There's no real good way to look at this - so, guess I'll just have to accept the reality of my situation. Unless something drastic occurs, it looks like my competitive racing days are over.
I obtained a 2nd opinion this past week from a physician at Billings who I know, respect and trust (Dr. Scott Sample - Interventional Cardiologist). He confirmed that my diagnosis with some form of cardiomyopathy is accurate; and, it's recommended that I consider the implantation of a defibrillator.
My heart funciton (primarily measured by the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle - e.g. Ejection Fraction) remains low. And, in fact, in my last check in November appears to have slipped backwards somewhat. With that continued functional reduction, together with the medications, it's pretty much like having a governor on my transmission. It just severely limits my work capacity (in a running sense).
On top of that, my ejection fraction puts me at an increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest. Turns out that's not a good thing. To provide a safety net, the doctors are recommending that I have implanted a defibrillator. Dr. Sample's 2nd opinion supports the original recommendation of Dr. Simone Musco in Missoula. So, although I have a follow up visit with the group in Missoula in a few weeks, it appears that this may be the path that I have to go down
Between the meds, the reduced Ejection Fraction, and a defibrillator - it just appears as though I won't be able to undertake the physiological efforts necessary to train or race at my historic levels. So, looks like I'll just have to accept this reality and say goodbye to my competitive racing days.
Without question, I'll still be around the sport. I'll still be able to run - and, to a lesser degree still be able to race. I still enjoy the time on the roads, in the woods, on the trails, and around the track. Sure, maybe everything is at a much slower pace/effort; but, there's lots worse things in life.
And, the sport has sure been great to me. I've met great people and made some lifelong friends. I've visited and run in and around some amazing places. I've been fortunate enough to have won more than my share of races over the years and have had more than my 15:00 of "fame".
But, I can't lie - I'm going to miss the competitive side of the sport. I've loved the racing. I've loved the hard training. The feel of coming hard off the corner on the track. Running hard down a trail. Charging along in the Montana Cup. The long 20-milers. Tempo Runs. Repeat Miles. I've probably seen the last of these type of efforts - and, I'm not really pleased about it.
I've tried to live a healthy, active lifestyle and do the right things to make my body an efficient, strong machine. It's hard to accept that it is now rebelling. But, what can you do. No sense being bitter. Life's too short for that. So, now it's time to move forward and make the best of a bad situation. What other choice is there really? It's time to begin the next part of my journey of life and see where it takes me.
But, until then...............don't worry....................
I'll see you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard