Thursday, November 24, 2011


Team Pataky has much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Matt's heart stopped last Thursday and after a million pieces falling into place, he survived and is now on the road to recovery at home with a bonus piece of equipment in his chest to prevent any other potential episodes of cardiac arrest.

We were planning to fly to London last Thursday night and decided to do a hard swim set that morning before work at the club pool across from our house. After he kicked my butt (as usual) we were talking at the shallow end of the pool when he mentioned he felt like he was going to black out and then dropped below the surface of the water. I thought he was joking and pulled him up, but immediately noticed he was unresponsive and making a whimpering sound - the most horrific thing I have ever heard. I screamed for help and the only other woman in the pool complex ran to call 911. I unsuccessfully attempted to pull him out of the water and after many cries for help, an amazing club employee ran to the pool and together we got him out of the water and onto the pool deck. I started what I assumed and hoped was CPR and kept yelling at Matt to stay with me and that he was not yet done living and that he better survive. I think at this point I started yelling at God as well.

After what seemed like hours, but was probably more like 7 minutes, the EMTs arrived; and after 2 shocks he returned to a normal sinus rhythm. Tuesday, after three stents and one ICD (personal defibrillator) installation, he was discharged from the hospital and is now recovering at home with my family, dogs, and friends.

As I mentioned to some friends and family in an email the night it happened, I have never been so scared in my entire life. To see the most important person in my life lying blue and lifeless on a cold pool deck is pretty much the worst thing imaginable. I only remember bits and pieces of what transpired but clearly remember telling myself that there were no second chances in this "do overs" if I was not able to get him the help he needed. I typically rely upon "sherpa" Matt for so much and to have the tables turned in such a way was quite surreal.

We do not know why this occurred, beyond the fact that Matt's heart is a genetic disaster. We could sit around and complain about how it is not fair for someone who takes such great care of his body, for someone who is so passionate about pushing himself to the max to have such a condition. However, we accept that life is really just not freaking fair. People do not get cancer or brain tumors because they are "bad" or "good." In the same way, we cannot necessarily ward off something like a bad heart. What we can do is be vigilant about the situation and do everything in our power to minimize the risks. Most importantly, we can use this second chance in life to truly LIVE. I have found myself consumed with the most ridiculous issues in life....whether I look "fat," why the Kona points ranking system is unfair, or why so and so does or does not follow me on twitter. In reality, though, none of this crap matters. What matters is the relationships I have with my friends and family. I would give up anything to spend an extra day with Matt on this earth and I will live each future day cherishing him.

Thanks to all of our family and friends, both local and far away, who reached out to help us via hospital visits, prayers, emails, expert cardiology advice (karen :) ) and phone calls. We are both touched by your support for us. I am also so thankful for all the emergency medical professionals who save lives every single day. We both have much to process, physically and mentally, but are so fortunate to have a network of support upon which we can rely.

Happy Thanksgiving and please go sign up for a CPR class. :)

Matt's hospital view for almost a week - not too shabby.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guatape ITU World Cup Race Report

Following up with the altitude tent post, my race report version of "Sleeping my Way to the Top" can be found on DC It features tales of mudslides, garbage bag rain coats and over-fried fish. Check it out. And to avoid accusations of cross-posting, I will include bonus material for loyal slog fans. Some blogs have give-aways... I present you with low-resolution pictures.

Here are the elite men lining up on the pontoon. There were 60 of them, and earlier on in the morning, 50 women started the race.

The moto leads the way around the bike course:

Andy Potts got a flat tire and ran around like a mad man for a replacement wheel to finish the race. Slam dunk!
The men exiting the second transition--from the bike to the run.

I think he was in a scavenger hunt and gathering as many signatures as possible.

A view while ascending El Peñón de Guatapé. I'm aware the font changed...
Euros scaling the stairs.
Bird's eye view of the hotel.

View from the top.
Attending church, kind of.
Clowns. Yes, it's as fun as it looks.

Flora outside my hotel room. The bars over the windows helped me feel right at home--just like my old apartment on U St.
A minor lapse in judgment at the Medellin airport led to this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sleeping My Way to the Top

To read a scintillating account of my 2 week stint in an altitude tent before the Guatape ITU World Cup, check out the guest post I wrote for endurance sports technology guru, Ray of

The comments contain some good insight from my coach, too.