Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh no, I broke my mustache!

Okay, I didn't break my mustache. Rather I had surgery on my septum and turbinates. This picture is a fresh bandage from yesterday morning. I no longer have the bandage and I am off the oxycodone, which is good because it was giving me lucid dreams last night. And not fun flying ones either.

Even though there is a ton of nastiness going on in my nose right now, I can already breath better than before the surgery. Now, if the migraine meds work properly too with no side effects I'll be ready for action.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Levis Trow

Levis was a blast. Hot and painful, but a ton of fun. The STL representatives made their way up to MKE on Thursday. We proceeded to celebrate Scott's birthday and the smokefreeness of the MKE bars! It was a bit of a late night for a Thursday, we almost closed Wolski's.

Friday it took us forever to get to Levis, so by the time we got there I was really itching to go ride. On our pre-ride we saw that the tornado was not horrible, but also not great to the trail conditions. By the end of Friday night I was pretty sure I was going to do the 50 instead of the 25 because the lap had more fun parts and I wouldn't have to wait until 3pm to start. First thing Saturday morning I signed up for the 50.

Then I found out at the start of the 100 that the laps were now 15 miles long and everyone was doing the same lap. Suddenly, I was going from 25 to 60 miles. Game plan: feel out the first lap and try to get faster and faster.

Well, I did hold back more than normal, but I still got a little swept up in racing and went out faster than I had planned. After 30 minutes of that I back off just a bit and settled into a comfy pace at which I could really enjoy the trails. The trails and the route were awesome, except for the bog section--that part just stunk on a hardtail. All in all, I really enjoyed just riding the trails

The heat was rough and people were dropping left and right, the tortoise plan may have worked if I wanted to ride more than 6 hours. But I didn't. I hadn't planned on it and didn't really feel like getting beat up that long. So I only did 3 laps, knowing that a 4th lap would have sent me well beyond 6 hours.

A little stat action from the Garmin w/speed sensor: the laps were actually about 16.2 miles with 1,430 feet of elevation per lap(according to the elevation correction function). Which means that 3 laps was over 48 miles and much closer to the 50 mile race the organizers kept calling it. Big props to all the people that finished the full 64ish miles.

I think Eddie was feeling the late Thursday night during his 105 mile race but he seemed like he had fun. Scott and Matt did great, finishing 6 laps in their duo and taking 4th. I have no idea were I placed, and I am not too concerned about it. I had fun and more importantly, I felt better than I have in while. After Saturday's race and an hour trail run today I feel good. My legs are cashed but aerobically I feel good. I have realized for a while that my mtb races this year are just going to be training for cx--at least that is my hope.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Congestion a red herring?

Here is a health update for those who care to know. The appointment on Monday wasn't the revealing test read for which I was hoping. According to the CT scan my sinuses appear to be in good shape. Other than the eye muscle that got caught in my broken orbit 10 years ago, it looks like it is bulging into one passage and there isn't too much to do about that. What was apparent is that my septum is screwed up and while the there are no blocked passages, some of the openings are very tiny. So, I have surgery coming up in two weeks to fix that, and hopefully I come out of it no longer a mouth-breather.

What this means though is the other symptoms that I have been having are not accounted for, and the congestion that was pointing toward sinusitis was a bit of a blind alley. My GP has referred me to a neurologist two weeks from now(everything is always two weeks away!) to see if my brain is broken. Which many people who know me have suggested in the past! As I sit here and right while my eyes pulsate, I sure hope something gets figured out.

On the more positive side, I think the fluticasone that was given to me to help with the congestion was the culprit for the shortness of breath and racing heart at the past two races. It may be a rare side effect, but I am not the only one to have it. The symptoms coincide with use a week after I started, and it takes a while to build up in the system to work. Which means it also takes a while to get out of the system. Last night at the Gun Show I didn't have much top end speed because I was tired, but I was able to put out some good effort, getting the heart rate high. And here is the key, the heart rate dropped down after the bigger efforts and I was able to breath, something that was not happing in the past 3 weeks. I am praying it is a good sign for the weeks to come.

This weekend is Levis and I have some friends from MO coming up to race the 100 mile. I am looking forward to it. Friday afternoon we are going to explore the trails, then on Saturday I am probably just going to do the 25, unless Scott wants to do the 50 duo. Either way I have no big expectations and I plan on seeing how I feel and maybe going hard for the second half of the race. Race report to come early next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Ramifications of Faith

Faith is unavoidable. I understand that some would argue that faith is not necessary, and that they do not have faith. However, that is another discussion, one of which after some give and take, I think most people would actually agree with me.

But what does having faith mean? I argue that having faith means to live as though something is true. At least until something more plausible comes along at which point one could put their faith in something else, and in doing so denying what they thought to be true before. In the end though, having faith necessitates corresponding behaviors.

An example would be this: I have been told not to look into the sun because it will damage my eyes. I haven't done any research on the matter, I haven't tested it, I don't know what exactly the damage would be on a molecular level, or anyone who has eye damage from the sun. I sure there is someone out there who has done all of that and who has some explanation as to why it happens, though probably incomplete in itself, but I accept that looking into the sun will damage my eyes in faith. Not on knowledge, and certainly not on experience.

This faith has ramifications. My behavior reflects that I believe it to be true, by that I mean I do not look into the sun. In fact, I take great precaution not to look into the sun. To push it further, people create special apparatus to look at solar eclipses because they believe the sun to damage eyes. Some who use these apparatus have no idea that the sun can damage eyes, yet they have faith that the apparatus is the proper way to look at a solar eclipse. Which means that in some, if not many situations, this is faith based on faith once removed. A phenomenon that is prevalent in the world.

The point to all this is that faith in what we believe to be true has ramifications everyday of our lives. For Christians, this is a call for daily repentance for denying what we believe to be true by how we live our lives. For non-Christians is this a call to take a second look at being so quick with calling Christians "hypocritical" as if it is a special category for some people. Christians cannot follow the way of Christ perfectly, that is why we need him, but how often do many non-Christians deny what they have faith in (believe to be true) by their own actions? It is an idea that deserves thought.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thunderdown in Underdown

I feel like I keep making excuses for my races and I am pretty tired of it. Things haven't really gone all that well so far. I have been fighting some sort of illness for months that looks is though will hopefully be identified and treated soon (should get an update next Monday). And I think, after some trusty interwebs research, I have figured out the shortness of breath and racing heart beat at my last two races, causing me to go on cruise control. So there is hope that I can turn this year's racing around.

The Thunderown itself was a bit hectic, I had to drive up and back on Saturday. Which made for a long day. The race was very well run and I always appreciate when there are aid stations, even if I don't use them. They are a nice safety net. The 3hr course went like this for me:

We line up, I look around and see that it is a very small group. The junior(eventual winner) next to me was probably my best competition due to the 70lbs I had on him and the amount of climbing on the course. The race started really casual, like 15mph on double track casual, and I end up on the front, on a course I have never seen. Things are going alright, but my heart was not coming down at all on parts of the course where it should. After 15 minutes of shortness of breath and a racing (ironic word choice, no?) heart rate I let the top 3 go and decided to just enjoy the trails. Which up to this point were off the hook.

Eventually another guy catches me (who I caught later, but stayed about 100 ft behind until he mysteriously disappeared???) So I am jra and thinking to myself that I have to let the organizer know that this course is sweet. But then I get to, oh about mile 7 or 8, and the sweet singletrack becomes a rut-fest with little to no flow. Now, I like techy, but techy can still have flow and the next 8-10 miles of the course had glimpses and short bursts of techy flow that were great, but for the most part it was just back busting roughness with short steep climbs in between. Which is sad because for the most part, the last third of trail was sweet too, but I had little patience left in my back to enjoy it and I just wanted to be done.

So I finished, stood there for about 20 minutes stretching my back, cleaned up, said my good-byes and I was on the road headed home.

On a unrelated note, the Gun Show is awesome and I plan to get there whenever I can.