Transplant Athlete
Monday, May 16, 2011
  Jersey Shore Multisport Kick Off Sprint Triathlon

I considered skipping the race because of my back, but while I was packing the car, I did a short test ride of my Softride and my back felt fine. I also ran for a little bit, enough to see if my back would be in pain. I felt confident enough, so off I went.

The only triathlon experiences I've personally had are with Jersey Shore Multisport, so I can't really compare them to other events, but they do an awesome job. The courses were all well marked (there's nothing worse than not knowing which way to go during an event). Ample parking, good organization, great food. I definitely had a blast.

My dad and I racked our bikes and organized our area and then squeezed into our wetsuits (rented from Bonzai). First time for both of us and it wasn't very comfortable. I waded into the water to try out a few strokes, and it was difficult to expand my chest to breathe. My dad felt the same way. Yes, Yes, I know. Never try new equipment at a race, but this wasn't a high priority race for me, so I was willing to sacrifice the results to test the equipment. I waded into the water to test the suit out before the race and couldn't believe how constricting the suit was. I had to float awhile before I could take a few strokes.

My race went off first, the women followed 3 minutes later and dad's punt distance was 20 minutes or so later. I felt really fast for the first third of the swim, we had the wind at our backs, but the rest of the way it felt like a real struggle, I'd take a few strokes and then pause. I'd like to get more open water swim experience to swim continuously for longer than 25 yards at a time. It felt like I was in the water for at least 30 minutes, but it was only 15 minutes. I was way at the back of the men's pack when women started coming up behind me from the later wave. With my back in pain, I had to sit down to remove the wet suit.

I blasted out of the transition area, hopped on the bike and started reeling people in. The bike computer was saying 22 mph out, on the way back into the wind, I was struggling to maintain 20 mph. I saw my dad on his way out.

When I got to T2, I looked at my vibram five fingers and then at my sneakers. I couldn't decide which to use, so I slipped on my sneakers and took off. The run wasn't hard, but I felt like I wasn't breathing properly. I was grabbing a breath on every step. I was pushing myself pretty hard to catch the people in front of me, but I was still getting passed. My sneakers were feeling really heavy on my feet and I wondered if I should kick them off. At the halfway point, I saw my brother-in-law drive by. A guy passed me with about a 1/2 mile to go. He looked over and said something like, "Come on pick up the pace and finish out strong." I tried but couldn't go much faster. Nearing the finish, I heard someone coming up behind breathing REALLY hard. He passed me at a high rate of speed with 10 or 20 feet to go before the finish line.

Although it was 9am, I had a beef burrito from Bubbakoos Burritos one of the race sponsors. It was pretty good and left me feeling full for most of the day.

Dad and I waited around for the race results. At this point, the unofficial results have me at 10th place in my age group and 80th out of 131. Chris Wilcox, the race director, was keeping the crowd entertained while we waited for the results by asking trivia questions. He was throwing out T-shirts. When he ran out of t-shirts, he started giving out six packs of beer from East Coast Beer Co. I happened to win one, which if you know me is kinda funny, but my parents are having a BBQ on Memorial day weekend. Family will be coming down to compete in the Cheap Fast and Not so Easy Tri that Monday, so we'll indulge then.


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Sunday, May 15, 2011
  A Painful Reminder

...that you're only as strong as your core. While I was picking up the house on Friday, I lifted a cooler up and instantly dropped to the ground. I think I pulled a muscle in my back, it felt like my spine went out of alignment and my sciatic nerve lit up.

I had to run a bunch of errands including picking up wetsuits for the Jersey Shore Multisport Kick Off Triathlon, gas up the car, and pick up groceries at Costco. It was tough especially with my daughter TGL in tow, but I managed.

The drive up to NJ was tough, I left in the middle of DC rush hour, so that added an hour to my time. I had to stop in Delaware, my back had tightened up and it was pretty painful.

So, I see a lot of core work in my future.


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Sunday, May 01, 2011
  Q Wiped Out

So, with gas prices up and weather improving, I've been taking the family on more bike trips. For Spring Break, Q was enrolled in an ice skating camp in Ashburn. I would pull the trailer holding RJ and T while Q would ride her bike. After dropping off Q at camp, RJ would ride the bike back home and we'd reverse it for the afternoon pickup. It's only 7 miles by car and just over 6 by bike, but I figured I was saving about a gallon of gas per day.

The problem was the kids are slow and most days we left late, so I ended up pulling the trailer AND pushing the kid on the bike. Anyway, I got really comfortable pushing a kid on a bike. On Friday, Q and I pedaled to her softball practice, it's just 2.3 miles by bike. It was cold out and I wasn't dressed for the weather, so after practice was over, I was motivated to get us home quickly. About halfway home, I let go of her and she veered away from me then over-corrected into me, then back away. Before I knew it, my brakes were locked up to keep from running over her head. She was wearing her helmet and now a full coat of road rash. She begged me to call her mom and refused to get back on the bike, so we ended up walking about a mile to get home. No I didn't have my phone. I rarely carry it. I knew the walk home would be about 10 minutes, but it would most likely take ABL 25 to pack the kids in the car and find us.

We cleaned up her road rash, but her hand was really swelling up. ABL asked our neighbor to come by and take a look at it, but I was pretty sure an ER visit was in our future. We dropped off the two younger kids at the Hojnacki's and motored over to Inova Loudoun (which claimed on the internet that the ER wait was only 15 minutes-huge lie). We waited over an hour before they took her vitals. I have to say though the Inova Loudoun Pediatric ER is very kid friendly. They had books, dvds, and Wii. We left the hospital around 11:30pm so it was a long day for Q.

I blame myself.


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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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