Pueblo’s Tormoen Survives Scare…..Prepares to Resume Racing

by | Jul 1, 2001 | News Articles

July, 2001 Fit to be Tied Column

From the Pueblo Chieftain
by Gary Franchi

Pueblo’s Tormoen Survives Scare…..Prepares to Resume Racing

The Garden was no party for Maddy Tormoen last month.

On the surface, everthing seemed cool. The 39-year-old Puebloan ran a great Garden of the Gods 10-Mile Run in Colorado Springs on June 10 and was the overall women’s winner with her time of 1:05:02 (one hour, five minutes and two seconds).

But that’s where the good part ended. Immediately afterward, there were problems.

Tormoen felt lightheaded after crossing the finish line. Moments later, a reporter approached Maddy, who said she needed to walk for a while, which she noted is unlike her.

“I said to her, ‘I don’t feel good,’ Tormoen recalled recently. “She said, ‘You don’t look too good.’ “

Before she knew it, Maddy was being attended to by an emergency medical staff, who discovered her heart was racing at 294 beats a minute. The attendees eventually gave her heart a “shock” to settle it down, and then she was taken by ambulance to Memorial Hospital.

There she learned she had a congenital heart problem and, like Vice President Dick Cheney, she now sports an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) to help regulate her heartbeat. She also is now on medication that polarizes her heartbeat.

An ICD is a device that is surgically inserted and serves as a heartbeat watchguard. It is like a small computer than runs on a battery, and it sports a lead wire that sends signals from the heart to the ICD.

In retrospect, Tormoen had been receiving the wrong signals since 1995, when she passed out briefly while running intervals in Chicago. More recently, she had a 10-second dizzy spell while riding a stationary bike at the Pueblo YMCA in 1999, and in January 2000 had another brief “passout” after sitting down during another dizzy spell while doing intervals.

She also dropped out of marathons in Las Vegas in February and in Cincinnati in early May.

“There was a part of me that knew this was serious,” Tormoen explained recently. “The good thing about it is that this didn’t happen when I was out by myself in the boonies somewhere.”

But with the medication and defibrillator, Maddy is resuming her normal life. She rode a stationary bike for a week after her release from Memorial Hospital, and then resumed her running.

This Sunday, she will defend her women’s title in the Summer Roundup Trail Run, a 12-kilometer (7.4 miles) race in Colorado Springs. It is the second leg of her first Triple Crown of Running in the Springs, with the Garden having been the first leg. If everything goes all right Sunday, she plans to train for the third leg of the series – the Pikes Peak Ascent on Aug. 18.

A former world-class duathlete, Tormoen is among the elite runners in Colorado and pretty much wherever she races in the country. Besides winning the Garden, she recently also was the top overall female in the Horsetooth Half-Marathon (1:27:56) in the spring, and she was the top Pueblo female at the Bolder Boulder 10K (38:25).

She has been mentally and physically priming herself for entering the masters division when she turns 40 in December, and she is especially honing in on the marathon. With the new ICD, her running career shouldn’t miss a beat.

Women’s Race Saturday

Women will be taking over City Park this Saturday morning. They’ll be there for the annual Women’s Distance Festival, a 5K run/walk that makes Pueblo one of dozens of such women-only races held throughout the country.

Puebloan Marijane Martinez has been the local WDF’s choreographer for many years, and she’ll be directing again in hopes that the race continues its growth pattern of recent years. Particularly attractive to participants is that all ability levels are represented, including first-time racers.

Walkers start at 7:45 a.m. and runners at 8 o’clock. As has been the tradition since Judy Tucker launched this race in the ’70s, men produce this race for the women.

Pioneer Run Set

Runners love to get out of town for new adventures, and the Pioneer 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, July 21, in Colorado City gives them that chance. This race has two big caveats. For one, the course is on the Hollydot Golf Course cart trails and a fairway, which is pretty rare. Two, there is a free pancake breakfast afterward for all participants. What a winning combination!

Beulah Run Popular

This may sound a tad hokey, but people from all over the country show up to run the Beulah Challenge, which this year will get its sixth annual run on Saturday, Aug. 4. Last year there were runners from New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Washington and Kansas. Oh, and Colorado. Competitors ranged from 7 to 75 years of age, making this a true sport for all ages.

The race includes a 5K walk and a 10K run at an altitude of 6,500 feet. It’s a challenging course made more so by the occasional four-legged creature that wanders on it. Beulah Arts Council and Southern Colorado Runners members get an entry fee discount.

Multi-sport news

The Dorsey-Spitz tradition of competing in the Ironkids Triathlon Series will continue on July 15 when Loren, 10, will be in the field at the Louisville Recreation Center near Boulder. Older siblings Ryan, Jenna and Brendan are all Ironkids veterans who are beyond the Ironkids age limit (14) and have graduated to other things in life.

Ryan is devoting his energies to the Air Force while Jenna is concentrating on her running this summer as she prepares for her senior year of high school. Brendan, 15, is still in the multi-sport training mode and will do the Boulder Kids Triathlon on August 11.

Possibly the top current U.S. male triathlete — Hunter Kemper — is a former Ironkids national champion. Kemper trains in Colorado Springs and formerly was coached by George Dallam, who teaches at the University of Southern Colorado.

Congratulations to Pueblo’s Mike Orendorff, 49, for taking first place in the 45-49 age division of the Cheyenne Mountain Sprint Triathlon on June 24. Kemper mentioned above was the overall winner …

Multi-sport fans looking for a different adventure should consider the XTERRA Triathlon on July 29 at the Keystone Resort. The event consists of a 1K swim, 26K mountain bike and 10K trail run, and there is a half-distance triathlon, too. Mountain bike racing in different skill levels will be held on July 28 in the same locale, and there will be an expo over the two-day sports festival. For information, call 1-877-751-8880.

Upcoming area races

Entry forms for all local races can usually be found in the inside foyer at the YMCA in downtown Pueblo and just inside the second front entrance door at the Gold Dust Saloon on Union Avenue. If you can’t find forms at either of those locations, call the respective race’s director at the number listed below.

* July 7 – Women’s Distance Festival, 5K run/walk, 7:45 a.m., Pueblo City Park. (564-6043)
* July 21 – Pioneer 5K Run/Walk, 7 a.m., Colorado City Community Center. (676-3353)
* Aug. 4 – Beulah Challenge, 10K run and 5K walk, 8 a.m., Beulah School. (485-3820)

See ya next month.

Send comments and fitness information to Gary Franchi via e-mail at gfranchi@fone.net.