Monday, May 30, 2011

Bolder Boulder 2011

Today I finished my 10th Bolder Boulder. Supposedly the best 10K road race in the US. I haven't run them all, but I find it hard to believe there is a better one. It is also the largest Memorial day celebration that I know of. All 5 service flags followed by the US flag parachute into Folsom Field shortly after the pros finish their running of the same course that 50,000 citizens just ran. 
I have not been running much recently due to my pleural effusion so this was not my fastest race by far, but I was happy with it anyways. I ran a pretty consistent race and my breathing didn't hurt too badly and that is encouraging news for me. Maybe my effusion is going away and I'll be able to continue training normally. We'll find out for sure on Wednesday. I head to M.D. Anderson in Houston tomorrow evening and have a chest X-ray on Wednesday morning before seeing my doctor so I can continue my treatment. I also have an appointment with my pulmonologist next week where we'll discuss options assuming the fluid hasn't decreased. 
Back to the race. 50,000 people in Boulder is a lot to handle so RTD offers bus service which I took. There is a stop less than a mile from our house. I caught the first bus to Boulder at 5:25am. I wanted as much time as possible at the start to prepare. I had port-a-potties to use, multiple times of course, and a FedEx mobile locker to load with my warm up clothes and anything I didn't want to carry with my to the finish. Again with 50,000 people all of this can take some time. Luckily I was in a later wave than usual so I had a few extra minutes to get everything done. I made it to my wave with a few minutes to spare, perfect timing. The weather was looking good. Overcast and probably about 50F. There were a few sprinkles a little earlier that could have turned bad, but blew over. 
The course was changed this year. We used to have a gentle downhill for the first mile, but the new profile shows a gentle uphill replacing that before going through the neighborhoods which have a few hills that get your heart rate up. I think this made for slower times for most, but it made for a more consistent start. Being in a slow wave was good for me. I was able to maintain a comfortable pace and not have the wave get away from me. I was actually making my way to the front of the wave, but we caught the back of the wave in front of us quickly and after that it is a free for all. I still felt like I was making some forward progress in the crowd for quite awhile. Breathing was heavy and slightly labored, but not painful. My lack of training meant I just had to keep it under control and I'd be fine. I've been doing lots of biking so my legs were pretty good. The only problem I had in the race was shortly after taking in a few sips of water on the way up the largest hill to the high point of the race. Then on the way down where I usually run away from the crowd I got a stomach cramp and was getting passed left and right. There was nothing I could do to shake it or move any faster. Eventually I stopped to walk for a bit. After about a minute of walking I was able to breath out the cramp and start running again. The final couple of KM were pretty good. My final time was recorded as 54:09 and I wouldn't know any different because I forgot my watch at home. I guess I'm out of practice. 
I got to see lots of old running friends after the race. We hung out in the stands watching the festivities and good times were had by all. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A good bike ride

I had a good bike ride after work today. Since my exercise has been less than ideal lately this was a notable event. My pleural effusion has made running very difficult and even a little painful to breath. My last long run even had some lasting effects on my daily life for about a week. Cycling seems to be less aggravating to me lungs. This is likely due to the fluid not being sloshed around internally as much. 
After work I took my road bike up and over Lookout Mountain. There is some difficulty when breathing heavy, but it is tolerable and my legs felt pretty good so I was able to push as hard as I could breathe. I'm signed up for and planning on running the Bolder Boulder 10K next Monday so this added exercise is an attempt to keep my fitness up without having to run and potentially cause more lung irritation.
Next Tuesday I head to Houston again for a chest X-ray and medication refill then the following week I see my pulmonologist in Denver again. We'll have to decide the best course of action to take so that I can begin seriously training for the upcoming Disneyland Half Marathon.

Wish me luck!

Monday, May 23, 2011

2011 Disneyland Half Marathon

Today I committed to run the 2011 Disneyland Half Marathon and raise money for Lazarex Cancer Foundation. If you aren't familiar with why this is so important to me please take a minute to read my cancer story in the link on the right side of this page.

OK, now that everybody is up to date there is some more specific information that you should know. Lazarex has been helping me with my travel expenses to and from Houston for nearly a year now. Without their help my financial life would be in big trouble. Recently they told me about their Team For Life fundraising program. It allows people to get into popular Marathons and Half Marathons after they fill up by raising money for their organization. They wanted to make me one of their VIPs, that is a Very Important Patient. This allows them to put a face on the fundraising efforts of the runners. I told them that I was a runner and would like to participate myself. I chose the Disneyland Half for a couple of reasons. The first is that I want to get back to southern California to visit a friend and his new baby girl and maybe go for a bike ride with him. The second is that I haven't been running much so I'm not ready to commit to a full marathon.

This brings me to another reason this is important to me. I haven't been running much because one of the side effects of my current treatment is that I have a pleural effusion. This is an accumulation of fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. The fluid restricts the full inflation of the lungs giving me less than 100% breath capacity. Luckily I have pretty large and efficient lungs from all my past training so this doesn't impede my daily life, but I do feel it when I try to run far or fast. I have been using diuretics to help keep this down. I've also had the fluid drained twice so far. For awhile it looked like it was staying away, but it is back now. Since this doesn't affect my daily life there isn't much motivation for me to take care of this, but having a running goal means I have added incentive to work with my doctors to get this completely under control in one way or another.

Now that you know the whole story please consider donating to a cause that is directly helping me out by following the donate link on the right. It would mean a lot to me and other cancer patients like me. You can also follow this page as I write about my attempts to regain my former glory as an avid athlete.