Jarrod Shoemaker

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Galveston 70.3

Jarrod Shoemaker
April 4, 2017

Galveston Texas 70.3

After Puerto Rico I spent two weeks dialing in my aero position to make improvements for Galveston and I was quite excited to get racing again. The course was flat on the bike and fun and turny on the run, overall it looked like a great course. The days leading into the race I saw the wind on the course, but on race day we had a 20-25 mph cross wind on the bike!

The swim was fun, it was very dark out and I had chosen to wear dark goggles because the sun was going to be rising towards our left for most of the swim, but I did not factor in that we started 10 minutes before sunrise and with the impending thunderstorms is was very cloudy, making it very dark out. When I finally jumped in the water to warm up 6 minutes before the race I could not see the first buoys.

Once we started the race I could see a bit more, but still not a lot, so I started cautiously watching the people near me. As we hit the first turn buoy at 300 meters I was in 8th or so and continued to move up rounding the turn buoy with 400 to go heading back towards shore on the feet of the leader. The swim went very well and I was excited to hop on the bike.

Running through transition I lifted up my short sleeved top and put it on, losing a little bit of time, but still getting onto the bike in 5th. I immediately got aero and started to push, but felt bad from the start. Knowing it was long course I pushed through it and tried to let it come to me, but my right hip and knee started to ache and I just overall felt bad. It was hard to eat on the bike due to the crosswinds so I focused on drinking my front drink which I had over concentrated to try to get in more calories.

A bit later in the bike I started to feel even worse and at the turn around my right eye started to get see spots. This had happened to me once before racing, last year in Oklahoma. I attributed it to dehydration and tried to drink my way out of it then. This time I did the same, but having a zig zag line in your vision and not being able to see very well out of your right eye does not make for good biking. It also makes me a bit nauseous. It did not get very bad, but lasted about 20-30 minutes in my right eye and at that point I had shut it down on the bike. I decided to stop, but there was nowhere to stop and be able to get home, so I just kept riding in aero and trying to eat when I could.

I got back to T2 and got off my bike, walked to my rack, put my bike up, went to the bathroom. When I got out I asked Barrett Brandon who was standing there if he wanted to run with me and I decided to run. So I took off running and pushed hard despite not feeling perfect.

After finishing I decided I needed to figure out what happened. I just figured it happened sometimes when pushing hard and being dehydrated and that I did not wear sunglasses in an overcast day despite it being actually being fairly bright. So I contacted my friend who is a doctor and he set me up with a great eye doctor.

I cannot remember the last time I went to the eye doctor, so I was interested to find out what was going on. After talking for a while and explaining my symptoms I had a diagnosis Ophthalmic Migraine.

We discussed more and interestingly I actually does not come from the eyes, but is instead your occipital cortex in your brain going haywire and making visual hallucinations. Depending on the person it can lead to migraines, but not necessarily. And it can be caused by several things, but the things that seem to be interesting to me are hypo glycemia and possibly glutamate (yes L-glutamate is similar to Mono sodium glutamate which some people say causes migraines after eating Chinese food with it in it).

We tested my eyes themselves and they were fine with great vision and my right one a bit more light sensitive, but not bad. Overall, it was very interesting to get my eyes checked and make sure they are healthy.

So, I have to do some more looking and thinking, both times it also happened in super windy races in very humid conditions. But I also have been fine in hot humid races like Puerto Rico and Cozumel.