I’m hanging out with Buttercup, thinking about what’s next.

Butter and I are recovering on the couch today. I’ve been reading and doing some stuff online, and she’s been nestled with me all afternoon. Cats really are loving little creatures. I cannot imagine life without mine.

I checked online a while ago and learned that my friend, Cindy, finished a 100 mile trail running race in Colorado. Can you imagine? 100 miles on foot. I don’t know how long it took her, but the course limit was 30 hours. That’s astonishing to me. She’s amazing.

Another friend, Jamie, had to back out 60 miles into the race. I can’t imagine that either. He hurt his IT band. I’m heartbroken for him, but also thoroughly impressed because he posted updates about his own disappointment while at the same time applauding others who did finish. He’s got such an incredible heart, such a generous spirit. I don’t know him that well and haven’t known him that long, but I was drawn to him because he seems like a genuinely nice guy, despite having every reason in the world to be an arrogant bastard. He proven that again with his response to disappointment.

I can’t imagine training for 100 miles on foot. There’s always something bigger out there to conquer, isn’t there? A sprint may seem too much, but then there’s an olympic distance. An olympic race may seem daunting, but then you think in terms of a half ironman. Once you’ve done a half, you think in terms of an ironman distance event. But then there’s the ultraman and 50 and 100 mile road races and so many other events that I can’t being to imagine taking on.

I feel really lucky to have fallen into crowds of friends who are expanding my vision of what’s possible. Canada wasn’t it for me this time. But there’s St. George. And maybe Canada next year. And maybe I could work towards an insanely long road race. Maybe I could be faster on foot and finish one of those crazy endurance events. Maybe I could be a trail runner. Why not? The people around me are showing me every day that anything is possible. Even if things aren’t going the way I want them to today (surgery, my pace, etc.), it could all change tomorrow.

The surgery is done.

I had my gallbladder removed yesterday, and, after one night at the hospital, I am home. It was an experience. Last time I had surgery, the anesthesia was a breeze. This time I was nauseous beyond belief. For a solid two hours after I woke up, I couldn’t see straight, and I must have thrown up at least four times. It was miserable. Other than that, the surgery was fine. I’m glad it’s behind me, and I’m happy to be home. Now, the focus is recovery and getting back to training.

One thing I learned in this process is that I really am healthy. My heart rate after the surgery was 48 beats per minute, which worried the nurse even though I told her that I’ve often been told I have a low heart rate. She ran some test on me to make sure I was getting enough oxygen and that test, whatever it was, came out to 99%. That gave her some assurance not to worry, but she apparently still called the doctor at home to be sure. I guess she wasn’t used to seeing heart rates like mine.

It’s also interesting to me that I don’t need any pain medication. I have four small incisions on my stomach, and they just don’t hurt. I feel good. Again, I think that has everything to do with being healthy.

I’m thankful for my sport that has brought me to such health. And I’m thankful to Dr. Livingston for helping me through this procedure. And I look forward to walking for the next few days and then going for a run next week. Now that my gall bladder is gone, I shouldn’t have painful nights of being awake for hours on end, so I think my workouts will be easier to wake up for in the mornings.

My focus is shifting now to St. George.

Trying to be positive.

Five things to be grateful for:

(1) But for the damn gallbladder thing, I’m very healthy.
(2) I am strong enough to train for and compete in and finish an Ironman.
(3) I am lucky enough to have medical insurance and access to surgery that I need.
(4) I am lucky enough to have a job that allows me the flexibility to pursue this crazy sport and the means to finance it.
(5) Every bit of training done to date will help with whatever the next race ends up being.

Can you tell I’m trying to be positive?

It’s hard to be positive when plans get derailed. Why does this happen? Did I have too much wrapped up in this race? Did I make it too important?

I think there’s something more to be learned here. I’m really trying.

Oh Canada.

As of this morning, I won’t be racing in Canada.

I’ve been having what I thought was a dairy intolerance issue for the past four or five months. When it got too frequent and too painful, I went to a doctor (about a month ago). I learned last week it’s a gall bladder issue, and I learned this morning that, given the frequency and severity of what I’m dealing with, the surgeon doesn’t recommend waiting until after the race to have the surgery to remove it. I scheduled the surgery for this week, which blows my ability to do the race.

Part of me feels like a big ninny for not gambling by waiting until after the race to have the procedure, But I’m afraid that with my luck, something would go wrong, here or in Canada, and I’d be dealing with something much more complicated than a simple gall bladder removal. I may be following the advice of a too conservative doctor, but right this minute, based on the doctor’s advice, that seems like the right thing to do. Lesson learned: if you hurt, go to the doctor quickly. Had I gone just a little sooner, I would have missed a couple of weeks of training but could have recovered in time to do the race.

I’m hopeful to still travel to Canada to cheer Kerstin and others on and enjoy that part of the world and check out the course and maybe sign up for next year? Is it ridiculous to consider St. George and Canada next year? They are four full months apart. I just feel like I got super lucky to get into this race at all, so I hate the blow a chance to sign up on site for next year. I welcome your thoughts on that.

Anyway, that’s the scoop. Thanks for all your support and encouragement and companionship on the long rides. Especially you, Jeanie, for the double dam loop. I wish I had handled the last few months differently but I’m trying to remind myself that things could be much worse. All in all, I’m a very lucky person to have health, strength, and the friendship and support of folks like you.

My staycation comes to a close.

I was supposed to be in West Texas this week for the Davis Mountains Fitness Camp, but I ended up staying here and doing my own fitness camp in the comfort of my own home. It was a wonderful week, topped off with riding the dam loop twice with Jeanie yesterday. It was 84 miles with 5 decent climbs each loop. It took a while, and it was hot, but we got it done, and today, my body feels good. The total absence of soreness today encourages me. I’m tired, but my muscles don’t hurt. I think I’m ready.