IM Coeur d’Alene 2012 – Check your balls!
I’m sitting in the Las Vegas airport after the smoothest check-in ever (yay Southwest) on the way to Connecticut for Rev3 Quassy. The guy across from me keeps uh, scratching his privates, and while it’s a little disconcerting it made me get my act together and write a post that I’ve been meaning to for awhile.
Before I get into the nuts and bolts (shall we count how many testicle references I can make?), a bit of background: This Sunday’s half iron distance race is part of a BIG training block in my lead up to IM Coeur d’Alene on June 24th. IM CdA will be my one Ironman planned for this year outside of the World Championships. I was sad to miss IM St. George this year, but the decision to race CdA was fortuitous in more ways than one.
CdA was where I did my very first Ironman in 2006 (I actually won the AG race in 10:20 – ha!) and it was also the course where I won my first Ironman as a pro in 2008. Needless to say, the area has a special place in my heart, but this year racing IM CdA is about much more than going for the win: It’s about helping a Squad mate in his fight against testicular cancer, and raising money and awareness for early detection.
Here is a funny clip from the Canadian comedy troupe – This Hour has 22 Minutes. It’s about checking your prostate but the same off colour humor applies.
Derek Garcia, from Post Falls Idaho (close neighbor to Coeur d’Alene) turned pro this year, and joined us on The Triathlon Squad – a group of professional athletes coached by Paulo Sousa. At our first camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he quickly became one of the gang, brought some hurt to us long course folks the pool and a positive attitude to every workout. As race season started, we were all looking forward to some strong perfomances, and cheering each other on at our races. Then, on May 7th, a bomb drops. Derek informes us that he has testicular cancer and is going for surgery immediately. WTF!?!? It was incomprehensible. How is it even possible that this young guy, I was hammering rides with weeks earlier now has cancer? It makes you think “wow, I could have cancer right now and not even know it” and that’s probably the scariest realization of all.
As athletes we are used to pain, discomfort, things aching, bumps that come then go away. I imagine 5 hrs in the saddle can make your testicles quite sore so it can be easy to overlook warning signs something serious is going on. Sore swollen testicle are BAD – get them checked out! Ladies, do breast exams, get pap smears. Everyone get your skin checked and have regular check-ups! This stuff is important!!
This is what Derek wrote in his blog
” Roughly 6 weeks ago I noticed that one of my testicles was enlarged. Now as many of you know I spend a lot of time on my bicycle. In the past there have been many days where I have finished a ride and been sore in this area. At first I rationalized that maybe this was just that, a rough day riding my bike. Then I began to think that it was possible that it was always this way. After a few weeks of not seeing improvement and if anything it was worsening, I realized there was a serious issue. The trouble with this is that there was relatively no pain. Not too mention the “hassle” of getting checked out. So here in lies reason #1 of this post. As an athlete I have become very aware of how my body feels and functions and yet it took me 6 weeks to go to the doctor. I urge you whether male or female, to make sure to keep tabs on the very suceptible and sensitive parts of your body that may be affected by this disease. It is never a bad idea to get reassurance from a doctor and find out that you are indeed healthy. The alternative is just not worth the risk.”
This issue hit really close to home, and since Ironman Coeur d’Alene is Derek’s home race, my race there is dedicated to helping raise money both for Derek’s personal struggle with cancer, and raising awareness for early detection.
Derek has an Ironman Foundation page where you can donate HERE.
Also, if you live in the Coeur d’Alene area, there is a Pasta Extravaganza on June 2 (facebook page HERE) where you can get awesome “No one Fights Alone” t-shirts and bracelets. There will be a big barbeque and fun run on June 16th, too. The Wurteles will be in attendance! Woot! More details to come.
If you are in a position to help Derek with his battle, please do. A the very least, check your balls!