I apologize for leaving this blog to crumble for about the past 10 months. I’ve hit a most unfortunate road block in both my career, and my life. I am believed to be suffering from Esophageal Motility Disorder, atleast that was the last prognosis. This disorder from what I read is an irreversible destruction of a type of nerve within the esophagus walls. To explain this further and tell my story: here goes nothin:
I’m swimming in the MiamiMan 70.3 Iron-distance triathlon when suddenly I have a strong desire to gag. That leads to a good 3 or 4 minute waste of treading water gaggin and retchin to high heaven. I thought I was going to have to pull out of the race, however as soon as I made my turn towards shore I reminded myself of how hard I’d worked to get there, and how much it would mean to me to finish. So I waited, and waited for the episode to stop. When it finally ceased, I restarted my swim, made it through the rest of the race and won my age group. That marked the end of the season so there was no real way of seeing if my swim episode was a freak accident or really something to work about.
In the coming months I felt the desire to gag throughout every pool workout and ocean swim. I couldn’t figure out why this was occurring so I pursued the matter further. First step was the pediatrician. I told him my story and he was stooped. More time ticks away, I can still ride a bike and run, however getting more swim practice in is a catch-22. I bounced from one doctor to another and stumped all of them. I can’t remember how many I was examined by, however I will always remember one thing about going to any doctor. I don’t think many people realize how annoying it is to go to a doctor and have them come back and say, “Sorry, I can’t help you I have no idea what’s wrong with you, you’re one of the healthiest patients I’ve ever examined.” Thanks for the compliment doc but I’ve got a real problem here.
In February I did my first bike race. Long story there I’m afraid it would make this post too long. However I will say that it was the first time I ever experienced this problem on the bike. It was an unbelievably windy day and after I had been dropped by the peloton at mile 12 I had to stop on the side of the road and gag for a few minutes.
Then, on a Saturday morning store run in March, I was running faster than ever, a 7:30 pace up and down A1A. Just south of Carlin I felt the feeling coming on. “Oh shit this ain’t gon be good.” I thought. I got to the Blue Top water station and it struck with a fairly delicate blow compared to other episodes, so I continued after it died down and made it home. That was the last time I completed a Saturday store run.
Then moving on to the Tomoca Triathlon in Ormand Beach, FL. I went up to do this sprint so my Grandmother living in Daytona could come see what I can do. I was mostly worried about the swim, made it through that by slowing down the pace. I made it through the bike, by slowing down the pace and by chewing gum, which long story short reduced the symtoms in the early stages. However, then I got to the run. At the end of mile one…I was sure death was near. I stopped on the side of the run course and just kept gagging and gagging, barely able to catch my breath. I was curled up in a sort of standing-fetal position, trying to….survive. Long story short, I made it through the race.
There are SO SO SO many more stories I could tell you, in much greater detail, however I’ll make this story the spark notes version and if anyone would like me to write up the full story of all I’ve been through just put it in the comments.
So finally some light at the beginning of the tunnel. Yes I’m aware that’s not how that saying goes. I saw a chiropractor, who found a reverse spinal curve from a car crash and was finding the vertebrae in my neck were pinching nerves in my throat that help you throw up when it is actually needed. And he was right. We fixed the spinal curve through very aggressive therapy. And the gagging feeling stopped for good. However then a new problem arised. This one more dangerous than the previous. This feeling became most prevalent out on the bike. This feeling was even more impossible to describe, with months of being in a vegetable like state I’ve come up with a light description that doesn’t do it much justice. This feeling is one of throat tightness, throat blockage, and disphagia. Luckily it was only affecting my physical activity and my regular life was still intact, however that all changed in August. Where my life was severely affected by this problem. There was nothing I could do but suffer. I stayed with the chiropractor who encouraged taking the Alcat food sensitivity test. So that test was taken and we got back a list of food intolerances. Which in other patience (one’s he found to have Candida) combined with SimplySilver, fixed their problems and they were healthy once again. When I got my test results back saying no Yeast overgrowth, it completely threw Candida to the wind, and now I believe the 7th specialist was stumped. Luckily I tried seeing an 8th specialist only a few weeks ago, an internist at Good Samaritan Medical Center. He found it to be acid-reflux problems by just hearing the symtoms. Although, once he got his own blood tests back, his verdict is Esophageal Motility Disorder and refered me to a pediatric GI specialist at the University of Florida & Shands hospital for a consultation and that’s hopefully where I’ll be on Tuesday this week.
I’ve missed an entire year of my life. I haven’t riden a bicycle in 10 weeks, I haven’t run since March, and I haven’t swam since longer than I can remember. I just hopped in the pool and kept perfecting technique and suffering suffering and suffering some more. Now nearly all technique has been mastered, in all 3 sports, I’m just pleading with God to let me do what I love doing again. It’s been the roughest road, and it’s been one of the toughest challenges I’ve ever been through, and I’m still not out of the woods yet by a long shot. I’m just begging that this will make me a stronger athlete than I ever was, and I can soon resume my goal to win Ironman Kona.
These past few weeks leading up to the race have been madness. But I know I’m ready. I’ve learned the lesson, done the homework, now all I have to do is ace the test. “Going to give it absolutely everything I have and more. Dig deeper than I’ve ever dug. And giving it every ounce of physical and mental strength that I have.” -Crissie Wellington
Taking the Shiv down to Big Wheel Cycles tomorrow morning to get a professional tune up. Check out some oakleys at the oakley vault, and hang around some S-Works. Saturday, pre race day. Staying in South Beach the night before. Havin an italian dinner at my favorite place right on the beach. However I cant remember its name right now. Sunday, race day. I’m Here to Win.
Waiting for the photos from Escape to Miami. Will post as soon as they are put up on their website http://www.escapetomiamitriathlon.com/
I apologize for not blogging recently. Been very busy. Just now settling into a new school year. Getting geared up for the Half Iron in November. Also taking a trip to Kona next week to watch the Ironman World Championship and hopefully get Chris Mccormack’s signature on my copy of his book. I can’t wait to run down Palani Hill and Ali’i Drive just like the race. Will be one great experience. Sunday was the Escape to Miami triathlon. Best race I’ve ever done. Read about it in this article I wrote for the Tri-Running Sports News Letter: Escape to Miami Olympic Triathlon 2011
Miami is a tight city. Luckily, I never had to move my car from the parking garage only one block from the transition. On Saturday, it’s “mandatory” that you rack your bike. Just like an Ironman. I didn’t know the Florida collegiate triathlon teams would all be here, so it was a shock to see the UCF Knights walking towards me in uniform. It was also quite shocking to watch how many heads turned when a 15 year old walked past them pushing along the beautiful S-Works Shiv just a-glistening in the Miami sun.
Any race done by Publix, Multirace.com, or any other big name company (also Tri-Running Sports) is usually a very well put together race. They know that people want an experience so easy a caveman can do it. In order to do so, the steps to getting your packet are printed on billboards around 8ft wide and 3ft tall. Going through the steps, one, two, three, and only 45seconds I’m headed to transition. I can already feel the night and day difference from last week’s sprint race.
I’ve learned from my previous MiamiMan spectating experience that when you rack your bike for the night, cover it up. So two industrial strength garbage bags later and we end up with this…
“Goodnight Shiv, get some rest.”
As the sun sets over Miami, the lights kick on, the UF vs. Kentucky game starts playing on every television, and South Beach wasn’t even getting started. But for me, time for bed. (Go Gators!)
“(Ring, Ring, Ring) This is your wakeup call” Morning started with a banana and 6 Clif Bloks (no I did not misspell that). Squeeze into the Tri-Running Sports tri-suit and out the door. Walking to transition was a short warm-up, just down two different elevators and across the street, got to love where they place the Hilton.
Uncover the bike, water dripping all over the bag as I predicted, lay down the towel, clip the shoes into the bike for the flying start (a must-learn for all triathletes), helmet upside down on the bars, sunglasses and GU in the helmet, running shoes, hat, and race belt down on the towel. Not much to it.
The coolest idea any race has ever come up with is this ferry out to a remote island for the start. Gigantic boat, over 500 people on-board. The boat starts smoking and smelling like the burning tires at Talladega (apparently that’s normal). Not much to see on a dark 5:30am boat ride, except the beautiful skyline of Miami but that get’s old after about 2 seconds. First time I’ve been scared in a long time. Its 6:10am on my watch (Garmin FR60 to be exact) and we have to jump into the pitch dark waters of the Biscayne Bay. One by one, all 500 passengers are dumped overboard and swim to Escape Island (the real name). On the island, we are accompanied by a Jamaican ballad of drums. This is quite entertaining. Going to be a good hour waiting for the start here.
Amount of people going to Escape Island
As I stand up the light breeze hit me like a cold winter chill and I immediately sat right back down in the water. Warmer here. As I stare out to the beautiful lit up Miami skyline once again, I start zoning out. I wasn’t getting focused on the race, I was just stuck in my own head, quite enjoyable. However, with drifting sea-weed through the crowd, suddenly came the screams of many women and even a few of the men as it brushed against them. Having those cheers of sea-weed fear bring you from a daze is much better than morning coffee. 6:45am, I have a GU (GU Roctane Blueberry Pomegranate in case you were wondering). The GU takes 15 minutes to hit you with energy so that’s the logic behind 15minutes before the start of the race.
Now it’s finally getting down to 7am, I haven’t even spoken about the race in this article yet and look at all I’ve written. You can tell how much I enjoyed this one. Best race I’ve done in my whole one year and one week career.
They call all the male athletes over to the Muscle Milk start buoys and the national anthem sweetly thunders through the air. The singer was very good. I’m sure we’ve all been to races where the singer didn’t make you very proud to be an American, another reason why Publix sponsored events are A+.
All the male athletes are standing on the beach. Among those, John Reback, who would later win the race. The race director comes over the microphone. “Please move up to the start buoys the race will start in 30 seconds.” Apparently move up to the start buoys meant go do a warm-up but stay out at sea. Another announcement, “Please move back behind the buoys, behind the buoys please.” Half the field including myself move back behind the buoys but the other half decided to get a head start. Now, there was no let’s count down from 10, no 3,2,1, just the horn. The swarm of kicking and clawing begins. I haven’t started my watch yet, how tragic. So at the mercy of the guys behind me I kicked hard for a few seconds and started the watch. The swim was a complete boxing match. From under the water you could hear the sling of profanity as if listening to Lil Wayne. Way down and around the turnaround buoy, the pack finally loosens up and I swim WAY to the outside, this would come back to haunt me a few minutes later. Swimming with my newly developed stroke (head down, feet up, and streamlined) I not so quickly combated the slow Biscayne current. I was making good time but I had lost too much time in my fight with Mike Tyson at the start line. Then to make matters worse, poof! Like a tire inflated with air until it pops, a cluster-smush of Sea Lice (baby Jellys) hit me all at once. Oh, that was the last thing I wanted. I particularly had one sting on my neck that was just unbearable with the constant rubbing of my shoulder with each right hand stroke. Luckily, the finish line was only a few 100ft away.
Coming out of the swim with the field behind me
Out of the swim in 32:47. Onto the bike, first time using the Shiv in a “long” distance event and I realized what having a great bike does. True, it’s not about the bike, however with the amount of power I can save over my weekly training Specialized Allez AL and go 4mph faster, it is all about the bike in that respect. Also, I got mucho help from Ms. Linda’s Garneau TT or “Beak” helmet. Thank you Ms. Linda for letting me borrow that, I could feel the difference in resistance it made. In my one water bottle, I had 32oz of Orange Nuun and in my back pocket, one GU Roctane (same flavor as before also however, I would not end up using this last GU). Riding comfortably at 34mph…ok I was going down the I-195 bridge at that point, I settled into the bike. Very important in these races to settle in and relax, often transition can leave you razzle dazzled. The roads out on the bike course are not what one would call bike friendly. They are very bumpy, many potholes and they are very narrow. Also, when you see some great bike riders all drafting each other riding in a pack 4-wide and passing a 5th person on their right, and also no USAT official in site, it freaks you out. Never ride with these groups, not only dangerous riding in tight quarters, and also should all be getting drafting penalties, but every single one of them is in the aero position. Another fact, many road bike riders, are not 100% in control of their bike. Unfortunately, inexperience on the bike caught a 19 year old in my age group, riding Chris Lieto’s same Trek Speed Concept 9. As I watched him hit a bump and go nose first into the curb. He stood up on his own power and was ok. 🙂
On the second lap of the bike I started developing severe back pain. Not just that all TT bikes are uncomfortable but being horizontal for half an hour before you get on the bike adds to the tendency to get stretching pains on the bike. As Coach George would say, in long distance its comfort over max power. Remember in Pro Triathlon, Olympic distance is referred to as “Short-Course.”
Off the bike in 1:11:48. I hit my mark on the nose on this leg of the race. I had set a time goal of 1:10:00-1:15:00. Then to start the run. Coming off the bike, I felt terrific. That would all change only half a mile later.
Half mile into the run, my calves started to tighten. Still had to go up the bridge but I knew going down the other side would be a breeze. I pushed through the tightening and got up the bridge, surprisingly faster than everybody else at that point. I flew down the other side and was running with a good rhythm. As I passed the 5K turnaround, I saw the leader, and an extremely in-the-zone John Reback. Chasing the leader down with his massive stride and 15 more years of experience. I yelled GO JOHN! but I’m not sure his ears were working at this time. I still had a long way to go but I was keeping good rhythm and still running. Unlike previous experiences with this distance. As I neared the 10K turnaround I saw going the other direction, a 19year old in my age group that I knew I could chase down. My stride opened up and I was in the chase. Wasn’t too much work though, he started walking almost immediately after he left the turnaround. Next, I saw a 15 year old. He was a pure runner. Wearing running shorts, running singlet, and legs long and slender. How on Earth am I going to compete with this. He never closed the gap. His time to take me over had come and gone. We got to the Biscayne Bridge for the last time. I stopped at the bottom to lower my heart rate before this big climb. Twenty seconds later I took off up the hill. He was pressing to keep up but I knew once I got over the top this IronWar was MINE. Thanks to all the help of Dave Masterson with bridge work, going down the other side was like running down Palani Hill in Ironman Kona. Which I can’t wait to run for myself in two weeks!!!!!!! This kid was blown out. I ended up gapping him, by 14minutes from the top of the bridge. I crossed the finish line flashing the usual #1 and shattered my old Olympic PR by 20minutes! Overall time: 2:44:43. 2nd place in my age group.
Put this race on your bucket list.
Believe it or not. Could have written more. New shoes. Comments on a 5 mile run tomorrow.
#1 on JV Cross Country for Jupiter. It changes every week so I will probably make varsity sometime this season for a meet. For Friday. JV. Still gunna run an outstanding race.
Running cross country for Jupiter High School this year. Going well so far. It is TOUGH. 3 in the afternoon, the sun beats on you, haven’t had any sleep, havent had any food, and running 4 miles a day. Fun but tiring. Today got the day off from CC because of the outer bands of Hurricane Irene.Taking it as a rest day. Preparing for a 10.5 mile run Saturday and 50 mile ride on Sunday then back to Cross Country.
Smached my toe so won’t be running for about a week. Although it’s getting better so I think I can shoot for a run Wednesday.
Last week, I became aquainted with the fastest bike on the face of the planet. Today I had the outstanding priveledge of riding it 40 miles. Shes fast, she’s elegant, shes light, shes aero-dynamic, and she has the world’s BEST brand-name written on her side; she is…the S-Works Shiv. Deemed illegal by the UCI, amateur riders can have a bike faster than what the pros can race. I think that’s pretty cool. Plain and simple the Specialized brand name is the most A+ company you can come accross. From the BG Fit to race day, Specialized bicycles are by far the best quality bikes in the world, backed up by the most qualified and professional team in the business. Thank you to Motion Makers bicycle shop in Ashville, NC for hooking me up with the Shiv. You guys did an over-the-top job!
Rode 40miles this morning. I’m becoming a huge Garmin fan. From the GPS-Cadence-HeartRate all getting put on one screen for me to annalize? OUTSTANDING! Now you can see it too:
MALE AGE GROUP: 15 – 19
Place O’All No./Name/Age/City/St/Time/Rank/Swim/Tran 1/Rank/Bike/Tran 2/Rank/Run/Penalty
1 127 382 Austin Daniels 15 Jupiter FL 1:17:40 1 11:56 1:59 1 34:16 1:18 1 28:13
Pictures up soon!