Checking in from Ukraine

Posted in: Ironman, living in Kiev, off season, Triathlon, Ukraine

It’s been awhile since I have updated my blog – and it’s been awhile since I have raced (a triathlon that is).  So what has been going on.  Well, I hadn’t been feeling particularly well going into Ironman Switzerland at the end of July.  I wasn’t sure what was wrong, if anything, but I had a lot of weird things going on.  By weird I just mean that they were unusual occurences for me.  I was tired – I was overly emotional – I had gained weight in unusual places (for me) – my stomach was upset a lot – I was itchy – I wasn’t sleeping well – and I was having trouble thinking (indicative by my inability to remember things and my inability to do simple math in my head – this from a woman who does math problems for fun and relaxation).  I struggled for the month of August, called the 2013 season done in early September, and still had no idea what was going on with me.  I just knew I didn’t have it in me to train for another Ironman in 2013.

Well, I finally had some answers in October when at the urging of my husband I had my thyroid hormone levels checked.  Something I learned is that you really have to have your free T3 and free T4 levels checked in addition to the TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).  TSH levels are not a great indicator of thyroid function and if you do a little research on this you will discover that the medical community really cannot agree on what an acceptable level of TSH is.  Because of this, sometimes a physician looks at lab tests that indicate TSH levels are normal, while at the same time your actual thyroid hormone levels are not even close to where they are supposed to be.  For me personally, my TSH level would have been marked as normal by most labs; however, when I read what the American College of Endocrinologists agree on as an acceptable TSH range, my level was too high.  Fortunately, I also had the free T3 and free T4 levels that clearly showed these levels were lower than they should be.  So, what does this mean?  Well, my thyroid is underactive.  So I have been dealing with that the past few months and am happy to say that I am feeling a ton better.

As a result of having to focus on getting healthy again instead of racing an end of season Ironman, I have been able to spend the fall and early winter in Kiev with my husband.  And things have been pretty exciting here in Kiev with the EuroMaidan protests.  There have been massive protests since around November 21st.  Between the hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets, the riot police routinely barricading roads, the “alleged” bomb threats that have shut the metro stations down, and other bomb threats that have shut the rail station and both airports down, it has been a bit disruptive.  Things have gotten a bit out of control at times with violence breaking out between the police and protesters.  And of course, you have thugs who are paid to try to cause disruption and violence amongst the protesters (provaceuters), and you have pro-government “protesters” who are admittedly paid by the government to miss work and stand out in the cold in an attempt of offset the EuroMaidan protesters.  Shockingly that hasn’t seemed to work (please note that I am being sarcastic – why would anyone think that paid protesters would be able to equal the passion and purpose of people who truly believe in their cause?).

Anyway, I’ll probably write more on the current events later, but for now I won’t bore you with any more details.  For now I just chalk it up to one more random challenge during this crazy year!


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