This Is Why
In my November 25th blog I took responsibility for my actions, pointed no fingers. Today I will answer 5 questions:
1-Why didn’t I wait up to 30 days to start taking medication per the USADA handbook?
2-Why didn’t I take a conditionally prohibited alternative?
3-Why did I race on medication?
4-Why did you race without an approved TUE?
5-If I was ill, why did I race?
1-Why didn’t I wait up to 30 days to start taking medication per the USADA Handbook?
August 2016-May 2017. Life experience shapes our actions. In the course of 10 months I got run over by a truck, my infant son lived in the ICU much of the time on a ventilator, my dad had a cardiac arrest, and I lost my grandfather. My health comes first, because without my health I have no career.
2-Why did I not take a conditionally prohibited alternative?
At the time I did not know enough about inhalers to even know what to look up. Let’s face it, after being involved in this process for a year, USADA’s and WADA’s doctors do not even agree on the proper treatment. How would I have known with no medical training? Yet the more I think about this answer, this reply just scratches the surface. If your child looks like this:
Or your leg is splayed open like this after getting run over:
Are you going to request anything less than the best medical treatment? Why should we accept second rate medical treatment when we are ill? My answer is absolutely not,. Which is why I did not deny, point fingers, or make excuses when it came to taking Breo. I followed my doctors’ orders and got healthy.
3-Why did you race on medication?
My doctor gave me a 28 day treatment and you finish your prescription to make sure you are back to normal. You do not stop taking medicine after 15 days when you start feeling better. In addition, I was still hacking shit out of my lungs.
4-Why did you race not having an approved TUE?
On October 25th I called the TUE & drug reference lead for USADA, Ben Wheeler. This was 4 hours prior to him sending the generic USADA TUEC submission email sited in the arbitrator’s sanctioning letter. It had been 10 days since my Acute TUE was faxed to USADA and it still had NOT been submitted to the TUE Committee for review. On the phone call he said he had all the information that he needed and it would be processed by the end of the day. Next, we discussed competing, at which point Mr. Wheeler told me I would have to “balance the risk.” He said to keep in mind “You can race, but you would be doing so without an active TUE.”
Let’s talk about “balancing the risk.” If for some remote reason, my TUE was denied Kate Mittelstadt, who directs Ironman’s Anti-Doping program, in an email on Nov 29, 2017 clearly educates me on why a warning for taking Breo is a proper sanction. Below is Ms. Mittelstaadt email response when I inquired about how Lisa Roberts could only get a warning for taking Breo.
Kate Mittelstadt establishes that it is of utmost importance for “uniformity of decisions.” Here are the 7 cases USADA has handled for Breo, all were sanctioned prior to the athletes ever filing a TUE.
There is great uniformity of decisions, a warning to 3 months. Risk was balanced. If I race and the TUE gets approved, case closed. If it gets denied I would get 0-3 months per Kate Mittelstadt. Then on December 13, 2019 when I called Ms. Mittelstadt after my TUE was rejected, she said that Ironman is unwilling to negotiate from a 4 year sanction for taking Breo.
5- If you were ill why did you race?
Racing is what puts food on the table and clothes on my kids. I have raced concussed, with fractures in different parts of my body, muscles strained or pulled, ill with the flu, vomiting uncontrollably from food poisoning, stitches in my foot, wounds epoxied shut. For at least 20 starts of my career I would not have passed a physical. Most of those days led to paychecks and some to podiums. If I can breathe, I will race.