us would grab water from an aid station. About 1 hour into the race, I believe I briefly looked back; I think I was going to move left perhaps to avoid the rut I was about to hit. Next thing I knew, I was flipping over my handlebars; ass over teakettle as they say. I just remember losing control of my bars from having hit a 'bump', and flipping; then skidding a little bit. I immediately looked around to see where Nina was, I so did not want her to get tangled up in my mess! Luckily she avoided it, and I was at an intersection which had many cops. I got out of the intersection and assessed the damage; some pretty good road rash to my right side (hip, back and ankle) and the bike had taken a beating too. My rear derailuer was in the spokes, SRM had broken off and bars were bent down a bit. The paramedics came and checked me out, and I did not feel too shaken up; moreso pissed off at myself! I had been feeling quite strong out there. After about 30 minutes, and one of the guys bending my derailuer back out with a wrench (and spinning through my gears), they said "So do you want a ride back?" I looked at them and said, " far to the turnaround?" Then, stupid or stubborn I am not sure which, I opted to continue on. I figured that if I was in OK shape to go, even if I had lost a bunch of time, I could perhaps claw my way back on the bike and try to put down a stellar run to get at least slightly back in the game. After all, this was my last race of the season! As I said above, stupid or stubborn...

I carried on through the bike, feeling rough at first and then with about 30 minutes to go I started feeling better, stronger. I entered T2 FAR back, I have no idea how far but most women were probably well into the run at that point. I busted out of transition and threw down an amazing first 3 miles that definitely would have worked me back into the picture had I of been able to hold that pace! Immediately upon hitting mile 4, everything started to unravel. My body started to hurt, legs felt like they would cramp, and my breathing started to get quite labored. I realized that we all have our limits and this (given not only the race but the entire season) was probably mine. I dialed it back and kept plugging along, but it just got harder and harder. Again, that stubborn streak kicked in and I could not quit. I finally made it to the finish line, had somehow managed a 1:30 run while it felt like about 1:45, and was complete toast. I was taken to the med tent and just quite panicky feeling. They put an oxygen mask on me, and I am not entirely sure why; but it felt good. Friends surrounded me, Desiree and Pat and his family, which was so sweet. They said I needed to go to the hospital much to my not wanting to. But, I knew I had to take their advice. So off I went. (this just keeps getting better!)

In the ambulance, they did an EKG that was a bit odd. When I got there, they did another one. They found that I was having heart arrythmias, what they called "Bigeminy" (which I believe is one regular heart beat followed by an irregular one). I had to stay there through about 7:00 pm, at which point they let me out (I hate hospitals!) on the grounds that I would see a cardiologist upon my return to Austin and get an echo cardiogram along with a holter monitor which would monitor my heart rate for a 24 hour period. Whew. Day is done.

The big picture here and something many may ask is, "Kelly, WHY on earth did you finish?" Again, I know it may not have been the smartest choice, however I look at this as my job. Yes, my health comes first; but I was there to race, and if I was told 'you are ok to finish', by all means I would finish. You never know what is going on ahead of you; I had to give myself an honest shot out there. Additionally, I was running from the back of the pack. I have felt amazing the past year; in a way, almost invincible. But I am not; none of us are. If this was the wake up call that I needed, so be it. I tried to savor running from the back, saying to myself, "You do not always feel good, this is what makes you who you are. One foot in front of the other." I do know when to say when; in Canada last year, when I had abdominal pain beyond belief, I stopped at mile 6 and was taken back to medical. Today, yes I crashed but physically I (thought) I was fine; just having a rough patch. It ain't always gonna be easy. And the even bigger picture here, the big positive that came out of this, is that now I am aware of this 'arrythmia' going on. Sure, I went to extreme measures to figure it out! But when your job entails going out and pushing your body to its limits for 2 to 10 hours, you learn to turn off the pain switch.

I have a plane to catch... but I will do another post soon on a final season re-cap. In the meantime, thank you friends and family for all of your concern and support. I am sorry I scared ya'll. That was not my intention! And, I want to thank my sponsors for their endless support this season: PowerBar, Zoot, Quintana Roo, Jack & Adams, Advanced Rehab, Xcis Software, Hill Country Running, Go with the Flo and 3 Cosas. It has been a great year, and I will not let this one race ruin (or as Stewie Griffen would say, "ru-eehn!") that fact. Good things can come from bad races, and I will learn from this, take some much needed down time and come back stronger in 2011.

Thanks for reading,


Anonymous said...

Wow. What amazing story! You rock for finishing the race, but you need to take of yourself. I'd probably would have done the same. I've done it on training rides, so I understand. You rock Kelly! Hope you are doing okay and recover fast after the race.

Unknown said...

Man, I was worried about you!! Hope you back home safe and sound. Rest up!

Amit Bhutani said...

Wow! What a truly remarkable story! You are one tough cookie with an awesome attitude Kelly! Hope you enjoy yr off season!

Trigirlpink said...

Girl.. you are the definition of Tough As Nails. eeeks...

Libby said...

oh girl. you are the epitome of toughness! seriously!! congrats on an amazing season and I hope the heart arrhythmia checks out ok!! rest up!