May 26, 2010


Some of you know via twitter (or daily mile, or email) that I've been officially bench.

No training. 

No Memorial Day triathlon.

Due to my fairly substantial case of anemia, I have to flush 2 months of training down the crapper.  Per my doctor's orders I'm allowed to exercise, but if I get short of breath or fatigued I have to STOP what I'm doing.  So basically I can walk, ride my bike at a leisurely pace, or swim with frequent breaks. 

I'll just tell you it totally sucks.  And I've considered doing it any way.  After all I completed a marathon (with elevations that practically make it a hike) with said anemia.  I didn't know it at the time, of course, but all my symptoms where there.  Surely if I can walk 26.2 miles and be fine - swimming 350 meters followed by a 10 mile bike and a 2.6 mile run wouldn't hurt me, right?

I got the news on Friday and all weekend long the great theologian Kenny Rogers spoke to me:

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away, know when to run
You never count your money, when you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done.

I remembered the soldier from the Mountain Man March, holding his cell phone.  Unwilling to make the call that would make the previous 20 miles worthless, all the while knowing that he didn't have it in him to complete the last 6.2. 

This decision sucks. 

I know there are several of the Sisters broken right now, so in a way I know I'm not alone.  Its also not at all the same.  I feel like I could go do the triathlon tomorrow.  Its an injury where putting pressure on my foot/knee/leg/back is painful.

I feel fine.  Athletes are use to fatigue.  Those of us with exercise induced asthma are use to shortness of breath. 

I can do this.

In the back of my head, however, I have my doctor wagging her finger at me.  With severe anemia, racing could put too much strain on my body.  Said strain might lead to congestive heart failure.

Do you see my frustration?  These aren't things that are likely to happen.  I'm throwing away 2 months of training "just in case". 

I realize there will always be other triathlons, and in the end I decided to take her advice.  I haven't been performing up to the best of my ability lately (and know we know why).  When I finally do compete in a triathlon, I want to be able to give it my all.  To do my best. Not hold back during the bike over fear that I might be taxing my body too much.

I fear gaining weight.

I fear losing conditioning.

But mostly I fear the anxiety I would feel if I allowed my fear dwell on the problem, not what the problem is keeping me from.  Because at the end of the day its not about the race.  Its not about how much I weigh.  At the end of the day I'm severely anemic and probably losing blood somewhere I shouldn't be.

And if I let it, that prospect could scare me sh*tless.

So for now I'll focus on my fear of growing back into my fat clothes, because that's the only way I know how to function.


  1. Brooke, I'm so sorry that you benched, but CHF is nothing something to be messed with. You will be fine. You will lose some conditioning, but you know how to push yourself and you will get back to where you are and hopefully even better without the anemia. Love you, girl. You are awesome and you will be in my prayers for a quick, easy fix.

  2. I'm so sorry that you are going through this. :( I know it sucks. But you need to take care of yourself and you will come back stronger!! xoxo

  3. THIS SUX!!!

    ok that said, preparet yourself for some tough love girl, you aren't being put on bed rest :) what ARE your options? what CAN you do? come on negative nelly, YOU wouldn't let ANY ONE OF US sit & wallow, so I am going to frustrate you just enough to get you out of yours :)

    You've had the weekend (& part of the week) to get used to this idea, NOW is the time to figure out what to DO.

    reply & chew me out if you want, I am ready :)) luv ya!

  4. YOU "CONSIDERED DOING IT ANYWAY"??? Do I really have to come over there and tie you to a chair to keep you safe?? Because I would. Because it is THAT important.

    We have a friend here that ended up in the hospital for weeks because of pernicious anemia, and pushing himself too hard and not paying attention to the warning signs. Listen to your doctor!

    Those coulds and mights are about your life. Take them seriously!!

    Yes, you may gain weight. You will probably lose a certain amount of conditioning. That is of NO consequence in the long run. YOU are of consequence.

    I understand your fear: I would feel the same way, and be trying to obsess over something else to keep my mind from it. But, hon, there are so many better things to focus on than a possible weight gain. Believe me, I know.

  5. I am so sorry to hear the news! I know that is so tough, but just think of how good you will feel later ;)

  6. You have a lot of support Brooke. While it may seem like such a barrier now...consider long term and your health. I know you will continue to exercise but please listen to your doctor and the other need to take care of you. There will be plenty of time for a marathon.

  7. I'm so sorry, Brooke :( I feel your frustration and I know it well. I'm so proud of you for listening to your doctor, and tabling the tri for now. You'll be back to it before long, and you won't lose all if your conditioning, so don't worry too much!!!

    Lots of love, girl!!! xoxoxoxo

  8. Oh snap, I saw your update on dailymile, but I thought you had sprained an ankle or something.

    YUCK! I know this SUCKS. But you've got to take care of your body. Take care of it first and then get back into working out. Slowly. =)

    The good news is that you're trained to exercise, so when you can go back full force, it won't be nearly as hard as it was the first time.

    Until then, walk. =) Enjoy the walk.

    Praying for you. I know this has been a heartbreaking decision and issue to deal with.

  9. Your fears are my exact fears against going in for surgery, to be benched for a period of time and to lose all the hard work Ive put in. But eventually I'm going to have to do it, just like you, like it or not, it's the best thing.

    *huge hugs* honey

  10. Oh, Brooke. (((hug))) It's just not right that someone so young and healthy and downright nice as yourself is dealing with something like this.

    But you're strong, and I know you'll battle your way through this. I think it takes a *lot* of more strength of character to decide to follow the doctor's advice and not do the triathlon than it does to try to do it anyway.

    I don't think you need to worry about losing *all* of your conditioning or getting fat. Focus on taking care of yourself with gentle activity and healthy foods. You're much to smart and stubborn about healthy living to let this defeat you. (My mom has been slender all of her life, and I don't remember her working out to achieve that. She eats super clean and she had an active job as a nurse and now walks a lot in her retirement. And she is stubborn as all get-out. ;-)

  11. oh suck...i know how important your training is to you, but we want you around without CHF! good girl listening to the dr, hope it straightens itself out soon!

  12. oh suck...i know how important your training is to you, but we want you around without CHF! good girl listening to the dr, hope it straightens itself out soon!

  13. I'm so sorry to hear this. I know how important it was to you.

  14. I am sorry you can't to the Triatholon. Get better.

    Also, in regards to my careful what you pray for, you just might get it.

  15. I'm sorry you've got all of this weighing on you. I'll be praying for answers soon & that you have the strength to resist doing what the doctor says NOT to do! ;)

    Also, thank you for your prayers! I really appreciate it!

  16. Oh Brooke! I am so sorry about this. I can feel your pain. It is palpable. I will pray for you. Pray that you have a fun time relaxing. Sometimes it is ok not to intently exercise. Really. Life is short. Take this time to just relax and feel calm. Take the days slowly. Enjoy exercising just by being outside! I will pray that it is ok!

    And PS If this advice is terrible and it makes you mad then just pretend I didn't say a think : ) OK!

  17. I'm so sorry to hear this. I understand your frustration, but you don't want to mess around with this. A short term benching is nothing compared to a life long heart problem!

  18. Oh sweet friend, I know how incredibly this must frustrate you! You have a Great Physician; you're in the best care. Maybe He's got something else for you to focus on for a while ~ or even the rest of your life! You're not on the bench ~ you've simply had a sudden change of course. It will take a while to adapt and shift gears, but keep at it!

  19. i my gosh i am so sorry. That blows. I know how disheartning it must be not to compete.

  20. Brooke, I know you are frustrated, but this is just a race. I know you want to do it, but we are talking about your overall health. You need to take care of your body now. Listen to your doctors. Heed their advice. There will always be another race.

  21. I'm so's obvious how disappointed you are. I'm glad you understand that your health must come first. I know it's hard to take the time out now to get healthy again but your body will thank you for it.

  22. This is making me cry because this is how I feel. A few months of training, the opportunity to meet so many of my Sisters, my first half-marathon - gone. Sucks is an understatement. I'm miserable. And I don't know how to deal with it either. I'll make you a deal - you get your anemia under control, I'll get my back healed and we'll both be back in the game sooner versus later, ok? Hugs!!!


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