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!!