Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Malibu Triathlon

Last Sunday was race day!  The Nautica Malibu Triathlon to benefit Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

I've been training for a few months, I did my best to taper the week leading up to the race.  Saturday night found me with pent up nervous energy from tapering, ready to do this thing, but feeling anxious about my prep.  Nonetheles, my calmer side prevailed.  I knew that I was as ready as i was goign to be. So, I managed an early evening to bed and a blissful sleep until 3:45 when my alarm went off.

The first thought as my alarm blurted out Indigo Girls music was I need a new hobby!  Still it was race day, so I got up.  Stretched, made breakfast changed and drove to the beach as what still an hour before Oh Dark 30, the freeways were empty.

I made it to Zuma dealt with the parking mess, got my stuff to the transition area and got my stuff arranged for the feat to be done.  I got myself into my wetsuit and headed out to the beach to wait for my wave to start.

As we all gathered on the beach the prerace meeting, the energy in the crowd was palpable.  They announced that we had raised over a million dollars for cancer research at CHLA, amazing!

Then began the long wait to start my race.  I was in one of the last waves to race, so I was standing on the cold beach for over an hour.  My foot, never a fan of the cold with its poor radiated nerves, was so cold and numb.  I started to worry, once my foot goes numb it usually stays that way.  This could go poorly.  However, I couldn't focus on that I had the ocean to contend with.

Finally it was time for my group to enter the water.  We ran into the surf that was blissfully not too violent this year.  I did my best to just focus on my swim, but I really don't like getting kicked and hit while in the water.  There is just no way to make me feel comfortable wtih that.  Each time someone ran into me, I'd lose my rhythm.  Oh well, I was able to keep going.  I rounded the last bouey and was able to catch a wave partially into the shore.  0.5 mile ocean swim 20 minutes.  I'll take it.

Into the transition area I ran, now painfully aware that my foot was completely numb.  I managed to get out of my wetsuit, into my bike stuff and out of the transition area in just over 6 minutes.  Oh well, I haven't really practiced fast transitions.

The 18 mile ride along PCH was beautiful.  There was one scary moment when the woman in front of my crashed getting onto the little ganglplank to go over the flooded underpass, but other than that the bike was a nice recovery.  My numb foot didn't hinder me too much. I was able to eat some food and drink some water.  Kept to my rhythm, I kept to my pace.  It was good.  18 mile ride along PCH 1:05.  My goal was to do the ride in about 1 hour. OK, i was a few minutes over.

Back into the transition area, this foot thing was a problem.  I could barely manage to get completely numb foot into my shoe.  I tried stretching briefly, no improvement.  Undaunted, i headed out.  Each step felt like little needles coming up through my leg, but I carried on.  I was encouraged by all the people lining the rae course cheering on the CHLA team.  The few peopel I knew cheering me on. It helped to keep me going.  I made a quick pitstop and kept running.  There was no way my will would allow me to stop.

My timing chip thing didn't work on my exit from T2, so I don't have an official fun time, but it was about 40 min for a 4 mile run.  Slower than my usual pace, but considering my pitstop and the pain from my numb foot I'm good with that.

Total time 2:17.  I called two hours and 15 minutes Friday night and was pretty close to that.

It was a great event, great energy, great comaraderie.  So fun to have gotten to know some of my work colleagues in a different way.  I'm so proud of the community support for CHLA.  It was funning seeing all the other teams out there racing away.  An amazing day!

Monday, September 13, 2010

NICCU Reunion 2010

Every two years, we have a reunion for the graduates from our NICCU.  It is always an amazing event lovingly put together by our nursing staff, and an event that highlights why we all do what we do. I try to never miss a reunion.  I wrote this after the last reunion in 2008.

Therefore, this Saturday afternoon found me at Live Steamers in Griffith Park. Immediately upon arrival I was treated to the sight of a miraculous set of twins who are now 5.  They are beautiful and although still small, they were running around playing together and with some of the other children.  They played like 5 year olds should. Their mom instructed the little boy to hug and thank me, and I choked back the tears. 

Then I saw another family whose now 5 year old daughter is also one of our graduates.  She was off playing with her older sibling.  Happy smiling, talking away, beautiful, precious, as all children are.  Her mom said to me, “We’ve never forgotten the first time you came to her bedside and didn’t hide your smile.  It was the day, we believed our daughter would survive, would come home. Now look at her.”  Now look at her indeed, they photographed us together.  More tears threatened to make their presence knows.

However, I got sidetracked by a 3 year old who ran past me sporting a shirt that declared “Chicks dig scars!”  We all laughed at his parent’s sense of humor. However, knowing that boys story to see him thriving in this way was amazing.  He arrived at our hospital months into his hospitalization for extreme prematurity barely hanging on.  He stayed with us for many more months.  That he is running, talking, playing is amazing.

One family, walked the grounds wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the image of their baby who was in our unit, but didn’t survive.  That they would still come to thank us for the time they had with her speaks volume to what happens in our unit.  Speaks volumes to some of the amazing people whose children we’ve been honored to care for.

Other families, came up to me showing off their children.  Many still bore the signs of their rough beginnings; however, several I had to ask which of their beautiful children spent time with us.  The entire day was an overwhelming blur of emotions.  Working in this field can be exhausting and trying and takes an emotional toll.  However, seeing these children play and the gratitude in their parent’s eyes, is all the thanks I need!

I left the reunion so proud to be a part of this amazing group to get to play an integral role in some of these families lives.  I’m humbled and proud!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Final Triathlon Prep! (AKA: Why they call them Bricks!)

My last weekend of real training for my triathlon on Sunday was a week and a half ago.  I had the weekend scheduled to do back to back bricks.  Saturday- Bike, run!  Sunday- swim, bike!
They call them bricks because when you get off of the bike or out of the ocean your legs fill like bricks when moving to the new discipline.  Therefore, training back to back is essential to prepare for race day without injury.

Saturday's plan was to ride near the race distance and focus on speed since lately I've mostly been doing distance rides.  My goal is to finish the 18 mile ride portion of the race in an hour, totally doable, but it will mean pushing myself.  Therefore, I headed out on a ride I've done routinely to meet that goal.  I rode from my house through Griffith Park, past Forest Lawn cemetary, through Burbank and then back along the LA River ride, 20 miles according to my cat eye. It took me just over an hour.  Therefore, feeling confident I headed out for a 3 mile run.  There is no such thing as a flat run near my house, and that run was agony.  My legs complained every step.  I was soar and tired and could barely make it.  That is why they call them bricks!

Ack, defeated!  I tried to console myself by the fact that I had worked out once or twice a day for the preseedng 3 days.  I did a killer spin class two days early and lots of weight training.  So, I told myself, I'd be OK.  I rested Saturday afternoon, visited my friend with a hottub, stretched, tried to eat right, so that I'd do better on Sunday.

Early Sunday morning found me sitting on Zuma beach ready to practice entry and exit through wves that were towering over my head.  We went in and out to a  starter's siren three times swimming almost the distance of the race, but the hardest part.  Then my friend and I headed off to ride 20 miles along the race route.  We made it in an hour!  Quickly we changed our shoes, locked up our bikes, and then headed to run 3 miles or so down the beach.  Therein I realized the saving grace, the race course is flat! That run was easy!  We made it right on target around 9 min miles!  We finished feeling confident that we were ready!

Race weekend has come upon us.  I've done what I can to prepare and I'm overwhelmed by the generosity of my colleagues, friends and family who have supported me.  I'm buoyed by their faith in me.

I'm ready!  Bring it!