About a week ago I had my first competitive Duathlon race (5km run, 26km ride, 3km run) my good mate, Matthew Collins and I entered this event. It was something that I wanted to see if I could do this and complete.
I got back to running about a month ago. Trying my hardest to get the running fitness up in this time. I knew my bike leg would be fine. My strength and bike fitness was most likely at its best. Matty and I were clocking up some km’s hitting some big long rides in the past two months.
I was feeling fit…….in between entering and the race I was due for scans and results after the race. I had scans the Friday before the race……I was feeling fine and not expecting any negative news. The training and focus on the race was a very good distraction. I did my usual week of scanaxiety moments…….annoying Lisa with…..’Can you feel this lump’…….. ‘do you think this cough I have is tumour related?’.......I have no idea how she puts up with my moods and anxiety levels during scan week…….I need to realize while I am working full time, keeping fit, healthy, have no night sweats or weight loss then I should see myself as in a good shape that I need to see positivity and relax with my scans…….BUT A PERSON WITH CANCER OR MELANOMA CAN’T DO THIS……..Those who know this feeling and can relate to this will know what I am talking about.
Anyway, scans done…..focus on the race…….Sunday came and I was pumped to be competing again…..set the gear out in transition ready to go. I was nervous but not scan nervous…….for the first time since 2011 I was race nervous. Matty was doing his best to distract my mind…..but to no avail. I lined up and hit the pace when the gun went…….I was third into the first 1km and was pushing hard, but felt good…..5km done in 20min 47sec…..very happy with this time and my effort.
Third onto the bike and was feeling good…….. just waiting for Matty to pass me on his TimeTrial (TT) bike…….. ‘yes he had gone all out’…..ZIPP racing wheels….TT bike…. The only thing missing was his ‘Tear Drop’ aero helmet. He caught the second place athlete and I within the 5km of the bike leg. I sat on his wheel for little while…… trash talking him, what mates do!
Eventually he decided it was too dangerous for three guys to be taking turns to push the course. He kindly dropped the pace and fell off for a little while. We came into transition…..I was second off the bike…..got the runners on and started running, with my helmet on……rookie error. Instead of taking it off and throwing it……I ran back the 50m to drop it. By this time Matty had ran past….. trash talking me…….The end result Matty 2nd, 3rd for me and something I am very happy about.
We headed home….Matty driving and thankfully modest in his effort in beating my by 30seconds……I got home and this is where I felt things change……given all my cranial surgeries…..I started to feel very ordinary….my head was hurting and I was feeling spaced out and unable to see accurately……My world felt like it was going to go pear shape….I was stressed. I decided to lie down and rest. This resulted in me falling asleep for a few hours. I think I needed it.
Nothing was concerning and all turned out ok…..but what I learned from this is that I am fit and able to race and be competitive, however, my brain is not ready and I have decided to give up the running again and will no longer run…..just keep my cycling going…… which has no effect on my head…..I will enter some crit bike races.
My competitive nature won’t go away and I will fight to keep racing but in another format. This goes for Melanoma….this race will be won and my reward will be beating this beast to see my girls grow up and spend many days, months and years with my best friend and love of my life…..Lisa.
I achieved one goal for this year to race my two passions cycling and running.
My other goals are slowing being ticked off….they will be achieved!!!
Monday came and I went to the oncologist for my results ….. news was good….. I have added the report as an image for people to see what a Melanoma Patient may go through every month or three months depending on the scan time.
In short my results presented with no new tumours and my head was clear of tumours, just scar tissue explaining my head reaction the day before.
The small lymph node that is behind my lungs has grown 0.8cm one way and 0.2cm the other way….my oncologist isn’t concerned and thinks the drug Dabrafanib drug is working really well, but we are going to review this in 4 weeks time when he looks over my scans from the past 12 months. If he feels it is worth acting on then I’ll have a hit of radiation to get this spot gone…..as I have said many times I don’t even know it is there.
Chances like racing and doing what I can do day in and day out are constant motivating moments that make me marvel at the life I have……. If you had of told me in October 2012 that I would have placed 3rd in a duathlon in 2014 or even be working full time, cycling 180km a week……I would’ve have laughed in your face, I was unable to walk, communicate, or function as a normal then 37 YO male…….but it is cancer that I am laughing at……..I am not being complacent or relaxed I am being me and getting everything I used to do back into my life…..keeping things normal.
Lisa is back running and keeping busy….the girls are great and I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks off work with school holidays doing many things with them……
Also another important matter my AFL team the Mighty Hawks are going well. Sitting second on the ladder and looking ok for the seasons end.
Short Clip of my Girls and their friends singing in the
car to Frozen. Moments like these are enjoyable and I love these times (flash driven so might not play on an iPad).
My friend who was diagnosed with cancer a month ago and someone I have been visiting whilst they were in hospital is doing extremely well……it has been great to be able to share my experiences with cancer and guiding this person through what is a challenging time for her and her young family….. Keep on fighting!
Don't forget to donate to my mates Jay Allen and Andrew Rust's Melanoma Fundraiser. They are walking 900km from Sydney to Melbourne in July link is here. 900km walk