Thursday, December 30, 2010

From snowshoeing in Bozeman to cyclocross in Florida

We've had a busy month of escapades, but with an added component of misfortune that turned each adventure slightly awry. Over thanksgiving, my mother, brother and friends from Billings, Sue and Paul, joined our family at our cabin amidst 2 feet of snow. The trip started off fantastically, with a group snowshoe hike up Nixon Peak, and Chloe pitching in the make Grandma Marschall's rolls. We even got a few turns in at Bridger and some strong workouts at the Nordic center. Unfortunately, events turned sour when my brother smashed our snowmobile into a tree. (This occurred after Sue and Paul got their car stuck, the plow truck went down, and our propane heater went on the blink). Luckily, no one was hurt. Unluckily, it required major repairs and will not be ready for at least another month!

For Christmas, we thought we'd throw in a couple of cyclo-cross races in Miami while visiting Jay's folks in Florida. The first race was "Tropical Cyclocross" in Key Biscayne and we both came in 3d in our respective races, male masters and women, although I weathered numerous flats due to my lack of bunny-hopping ability! We also went out to some phenomenal Cuban food, saw the holiday boat parade at Bayside and did some late night Christmas shopping after several Mojitos!

Then it was up to Stuart, FL for in-laws and kid time. Chloe rode her bike almost every single day, played with the neighbor kids, went to the Oceanography Center with her cousin Tyler, played in the surf at Jupiter, and went mountain biking in the jungle at night! Cale continued to progress - exhausting her grandparents to the hilt.

As with Thanksgiving, everything was fine until "disaster" struck - Jay came down with kidney stones and a sore throat, his mom and dad got a stomach bug - and several days were spent with Sarah being the lone survivor to manage the household. Luckily, everyone's health improved for Christmas eve, and we had a wonderful steak house night out and presents in the morning. Jay even ran me into the ground on Christmas day with a 5-mile run followed by a bike ride to Hobe Sound.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

xcross, snowboarding, and guitar playing?

I was talking to our friends Sue and Paul the other day about how many changes I am trying to make in my life. Even Sarah was saying that maybe I am changing too many things. A few weeks ago Sarah bought me an electric Guitar and amp, having no musical background and never having touched an instrument, I have begun taking Guitar lessons! My goal to be be able to play a song for the family in a few months. -- this is way out of my comfort zone and a whole new challenge for sure!. Along with Guitar lessons I decided it was time( after 45yrs) to stop biting my fingernails. part of that motivation was the need to have fingernails to pick the guitar and the other is it is just a gross habit. Then there is getting my masters degree at MSUB starting this spring semester. Why all these changes? well of course my health issues with my multiple Heart surgeries were a main reason. Fighting through this hardship has been brutal, but our thought was to fill the void left from being a competitive endurance athlete with other challenges.

Jay with his new Guitar

It was just last week when at my last cardiologist checkup with Dr.Sample. That it was reveled to me that the group of doctors here in Billings looked at my case after May's revealing echo and came to the conclusion that I would probably not be coming back from surgery in Chicago. As my hair stood on end I realized that how lucky I am to be changing anything. It also makes you cherish your time with your family and take a new focus on every moment you have with them.

The good news is that my checkup went well and my last Echo looked very good. Dr Sample even said I could start exploring higher heart rates while exercising! it was getting quite boring to stay below 130! Unfortunately, He did say that my capacity to perform would never be quite the same, due to the lack of elasticity in my new( or should I say used) Aortic Root. But I was just happy to hear him say at the end of our meeting that quote" you should be pumped". So for training I will continue to be diligent and try to get the most out of my health with what I have been dealt. Where this process will lead I don't know. I certainly enjoy the process and I will continue to try to improve on my fitness all be it with a limited scope and time.

as most of my triathlon clients end or wind down their season I am constantly urging them to explore something other than the Swim, Bike and run world of triathlon. why? well in my 20+ years in and around the sport and having coached over 300+ folks of all levels, I have seen many a triathlete self destruct from the grind or what I call the "Crack pipe".(Look for a new addition to my blog soon, it will be entitled " tales from the crack pipe") In Atlanta all my boys( training partners and mentors, all of which were national caliber age groupers)to a person are out of the sport all together or what I call "in the graveyard." The grind was eventually too much for them and their lives. And with the popularity of the Ironman distance this is even more prevalent.

In 1995, I got on a mountain bike for the first time. I was horrible! I was a bloody mess and found myself over the handle bars many times. But I was laughing and having fun. The off road crowd was so much different from the roadies and triathletes. you wore baggy shorts, drank beer, and talked about everything except training! I was hooked. every fall and winter I would ride mountain bikes, and I was the only triathlete in the group. 10 of the boys would chase each other on a different route every week for a couple of hours, then we would tell lies over burritos and beer!

the result of changing my mode of training was significant. In fact, In 1997 after almost never getting on the road and riding my mountain bike exclusively, I came out in the spring and won Powerman alabama(overall amateur) and Gulf coast 1/2 ironman( overall including the pros). Not only was I refreshed and happy to get back on the road when spring approached, it actually made me stronger and fitter. You can look at many of the mountain bike athletes who go to the road and kick butt. Its just a super hard discipline and makes you incredibly fit and strong-- and by the way its a gas and in no way like training for triathlon!

Coachjay at the Bozeman cross races

Then there is cyclocross-- which I only took up a few years ago. I call it 1 hour of pain! but for some reason its fun. every course is different and every race a challenge. You ride a kinda hybrid road/mountain bike and you are faced with obstacles( like sand pits, wood barriers, stairs,run ups etc..) and you have to jump off the bike and carry your bike over these obstacles. Sarah and I did a number of races this fall here in Montana. they were real fun with a cross between the cycling and mtn bike crowd again no triathletes here! I was forced to not go real hard on these races this fall since I have a HR limitation to that point but in XC racing this is nearly impossible so I was typically getting last in these events. Sarah and I are even doing a couple of more XC races in December as we head to Florida to see my Parents over Xmas. Back to Back races in Miami florida! Should be fun!

Sarah at the Riverfront cross race jumping a barrier

Chloe likes riding her bike at xc races too!

coachjay laughes( or cries?) as he runs across the sand pit in the Bozeman cross races

Cale is not quite ready to join in on the fun!

another example of off season training especially in the colder climates is skate skiing, there is example after example of athletes using xcountry skiing as a discipline that can improver there other sports during the off season, I was amazed when I was in Boston on how the sport of skate skiing transferred over to my fitness on the bike. And as I researched it I found that many other triathletes and cyclists found the same thing. Many of them never touching their bikes during the winter months. Some of my peers like Pierre Lavoie, Michael Hagen come to mind. there where also legends like Greg Lemond who used skate skiing all winter for his off season fitness.

Sarah nordic skiing at Bohart ranch

heading up to Nixon peak from the cabin

so now its winter and I am stoked to get back on the snow and skate! This past weekend it was snow, snow, and more snow as the family trekked up to the cabin to acclimated for our Thanksgiving day week in a couple of days. I was busy plowing the road all weekend as it dumped 2 feet of fluffy powder! It was amazing. Sarah and I tagged teamed on some Nordic skiing at Bohart ranch and Sunday I did a first by skinning up our mountain(Nixon peak)from our cabin on my split board. put the board together and rode down in the deep powder all the while trying to avoid Gatlin and Teddy as they tried to stay in front of me! It was incredible.

at the top of Nixon peak with my split board and my dogs Gatlin and Teddy

and my trip down

from our cabin porch looking out at Bridger bowl and our new lift chair swing from Bridger's old alpine lift! Thanks Brook and Tex!

Chloe practices her Nordic

So its Thanksgiving and Sarah's Mom and brother are coming in from Boston and with our friends Sue and Paul we will head up to the cabin and again I will be in charge of cooking the Tday dinner! Of course we will be running the annual huffin for stuffin 10k that morning, which is a great event and it somewhat justifies your overeating! after the run it will be making the feast, and of course I have to do the whole thing since that fatal day when I cracked on Sarah's Turkey color some 7 years ago.
Then it will be skiing and playing in the snow the rest of the weekend. can't wait.

and finally a clone report: Congrats to Adam Weaver for a Pr performance in Kona with a 9:52, Adam had some issues in the middle section of the run but fought through it and finished strong the last miles of the marathon. I told Adam that you almost never see someone having nutrition issue slow down to a walk and come back to running 7:30miles at the end-- so kudos Adam!. Also Kevin Welsh had a solid day in the Austin with a 4:48 and along with Kevin, Matt Rosetti finished his first 70.3 in 4:47. Also racing in Texas were Carla Cobb and Sue Balter who raced the San Antonio 1/2 marathon and met there goals with solid runs. Also I have added a new clone from Salt Lake city, Jay Preston. Jay raced in Kona this year and hopes to go back and race even better. Look for great things from Jay in 2011!

have a great holiday


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter's Coming!

The first swirls of snow hit the ground this week causing Chloe to get on her snowboots and the Saturday group ride to switch to off road officially this week. We dabbled in a few cyclo-cross races this fall, which was majorly fun but also majorly embarassing for me, having no technical ability whatsoever! We raced the Bozeman Pond series and the Billings Cross Weekend hosted magnificently by Rob Newsome.

I've been rigorously working through the fall, with classes back on track, trying to manage mom care and work with training and outdoor fun. The fall here in Montana has been incredibly warm and sunny, making for wonderful noontime runs with my YMCA group - Sarah Berwald, Cecil Pegram, Renee Coppock and Pam Harder. The weekends have also been great for road cycling which I've enjoyed with Maggie Vralsted and the Saturday group ride.

Now looking at the winter months looming ahead, Jay has already put on his Nordic skis once and is looking to hike and ski downhill this weekend. I'm sticking with the weekend long run on the Billings rims for now, but waiting for that huge snowfall which will bring us all out. Chloe's already signed up for Mogul Mites - 10 weeks this winter.

Jay's started guitar and I'm waiting to hear his first song over Thanksgiving - which we will enjoy with Huffing for Stuffing, the Balter-Reitzes, my mother, and my brother. The best part of Turkey Weekend? CoachJay does all the cooking! I can hardly wait for the first glass of wine, sipped while watching him sweat over Grandma's rolls.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The times they are a changing

I know,,,,its been forever. but I confess. I have been sheltering myself from all the changes and fears going on in my head and life. All of these goings on should be a reason to write stuff... but I have retracted to my little family up on the hill and have concentrated my efforts and time with my Wife and Girls. waking up in the morning and feeding Cale and having that incredible smile when she sees her daddy, driving Chloe to Kindergarten is the best. Along with Kindergarten starting, Chloe started soccer and her first game was such a hoot. I filmed the whole thing and found myself being on of those parents on the sideline yikes!---its so unavoidable. Cale is crawling up a storm and is ready to walk real soon, she is only 9months but she is super nimble and has already pulled herself up to standing.

Chloe going in to Blue creek school on her first day

Cale's big smile

Chloe and Cale during Daddy day care

Cale and Dad at the spearfish waterpark

Just a short update on my health.... as of last week. I am still in limbo on what my future might hold... as far as how much I can do and at what level... my blood levels are still very low(anemic) but are coming up ever so slowly. this is a good thing because every time I workout( 5-9 hrs a week all aerobic) I feel like ass! I have however got back into the gym for bodywork, which is great! getting just a bit of resemblance to my old body back. I am planning on getting back into the pool and yoga classes, as soon as I get the motivation to start over in those disciplines as well----- oh it sucks to start from zero--- I know, I know I told you folks that before and I often warn all my clients as well--- don't do it! be consistent with some form of activity if at all possible--- the grave yard is always waiting to claim another. just do it dammit! 2 more months and I may know from Dr. Sample what is next for me--- however, my ID doc has told me that as far as monitoring me for a new infection--- there is nothing they can really do. It seems I am going to have to live with the fear---- that makes life a bit on the scary side.

But I am pushing forward on redirecting my energies in some new and old directions. the past few months I have had some great times and experiences as well as new directions.

Played golf with the old man in the Briarwood tangle only a day after my Pic line was removed, we played ok but not in the money and best of all there was no major fights on the golf course!

I also played in the club championship, which to my amazement I found myself in the final group after shooting a 4 over 76 in the first round. but of course my putting woes continue and I struggled to a 82 the second day and a 5th place finish. not bad for having a hole in my chest still

I completed, barely--- the Dakota 50 mountain bike race in spearfish SD, in 6hrs and 40 minutes, this race was awesome and very difficult, I would of never of even attempted this thing if it wasn't for a dry run epic mountain bike ride at the Bangtail trail with Pat in Bozeman the week before. doing an event like these with no red blood cells I think is about 2x harder than doing the hawaii Ironman completely healthy! I survived the bangtail, so I said ok I can survive this.....we had such a great time in Spearfish. We rented a RV and parked it with the Dueys Rv. The campground was so kid friendly and Chloe was off on her bike the whole time. such a blast. and then there was an afternnon at a great waterpark in town for some cooling off. definitely an event to do next year.

at one of the aid stations in the Dakota 50 mountain bike race about 15miles from the finish---not sure I am going to make it!

at our campsite roasting marshmellows in Spearfish SD

Dad and Chloe at the waterpark

Chloe on her bike

and the girls all together in the water

Another Trip to the cabin and a group ride on the Bangtail with the boys and a BBQ after at the cabin-- great day! a full 40min faster than a few weeks ago-- so I am getting better but it sure doesn't feel it.

Steve Mysee, Wayne Urlenbush, Randy Hammerquist and coach atop grassy mountain on the Bangtail divide trail

Then there was our trip to Denver for 2 further shows at red rocks, Sue, Paul and Pam joined us for some of the best shows I have seen the post Jerry era dead do---what's more to say about that other than, I was able to scam 1st row the second night after showing my chest scar! Sarah and I dancing with the handicapped deadheads--- priceless!

Then Sarah and I flew off to Chicago for my 30th HS reunion in Glen Ellyn IL. I went a couple of days early to see my parents and play some golf at the Acres. That place is just the best. I invited Andy and Kevin from Purdue to come up and play with my Dad. Again my putting sucked but it was a great day never the less. I ran through lake forest and visited Jeffery's grave site. and I was even able to repair my bad sushi experience that Kevin and Sarah dragged me into in Denver by finding a great sushi bar at the Dearpath Inn!

The Reunion was an experience, since I hadn't seen many of the folks for some 10-20yrs. passed out a bunch of business cards to the guys, since many have let themselves go a bit, and the girls well they looked pretty good for the most part, this reunion was much more reminiscing than previous ones. which was great! The Hitters won the football game and are ranked 2nd in the state-- watching them walk down the hill was as cool as it was when I was a kid. I hope we can get some visitors to Montana from reconnecting with my old friends in HS. and yes Jean( I know she reads my blog) I will kick your ASS on the slopes come wintertime, pick the place, Colorado, Montana, Utah.... lets go girl. Pam and Bob we want to see you at Steamboat this winter, no excuses Jean!

Back in Montana one of those life changing items is going back to School-- I feel like Rodney Dangerfield(almost as old) After a lot of thought, I have decided to first get my masters in a new program called Exercise and sport leadership at MSUB with a possible direction towards getting my PHD. I have been hitting a ceiling with my coaching business for sometime now and it was time to look at going further with my knowledge and skill set. With everyone under the sun, seemingly, coaching Triathletes it was time to do something more substantial and bigger. Since this is going to take some time I will continue to coach/teach( all be it at a lesser capacity)until I am done with my studies and am ready to venture into new opportunities

On the Clone front: I am so proud of Pam Rogan for her 11th place finish at nationals in Alabama in the 40-45 age group, Pam was first out of the water in 21.20 and had a solid race. Pam as been with me for 10 years, she has 3 young kids is a full time school teacher(Her husband Bob is a full time teacher as well). Needless to say Pam does a lot with the time she has to train! great job girl! Anton Kort also had a remarkable 5th place finish at Sprint nationals after having served our country abroad for the past year. Anton took a flyer on Nationals with the hope of having a great worlds in 2011. Sue Balter had a fine PR at the montana governors cup 10k and congrats to Bill Zink and Mike Gulledge for there PR's in the same race, Mike PR'd by 13 min! Paolo Gerbasi also PR'd at the governors cup with a 1:29 1/2 marathon! and just last night Dylan Johnson,14yrs old won the city cross country meet at riverfront park(2miles) in a stellar time of 11:04! I have been training Dylan throughout the summer and fall and needless to say I am on my bike while he runs! Mike Fogassey down in Florida has had a great Tri season with another top finish and a Pr in the siesta key sprint tri-- its just a matter of time before mike breaks through with a win in the 55-59 age group. I am really looking forward to watching a number of clones racing soon. Adam Weaver will be racing in Kona at the Ironman world championships this Saturday and should be ready to have an awesome race. also Matt Rossetti racing out of NY,NY( of all places) just had a second overall finish in a duathlon in central park and will be racing his first 70.3 race in Austin TX next week, also racing in Austin with be my man Kevin Welsh who after an update LBP test is ready to execute his best race. Both boys are ready to go and have a great one.

one more note: today is the Hawaii Ironman and my predictions are Andreas Raleart(on a Blue) and Chrissy Wellington but could be close on the men's side

The everyday activities here in Billings are as follows:

Monday, Weds and Friday swim practices at the YMCA and at MSUB masters both start at 5:30a

Tuesday: cyclo- cross practice starts at 5:30 at Pioneer park

Weds: track practice at West HS starting at 5:30p

Thursday: Night mtb rides starting at various locations check the BACN announcements for time and place

Saturdays/Sundays: group rides road and mtn bike or cross rides usually start at 9am but check BACN announcements for details

coming up cyclocross races in Bozeman and Billings check out

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

fighting back

The last 8 weeks have been tough since getting back home-- the Drugs have made me feel like shit with the Antibiotics making every thing taste weird( especially beer)My energy has been up and down and the PIC line was a real drag. Fortunately, the PIC line was taken out last week and I am off the Antibiotics! YEAH. It still takes a while to get them out the system but I should be feeling better pretty soon. It is still unclear on what I will be able to do in the future but I am hopeful that I will get the guidance I need soon to set my mind at ease. this is the toughest part of my recovery. I wish there could be some reassurance-- but unfortunately there may never be.

Even though I have not been feeling very well, I have fought to get my life back to normal, working as much as I can and trying to be somewhat active. I have been doing sessions in the park with my clients in the morning since the Outlaws training center was reconfigured for games after the Metra was ripped up during the Tornado. the workouts have been fun for me and my clones. But by the afternoon I would be toast and needed to rest.

The family enjoyed a couple of long weekends at the cabin and even though I was pretty weak I did do a few mountain bike rides with my friends Brook, Michele and Mike Ritter. Boy going uphill with a Hematocrit level of 30 is not a formula for feeling strong on the bike that is for sure.


following Brook for a while anyway

Sarah had a conference in Big sky and took Cale with her leaving Chloe and I at home in Billings. Chloe and I had some great daddy/daughter time together, and thanks to Sue, Paul and Steve Mysee I had some help with food and entertainment. thanks guys! The MSUB summerfest was a blast with lots of kids activities including( unfortunately a gold fish game which brought Chloe her first pets of her own-- after one night we were down to one fish and a lesson about life, death and the right amount of fish food!

We meet Sarah and Cale in Big sky a couple of days later and had some fun Big sky times, Chloe bungy jumped and rock climbed and I even attempted a mtn bike ride there which turned into more of a hike a bike---its steep and high there for me right now--- then it was off to the Targhee music fest--- just like last year-- to get away and have some fun after a trying couple of months-- we arrived just in time for the JGB band which was awesome! then Moe---- The next day Sarah ran the Tin Cup 1/2 marathon (won the masters division) and brought the kids to a free day camp-- how cool is that! while I sleep in and watched the British open at the Hotel. The Mountain biking is great at Targhee with beautiful flowers and buff singletrack-- of course I was only good for the easiest of trails this year which showed that I was weaker than last year at this time. I Just couldn't climb that mountain this year --- no way!

Targhee single track

Then there was relaxing in the sun and taking in the great lawn,scene and music including Shawn Colvin, Grace Potter and Los Lobos. Los lobos was tremendous, doing some dead and ABB songs and jams. Hot music and cool nights--- next year make the trip! its really cool.


Los Lobos jams at the Targhee music fest

Back in Billings-- my Parents came in for 10 days and the old man and I played in the Briarwood tangle golf tourney. I had only swung the club a few weeks by now and it showed as we played pretty poor-- coming in around the middle of the pack. Mom spend the time taking care of the grand kids and doing her chores. Chloe turned 5 and we had a great birthday party with 20 of her friends! Grandma took her in to get her hair done with Braids-- I have to say she is the most beautiful little girl.

Chloe in Braids

Cale is really growing up now and is crawling like a mad women! she is so good and is really fun to play with already-- eating real food now too! and of course her Big sister loves her very much.

Chloe and Cale

Next is a trip to Denver to work with some Clients and then off to Cape Cod to have a visit with Sarah's family and have some beach time, I am entered into the Falmouth road race which should be interesting to say the least-- I hope I finish!

Many Clones have been busy! at the Big Sky state games coachjay clones raked in many medals: Steve Mysee, Mike Ritter, Sue Balter, Paolo Gerbasi, Carla Cobb, and Dave Hein all medaled. also there was Pam Rogan in Georgia who had a strong 1st in her age in Chattagnoga.

talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

back home!

after 2 weeks of being held up in the Hospital and then a Chicago hotel like Howard Hughes, I am back home in Montana. It is really nice to be back home to my family and friends and our wonderful state. Really no new info on my condition or cause just that I possibly contracted a strep A infection that may of caused the endocarditis and or the subsequent infected valve and aneurysm. I am busy seeing the team of docs here in Billings to see what is my followup and recovery approach going forward. for now it is another 6 weeks to get the chest healed and off all the anti-biotic.

The last few days I have been up and down with my energy and pain. I have not had the energy to get out and exercise yet but I hope to real soon. I am however back to work, which is nice. It helps to get back into my regular routine and mix it up with the folks. I want to thank all my clients and friends for all the support I have received as we have gone through this difficult time. The good news is that it seems the drugs are not as hard on my appetite as the last time, I have been able to eat pretty normally and have only lost 5 lbs so far. In Fact, In Chicago I really enjoyed going out to all the great restaurants with some Chicago friends( Mike and Joanne H, Carol D, Kevin C, and cousins Johnny and Brett) It was great to have the support of all of you on that difficult week in the Hotel.

view from the water taxi while Sarah and I take a trip to Navy Pier after being released from the Hospital

It was also great to be in the city while the Blackhawks rolled to the Stanly Cup! I tried to see the Parade on Friday but the 400,000 crazed fans was not ideal to be crunched up to with a 14 inch chest wound! so I watched on TV instead.

Chloe has started Soccer Camp and Cale continues to amaze with her growth and good manner. I am looking forward to these next weeks watching the kids and getting stronger day by day.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

pain and suffering

Boy this sucks! finally out of the hospital as of yesterday. But now in a Hotel in Chicago downtown Chicago for another week. I have to see all the medical teams for followups at the end of the week and then the plan is to get back to Montana next Saturday. I feel OK but a few days ago they started the aggressive broad range antibiotics which is really uncomfortable and nasty. I am still pretty uncomfortable but there are a few hours a day that I feel reasonable. I am now administering the 4 antibiotics in the Hotel with the help of Sarah and the home nurse but as of Sunday I will be doing this myself, so Coach jay is now Nurse jay. It takes 6+ hrs a day to do this drug stuff so it pretty much sucks since I cannot be mobile. The worst part is that I have to do this for 6-8 weeks! Ouch! Sarah made a chart for me to keep all the drugs organized for when I need to take them. I could never remember it all without it. Each one has a different amount, frequency and dosage. Here is a list of all that is streaming through me.



Then there is a variety of other orals that I take on demand

After getting out yesterday and checking into the Hotel, surprisingly was able to feel hungry and Sarah and I went downstairs to the Weber Grill and actually eat real food! It was the most pleasurable thing for a long while! Yeah! take it when you can get it I am saying. Then Sarah and I went for a walk around the Hotel, which is right by the magnificent Mile between State and Wabash. Unfortunately, I cannot drink any beer! but if I can eat I may gain weight or even get fat! since I am surrounded by great restaurants. The walk was great but a gradual hill up Michigan ave just about killed me-- a reminder of what is to come with my cardio rehab.-- NOT AGAIN! It is nice to see the vibe of the city even though my personal vibe is very low right now. But just today we walked down to NIKE town and my wife set me up with some new sneaks and outfit ! skateboard dude pretty rad-- did I tell you that mountain boarding may be my next sport? Shoes always make you feel better, right Carla?

I am still very confused, mad and frustrated on how I was this close to death when just a few weeks ago I was winning my age group in the Rev3 triathlon and doing 1/2 ironman bricks 4 days before I was forced to another open heart surgery. So many questions I still have in my head-- and no answers. But I am trying to put those behind me for now and concentrate on task at hand. staying positive and getting better.

Being in Bed all day sucks for sure but I am hoping to get out and walk in the city and go down to the lake this next week-- searching for those little comforts when I can. My mom is still here and has been helping with Cale. Chloe is on Cape Cod with Grandma. Little Cale was playing with me this morning as I was administering those drugs. She is a great baby and fills me with Joy. Sarah has been real busy arranging all the details, she will be heading to Boston on Monday to gather the kids. Sarah has been keeping me going and helps get me through each day she is the best. Before the taste of good food last night, I could only think positively about the fact that I was alive and the love of my family and friends.

So for the next week I will administer drugs, go for walks if I can, see movies and hopefully have a good report from the docs at the end of the week and get back home. then time will tell what comes next for us. I scribbled down some thoughts when I was real week the past few days of some other thought and comments I had:

1. exactly 1yr apart is there a time release infection? deja vu' you got to be kidding me

2. up in the middle of the night watching the movie "born on the 4th of july" not a good idea

3. Pain changes everything-- you cannot be yourself

4. you can ask for Grateful dead music in the MRI machine and get it! although doing 30s breathe holds 3days after open heart surgery is as hard a workout as you can imagine. aparentely I am the only one that has even attempted to get all the way on those.

5. I am now a fan of the show "House" . it just so happened to be a house marathon week on the tube. It seems that every episode was about me and if I was a doctor i would be just like house!

6. It really sucks that 'vs.' is not a station received at the hospital or hotel--that's not right. GO BLACKHAWKS the city is a buzz with the Hawks Hey does anyone have tickets to
Sundays game in Chicago?

I will sign out for now and hopefully update things again soon! need to get out of this room now before being closed in again.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Update on Jay June 3

(Sarah reporting here from Northwestern): Jay can't write or talk very well right now because for the past two days - after receiving IV anti-biotics - he has suffered intense head pain, and general pain. It's hard to keep the eyes open. It appears that it was a Strep-A bacterial infection on the heart valve that may have caused all of this to happen, but it is still unclear. They fight this with broad range anti-biotics that are like going through chemo-therapy.

(Jay talking now): I was feeling pretty good for 3 days post-surgery...but it has turned into feeling pretty bad for 2 days. I may be discharged to the Hilton Garden Inn downtown Chicago tomorrow, and be kept here for a week before returning home. Then there's the long road of repair and rehab. It's like last year, but a 12-inch scar on top of the infection. It's still unclear going forward what I need to do to get back to normal.

Thanks for all your calls and emails, but I haven't had the strength to answer many of them. It may be best not to call until I post that I am strong enough to talk.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Life, Death, Checks and Balances

I am back to writing again and as I do, I actually feel better in my physical recovery than the past two times I have been on this ward after Heart Surgery and infectious disease. This past week has been the toughest of my life, not so much physically but emotionally. By some chance, I had a routine Echo cardiogram in Billings that revealed a severe Aortic aneurysm and infection in my bovine Heart valve replacement of 3 yrs ago. With no indication or symptoms of any kind, I was heading, as my surgeon Dr. McCarthy put it, to a "disaster." As many of my friends have said to me the past few days, the man upstairs isn't done with me yet.

I want to first thank all the well wishing folks out there that sent the Marschall/Keller family those wonderful thoughts and prayers to us during these trying days, we really appreciate it!

Having my Mom, Dad, my wife Sarah and my beautiful baby Cale here with me has been huge and of course my Chicago friends, Kevin, Dizzy, Carol, Mike H, Joanne, and so on is also such a help. oh and I miss my little girl Chloe so very much back in Billings(Thanks Christina and Todd and Maggie Vralsted for helping out so much)

The Medical teams here in Chicago are trying very hard to figure out answers to why, after a completely normal Echo last year post-illness, I now have a heart that went to shit! Cultures are being grown as we speak with the scrapped tissue they cut out to find out what kind of infection it was. So far, no definitive answers are in. I may be staying in Chicago for more than a week until they run all the tests and have a plan in place on how to treat and track me from now on. Some of the infectious disease team members are saying that this infection is probably different from last year's since there were no symptoms prior.

So now I sit here in the hospital working through it all. Last night I just couldn't get the thoughts of why, what, how, when, "the grim reaper thoughts" out of my head. Every time I would doze off, I would then slip into a strange dream followed by waking up seeing reports of death on the TV -- ie. Dennis Hopper or Gary Coleman -- constant thoughts of my heart exploding etc... very stressful and not good. My normal Coachjay response is to be pissed/mad/bitter and fight back -- however this time I think I will take a more balanced approach to dealing with this obstacle. There are so many incredible things left to do in my life but I need to be alive to do them. For now I will just wait and see what the doctors say is the next step, love my family and friends and thank God.

Thanks again for all your support.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Update May 29

Jay says it's tough to breathe, and tought to talk. He's scared about the prognosis of the infection, and whether it will come back and attack him again. It is day 2 after the surgery, and he is alone with all these dark thoughts in his head. The doctors still don't know where the mystery infection came from, what kind of bacteria or virus it is, and whether or not it will come back.

He will be on IV antibiotics for at least 8 weeks after he is released some time early this coming week. He will not be able to resume any semblence of a normal life for at least that long, since he will be connected to a walking IV tube.

The docs and lab here at Northwestern are trying to re-grow the bacteria that he had in a petri dish so they can look at it, but that process takes days. Poor Jay! Keep sending your healing thoughts and energy. He can use all the positive thoughts he can get right now.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jay's Heart

My very first thought is that I'm lucky to be alive. After having a routine echo cardiogram on Friday, May 20, Dr. Laura Ford identified abnormalities and an aortic aneurysm. She was concerned enough to get me on the first available flight to Chicago for probable heart surgery. At that point, I wasn't terribly concerned...My buddy Kevin Cox picked me up at the O'Hare Airport and by 3 pm Wednesday I had another echo which showed the aneurysm had gotten larger. An aneurysm is like a bulging of the heart muscle. I was immediately admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

By Thursday morning, I was operated on by Dr. Patrick McCarthy. I had an infected valve and a large aortic aneurysm. They removed the infected tissue and aneurysm and replaced the aortic valve and root with human tissue, so now I'm not part-cow anymore. The surgeon is very confident that I will recover well. I am still in ICU today (Friday) and am expected to be moved to a private room at Northwestern later today, where I will be kept for at least 3 days.

I'm lying in bed now with a larger cracked open chest than the last time. From what Dr. McCarthy says, I was a ticking time bomb. He said the aneurysm was typical of someone who would blow up and experience instant death or stroke.

It was just by chance that I had that echo when I did. I want to thank Sarah Sullivan, Dr. Ford, Dr. Pat Duey, for being instrumental in getting me into see Dr. Ford when I did, and most of all my wife, Sarah, who always does the little things, that in this case, saved my life. I love her very much. (I'm dictating this while Jay is on Toradol - Sarah).

The recovery and cause for this is unclear. But my old heart has been shipped off to labs to find out why and how this happened. Thanks for all the love and wishes that have and are being sent. I have to say that my nurse last night was a young 25-year-old hottie - while being incubated and not being able to talk, I had to poke her in the butt to get her attention, I noticed her butt was a little flabby. I asked her if she exercised and she said, "no." I told her she needs to get on the stick and start exercising. But she did give me a nice sponge bath, which was a lot better than the nurse the last time I had heart surgery.

I'm going to be back. I'll fight back. Don't count me out yet. My mom and dad, my wife, and my little 4-month-old Cale flew up here to be with me. I miss Chloe very much. When I told Chloe that I had to go to Chicago to get heart surgery, she told me the problem with my heart was that it is "upside down." She's pretty smart for 4!

(His life was hanging by a thread, by all accounts. It is very lucky we were able to detect a problem when we did and get him in for care so quickly. Thank you again for all of your support!!! - Sarah).

Congratulations to Pat and Janel Duey for having a 9-lb little boy!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Upcoming Multisport Extreme Camp July 21-25

Coach Jay’s Multi-Sport Extreme Camp is a fun filled week July 21-25, 2010 with training and races to meet every multi-sport athlete's interests. Training activities include open water lake swimming, single track and fire road mountain bike trails, road bike course through epic canyons, wild life, the grassy mountain tops and wildflower-covered fields of the Bangtail Ridge and both on and off road running trails through the hills.(Check out "important documents" section of this blog for full camp info).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

spring racing/ summer planning

chloe this morning with dad in the 4 wheeler( out of the picture dad with his bailys and coffee traveler mug). at the top of Nixon peak 1+ miles from the cabin

Been pretty lazy entering blogs lately, no excuses -- Well, yes, of course, there are excuses, I am old, tired, busy, have a cow valve etc. I remember driving to the State Time TT one time with some friends and on the 1-hr drive we came up with 82 excuses on why we would do poorly in the race --- not the best positive psychology but I believe we all go through it in our little brains -- but now that I am up at the cabin, I have finally found a good place to write and catch up. It must be the mountain air, quiet, and the beautiful view up here.

I have been making steady progress with my fitness, even though I am often impatient and unhappy with the numbers that my 49-year-old body can produce. I am coming to grips with that reality and trying to keep it real with where I am now.

The Peaks to Prairie Duathlon in Late April was of course hard (9-mile run/42-mile bike) and this year was even more challenging with 30-40 mile per hour cross winds. I ran 57 high and felt ok with that even though I was a bit over my target HR plan. The bike was good for the first 10-15 miles and at that point I caught a youngster that was at the front of the race in the Duathlon, a 17-18-yr-old Eija. I went by him and then the winds hit and I found myself fighting it pretty bad, not being able to stay aero for a good 15 miles; Eija, however, didn't seem to have the same problem. He ended up riding away from me and won the race (Congrats to the flat belly! He showed some real guts and talent) and of course I showed a huge gut bomb after but hung on for second. Power numbers were pretty poor on the ride with an average of 240 when I expected to ave 260 or so. ccrtiming

coachjay on the bike at peaks from my truck with the wife driving--yikes! out of picture the mean ass 40mile an hour cross winds!

May brought some cool clone news with Dr. Adam Weaver qualifying again for Hawaii at the St. George Ironman, placing 5th in his age group with a 10:15 time on a by all accounts a brutal course! Adam would have qualified at 70.3 California after an additional roll down from another age group, which just goes to show you to never leave the awards too early! Congrats to Adam on your stellar performances! Also this month, Major Clay Taulman found out that he was selected to go to Hawaii as well -- Clay is totally stoked! After 28 months in combat he is ready for a totally different kind of combat-- the Kona lava fields!-- This weekend Mike Fogassey and Kevin Welsh will be competing at 70.3 florida---race fast guys! Also just found out that Pam Rogan from Atlanta placed 3rd overall in the Peachtree City Tri this weekend. Great going Pam -- Pam has been with coachjay for over 10yrs!

Last weekend, Sarah, Cale and myself made the trip to the Rev 3 Knoxville Tri. I needed to get to race that was bigger than what we have here in Montana. I have to say that Rev 3 series puts some serious funds and organization into their events--first class all the way. The course was very difficult, especially on the bike, but the days before we were a bit leery of swimming in the Tennessee river -- on Friday there was debris floating everywhere, water snakes and even a dead body was pulled out that morning! Yikes!

Knoxville was pretty cool and I had a great time bonding with Little Cale as I rested and tapered. Sarah and I had some nice walks and a fun date night out on the town, checked out some live music and some great food. We hooked up with the Team Trakkers crowd, Michelle ford, Sonja, Tony and others from Denver. It was also great to see some folks from Atlanta, Matt Rose and the Team Dynamo crowd including Betty and Hilton! what a great group that Matt has put together at Dynamo. I also ran into Andre Micelli from Atlanta

coachjay and Hilton Kort before the Rev 3 knoxville

Race day was perfect--cool and calm waters. I was mixed into the 40-age group and a couple of other groups as well and started in the next to last wave--which of course stresses me since I saw myself having to weave through the masses the whole time. But as it turned out, it was not too bad. I had a pretty smooth trip on the swim coming out in around 19 min; it's strange having the swim be my best sport right now! Maybe because it's hard to keep my old body up with its own weight?--The swim was a bit fast since more than half was down current(however the water was pretty still) unlike my horrible transitions up in Missoula, I was pretty solid on this day getting out on the bike without any mishaps. Immediately, I was battling with the eventual winner in the 40-45 group and I was not too smart by going a little too deep early to keep pace. About 15 miles in, I let him go as my back started to tighten up from throwing down a bit too many watts. I went steady to the finish not knowing were I stood in my group. It turns out that I have 280 watts for 1hr 7min and 133hr average which I am happy with and show some good progress from previous TTs. I got to the run and made sure I didn't bust out too fast since my running has been my weakest sport for some time now. I felt ok through 3-4miles then the long slog back my hips where in near spasm as I waddled in for my 2:12 finish and around a 42 min 10k which is not great and I definitely need to improve on for sure. At the finish I thought boy-- 2x that distance is going to hurt! rev3

It turned out that I won my group pretty easily but I knew the competition was not that great and that I still have a long way to go-- but my progress is encouraging and if I keep improving I may not be too bad at Boise. Congrats to Hilton Kort for placing 1st in his age, Matt for winning the 1/2 and Betty's team for winning the Aquabike.

Sarah and Cale met me at the finish which was great (Sarah has posted to this blog with pictures). After a little less of a gut bomb than last race-- the fam rolled down to the river for a mothers day brunch at Calhouns! Great BBQ and I proceeded to finish a whole rack of ribs-- just about the best tasting food I have had in a long time! and of course a few very large Pale Ales. All in all a great trip-- now its back to training.

Just got back from my run here in Bozeman and, after a pretty crappy 12 miles with the HR not very high, walking up my road to the cabin I saw the highest HR of the day when momma bear and 2 cubs made me know that I was not welcome that close--HR 140(PAST LACTATE BALANCE POINT!)

our Horse creek neighbors, momma and one of her cubs taking a look

Will try to post more often-- unless I am too lazy, tired, busy, old, etc.........


May 15 At the Mountains

Here for another weekend binge of training at our Bozeman Mountain House. The weather's sparkling and the Bridger Ridge is still snow-covered and dazzling in the sun. Jay and Chloe just took the 4-wheeler to the top of Mountain Nixon for an early morning view, while I am preparing for the first of two long runs scheduled with ultraunning powerhouse Nikki Kimball.

Jay's gearing up for Boise 70.3 so will have a 2-hour run & 1-hour spin today, and a 3-hour ride tomorrow....Stay tuned for details on our upcoming July Multisport Extreme Camp!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jay Wins Age Group

Coach Jay had a fantastic come back from mystery virus and heart surgery Sunday at Rev 3 in Knoxville. With a time of 2:12 for the hilly, Olympic-distance race, he won the male 45-49 age group amidst a field of top-age-groupers from around the country. Matty Reed and Julie Dibens won the male and female pro fields, respectively. Way to go Jay!!!!

We also had the privelege of catching Coach Matt Rose from Atlanta with his pants down! He got 2nd overall in the Rev3 Half Ironman, aka "Half Rev." Great job, Matt!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rev3 Knoxville

What a race folks! This was premiere race organization-hosted by IM Pro Heather Golnick and the Revolution 3 Triathlon Series. Lots of pros fielded the Olympic Distance, with Matt Reed winning and Chris Lieto tied for 2nd. Boston's Dede Grosbier came in 6th and Natasha Badman was even in the mix. Local elites from Denver Michelle Ford and Sonia Weik finishing a guestimated 4th and 5th in the Elite Amateur wave!! And hats off to yours truly, Coach Jay, for finishing very strong in the Men's 45-49 Wave (results TBA SOON)!

The 1-mile swim was in the Tennessee River, 40 km bike around hilly Knoxville, and the 10 km run through the U Tenn Greenway along the river and canal, finishing at the glorious World's Fair Park!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Grizzly Tri Weekend

It was quite a fun weekend up in Missoula, MT with an elite field at the Grizzly sprint triathlon put on by Team Stampede and the University of Montana. Jay raced extremely well for his first time back in over a year - setting swim splits for each 100 in the pool swim at 1:20 average! He crushed his wave (elite masters) on the bike and only got passed in the final 10 seconds of the run by another masters who was not in his age group. Congratulations to Jay on an age-group win!!!

As if that wasn't studly enough, Jay raced AGAIN the next day at the super hard Frenchtown Roubaix 45 mile bike race on gravel roads. He was one of the only individual competitors going up against teams from Bozeman, Missoula and Helena. Again, he showed incredible prowess for racing on tired legs -- and after a year of injury and illness. Yeah Jay!

Oh, I forgot to mention that it was windy and gray in the morning, causing all of Jay's fellow bike racing friends to wimp out, making him the only studly one of the bunch. That's a dig for you, Rob Newsome and Mike Ritter!

Ritter, Ali Ryan, and Greg Benjaman were among the clones who also raced Grizzly. Ritter -- competing in his first triathlon ever -- had an outstanding success with a 1:20 time for the 1,000 yd swim, 20 km bike, and 5 km trail run. Mike's hooked now! Also competing were pros Lindsey Corbin, who smashed the women's field, and Matt Seeley.

Missoula offered plenty of post-race hulllabaloo with beers at the Kettlehouse and dinner at Ciao Mambo Saturday, followed by the Yonder Mt String Band for the cool young 'uns in the crowd. Pre-race pancakes at Paul's House of Pancakes were a must before the bike race.

Chloe spent many fun hours on the Merry Go Round and Children's Museum with her new best friend Axl.