Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pushing the Envelope

Well, I'm back at it again, training full tilt and pushing the envelope day in, day out. It's been a hectic few weeks... My coaching business has really taken off over the course of the past couple of years, and since most of my athletes are currently smack dab in the middle of their competitive seasons, many a day is spent either on the phone, in front of the computer, training, eating or sleeping. I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm living the life that I've always wanted and couldn't be happier.

I'm psyched to be back to a normal routine. For those of you not in the know, I had been dealing with internal bleeding for well over a month leading up to Eagleman 70.3. Nothing too severe, but a cause for concern and unneeded stress. I decided to wait until after I had completed my first 2 races of the '07 season to have the necessary testing done to determine the cause of the blood loss and bring closure to the issue. Doing so meant pulling out of the innagural Patriot Half Iron Triathlon, but I'd been rolling the dice long enough and couldn't risk my health any longer.

Thankfully, both the Mooseman International and Eagleman 70.3 Triathlons went extremely well. I had been preparing, very intensely, since last December for Eagleman, and the sub 4 hour performance I pulled off on June 10th, though somewhat unexpected this early in the season, was a much needed morale boost. Going sub 4 was my primary objective for the 2007 Tri season, and with this performance under my belt, I decided to pull the pin on training for a couple of weeks in the hopes that medical testing and a little R&R would take care of the problems that I'd been experiencing.

At 8:30 a.m. on July 3rd, I rolled into the endoscopy unit at Beverly Hospital for a 10:30 appointment with the very talented and knowledgable Dr. Martin Hahn. At 31, a colonoscopy seemed a little premature, but if having this procedure done meant getting back to full time training sooner than later, I was all for it.

First off, I would HIGHLY encourage anyone who is the least bit worried about having a colonoscopy to take my advice: Relax! Although it is invasive in every sense of the word, the procedure itself is a piece of cake; No pain, very little in the way of embarrassment/awkwardness, and a great form of preventative medicine. This simple procedure has the potential to save your life, so seek help if you're ever dealing with a similar GI tract problem, and don't be afraid if you hit the big 5-0 and are "suppossed" to get it done - trust me.

Although I was in a drug induced state and don't remember everything that occurred in the "scope room" during the course of the procedure, Dr. Hahn informed me that he had found and removed the source of my little bleeding problem: 2 polyps, 1 of which was rather inflamed and potentially problematic. I walked out of the hospital 1 hour later fully dazed, but excited about the fact that I at least had some closure on the issue. Now I just had to wait 1 week for the biopsy results to come back.

During this period I followed Dr. Hahn's orders and trained very lightly, focusing primarily upon swimming and shorter (albeit intense) rides. I avoided running altogether for 5 days as the polyp removal sites in my large intestine were a bit sore and noticeable, especially when I did anything that jarred my insides.

Exactly one week after the procedure I received word from Dr. Hahn's office that the larger of the 2 polyps was in fact the source of the bleeding, and was a benign, "inflammatory" polyp, which usually appear after a bout of colitis or intestinal damage. Might all of those long sessions and marathons coupled with slight dehydration have caused this issue to present itself? Perhaps, but the good news is that I was clear to resume operations!

Flash forward one more week (today) and I'm happy to report that my legs are once again tired, I'm eating everything that isn't nailed down, and am itching to get right back out there tomorrow morning and hit it hard again.

I've never been one to take all that I have in my life for granted, but it's amazing how a little scare will change your perspective and allow you to truly reconnect with the people and things that you care most about in life.

It's good to be back!

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