|The Great Squirrel Chase|
Vakava Team Photo
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
So it’s been just over a year since I had cancer, and as far as I can tell, I’m still cancer free. I had an MRI in December that was all clear. The cancer never showed up on mammogram, even when we knew where it was, but it was very clear on MRI. So I’ll have a yearly MRI for a while for monitoring.
The thing is that I haven’t felt “normal” for the last year, ever since I started taking tamoxifen which is a drug that helps prevents recurrence. I’ve felt worn out generally and have not been able to train hard. At first I thought it was just because I was out of shape after not training most of last winter and would be back in shape after a couple months of training. But I didn’t start feeling any better. But then my husband was traveling a lot for work so I thought maybe the single parenting thing was taking more out of me than I realized. Then he stopped traveling and still I didn’t feel any better. In fact, I was slowing getting worse. I was gradually getting slower compared to the rest of my teammates when we did intervals and feeling less and less able to go hard. Every time I tried to go hard I quickly felt leaden and wobbly and like I just couldn’t go. I wondered if I was getting anemic and had some blood tests done but they looked normal. After a few more months of not feeling good I went in again for some more tests and after a lot of reading I think I’m starting to figure out what is going on. My calcium was on the very low end of normal and my alkaline phosphatase was significantly low. I read that this is seen in some women on tamoxifen. So I did some more reading to see if this could be the cause of how I felt. I found a great article on the role of calcium in muscle fatigue, http://jp.physoc.org/content/536/3/657.full. Calcium is required for muscle to fire properly. As phosphate builds up as a waste product, it can bind to the calcium so it is no longer available to the muscle. Alkaline phosphatase helps remove phosphate from other molecules. So I started to wonder if low calcium, combined with low alkaline phosphatase, would cause calcium depletion and muscle fatigue. The article talked about depletion setting in within 1-2 minutes and that has been true for me. I felt fine when I did 30 second pickups, but anything longer and I like my body went into slow motion. So today I started taking some calcium supplements to see if that helps. Even tonight at practice I felt much better. I felt like I was out of shape from not being able to go hard all year, but I felt like my body was at least working properly even if it was tired. Even Dave commented that I looked much better today, like I was going harder than usual. I’m almost afraid to think that I’ll be able to resolve this and feel good again, like it’s all just wishful thinking. But if other people notice the difference too, it can’t just be in my head. I have an appointment next week and I’ll talk to my doctor about it and have some more tests done to try to confirm my theory. But hopefully I’ll be back to normal and feeling better soon.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The real race then started a few hours after . . . our 3 year old son lined up for his second race of his life. The first race was at 18months but he got distracted when the gun went off and did not cross the start line. Well his competition today was fierce. He lined up with 4 other skiers ages 3 and under. He went with the non waxable fish scale skis to make the 30 foot journey. The gun went off and again, he stalled . . . hmmm. Well he made it across with finish line with mommy's help in a whopping 59 seconds! His highlight was not getting the ribbon but going straight to the fire for hot chocolate and cookies! We'll be back next year for more fun!
Monday, January 28, 2013
Dave and I raced the Nordic Spirit in Duluth this weekend. We both like the course since it’s nice and rolling through the woods and we knew they had just gotten a couple inches of snow so we expected good conditions. We were not disappointed. It was almost weird skiing on real snow. It was soft, kind of slow (compared to hard packed ice), and uneven so it felt very different than what we’d been skiing on. It was a very nice day in the low 20’s. Both our skis worked well. Dave had on Fast Wax HSF Green with Flight Cold and I had Fast Wax HSF Tan with Flight Cold. I got to try out my brand new Atomics too. They seem to run really well on the downhills and I’m learning how to ski them on the uphills. (Uphills have always been tougher for me than the downhills.) Over all they feel good.
Dave had a good race. He came in 18th overall and 2nd out of the group of 7 or so that he’d been racing with.
My race was ok. I’ve been struggling with fatigue all year and the race was no exception. I came in 5th overall and managed to hold off another woman who reeled me in twice but I was able to pull away again both times.
Overall it was a fun day. Good snow, fun trails, nice souvenir hat (red this year). The only down side is that we had to leave early and miss the awards and door prizes since bad weather was coming to the cities and we wanted to avoid as much of it as we could. We got home safe after seeing several cars in the ditch along the way.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Well I decided it was time to start getting into shape somehow . . . so I signed up for the Preloppet knowing that I would be hurting. I waxed up with Fastwax tan covered by Fastwax cold. My skis felt overall very fast. I lined up in the second row behind teammate Nate Porath knowing that he would get out fast. The gun went off and I doubled poled behind Nate, and after the double pole zone I was in about 3rd or fourth place. I ended up hitting skis and poles with elite skier Flying Fungi Master, Devin Arenz. I heard a few shreaks and down he went. Sorry Devin. Well the rest of the race was getting used to again the feeling of burning lungs. I settled into a group of about 5 guys and was able to relax and enjoy the pack skiing. The interesting part of the course was the 180 degree turn at the bottom of the largest hill with about 5 inches of rutted out snow. KJ didn't make the full 180 degree turn and instead made about a 90 degree turn off into no mans land. I then enjoyed trying to keep up with Per as he was jump skating up the climbs. I finally finished and was able to stay up without any "yard sales" like Flying Fungi master . . . Devin. Great race put on by COLL!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Fortunately Theodore Wirth has their snowmaking loop, and so although races in Hayward and Ironwood were cancelled yesterday, the preloppet was still on. The race was 4 times around the 3k snowmaking loop, and the snow was transformed, chopped up, and very fast (or at least my Fast Wax Tan with Flight Cold sure felt fast).
|Me with Caitlin close behind.|
When the race started I got off the line fairly well and by 100m out was skiing in 2nd place with Doug Debold of CXC pulling away. At the top of the first hill Doug had a gap on the field, I was still in second, and a quick glance back revealed that Caitlin Compton was the only skier right behind me. Caitlin went around me part way through that first lap, and soon I was skiing in no-mans-land by myself as Caitlin caught and then passed Doug. I had a decent gap on the large chase pack, but by the end of lap 2 my legs were starting to feel the hills. Doug must have been feeling the early pace too, because he was getting closer to me, but the chase pack was reeling me in. By the end of lap 3 both Doug and I were now a part of a 6 man lead men's pack (Caitlin was far out in front). Mark Beitz made a move to the front but got tangled with a skier being lapped. Doug, Vakava teammate Eugene and I traded off the lead a few times in that last lap, and just before the 2nd to last hill Doug made his move to get a slight separation from the field. On those last 2 steep hills, which were covered in deeper, loose snow, my legs had no pop and guys who skied smarter races were able to surge up the hills by me. I came in 5th, feeling a lot better than my first race of the year. I can tell I am in better shape than last year, just not in good enough shape to hold of the field yesterday. I hope we get more snow soon so that I don't need to rollerski the rest of the winter like I did last year!
The final results.
5th Nate (age group win)
38th Dave (age group win)
Here is the Loppet Foundation's recap of the race.
Here is a great video recap of the race from Skinnyski.com
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Sunday's 15 km free-style race at Theodore Wirth Park started off fast. I was forth out of the chute in this pursuit race. I quickly caught the skier in front of me and then just tried to maintain my position. I think my skis were faster than my body in this race! Again I used the same wax prescription as in Saturday's race and my skis were great. This was my first race after having my skis stone ground at Finn Sisu. Tom, at Finn Sisu, used a Uni grind on my skis. They were much flatter than before which made them easier to wax. I ended up second in my 40-49 year age class and fourth overall.
The Sisu race race organizers and the site organizers and volunteer at both venues did an outstanding job