Sunday, March 2, 2014

Burst Appendix (2013-2014)

I never want to have to experience that again! Well.. duh! I only have one appendix! Anyway, back in November, right as I was peeking for Cyclocross Nationals, I started feeling sick and my parents took me to the clinic. We thought I had a burst appendix because the pain was on the right side, but the doctor diagnosed me with just a bad stomach flu- I mean, there was a lot of sickness going around then.. but still. Apparently, "a girl with a burst appendix doesn't stand with her hands on her hips." Well, that was kind of my way of holding myself together!! I couldn't really eat or drink anything for the next few days and started losing weight fast! Eventually, we talked to a nurse on the phone, because my nausea was so bad, but he, again diagnosed me with the stomach flu! When I still didn't get better, we went to see our family doctor, who sent me to the hospital for blood tests and X-Rays (still thinking it was the flu), which didn't help diagnose me at all. Finally, a week after I started getting sick, I went to the hospital and got IV and ultrasounds. It was then that they figured out that I had a burst appendix. It had been burst for quite a few days, and I got put as high priority for surgery. A tube was put in my stomach to drain the infection and stuff. Five days after surgery, after losing almost 20 pounds, I had my first real meal, and two days after that, was sent home. I still wasn't quite right, though, and had to be sent back into hospital for more IV/Antibiotics to help finish fighting the infection. It was all so depressing. Although, I had a lot of visitors (and movies) to keep me occupied. My friends would also come in and hang out with me, not to mention, I had to practically re-teach myself how to walk. My disappointment at missing Cross Nationals was crazy!!

Christmas was pretty-low key (if you count hanging with 50 crazy relatives low-key) and just after New Years, I started getting sick and severely nauseous again. Back to the hospital for more X-Rays, to be monitored and put on strong anti-nausea pills. Home again, sick again, this time, taken to Children's Hospital. Put as high priority, more X-Rays, and then diagnosed with a partial bowel obstruction caused by the scar tissue from surgery. They prepared me for surgery, but in the meantime, stuck a tube down my nose to try to clear the obstruction. The odds for the tube to work weren't too high, but guess, what? Three depressing days later, and I was allowed to eat again! I had a PICC line put in, to help get me the nutrients I needed, and, after a week in hospital, I shocked the doctors by being well enough to go home! It took a lot of visualization and determination, but I got back to normal, and a week later, got the a-ok to start riding again!!! First time back on the bike, I felt really great, just lacking muscle.

 Now, almost three and a half months after surgery, I am riding, doing efforts feeling totally normal, and back up to my regular wait!!! Not to mention, I have a pretty awesome scar to show people!! Every now and then, I get stomach pains, but those are going to be around for a while still. The memories still haunt me, but I am better now and looking forward to racing over the next few weeks!

Thanks so much to everyone who showed me love and support during those tough few months!!! I could never had recovered so fast if it wasn't for you!!

Post Surgery

4th time in hospital- clearing a Partial Bowel Obstruction

Rapha Northwest Juniors Stage Race 2013

When we first arrived in Elma for the Rapha Junior Stage Race on August 2nd, I was already so nervous. I could not stop picturing how the races would play out, using the strategies that me and my dad had talked endlessly about. We went out and rode the courses that evening, explaining techniques to my younger sister Kaelen, who was about to get a taste of stage racing for her first time. Seeing the course eased some of my nerves and excitement started to set in. The courses were amazing! Being surrounded by the abandoned nuclear power plants made for a very unique (and somewhat creepy) atmosphere!
We arrived at the time trial the next morning, and I couldn't suppress the smile on my face! My stomach was tied in a knot of nerves and I felt like I was going to throw up! Boy, I love race days! After signing in, pinning my number and watching my sister sprint away, all smiles, in her first T-T, I got on the trainer with my i-pod blasting J.LO, for my warm-up. My dad (coach) instructed me to increase the intensity over 20 minutes, then do some sprints.

I lined up on the line in my girls 15-16 category (I got upgraded), chasing the 17-18 girls. Off I went, tucking into my aero position and keeping my eye on the girl ahead of me. Time-trials could win or lose someone the race, so I knew how important it was to go my hardest. I thought I was catching the girl ahead of me, until she started disappearing around the corners, slipping away from view.  4 miles in and my legs were on fire! A quick glance behind me, showed the 30 second girl chasing me closing in quickly. She was so close at the turn around point,  she eventually passed me! I came out of the race so disappointed, but knew I had to immediately turn my disappoint around before the crit and use it to make me race harder. It didn't quite play out how I would have liked! When results were posted I found out I came in 5th in an 8 girl category! Kia Van der Vliet won, with an impressive 1 minute and 40 seconds on me.

I couldn't stop shaking from nerves and excitement preparing for the crit, but the course was a great course for me, and I knew what I had to do!  It was an uphill start, and I was expecting people to take huge advantage of it and go hard right away. To my surprise, it actually started out at a slow, easy pace, that gave everyone the opportunity to get into good position right away. Instinct had me go right to the front and sit second or third wheel, careful not to get boxed in.  The bell rang for the first prime and I started my attack early, going for it. I knew that if I got a prime under my belt I would feel more confident about the race. I won an Oakley hat on the line! Sweet! I sat in for 15 minutes after that, and since nothing happened, I launched a few attacks, none of which stuck. There were more primes and I calculated which ones I would sprint for. One of my goals is to always animate the race, and that is what I did. What is fun about riding around in a circle for 40 minutes? Some girls got away with 4 laps to go, but we chased them down before the final sprint. I had bad positioning going into the sprint, and knew that I would have to pick up the pace and attack off the front at the bottom of the hill. Two of the age 17-18 girls took first and second place on the line, but I got third in the sprint and first out of the 15-16 girls! Though that still meant that I would have to get away in the road race to make up the 1 minute and 40 seconds on the leader!

I rode up to the road course the next morning, after packing up camp, and sending my sister off for her first road race. After warming up and embarrassingly, falling over in soft sand on my way to the start line, we rolled out and got under way! I rode the first lap out, taking part in the pace line and getting to the front to ride at about 80% on hills to see if I could shake anyone off the back. On the second lap, Kia Van der Vliet and I seemed to have the same idea in mind. We both attacked and counter-attacked, animating the race. On the hill on the second lap, I attacked and got away! I was by myself, riding my absolute hardest up the hills. A chase group was after me, but I was creating a big enough gap to get “out-of-sight, out-of-mind.” I took no rest on the decent, flying around the corners, aware of the chasers coming in and out of view. I time trialed on the flats focusing on slowly increasing my speed and intensity. I forgot about everything, except for the fact that I had just attacked and stayed away by myself, and that winning would mean I would get to spray the champagne (sparkling apple cider) for the first time on the podium! It was so unreal and I couldn't stop smiling as I rode across the line and threw my fist in the air as a victory salute! Kia came across the line exactly 1 minute and 40 seconds behind me! Who won? I was so nervous waiting for the results. When they were finally posted my sister ran over to me saying that I won, and, when I went to look at them for myself I saw that I had won by .08 seconds! It is crazy how close that was!

On the podium, I excitedly sprayed the other girls with sticky apple cider! It was some of the closest, most intense (not to mention fun) racing that I had ever raced!

Thank you so much to Rad Racing, Erik Anderson and the sponsors for putting on such and amazing race! Everything about it felt and was professional! It was such an amazing experience! See you next year!

Giro Time Trial

Finish of the Road Race