Tuesday, August 26, 2008

IMC Volunteering and a Stress Test

But aren't they the same?

This weekend I witnessed my first Ironman. Rode up to Canada with a few friends to watch a few friends/athletes compete in the glorious Ironman. I think I slept a total of 15  hours within 72 hours...it was a long incredible weekend. I volunteered at T1 and T2 transition bags. It was our job to sprint to their transition bag and deliver to the athletes after they were stripped of their bike or wet suit, then guide them to the changing tents. It was a lot more difficult then one might thinking, sprinting for 2-3 hours two times that day took a toll on me at the end of the night, but really I have no room to say anything about being tired. Transition was a badass place to volunteer. I was able to see all my friends that were racing, the pros come in and the end of the pack and people that were cut off, which btw was really sad to see. A few of the highlights 
*My stellar friends rockin the course out and becoming Ironmen!
*Seeing all of my friends pre race and in transitions.
*Free volunteer food.
*Getting a picture of Desiree Flicker in T2. 
*Bonding with the group I will be racing and training with for the next year.
*Watching Sister Madonna cross the finish line....sadly it was at a 17:20 :(
*Helping a TNT team mate from the Bay Area change and transition, it was nice to remind her why she was doing what she was doing and have her hit that marathon with a smile on her face.

And a few of the low points
*Watching the people from the swim not make the cut off.
*Witnessing the carnage from the back of the pack bike and swim age groupers.
*The pain from standing on my feet for 21 hours and being sleep deprived while getting rained on for 9 hours. 

What I learned
*Expect the unexpected.
*I am scared.
*Physical training will be a must, but ultimately mental training will get you to cross the finish line. 
*I have a VERY long season ahead of me.

On to my stress test....
This was a very interesting experience. First I had an echo cardio exam, I have a heart murmur and am used to having these. The procedure is simple, they just run an ultra sound on your chest and measure your valve and muscle contractions. Then we went on to the stress test. The kept me hooked up to the EKG machine and then added on an oxygen sensor. I'm standing the in my gown and running shoes waiting for them to tell me to put on my sports bra....but nope, that never came. I was not allowed to run in any kind of bra or shirt other then the backless medical gown, WTF?! Somehow they expected me to get my HR up to 193 with no upper support. Who the hell conceived this idea? The reasoning behind it was as soon as my HR hit 193 I had to immediately get another echo cardio scan done, no time to change. Ugh, my babies are going to hurt. I get on the treadmill with a RHR of 49, test starts out at 1.2 mph with a 10% grade and moves to 2% grade and about .75 mph faster every 3 minutes. During this time I get to watch the electronic waves of my heart (which is pretty neat); see how my body is processing oxygen on a graph and periodically get my blood pressure checked. It took forever to get my HR to raise. 20 mins later I hit the max capacity of their treadmill at 24% grade and 6mph. I'm holding a 188 and can't go above it. The doc testing me decides to try to keep me up 2 sessions longer since they can't increase the grade or speed to see if over time my HR will hit the 193 max....but this is not happening, so they get me off and echo scan me at 188. It was cool to see my heart beat on the ultra sound machine, it remind me of a fast african drum session. Then the testing was all over. I should hear back from my doc in the next 2-3 days. Hopefully the testing went well and I can go about my happy training ways. Thankfully I can't sign up for IMC until Sept 1st and I'll have my results back by then.

I have other good news but I can't post that for a few days :)


Rainmaker said...

"After they were stripped" - Let's be honest here...you really wanted to be a stripper, right?

Thanks though for all your help up there! While I don't think you got my bag, the collective 'you' were the most incredible group of folks I've ever had supporting a race. Amazing!

Thanks again!

Oh...I'm looking forward to being on the starting line with ya next August!

Chad said...

Great post. Now I really want to volunteer... at a Dr's office.