Saturday, June 28, 2008

Easy Squeasy

I pretty much did nothing of value with my fitness or nutrition this week. Nothing seems to make my urine clear up and I was jammed up with end of month work so I couldn't work out if I wanted to. Plus after a long drought I did back to back lunches at Taco Bell. I love making runs for the border.


On Saturday I woke up earlier than my usual and worked my way out to Canyon lake for a swim, deciding to do a short jog before hoping in the water. It was five minutes out and five back and not quite a mile but it felt great. I LOVE to run. Why God denied me the ability to run at two Ironmans causes me great displeasure and created much robust dialogue on my part.

After the run I was waiting for people to show up for the scheduled team swim and saw a really big snake about ten feet away. I used to be deathly afraid of snakes, after living on Guam, not so much. Even the nasty ones.

Only Andy showed up for the swim and I did about 1200 yards at a very easy pace. Still smoked me but I did it. Andy is prepping for Vineman so he did a bit more then bricked a really hard hill ride.

Fellow team mate and blogger Glen and his family is coming over tonight for a pool party. Our sons are about the same age and get along really well. My bro is in town for the week so will probably be at the parents house for much of tomorrow for a family get together.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A New Shiny Thing: Vibram Five Finger Shoes

I fell in love with Vibram in the Army. It is a company that makes soles for combat boots. If you have never been in the military or worn those types of boots they are also very common in civilian application for hiking boots and multi-use shoes. They are very well known for comfort and shock absorption.

Vibram now has its own 'shoe' called the Five Finger. Time Magazine called it one of the best inventions of 2007.

Look pretty weird, huh? Its essentially a glove for the feet with the soles laser cut so that there is the full and natural movement of a bare foot. They fit like a second skin and the bottoms have a very tactile, sticky feel to them.

The primary applications are for kayaking, boating, yoga, instances where bare feet are natural. It has been 'co-opted' by barefoot runners who need just a little bit more than zero protection. If this shoe actually catches on with the public, the Nike Free will drop off the face of the earth by the end of the year.

There are four versions. The Classic is a model without a strap over the foot. This first model was made for yoga and boating situations. When feedback came in that people where using them outdoors they felt like they would slip off when crossing streams so the Flow and KSO (Keep Stuff Out) models came on line. I purchased the Sprint which works for all the above applications plus appeals to runners. Only color available to me was Pearl and Orange which is fine by me but really wanted the Olive Drab military looking version. The Red version below is a bit boisterous for me. Screams, athletes foot.

I got them because I enjoy being barefoot but have tender feet. Walking outside barefoot is really not something I can do without pain. I own slippers and crocs and sandals but I think shower shoes are a terribly gross fashion statement outside the house and crocs can be really hot in the summer. Also none of those are very secure to the foot and I like to know that if I have to run or react quickly I can do so without losing my footwear. My intended purpose is to use them around pre/post endurance training and races; to & from swim workouts, before and after my rides and runs. I will also use them in the gym; the natural movement of the shoe will allow me to recruit more bio-mechanical feedback into my functional training. Of course use around the house is a foregone conclusion.

Because the shoe is not heel heavy, the wearer will walk naturally, therefore run naturally on the ball or mid foot right out of the box. For those people trying to overcome a heel strike or longer stride, this shoe would fit right in to the training regime. I think Chi or Pose runners will enjoy these the most. As someone who last year finally overcame his heel strike running style, I can say that I am a better runner now by far.

I spoke with someone who wore them for two days going through the Air and Space Museum in DC and loved them. However they are not meant to be a fully functional shoe for being on your feet all day and your body will need to adjust to them. To begin most toes are not be used to being individually sleeved and separated compared to the mitten like sock. The ankles and calves will take time to adjust to a new structural environments because the rigidity is missing but the all out force is not.

They're pretty goofy looking too. I have worn them out and get constant feedback on them. People ask if they can take pictures. Driving feels like its done barefoot. Climbing stairs is a much more tactile sensation. I can feel every rock or edge that would have had me yelping or acting like I was walking on eggs but don't suffer any of the slowness or pain I did before.

My advice is that if you are looking for a camp shoe, boating shoe, house shoe, part time exercise shoe and want to eschew the common running shoe or the trashy flip flop, try to find these. Go online first. They run in European sizes and from my experience and research they run a size lower than normal shoe wear. If you have a longer second toe (mutant) and seriously interested in trying them, some forums will have feedback on that 'condition' (mutant).

Have Fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Russian Roulette

Well three of my team mates, two of which are my primary training partners, Jeff and Hardcore, pulled the trigger on the 2009 Ironman CdA. None of them would have considered it had I not been talking about this event due to all the bloggers there last weekend and my overwhelming guilt for not being there myself to sherpa and fellowship.

I of course wanted to bite the bullet for next year. I logged into and stared at that screen. Each frenzied call asking me to go over the times for enrollment, what is the webpage address, I got in. It only made me happier for my friends and more melancholy for myself. Then realized if I completed the entry form it wouldn't be a hypothetical gun in my mouth but literally biting down on a cold hard barrel and blowing my brains out.

I knew this day was coming, when IM life would finally leave me behind kicking and screaming. I told myself that knowledge is power and in my condition it's not my place to debate the obvious stupidity of doing something like an Ironman that is well beyond the exertional stress my kidneys and liver can handle for the next several years if ever.

To hammer the point home, I have a test kit I am mailing out today. I don't think I would survive till morning if I came home telling Mistress, "Hey babe, I mailed off my metabolic test. By the way, signed up for another Ironman today." I can already smell the April Fresh fabric softener on the pillow case that would be smothering me in bed.

There is more to life than Ironman. I'm over it. My hang up is not that I can't do the race, its that I want to be there in training for my friends and supporting them every stroke, pedal and stride like we have done for each other for almost four years. I still want to be relevant. I've heard its hard to be that when your dead.

Healing old pains

Monday was a really great day for me. My godfather is in town for a week helping my mom help my dad recover from a neck surgery. Mo was already there so Mistress and I stayed for a steak dinner. Mistress bbq'd steak and I bought desert. Worked out for them and us since the a/c is still out at our place.

I came home around midnight and putz'd around for a few moments with the dog and surfing cable and caught the last few minutes of United 93 about the September 11th hijacking. I have avoided any movie about 9/11, the live feed I watched and the subsequent replys of WTC coming down are more than I need for the rest of my life. It is still so raw for me, believe it or not.

I think I have mentioned in the past that that day changed the paradigm of my life in fundamental ways.

In September 2001, I had not had sugar or caffeine for over five years. I was a powerlifter weighing 225 pounds and starting a diet for a body building show I was doing around Thanksgiving. On the 11th, a Tuesday, I was several days into a fishing trip in Montana with my dad and godfather and couple other guys. I had just toured Little Bighorn as part of a historical military exercise and was staying at a military base in Helena on the 10th and 11th.

I was trying to get the gang out the door, it must have been a bit after 7am and we were dawdling. I went to turn off the tv and Bryant Gumbel came on with a special announcement saying a plane had hit the WTC. I called everyone in and thought out loud that it must have been a plane malfunction. Something similar had happened not long back.

As a camera showed the plumes coming from the building, I saw the second plane in the background. I knew then and I don't know how that this was something much more than pilot error. We all stood agape as the second plane hit the WTC in real time. Man.

I remember sitting down and saying, "My life will never be the same." I then asked my godfather for a cup of coffee and a candy bar. My demand was almost as unnerving as the tv, I had been eating nothing but chicken breasts and ground beef for four days as part of my contest diet. I had relented to a few beers on the river but unmoved with taunts of sugar and espresso, up till that minute. Everyone knew how long I'd been off those items and to drink two cups of coffee and three candy bars was profound. Needless to say we sat there for about an hour. I could have sat there all day and would have if at home. But we decided that it was best to let the process play out and console ourselves by fishing.

I realized that day on the river that my life was too much time spent in the gym. Between work and workouts I spent between 80-85 hours a week in a gym environment. Even the running I had done outdoors became a treadmill chore because of the desert heat. Mentally I dropped out of the bodybuilding contest. How could I be so vain at that moment? I decided I couldn't exercise in a gym any longer and thats the spark that turned me back towards my dreams of competing in endurance events, eventually triathlons. I also decided my life needed more variety and I added carbohydrates back into it. I went from 80% protein to a 40/30/30 plan, denying myself nothing with moderation.

By the end of the day, we had to drop my dad off at a state level military meeting, he was the third highest ranking officer in the state. By the end of the week, my brother was gone for a year, as a member of the first guard unit called to service in the GWOT. The fishing trip ended with my godfather and I saluting my father as he lifted off a tarmac in a heavily armed gunship to prepare his soldiers for the unknown. I flew out, trying to explain to the guards in the airport that hemostats to pull out fish hooks were not dangerous and should be allowed on the plane. They were.

I didn't have a son then. I had been married for quite a while and had a business that had started a few years earlier but I was ready to go back into the service. I looked into it but they didn't want me at the time. I had been out five years and that was too long for them at my age and job ability, Infantry officers are a dime a dozen.

With the changes I made to my diet and exercise and stress, I lost fifty pounds getting the anger out of me at what had happened to my country and the politics that came after. I was preparing my body for the combat I felt would be placed on me, but the call never came, even when I called them.

With all things the pain lessoned and I put on some much needed weight. Mistress changed too. She had been adamantly opposed to kids but less than a year later she was pregnant. I think I can blame 9/11 for her change too. I sometimes selfishly wonder 'What If' that day never happened. Would I be a father? Would I have done an Ironman? Would I have the balance in my life with work and nutrition that I did not have then?

Watching just twenty minutes of United 93 pulled this out me just now. I do not think I can watch it all, yet. I have a "9/11" CD of saved videos, images and articles from the internet that I saved for my son. To show him what really happened as opposed to the revisionist views that I knew he would be taught in school. I don't want to forget, nor think I ever will. People remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, or when Challenger exploded. I remember 9/11 just as clearly.

Thanks for reading something I had to get out of me before bed.

Monday, June 23, 2008

And the winners are...

Everyone who did Ironman CdA yesterday. I was on the pc almost every hour and around 8pm started updating every ten minutes. I am so proud of my blogging friends who pulled it out. It appeared to be almost perfect race conditions, barring the sub 60* water. I can not wait to get the race reports.

Although my training has been revoked by the doctors, I still managed to get myself on the bike for 15 mile ride Sunday. Took less than an hour, I went probably a bit too hard, but I blame the gear slippage for that more than myself. I was very honest with my ability and when everyone else went on for more loops, I stopped and got off my bike after one. I think that is 'one' workout for general health.

The extreme weather alerts are abating for a few days and I'd like to get out on the trail with some running. Its a lot cooler at 105* than 115*.

Over the weekend one of the a/c units went out, the downstairs. It would climb to the mid-90's so we found ourselves upstairs most of the time since that unit was working. Yes I have two full size a/c units, one for each floor. This happened with the same unit last weekend and the motor was replaced. Thank god for home warranties.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I pity my wife

I suppose it all about perspective. I admit that given my own mental toughness I will for the most part ignore an injury to do what I want to do. The more perspective I get the easier it is to relate to what I am going through in relation to normal everyday life.

Yesterday my dad checked into the hospital for neck surgery. They cleared out some scar tissue from Vietnam (grenade injury) that was constricting movement and blood flow. Cleaned off some spurs and sort of reset everything to its proper place at its proper tension. It was a pretty long operation.

He is already out of the hospital and can start doing workouts next week.

I spent almost five days in the hospital after Ironman, two months ago, and still not cleared for 'normal' exercise. Mistress has to play a delicate dance here she sees the anger in my rise. She can't say HTFU because then I'd just retaliate with a ridiculous brick, because that's the kind of stupid guy I am. So she appeals to my perspective, "Having a fairly routine neck surgery is not the same and total kidney and liver failure. There is a big difference between dealing with pain, which drugs can handle and dealing with death, which most drugs can't handle. Your a wingnut."

There are some days I really think I may wake up with a pillow over my face with the crap I toss my wife.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not stupid

Okay, (big sigh) I am working out today. Yes I know that I recently just posted that my training has been revoked by the doctors because I was being to aggressive and the heat has caused me some issues. But, I was also told to be concerned about my general fitness and health and as my brutha Bolder put it, "They just want you to maintain your health, not move up any fitness levels."

Today I am going to swim. A 1,000 yard open water swim that normally takes me about 18 minutes and I will take it very slow finishing in around 22 minutes. I will be wearing a long john wet suit and have a bug out point. I promise to drink water while swimming. The water temps here are still pretty cool so I will not overheat while in the water.

I am not trying to push any extremes, nor was I trying to do so before. Without that first feedback from my doctors I was doing what I figured was pretty easy to me. I did cancel training when I felt my body was already down and I tried to be appreciative of how I had to recover.

Two of my tests will be turned into the labs next week with one more on the way to me. Hard to believe that Megan, who donated a kidney the same week mine failed is already back to races and training.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Training privileges have been revoked.

There are multiple layers to contend with here but a big sway on the part of the doctors was the temperature outside. The last five days have all been over 110* with single digit humidity (8% as I write this) so regardless if inside/outside, day/night, every body fights dehydration now. Even with our a/c set to 79* inside, sleeping under a fan and with humidifiers going, hydration is a battle I am losing.

I think I have mentioned earlier that I am having a hard time with clearing my urine despite copious amounts of hydration. Well breaking down my body by exercise is not going to improve that condition. Add heat. Add physical, intellectual and emotional stress. Add already damaged kidneys and liver. The sum total is I am already and still behind the eight ball.

In reviewing what training I have done since they told me I could, the doctors also factored in that I was too aggressive from their point of view. They released me to do activities that kept exertions low and promoted general health, NOT specific training for triathlons and CrossFit programs which is what I have been doing. My bad. hehe.

So its back the trinity of civilian live often mentioned by my first Platoon leader many years ago, "You'd rather be home eating bon bons, drinking Schlitz, and fingering (pervert) your remote control."

Fortune Favors the Bold.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Stopping at the lights

The heat has really hit the roof here, its been over 110 the last few days and will be over that for the week. I am finding it harder to keep the urine anywhere near clear/yellow and that has been my leading indicator to exercise. When its too dark, I don't risk anything outdoors. I am learning.

Of course I could learn to do stuff indoors, buts that's another story.

I have loved sleeping in before work and having more time with the family at night. Its almost like a normal life in America. I've taken so much off of Mistresses plate that she has the time and energy to read before bed. Something she hasn't done in years.

I am still antsy for exercise but my motivation is not where it used to be. I guess after two months, has it only been two months since the hospital, I am finally contemplating my mortality ahead of my motivation. Fitness is my life and its ever present in my thoughts but so is enjoying where fitness has brought me.

I know that some day soon the mental alarm clock in my head will wake me up at a quarter to five and I will get back to the morning program. That one hour of my day that is either "the preclude to things to come later on" or t"he only training I was able to squeeze in." But it got done.

Charlie Mike

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Comes around

Ya know, regardless of the torture I put my body through I have a pretty okay life. Its not completely recession proof, Mistress and I can argue, Mo can ignore me, work can suck, training can be none existant but nevertheless I and my family have a really good life. Really we're blessed.

I think part of my optimism is that I like to help people and I am completely surprised when I get something in return. The other day I was staring at my desk for hours. really up to my neck in work. A maintenance employee asked if he could leave his new laptop in my office instead of his truck because it was too hot. Of course. I mean c'mon, that's easy.

He was working on the roof it was over 100* up there so he'd come down, sit in my office in the back and we'd chat though he knew I was swamped. After some complaints he had about the laptop I offered to take a look at it and ended up spending a couple hours cleaning up the programs, loading up new software from my personal stash and optimizing his system to be compatible with the rest of the company.

He was really taken aback. We're a modest size company but he comes from a blue collar background where in his past someone like me wouldn't talk with him or offer to do something nice for him. That kind of sucks, I'll talk to anyone without fear. But I don't think he ever expected me to know so much about the Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs he breeds or that I'd know so much about firearms and teach hhim about some of the psychology behind different NATO weapons. Then jump on a laptop and go all Geek Squad on him. I probably saved him about $300 in software, set up and training and he was really grateful.

A couple days later he came back with a gift. A thoughtful one actually. We'd had one of those "need a knife" moments when I was helping him and I pulled out the closest four to my desk. He pulled out a Leatherman and I've never owned one so I asked if I could use it instead of my own comparible multi-tool. The gift he gave me for helping him out with the computer was a new Leatherman.

I was pretty humbled. I suppose the morale to the story is never be afraid to make a friend or at least invest in others and you will surprised at how your paid back for being yourself.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I have wrecked my brain trying to explain why this quote from Steve Prefontaine resonates so strongly with me. Perhaps, in the end, those that that have been following me, it speaks for itself.
"A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more. "
Steve Prefontaine
I am obviously not the lead-from-the-front aggressive that PRE was, nor do I have his physical ability. Inside all of us however is the potential to see if you have enough guts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sitting is Active Recovery?

When you watch the local news tonight take a gander at the southwest and you'll see its now pretty hot. Not officially hot, that happens when the ten day forecast is nothing but 110+ degree highs and 90 degree lows. On the flip side I did hear that Aspen's Ski Lodge will be open this weekend for Fathers Day. Last chance to hit the snow!

I have been a good boy, if not a bit lazy. Last Saturday I went to a triathlon and volunteered. Just doing my part and it was enough to wipe me out the rest of the day. It made me a little worried about training.

Since Ironman and the whole liver & kidney failure thing, I drink about a gallon of water a day, if not more. Since Saturday, no matter how much I drink I can't get my urine to clear out. It goes from tea to yellow but as of yet it hasn't been close to clear. So to be honest I have been giving myself a forced rest. I may try to do a little something today just to test the color of my next #1 but nothing to hard. In the meantime I have been trying not to exert myself too much and drink as much fluids as I can. Sittings enough right?

I figure its going to cost about eight grand out of pocket to cover the hospitals, doctors, tests and travel I will have to do this year to get my Rhabdo under control. That's a tough pill to swallow, but we have to believe that in the end, I will have all the answers I need to live a healthy and productive life. Its an investment in my future.

I have received two of three tests from the Seattle clinic that I can do at home. I have to follow some routines for a couple weeks before I can complete them and send them in. A third test will be coming soon. Then it looks like a trip up there.

I really hope all of you in the midwest are okay and sorta dry. My thoughts are will all of you.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Crap this week has flown by. I seriously could have posted twice as much as I did with all the stuff going on. The big event for me this week: I RODE MY BIKE Thursday. It has been almost two months. Wow. In fact I still had my aero drink bottle on it with Gatorade sloshing around from the Ironman. Gross.

In fact it wasn't just a bike ride, it was a brick. I also did a 2 mile run off the one hour bike.

I didn't get a lot of distance but the saddle time was good. Man my legs were not used to being back on a bike. Its took me several minutes to get my cadence up over 90 and I stayed in the Big Ring /Base +2, +3, +4 almost the whole time. (Base is the middle gear of a rear 9 speed cassette, so Base +4 is the "granny gear").

Whether it is because I have no concept of what an easy workout is or I am just so new at being back on a program or it's a condition of my Rhabdo., I am smoked the day after a workout. My whole body is just in agony and I am unable to apply myself correctly to another practice. My hope is that this is just 'starting up again' stuff and will go away but if it is a part of my Rhabdo., then I will learn to deal with my new reality.

Be well my fine friends and have a great training weekend.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Every other

I am pretty frigging sore today. Go figure.

I realized last night that I haven't touched my bike since Ironman, almost two months ago. That kinda shocked me. The bottles were still in the cages and I just threw them away. I was going to ride in to work today but I was too sore this morning and in the end I have to do some traveling so it worked out for the best.

After a full week of training I don't really feel any stronger, faster or more fit than when I was wasn't working out. Then again it is only one week. It will take at least a month to see any real progress. The way I am feeling after the workouts I have done, I am going to stagger training with a high day and low day. The high days will be endurance and strength and the lows just endurance, even if that is just running a couple miles right now.

Having Fun

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ebb and Flow

Most of us who claim honest work, can attest that each month has an ebb and flow to it. You can almost predict or know absolutely when the busiest days will be; payroll, inventory, closeout, meetings and what not.

Traditionally the first week of every new month is my busiest and yesterday the first business day was no exception. I used to get up real early to workout or simply scheduled Mondays off which wasn't such a bad idea after the grueling weekend training I got to do.

Yesterday came and went I didn't workout. I didn't feel bad about it either. It was planned and it did not happen. Too busy as usual doing my closeout. On the other hand I did convict myself for not eating (at all) or drinking (at all) while putting in a 12 hour work day. Come to think of it I didn't get up to use the rest room either. Its a little bit weird that I can sit for so long and not even realize it.

Today was much better. I went into the weight room and knocked out some power cleans and dead lifts and then ran 3 miles in 30 minutes outside. Whew, watch my dust. My goal is to put a little more functional training into my life to build up some more muscle strength. I really neglected this part of fitness over the last year. The powerlifting routine allows me to hit my whole body, really freaking hard, in about 15 minutes. Probably not the workout that my Rhabdo doctors would prescrip but nevertheless....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chipping In

For those of you who thought, myself included, that the weekend would be a non-stop workout, you would be surprised. Again myself included.

Friday I was actually too sore to workout so I did a very minimal body weight program and then played zombie freeze tag with Mighty Mo. I actually look very forward to going to the park with Mo as he can play and I can workout using the available equipment. I had a very hard time sleeping Friday night and promised Mistress I'd let her sleep in Saturday. My two hours of sleep and full day with Mo wiped me out. We saw a movie, rode the Merry Go Round at the mall, shopped for shoes for him, bought some chocolate for Mistress, got haircuts. And drove around looking for cans for the 'dune buggy fund'.

Sunday aztriclub held an underground duathlon (s/r) at Canyon lake. Big turnout which was great and a BBQ was after. I had no intention of doing any part of it but at the last minute, casual shorts and a tank top, I ran 2 miles with Ken after his swim. I felt really good.

At the end of the weekend, I was surprised I had not done more. I see it as a sign of maturity that my enthusiasm was tempered by having fun and going slow.

Have Fun