Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road to Recovery

First of all Thanks to Kori and Scott who were able to get me started on my latest journey....Recovery... It was them who invited me down to the Butte a few weeks back to help out at one of my all time favorite races! It was there that I encountered and surpassed yet another stepping stone, actually going to a tri..knowing I couldn't participate. I did my best in the weeks leading up to the race to be in the right frame of mind and it seemed to work pretty darn well. The evening before was the kids race, my bro Danny and I were in the transition area helping tie shoes, buckle helmets, direct traffic, and my favorite...encourage the kiddos! It was extra special because my God daughter Emma raced, with a big smile the entire time! I must admit, it was as enjoyable as it was exhausting, but the beer on the shore was just as delicious as I remembered!

After hanging out all night and laughing with the kids from Socorro High Cross Country Team, I was woken up to the sound of  Kori's voice over the loud speaker... It couldn't already be time for the race to start, Shit! I overslept...wait, I am not racing today :) ahh, relief, and ahh my legs are a little sore?? Oh yeah I almost forgot, Mar is already signed up for her 3rd half marathon (Las Vegas Rock and Roll) and last night she was bumming around the camp fire about how she really needed to do her long run, but ran out of time...Hmmm, how far, I hint, 6 miles, she says...Hmmmm, well you know I think I can go an easy 6 and I promise that if I get too tired I will just stop and walk (cross my fingers and hope she goes for it). Hook, line, and thing I knew we were making our way up the sandy hill towards the the ranger station. Finally up to the top of the hill and the road flattens out, all the way to the last gas station, turned around and headed back. On the way back Mar decided she was feeling good and accidentally picked up the felt so good to run a little quicker, but right away she shut it down...I guess she got a little scared for me:) I didn't mind, either way I was running/jogging again! What a beautiful run it was..the lake, night, beers on ice, my bro's Steven and Danny waiting at camp...couldn't get much better than that!! So, "happy little soreness" brought a big smile to my face, I jumped out of bed and watched the inaugural NM half ironman start. My job, wet suit stripper (along with the Socorro CC Team) fun times!! We stripped wet suits, made victory tunnels for the athletes to run through, and of course joked and laughed the entire time! There were a few emotional moments for me during the race, but not really because I wasn't racing (as you might think), rather it was the moments when people come up to me and tell me they liked my blog, or that I was looking great, or that they prayed so hard for me, basically every time someone told me something nice. It sure was nice to volunteer at local race with athletes who range in ability to the best in the nation (Clay Mosely) all the way way to the beginner (Patricia Miller) and the ones in between like Jeffery Oxford...who, by the way, borrowed (and  wrecked) the bike I let him borrow for his first triathlon a few years back! My point here is that my last race was the 5150 event in Boulder, you know the place where even the one year veterans are riding a10k tri bike and think they are God's gift to the triathlon world... yeah you get my drift:) I would gladly help out my homies over them other types..The folks in T or C who help with the Elephant Man Triathlon truly ROCK and it felt like a homecoming of sorts.....Thanks A Bunch Gang!!!

Now for the recovery...It is going pretty well, all things considered. I have been told I am surpassing the wildest expectations of one of the most optimistic cardiac rehab doctors who I have kept in contact with since day one (that's a good thing). My current nurse in cardiac rehab never knew the treadmill maxed out at 7.0 mph (more on that coming later), last weekend I was able to run 9 miles (8:55 pace) with Mar, my workout hours are hovering around 9 hrs/wk,  ran a mile in 7:30 (got a little dizzy), and it seems like I am able to handle more as each week passes. Everything is different now, but I keep telling myself it will get better with time. I will get into better shape again, be able to run a little quicker again, be able to ride my bike outside again, and find a reason to get back in the pool again. I count my blessings every single day (multiple times) and do think it is the medication that is holding me back, but I can deal with that for a's kinds like training with a parachute and when I take it off in about a year, well, you know where I am going with that! Did I mention everything is different now? True things: I seem to be happier now both at work and at home, I look at life a little different now, words like patience, compassion, and love now have understanding and purpose behind them. It's weird working on trying to get my athleticism back (daily), while at the same time trying to embrace a new way of life. The hardest part are the mixed emotions, it's like I started living again on July 21st. I will take all the good that came along with it, continue to work hard to get back what was lost, and try not to let the gap between get the better of me...again. Interesting huh? That's how I feel, you know, I get a chance to start all over, wipe the slate clean so to speak...think about it, if you had a chance to start over don't you feel it's only fair you lose all the aspects you thought made up your very being, made you, well, you; the biggest part of yourself that you feel made people like you...only to be gifted something that was there all along (just grossly overlooked). Would you do it? Well, this is the reason I am OK with all this. It is what it is, there are two completely different ways to look at it and I am sticking with the "embrace" option...on all fronts (with the help from family and friends new and old). I would like to end this on the funny.. back to the 7.0 on the treadmill. See, I use cardiac rehab to my full advantage. I have a workout in mind most of the time and I like to see if I am improving from week to week. I am hooked up to a heart monitor the entire time which I use as valuable information as I workout. Example, a few weeks back I  ran for about 20 minutes and ended at about 7.5 mph that was enough to have PVC's, but this past week I was able to run for :40 min and reach 8.0 mph with less PVC's (both frequency and in general)! Getting better! Anyway, it takes me pushing just a little to discover the new and improving limits. I started my workout (on the treadmill they put me on) began upping the speed, got to 7.0 and it went no further..Dammit I was on a treadmill that had a speed governor! I got a little glimpse (as did they) of that old competitive Mike, I may have said a cuss word, jumped off the treadmill, jumped on the new one, and began the workout again...I really wanted to see how fast I could run I did...and it turned out fine;) That whole scenario reminded me of the time my dad brought home this mini bike (50cc) when I was 9, it too had a speed governor, I immediately followed the throttle cable, knocked off the little screw that limited the throttle, went from 15 to 25mph and was never happier. I guess you could say we are just happiest when allowed to set our own limits (within reason)...By the way big thanks to my Nurses at cardiac rehab they have been very understanding with me :) 


  1. Hey Mike,

    I'm glad you made contact with me. It's not everyday that you meet someone that is dealing with heart disease as well as being a competitive athlete. I look forward to catching up on your blog post as well as eventually speaking with you. I actually just started a blog of my own ( I'm sure we have many more common interest.Take care.

    Mind, Body, and Soul
    Heart attack survivor of 5 years and triathlete

  2. Mike,

    Keep up the recovery. I hope to race with you again someday :)


    Thomas Gerlach
    Professional Triathlete

    Save 10% on your next order at with coupon code "TGER-S"

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