It has taken me almost 2 months to sit down and write my race report for Mt Charleston marathon and this is not that post. I will get to it. But I wanted to write about something else first. I have a lot of different thoughts and emotions going through my head. How do I sum up what it means to me to accomplish a goal...something that is better labeled as a dream and a far fetched one at that...eight years in the making. Eight years ago I started running with a bucket list goal of running a marathon. I also had this crazy idea in my head that I could speed up the damage in my feet caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and convince a doctor to cut my feet off. It was irrational but chronic pain has a way of getting to you so that you aren't necessarily "rational". I honestly had no respect or understanding of endurance running. Over the years my knowledge has grown. I have made a lot of mistakes. I have also gotten smarter and stronger. I share a lot of my experiences publicly and most know my story, if not scroll backwards there are links on this blog to several other articles and race reports back to my 1st sprint triathlon and 1st marathon. My dream of Boston was so much bigger than just overcoming the physical challenges of chronic pain and degeneration. Having something to reach for that was bigger than I could possibly hope to attain kept me going through difficult challenges. Running and reaching for Boston has made me a stronger person. It has made me a better mother, a better wife, a better me. It has given me several opportunities to reach out and share hope and make a difference in other peoples life, often complete strangers. I am humbled and grateful for that opportunity.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Friday, October 21, 2016
With Ironman's change to the snorkel rule (they are no longer allowing the use of a snorkel under any circumstance, up until now it has been allowed as a medical device to help an athlete with neck or breathing issues to swim. It disqualify the user from any podium finish and for qualifying for any championship race so the only advantage was medical necessity.) I tried to raise awareness and hoped to have them reconsider. It was my thought that maybe the did not fully understand what they were doing. Ironman has an amazing and inspiring theme of "Anything is Possible" they celebrate challenged athletes and make accommodations for other handicaps; rope to tie a blind athlete to a guide, a tricycle for a balance impaired athlete, etc. But apparently an athlete that medically needs a snorkel does not physically show enough signs of a physical handicap to warrant the same respect and consideration. I was deeply saddened by their response to not reconsider the rule change. I have loved being apart of Ironman. The energy and inspiration is amazing. As I was trying to gain support and help on the issue someone told Triathlete magazine about me and they contacted me to do an article. Attached is a link to the piece. http://triathlon.competitor.com/2016/07/features/faces-pack-managing_134604 UPDATE: In the spring of 2017 I had the pleasure of meeting Bob Babbitt, a legend in Ironman Triathlon, founder of Competitor Magazine which later became Triathlete magazine and also the founder of the Challenged Athlete Foundation. A mutual friend told him my story and he quickly started contacting top triathlon officials. He gave me phone numbers and email addresses for the correct people to talk to and together we were able to get the snorkel allowed again for athletes who physically need one to compete. It is now in Ironman's official rule book in the challenged athlete open division to allow for the use of a snorkel with medical necessity with medical documentation from a doctor. Thank you Bob
Posted by Jodi at 8:57 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2016
I raced Oceanside 70.3 four weeks before St George 70.3 on a stress fracture in my fibula from an accident this spring where I was hit by a suburban in a cross walk while running. The accident has increased my disease activity, causing a lot of pain, inflammation and fatigue. I have been fighting hard to get it back under control but the injuries and not being able to run have made that difficult. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is often compared to a combination of flu like symptoms; body aches, low grade fever, nausea, exhaustion and a feeling of being hit by truck along with painful swollen joints. I completed Oceanside but stressed the stress fracture. The bone still hurts to touch and the tendons around the fracture are inflamed as well. I was running a fever and coughing all day at Oceanside but I blamed it on the RA and wasn't going to let that stop me. But the days following the race a flu virus knocked me down flat as pay back. So the time between Oceanside and St George wasn't filled with a whole lot of quality workouts to prepare me for race day. Coming into race week I was physically and emotionally exhausted. The weather was stormy with a low barometric pressure front which makes me flare worse (more disease activity). I spent a majority of my days that week in bed with a heating pad wrapped around whichever part of me hurt the worst at the moment. I was not excited to do anything let alone race. But I managed to pack a bag and get in the truck when it was time to go. We left early Friday morning surrounded by thunderstorms, rain and wind. It made me nauseous and achy. I knew that my leg wasn't healed enough to run. My doctor had given me clearance to swim and bike but had recommended that I not run until the bone healed. I had paid for the insurance at the race and contemplated not starting, I did have a legitimate medical reason not to race. I had right up until the start of the race to decide, as long as I didn't cross the start line I could still get a refund. I told Josh that if it was stormy I wasn't going to race. Two of my last three races were under cold, miserable hypothermic conditions and I didn't need to prove anything, especially on a stress fracture (I have done that multiple times as well). I also knew that if I started I would want to finish and it would be hard to pull myself out of the race and not run. I know this sounds depressing. But everything quickly changed when we arrived in St George. We made it to athlete village and for a short time the sun was shining. It felt amazing! At both athlete check in and then at Sand Hollow for a pre-race swim with Salt Lake Tri Club I was surrounded by amazing friends and athletes whose excitement was contagious. It reminded me of why I was there. The fog I had been under all week was lifting, and I started to feel better. My body was still flaring but I had a better mental outlook to deal with it. We went to an early dinner with friends and then headed back to our condo to get ready for race day. Josh and I planned to go to bed early to be ready for an early morning wake up especially after getting up at 4 am that day. But my teenage daughter was at a dance competition and did not get home until 12:45. Even though we were away I couldn't go to sleep until I knew she had made it safely home. So not a lot of sleep pre-race. But really, who sleeps the night before a race anyway? Race morning went really smooth. I was still fighting the nausea that comes with a flare and had a hard time eating my bagel but I got it down and it stayed down. I also had a diet coke and a Core Power protein drink. My hands were still swollen and flaring but the majority of the flare was now under control. Josh drove us to the bus pick up and we weren't even on the very last bus headed to the lake. Once at the lake everything moved really fast. No sooner was I ready and it was time for me to wade into the water and wait for the signal for my wave to start. The swim went really well for me. The wind was already picking up but the waves weren't too bad and I wasn't cold. The exhaust from nearby boats was the biggest nastiness. As we swam the kayak crew was working to keep the swim lane narrow. I understand they did this for safety. I have watched from the shore how quickly it can get dangerous out on the lake if the wind picks up. But it felt like I was fighting to swim around kayaks the entire swim. I smacked one of them with my swollen hand and oh man did it hurt. Overall I enjoyed the swim. I passed swimmers and swimmers passed me. I was kicked and smacked but nothing too serious. Before I knew it I was climbing the boat ramp and hobbling across the parking lot to my bike. Time 50:01
Posted by Jodi at 2:59 PM
Monday, April 11, 2016
Oceanside 70.3 recap.
Posted by Jodi at 10:38 AM
IRONMAN New snorkel rule no longer allowing medical exception ..picking and choosing which disabilities it will accomadate. A letter to the United States Justice Department
As of March 1, 2016 IRONMAN (IM), under the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC), a subsidiary of the Chinese Wanda Group changed their policy regarding the use of a snorkel during the swim portion of the race. The rule change prohibits the use of a snorkel under any circumstance. In excess of ten years prior to March 1, 2016 the use of a snorkel was allowed with a medical exemption to allow an athlete with a physical disability to participate with the understanding that the individual using the snorkel would be exempt from any podium placement or from qualifying for a World Championship race slot. The disqualification from any possible accolade eliminated any possible advantage that the snorkel might possibly provide. Therefore, the only advantage to using a snorkel would be the medical necessity of its use to participate. This rule change is in direct violation of American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990 which states that reasonable accommodations, which is a change in the way things are typically done that the person needs because of a disability. For over a decade prior to March 1, 2016 IM and WTC were compliant with this act and made accommodations for athletes who had medically documented needs to use a snorkel to overcome disabilities to be allowed to participate. Now the organization is no longer compliant. I thought that perhaps IM did not realize the legality issue of the recent rule change and emailed them directly to address the issue. I emailed athlete services and was told that my email had been forwarded to the Global Operations Director and that she would be in contact with me soon. It has been more than three weeks and she has yet to respond. Athlete services has granted me the permission to participate with the snorkel with my medical documentation of disability in the events that I had signed up for under the previous policy but not moving forward. Moving forward I was told there will be no exception or allowance of the use of a snorkel. I also communicated directly with Jimmy Riccitello, IM’s head referee. I explained to him at length how the rule change discriminates against me and other athletes with physical disabilities. He stated that there are no plans to change the rule to allow snorkels. IRONMAN is the number one user-based sport brand in the world. IM’s marketing plan is based on the theme that “Anything Is Possible.” They market physically challenged athletes and celebrates the overcoming of challenges. They spotlight “everyday heroes” in the World Championship race in Kona, Hawaii. The organization works closely with the Challenged Athlete Foundation and accommodates physically challenged athletes to allow them to participate in their events. A few examples of accommodations include: - the use of a rope during the swim to tether a blind athlete to a guide - modified bicycles, tricycles to accommodate physical challenges - prosthetics - etc The rule change to no longer allow the use of a snorkel for an athlete with a medical necessity is blatant discrimination. Picking and choosing which disabilities IM is going to accommodate with reasonable accommodations is unacceptable. Especially given the fact that IM markets and celebrates disabilities that are easily seen and discriminates against an “invisible” disability. The following are examples of disabilities that make a snorkel medically necessary. This list is not all inclusive, just a very small sampling of reasons. Joe has had a double lung transplant. Inhaling water is a major concern for his lung health. However, the use of a snorkel minimizes this risk and has been approved by his doctor to effectively allow him to continue to participate in a sport that improves his quality of life. Mark had neck surgery and under the advisement of his neurosurgeon is not to swim without a snorkel to prevent reinjury. He has participated successfully with the use of a snorkel for the past six years. Emily has trigeminal neuralgia, an extremely painful facial pain condition. The pain is triggered by changes in pressure and touch. The constant motion of swimming without a snorkel is excruciating. The use of a snorkel allows her to keep her head in the water eliminating the trigger for her disabling condition. And I have rheumatoid arthritis and cervical degenerative disc disease with left sided radiculitis exacerbated by repeated cervical spine rotations as needed to breathe in freestyle swimming. Along with severe headaches caused by repeated cervical spine rotations. It is disabling to the point of loosing arm function. It physically disables me for days. However, the use of a snorkel eliminates the problem and I am able to swim safely. These athletes and many like them are not asking for anything extraordinary. Only that Ironman follow their own previously stated rule and allow for reasonable accommodations for an athlete with a physical disability in which a snorkel would allow them to participate. It is my hope that you to will see that the new rule change regarding the use of a snorkel by Ironman under the World Triathlon Corporation is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and help persuade them to reconsider and reinstate the medical exemption. Thank you for your consideration, Jodi Pettit
Posted by Jodi at 10:33 AM
Here is the link to the story in the Deseret News http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865618580/South-Jordan-mom-eyes-Boston-Marathon-despite-debilitating-disease.html?pg=all
Posted by Jodi at 10:32 AM