Sunday, June 07, 2009


One thing that is so nice about FANS is that it is so close to home. Minneapolis is only an hour drive away from home so I am able to sleep in, eat an early breakfast, drink some coffee, pack up the car and be on my way.

In the 8 years that I have been running FANS I don't believe that I have run one where it has rained. All. Day. Long.

Well, actually we began before the rain started. It began to rain a few hours in and it would not let up. It was so wet that my fingernail polish began to bubble off and my nails are opaque.

As I pulled into a spot on the street I knew it was going to rain so decided to just leave all of my gear in the car. I didn't bring a tent and didn't want my bag of items getting soaked on the grass. I laid everything out in an orderly fashion and then left to pick up my packet and number.

Lots of familiar faces. I remember the first few years I ran FANS I didn't know anyone at the race. Over the years I now associate certain runners with FANS. Lots of meeting and greeting. Great fun.

I decided to begin running in a long sleeve and shorts. It was cool, 45F and windy. I figured I'd add a jacket when the rain began. As it turned out, I probably waited too long to add a jacket. I was freezing, soaking wet when I finally decided to go to my car and change shirts, bra and add my dry jacket. Ah, it felt so good.

I brought along plenty of gear; gloves, jackets, long sleeves, pants, name it I had it. I had HEED, Hammergel, Red Bull, Sandwiches. Everything I needed.

After about 2 hours I knew I wasn't in the race mentally. You know, you can have the physical training in but if you aren't in it mentally, you just aren't in. I wasn't in. It has been almost a year since I've been in an ultra mentally. I guess the flame began to flicker around the time of the Voyageur 50 last July. I've tried to get it to burn bright again, but it just isn't there. I'm OK with that now. I wasn't feeling my groove. I wasn't in the race when I mailed in my entry. Probably why I waited until last minute to sign up.

I was tired. Topaz has been sick and I've been sick with worry. I haven't been sleeping well. I decided I'd run anyway, thought I might have a last hurrah at FANS. I had a hurrah, a 12 hour hurrah.

At 730 Steve called. I became worried. In the two seconds it took me to answer my cell I had a zillion thoughts that went through my head. Topaz is worse. Troy was injured at baseball. My Mom's results came in. Tyler had an accident at work. It was the former.

Last week I applied Frontline onto Topaz. I had used Frontline 4 years ago and Topaz became ill. He would vomit, became very mucousy and just off. I knew it was the Frontline. I didn't give him anymore after that first application. Last year Topaz ended up with Lyme's. I decided to again try Frontline this year so that he wouldn't have Lyme's.

I shouldn't have. The reaction from Lyme's would have been better than the reactions from the Frontline poisoning.

I noticed last weekend that while running in back of Topaz his left ear was down lower than the right. When deer flies are biting, his left side is cocked downward a bit. There were no deer flies and his head wasn't cocked. His head was level but the ear was sunk down. Odd. I noticed that he looked back at me, as if questioning me. Questioning about what?

When we arrived home I checked him over closely. His left eye had been tearing since the day before. I realized that the left eyelid wasn't blinking. The right would blink, the left eye would roll back, but not blink. The left side of his mouth was becoming slack. His tongue was drooping, and looked longer than ever.

I continued to watch him closely and gave him a vigorous bath, trying to wash the Frontline from his skin, although I imagine it had already been absorbed into his skin.

On Thursday I brought Topaz to the vet. She told me he did indeed have partial paralysis of the face. It could stem from the brain or something else..she didn't think it was the Frontline. I am not so sure. I have since researched Frontline and have found that 44000 dogs became ill, suffered seizures or death last year. The EPA is going to place a warning on Frontline 'in the near future'.

After speaking with Steve I finished the lap that I was on, bawling, and came to the timing tent looking for Maria. I told her what had been happening with Topaz and that I was done. I was meeting Topaz and Steve at the ER vet.

Maria walked me off the course, thankfully my car as all packed with my gear. I quickly changed shirt, bra and jacket out on the street and drove off from FANS.

11.5 hours 55.5 miles. Good enough for me!

We found that Topaz also has a tooth infection of some sort. The vet put him on an antibiotic and confirmed these seizures could be neurological or maybe this infection is causing nerve damage to the face. This vet confirmed problems and reactions from Frontline.

He will have surgery this next week.

Physically I am fine. No soreness, tightness, blisters, etc. Mentally I feel like I've been hit by a Mack truck. This morning Topaz seems a bit more himself. It is so strange. His neurosis's are magnified by whatever is going on with him. He is running circles constantly around the kitchen, herding Toffee nonstop, all of his issues are magnified. The vet told me to go ahead and exercise him, not in the heat and not to exhaustion. This morning we went for a 5 mile cool walk. It's 43F and drizzling. STILL! He did fine.

Back to FANS. John Storkamp: congrats on your run! My god, a machine. It was fun to watch you lap me over and over. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers that stayed outside in that horrific weather. Ugh. You are angels! The crew, pacers and family members of the runners! I can't believe how many people were sitting, running, cheering on their runners in that crappy weather. How wonderful you all are.

Thanks FANS, I've had a blast over the years.


Mark H. said...

Sorry about Topaz. I had Lyme disease about 10 years ago and know that Bell's Palsy is not unusual in people. Sounds exactly like what Topaz has. Although I never got Bell's Palsy, I noticed that the nerves in my face were 'not normal' and I could never remember where I parked my car when I got out of work. I had no motivation and didn't want to do anything physical. I expect dogs have a tough time with it too. I hope Topaz recovers soon.

Cynical Dirt Doll said...

Oh Julie.. I'm so sorry about Topaz, I'm sending all my good, healing thoughts and energy to him. Frontline is evil, evil stuff. My Great Dane would get sick for days whenever I used it.. I'm kinda dense so it took me 3 applications until I figured out the connection. I've been able to avoid using it by being really proactive about tick checking, but he's not a running trail dog like your Topaz so his risk is much lower. Stay strong!

nwgdc said...

Really sorry to hear about wife just ordered Frontline for our doggy, and I was a bit concerned about it also...being a Chiropractor, I question this kind of stuff by nature.
Please keep us updated!

Kel said...

Sending good thoughts to you and Topaz...

christian said...

I don't know if it's any better, but we use "Revolution" on our three dogs and have for well over 5 years.

I have a 130 lb rottie, a 70 pound shepherd, and 40 pound beagle and all three suffer zero notable negative symptoms of any kind.

I don't know if that helps, but I understand the "pet love"-thing and thought I'd share.

Kel said...

Christian - a 40 pound beagle?!?!?

johnmaas said...

I saw you at FANS and then didn't after 8PM. This explains it.
Hope Topaz gets well soon!