Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rev3 Cedar Point -- Swim

This is my second intentional DNF with the concept being introduced to me last fall at the Baltimore Half Marathon. Did I get lazy this summer or just plain burnt out? I'm not sure but I just wasn't feeling it and had no interest in jumping on a bike or heading out for a run. So, I made the decision to stop doing triathlon training. I suspended my membership to Team Z (not that I was doing any of the workouts anyway, that was a big waste of money), and stopped feeling all the pressure to train in all three sports. I liked the swimming though. Since I'd already paid for the Rev3 Half and reserved a room at a resort, I figured why not just go, swim, and call it a day.

Health issues in the weeks leading up to this race questioned whether or not I could even do just the swim. In fact, my doctor suggested that I just sit this event out. Being that it was my only chance at an open water swim before the 2.4 mile event in Las Vegas, and that I was going to be there anyway, AND Deb was there doing the full race, there was no way I was backing out. The first 600m was HARD, straight out from shore and completely against the current. I almost gave up and flagged down a kayak. But... I am not a quitter. I painfully continued on.  Once I made the first turn around the red buoy, it got a bit easier. It helped knowing that Deb was right there with me. We somehow managed to stay next to each other almost the entire swim. One yellow buoy after another, I was a third done, four ninths done, almost halfway.... Part of my health issues involved a severe pain in my right arm which was throbbing at this point. I also had a lot of pressure in my head from various facial swelling and my goggles were making me miserable. Finally, that next red turn buoy and all I had to do was get back to shore, though it seemed so far away. For the first time in my life I had a kayaker approach me and ask if I was OK. I must have looked as awful as I felt. I kept going though, inching my way toward the shore and finally, finally, finally it was shallow enough for me to stand up and walk up the beach. Since I didn't see a timing mat, I went all the way to transition, through 6" deep sand and the water in my head making me dizzy. OK, done and in 55 minutes which oddly isn't my worst 1.2 mile swim time. We must have had the current to our backs part of the way? Sure didn't feel like it though.

Deb got out of the water a minute or two before me and headed off on the bike and run. Meanwhile, Jon and I went to the rental car so I could change and hung out at Cedar Point. Unfortunately, roller coasters combined with the pressure in my head was a terrible mix and I ended up back out in the parking lot to sleep in the car after only 3 rides. The good part was that this meant I was around the final part of the run course to see Deb run in about half an hour ahead of schedule... enough to capture 2nd place in her age group. Way to go, Deb!!!!

I did end up back in the amusement park to ride one more roller coaster with Jon before heading back to the hotel. A good dinner of ribs followed by a full day at the water park and animal attraction at the Kalihari resort were how we ended the weekend. I was so glad to get back to Virginia and my bed. Flying with a swollen face and head pressure is no fun at all.

Background: Driving to work a few weeks ago my vision went completely blurry on my drive into work. Scary! After a stop at the nurses station at work, I was directed to the Urgent Care. Stephanie and Joann took me there and together we waited well over 2 hours for me to even be seen. By the time the doctor called me back, a severe headache had started and my right arm started hurting and went completely numb. I ended up at the hospital ER where they ended up admitting me for 24 hours of observation. Luckily my CT and MRI scans came back clean and they sent me home with a diagnosis of "complex migraine". Well, the headaches and arm pain continued, despite the medicine, and then to top it off, my face started swelling up every 1-2 days. Eyes, mouth, cheeks, nose, throat. It was awful. I finally got an appointment with an allergist and neurologist and was told to cease all medications (antihistamines for the allergy testing and anti-inflammatories in case that was causing an allergic reaction). This meant no more Allegra for my allergies, which naturally got worse. It also meant no pain killers for my back pain along with my constant headache and worsening arm pain. This was the worst week ever, so sick and so scared that they aren't going to figure out what's wrong with me.

Update: Allergist is convinced the swelling was a reaction to one or both of the migraine medications so she ended up not doing the skin testing after all.  Instead, we're treating the symptoms with a powerful antihistamine and steroids which I should be able to taper off from eventually.  The neurologist still isn't sure what's wrong.  Everything seems to fit a complex migraine except for the persistent headache and arm pain/numbness.  So, that's what we're going with and I started wondering if maybe the arm pain is really just a soccer injury made worse by the open water swim?  Maybe it's swollen and creating pressure that's causing the tingling?