Friday, January 30, 2009

Pulled through fine

Mo had his annual exam today, a sigmoidoscopy to check on his Colitis. He did very well, such a trooper. It is never fun for me to be the hospital but its worse watching someone put my son under anesthesia.

They did give him some good stuff though and watching Mo trip on painkillers and Valium is funny. He stares at this fingers for minutes on end, he says the funniest nonsensical things.

I took a bunch of pictures before and after. This being the one that summed up the whole morning.

We are at home now and he is watching some cartoons upstairs with Mistress. I am staying home today to finish a project for work and see what happens with Mo's recovery and the pregnancy. Any day, any minute, Mistress will pop.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Spinning plates.

So much is going on and even some of it is training. Mistress is due to pop at any moment. Which has the whole family waiting on pins and needles. Every time she calls, I wonder if this is going to be the BIG call.

I have been trying to bank as much sleep as possible. Not easy with the work load I have recently shouldered or assumed. Working 15 hours a day and sleeping 3-4 hours a night and staying hydrated and eating right (hopefully) every three hours and getting in my training, and trying to be cognizant of the impending birth is daunting. Not overwhelming, Lord knows my stress envelope is pretty fricken big.

Consequently I am super revved up to get my projects at work done. And man do I have some projects going on. I highly doubt I will be able to get it all done in time and that frustrates me and is a significant reason for my lack of posting.

After three great weeks of solid training, I woke up Sunday with a body that was shot. It was Tuesday before I started feeling that I should resume training. The process was much less painful than I thought probably due to the fact that I knew I will be training again as soon as my body recovers properly. So last night I got in a short swim. Felt good.

Have Fun

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Practical application

There are days that I write posts simply to motivate myself and there are days that I post because I know if the topic enough in my head its like a session in affirmation. Yesterdays post on the Flywheel, was such a post.

I was very torn between a workout and going to see a movie, opening day of Underworld 3. Then speaking with Mistress it was decided we would take movie night on the road and take the three of us to see Inkheart and then dinner. The time is getting short for just the three of us to bond together before the baby comes.

I still wanted to see my movie but knew doing so would cancel my workout for the day. So I made the right decision and worked out. In fact it was the longest run I have done since getting the green light and my HR was great.

In truth I need that previous post as much as anyone.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Flywheel

At the beginning of every new training plan is the fits and starts of progress. A great day of eating right, then... a late night snack. Several days of good training, then...a blown off workout for no reason.

Much like the flywheel on a train that slips and slides through its first few rotations, eventually it does bite and rotates smoothly. But slowly.

The flywheel gets faster as it rotates. Its builds momentum, so much so that it will take miles of track for it to stop once again. Nothing you throw at the flywheel will stop its momentum only the act of achieving the destination does it begin to stop.

Now imagine your training plan or your nutrition as that flywheel. It takes time but once momentum has been achieved, no taunts from co-workers, no cold mornings, no sabotage from 'friends' will derail your progress.

Remember that only you can stoke the fires that power your flywheel. If you do not build momentum, then you will constantly fight against slips and fitful starts. Be strong in the beginning. Change from rest to movement is not easy but with consistent application of force (willpower) you will pick up speed and nothing will stop your progress.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Don't be a slave to the plan

How many times have I said that 'consistency is the key', in regards to fitness? Too many it seems but it bears repeating. To be clear, I believe that consistency is different that putting in the time. Just blindly following a training plan wears away some of the best aspects of your what your trying to accomplish, it takes the fun out, it becomes a chore. Blind devotion diminishes the underlying controls you need to learn in order to have long term results. Without them the goal becomes bigger than the lifestyle and as soon as the goal is reached, the body-mind connection craves another goal rather than sticking to a successful routine.

I am applying this to training plans but its just as easy to apply to nutrition. If someones overall goal is to lose 20 pounds, they make sacrifices to their lifestyle than as soon as the goal is reached out comes the food that were 'denied' and the weight comes back on. If moderation was used, using the food that the person already eats but making sure the total number of calories are correct, then the lifestyle is created that its okay to have some of the things that are liked without sacrificing happiness.

Also strive to incorporate joy into whatever lifestyle you are trying to create. Otherwise your just being too hard on yourself.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things do change

Where to begin, where to begin. Folks I am very inspired right now. I am having some great workouts. Each day seems to bring me more speed and strength at the same heart rate. Zone training is the melding of consistency and sticking to the plan and often it is far to easy to lose either one.

Today on my run I was able to sustain a low 12 minute mile at just under 150 bpm. Two weeks ago I was a minute slower. There is a lot of people who just absolutely would not subject themselves to that ego bruising position. But I get it. Do you get it? Do you understand that my Ironman marathon pace is right around 12 minute miles? While I won't be doing any of those races again, (cough*cough) I do envision myself running in a triathlon once more. In fact my run today was on the Ironman Arizona course.

I actually was smiling today on my run. Unconsciously. Now I love to run, but it's something I've struggled to do my whole life. I would try to do it in the past and it just felt forced. It felt more like a grimace. I remember seeing friends smile so broadly and effortlessly on training runs. I just wasn't able to mimic. People tell me I look like I am getting ready to run through a wall. But...not today. Today I ran with smile and it was good.

There's treasure everywhere

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Hills are alive with the sound of pedals

I took to the hills for the second weekend in a row. Unlike last weekend my cycling HR did not hit 180 bpm but it did climb to 165. I will take that as a good sign. I worked very hard to maintain a sense of balance and ride without ego. Luckily there were a couple of people working on HR training and we were able to all stick relatively close.

With each passing week I feel the warmth of exercise come back into me. A vital energy that was sorely lacking in my convalescences. Its the potential of having abilities I thought at best long gone and worst never to see again.

There's treasure everywhere.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Getting into a groove

I awoke this morning to a much lower HR. Thank goodness. In what I hope becomes a once or twice a week routine I went through a 3 stage workout. The first stage is a series of resistance exercises, pull ups (currently assisted), push ups and a series of ab and core work. As I improve physically I will begin to incorporate a variety of strength and functional work.

Then I went for a 1.5 mile run. My HR is still much to high for these runs to be effective for anything more than getting outside and practicing patience. I know that heart rate training works however the initial weeks are tough to get through. For those people that have thought about HR training or have given up on it in frustration, take strength in knowing that it absolutely pays off down the road. I will testify that through HR zone training, I kept my HR the same but dropped my average run mile pace by 20% on a 10k course. That is significant.

As my run leaves my HR all over the place from too high to not a run, I use the bike for a steady state cardio workout. I ride at a prescribed number and fluctuate by only +/- 2 bpm.

As I begin to include more swims and bike rides, I am hoping that the runs will become more steady and the resistance training stays consistent.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rest, Recovery and Peace of mind.

Exactly one week ago I was given the yellow light for training. Today my morning HR is +8 beats over baseline requiring me to take a mandatory rest day from training. This is expected and a part of my recovery system. I am sure after a day of no exercise and full sleep I can get back to it tomorrow.

This blog is not just about my training. It's as much a life journal as a training journal. Some other issues I am dealing with this week and probably contributed to some elevated HR stress--

No one had heard from a training partner since New Years. This is someone who has no family here and was proactive in communicating with us. I finally drove by his house at 11pm last night and found him home, fine. Admonishments ensued but glad he is okay. I really thought I'd find him face down in the tub.

My grandmother will most likely pass this week. She has had a long life and the last few years have been marred with health issues. My mom is back east to help her family as best she can. She is super strong, I think stronger than I could be if I was in her place. This will be the second family member to pass in as many months.

Mo had a trip to the cardiologist today at Phoenix Childrens hospital. His two other doctors recommended it after seeing some high numbers in recent results. Everything went very well. He is doing great. It was concluded that his genetics and medical condition contributed to the numbers and by looking at a bigger picture he is in good shape with no follow ups needed. At the end of the month he will have his annual sigmoidoscopy to review his colitis. It has worsened over the last year, however the issues of his low immune symptoms (pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, and the itinerant steroids and antibiotics) has dropped dramatically so we are blessed in that regard.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

First team ride, back

Soooo, the ride today. A little bit over my level. Too many hills. My HR average was 147 but I hit 170 bpm quite often and 182 was my high. Not happy about that and as soon as I could I would pull over and let it drop which is how the average was on par.

Only rode an hour and while I am not happy about the course, I am happy that I was out there with my team. Those that I had not seen in months were happy to see me. And the new faces were like, "Whose the dude that everyone is talking too like he owns the place?"

Spending the rest of the day on the couch and hydrating.

(Edit: a few hours later I can report my legs are hammered. It feels so good to have lactic acid in them again.. I am a bit concerned about my hydration level, parched throat and dry lips. My urine is dark but not dangerously so, a good sign.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A proper respect to rest day

As sort of a 'welcome back,' a half dozen of my closest training partners had a play off get together. Plus the wives wanted one more shot at Mistress before the baby comes. We had a great time, and the game was just amazing for Phoenix fans.

Congratulations to the Phoenix Cardinals who beat the favored team and are now the home team for the NFC Championship game next weekend.

I took today off to recover properly from three days of what I would consider moderate training. Well I would consider it absolutely easy training except my idea of moderate and hard training are completely skewed for my current condition.

Tomorrow is meeting for a ride in a fairly swank desert community. It will be hilly for sure but I have promised to be careful and mindful. I am only doing 2o miles while the rest are doing 40 or 60. I plan on bringing up the rear and they promise to circle back. I promise to stop at the top of hills and lower my HR to normal levels before moving again.

Welcome to fun.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Weekend of fun.

Friday was a great day of training. I did assisted pull ups, then push ups and sit ups. Then ran a painfully slow 1.5 miles and I capped it off with a 35 minute ride. Yes I do believe that it was a push for this day, not so much for the effort but the total amount of time I kept my HR elevated.

Saturday will be a rest day and then Sunday I am riding a moderately hilly 20 mile course with my team. I realize that my HR will be higher on the hills but I plan on resting at the tops and taking it easy on the flats. I know I will be riding alone, but crap, I will be riding. I still can't believe how awesome that is.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

First ride

I recognize that in my past I did not need prodding. I did not ask, "How high?" when told to jump, I jumped as high as I possibly could. I have never been told, "You're slacking today." One of the reasons I have eschewed personal coaching is the firm belief that no one is going to kick my ass more so than me. Now don't get me wrong, I certainly need education and accountability and for that a mentor or coach is a terrific asset.

I finally rode my bike on Thursday. It was perfect weather and clear roads. Ah, heaven. I rode 12 miles with my two best friends who happen to be my training partners. They started a plan for IM CdA, so I am coming in a bit lame and late. Who cares though! I can ride and that is great enough.

I only rode for an hour. The distance, 12 miles. Well obviously I went faster than 12 mph but had some stop lights and had some slow speed chats and adjustments.I could have gone longer or farther but one hour is good enough. I am learning....limits. I kept my cadence over 85 and my HR below 150 bpm.

I actually did not ride much in the aero bars. Two reasons. First, it increased my HR about 3 bpm. Second, I did not feel worthy. To me aero is the 'business' position of my bike. When I get there, I mean to put the hurt on.

But no, today was not about business or power or watts. Today was about the joy of doing something I love, riding my kick ass carbon fiber wet dream Valdora tri bike with my pals.

There's treasure everywhere.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, GOOD NEWS

I spoke with one of my doctors Tuesday. While there is still a concern of overall kidney and liver damage and the issue of the adrenaline surges, my tests numbers have been strong enough to allow me to begin training. I'm a triathlete again!!!

For the next month I am allowed to train as long as I make sure my nutrition and fluid intake are perfect. Training limits are Zone 1 & 2. I am not allowed to push it at any time and I must submit detailed notes of all my food intake, morning HR and daily exercises for their review. After that will come some tests and then progression or regression in training protocols.

I would expect this blog to become a blueprint, hopefully the perfect blueprint, for how someone deconditioned can go from a Common Man to triathlete. Expect me to revert to a data geek posting workouts along with pertinent info regarding my energy, recovery and upkeep. If I'm typing it once I can copy/paste too. If you did not notice already, I uploaded some training widgets along the sidebar for weekly/ monthly / yearly totals.

I think there is much to say but not the words to say it. My heart is soaring. I laughed louder, I smiled wider. I walked faster. I feel like a missing piece of a puzzle has been given back to me.

There's treasure everywhere.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My dilemma

Let me explain my dilemma. I feel as if my four years of Ironman training gave me a base fitness that allowed me to coast along with some semblance of fitness appearance long after my kidney failure. In December, nine months after all the misery I put myself through at Ironman, I felt like that coasting had finally played out. For the last month I have felt for lack of a better term, normal.

I no longer feel fluid enough to swim 2 miles in open water, nor have the legs to ride 80 miles before my day even starts, or have the constitution to run 15 miles at a moments notice. For any of those workouts, sometimes two in one day, I only needed a phone call and a meet time.

I felt determined and I had every intention yesterday of working out, I felt as if my sanity demanded it. I chose my exercises carefully so I wouldn't muck up my blood and activate the Rhado. It would be a glorious re-introduction to some sort of program and I could take back a part of my life that has been missing like an amputated limb.

Then I thought about my kidneys being screwed up on Saturday. And then my partner started in on me asking if that was really the best thing I should be doing. And then we got into a conversation about how screwed up I was a couple months ago, that my doctors want me to wait till Spring to start up again. That if I screwed anything up I could end up spending a night in the hospital hooked up to an IV and waiting for my kidney numbers to drop.

Instead of working out, I walked out. I needed fresh air. I was, I am frustrated. I talk to the doctors this week this week. I am hoping there is something positive to go over.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Business Fitness

I suppose most people are finally getting back into work today after what seemed to be a blessedly long holiday vacation period. In fact I woke up on Sunday before my usual waking time, went downstairs and started going through my groggy routines for ten minutes before realizing, "Ah crap, it's Sunday" and then heading back upstairs for another two hours of sleep.

On Saturday I went to the grand opening of one of my company's new locations. Man ,talk about energy and enthusiasm and lots of business. The community completely opened up to us.

It also kicked off a two part contest for employees. The first part is a 60 day body morph challenge. On Saturday each was measured, had their body fat taken and a 'before photo'. In sixty days we will do it all over again and the one with the most dramatic change wins a cash prize. I actually won this contest the first year we did it, I dropped 77 pounds and 2/3 of my body fat and was part of an ad campaign.

The other part is a physical fitness contest that for the sake of brevity I will include in a future blog post.

I am not involved in either contest as a competitor. Obviously I still haven't been released for exercise, let alone doing one or both extreme body transformations. In full disclosure to my friends, being at the grand opening and being excited about the two contests jacked my adrenaline up and turned my urine tea colored. Needless to say I spent the rest of the day drinking lots of water and resting. Very similar to THIS experience.

Whatever your goals are this year commit to be great at it. Don't do anything half-hearted. Talk to your support system, tell your co-workers and friends. Dare to be your best at every opportunity. And you may surprise yourself at your results.

There's treasure everywhere.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happiness is more than a dress size

The cereal Special K funded a study in Britain using 3,000 women. The results showed that the happiest women, overall, based on their criteria were those at Size 14. I was skeptical at first on how this translated with American women and the preception of women through our size zero idolization of women in entertainment, (the hollywood, rockstar crowd). Later in the day, I happen to be listening to a radio show that devoted an hour to this study and those results were supported and expanded upon by the women and men who called in.

A goodly amount of the calls affirmed that they are not a single digit dress size and had they taken the quiz would have validated the results. And in fact a quick check showed me that the average dress size for American women is oddly enough, size 14. The callers spoke openly about how they don't measure their happiness by the vision in the mirror but also by success at work, their relationships, the quality (though disappointingly not the quantity) of their sex life and how fit they are to get through their life, not based on competitive measures, (i.e. personal fitness programs, energy to work and/or play not necessarily enter races and how much energy they have working and playing with their family).

My career is predicated on people wanting to lose weight, but I am glad to see that the perception that women must be a size-nothing based on gossip rags and internet sites is not as pervasive as I imagined. The assault on our consciousness on how women must look based on the smoke and mirrors of two hour make up sessions, free designer clothes, perfect lighting, air brushing and then image manipulation is upsetting.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A selfish blessing

I heard on the radio that 16 year old Jett Travolta, son of John Travolta and Kelly Preston died after hitting his head in a bathtub on Friday. So far it is considered an accident though he did have a secondary condition he dealt with that concerned his arteries and perhaps that came into play.

Every time I hear of a life taken before it even begins it makes my heart ache. Part of that today is the selfish guilt inside me that says, "It should have been you that died that day as well." Its moments like these were I looked at my wife and when I told her about the Travolta tragedy I said, "I was 16, I hit my head, I shouldn't be who I am today. I have a family and career. I could have died too."

I spent time after my miraculous recovery helping grieving family's whose siblings had suffered from an aneurism or TBI, when the family couldn't understand the process or the pain that the victim was going through. Conversely I was a person who the victim could see as someone who had been were they are and could give voice to what they could not express.

I feel really bad for the Travolta family. But it makes me appreciate my recovery even more. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person. But I'd take feeling bad than not being able to express feeling bad, any day.

There's treasure everywhere.

Friday, January 2, 2009

In you, not on you

We take the opportunity each January 1, to declare a NEW this or NEW that, I WON'T do this or that, I WILL do this or that.

I have absolutely no problem with resolutions, its a small step to arranging our life into a more perfect order, but I am always sad to see them fall by the wayside after only a couple of weeks. Heck I have seen resolutions fall by the wayside in a couple hours.

This is why I have always recommended affirmations and for people to read them upon rising, once during the day and again before going to bed. I have seen people use 100 affirmations, my particular style has taken me sometimes fifteen minutes at a pop to read, but they work.

I believe every New Years resolution or personal affirmation boils down to one concept, 'a new you." On my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker I wrote in bold letters, "Today is a new me." Yeah it a bit new age but it sets my mind when I see. it. You could just as well write, "I am an Ironman" if that's your main goal of the year.

The point of the declaration is that you are trying to change behavior, not become some thing new. You can be resolute in losing weight or stop a bad habit but once you accomplish it, you don't want it to define you. In 2010 do you want to be seen as, "Hey John, let me introduce you to Sally. Sally lost 50 pounds, read a book a month and stopped drinking diet cola in 2009."

No of course not. You want all those things you change about yourself to shine through your confidence, energy, enthusiasm and self esteem.

If you didn't make a resolution because you always fail at them, thats okay. On any given day of your life you can pick a habit up or put a habit down. Some are harder than others but when you conquer the hardest ones, they're the most rewarding.

There's treasure everywhere.