Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 227. A long way from over

By almost all accounts, I am feeling better with each passing day. There remains some odd chest pains, an abnormal heart rate or two, some interesting readings from various devices and the sporadic tinge of neural imbalance, but for the most part these are all manageable and tolerable. The big issue is that the ablation procedure seems to have been a success AND that I am back to 'normal' training.

Seriously, that is huge news. I am elated. I would be jumping up and down if my lags hadn't atrophied so dramatically over the last eighteen months since the ER scramble hot-wired the quest for diagnosis.

It has been a frustratingly dark and trying time. The question is now, was that it, did the node cauterization correct the issue (A-fib)? And if so, how long will it last?

Considering the depth of carnage suffered during this process, I should be happy to be as healthy as I am, after all I am alive, right? I can work. But you know that isn't where my, ahem, heart, is. That just isn't good enough, to simply get by.

It is like taking up space. I am not a part of the solution.

There has to be meaning. There must be a goal. I thrive on challenge and growth. Duh.

Making this a magical opportunity to deal with circumstance and get back in the game.

Because this one is a LONG way from over.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 227, Push the Button

Pull the trigger or push the button?

Act or snooze?

Be or not be?

Art or labor?

The decisions have become more important as they eat away at what I can now accurately label as my 'life savings'. There ain't much left. That sad financial fact, however, will not affect my decision making process, as it continues to be directed towards adventure, fun and growth. It is also safe to say that under this umbrella stands the damp flesh of challenge and shivering skin of the dramatic. And there is debate. How could it not?

How could it be of value, have meaning and be anything other than the most important thing of all time? That includes dinosaurs, aliens, the field plow, the printing press, the Model-A and MS DOS.

Everything is on the line. I HAVE to find a way to make it work.

Knowing this, and coupled with the fact that the proper attitude knows no such endeavor as failure, I struggle to manufacture the proper metrics of consent among the more staid and conservative in the house.

Yes, a few still live here. They are old, frail and weak. But they hoard old money with notes of entitlement. The cling to outdated values like the idiots still fighting the war on drugs. Or the war on anything for that matter!

They, the responsible and mature, see all this as a catastrophic avalanche to safety and security, burying all hope of a peaceful retirement under the weight of inflation and diminishing returns on questionable investments.

Thank goodness the vast independent majority thinks this but a dream. That experience, happiness and the search for meaning is the goal, not a robust 401K and a cabin on the lake.

If this was a unanimous dilemma we wouldn't be in this mess today.

Or in this magical and dynamic position to re-create something of great value.

So I think I'll push the button.

And see what happens.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 226. Go Huskies!

A few reasons why 2014 will be the Year of the Dawg. Kickoff in thirteen days versus Hawaii.

Work Ethic
New Staff
Old Values
Tenacious D
High Octane O
Rabid Fan Base (see photo)
Opportunistic schedule
Coach Pete
Bob Rondeau
The Tyee
Mighty are the Men.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 225

What a strange day. I woke early, in high anticipation of another strong workout, only to be troubled by neck and shoulder pain. What now, I wondered thinking the irritation minor. But by the time I had a peanut-butter and honey slice of rye toast and a cup of watered-down three day old coffee, I was seeing that 'flashy thing' again in the center of my vision.

It is like having someone turn on the lights from a completely dark room. The strobe sparkles and twirls between my eyes causing dizziness and affecting equilibrium. It is like walking in braille.

I got to the club early, trying everything possible to prepare for our weekly 90 minute set, cold water in face, hot towel on forehead, some electrolytes and lots of water, all to no avail. Folks started showing up offering the usual greetings and encouragement. I love this group.

Nothing helped. I tried. We started stretching in saddle and I knew it was no use. My vision was now one dimensional, and I knew the symptoms, soon I would be horizontal.

So I eased down and led the drills walking, and after five minutes I felt a touch better and decided to give it another go. So back to saddle we go. I owe a deep debt of gratitude to The Who, because had it not had been for Baba O'Riley, there is a good chance I would have wimped out after the first tune.

But it got better, and as the 90 minutes passed, I could feel a momentous increase in my ability to control my output. I was pegging 130 on the stands and, as designed, getting below 105 for the seated recoveries.

A rocking set helped. Flow established, we made it through.

It is now seven hours after. I have seen some HR spikes throughout the day, and my metabolic focus is still less than normal, but, we made it.

Recovery in process.

Another day.

One with meaning.

We talked in class about motivation and how to keep it. I told my pithy story once more about having a date circled in red on my calendar as a constant reminder of the value of every day. Every training day.

There is a long way to go. Today was but a single part of the whole.

But a big contributor.

Strange days can sometimes be like that.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 224

Almost one month. Since the last time I ran. It is almost like starting over after that long a break. I felt lost out there. My hips weren't rotating smoothly, arms were hanging like noodles and every footstrike was weak and fragile. Power glaringly absent. It was eerily similar to the last Old Timers Baseball Game in which I 'participated.' THAT wasn't really purdy either (photo at left).

Oddly enough, my heart rate stayed low the entire 33 minutes, only spiking when the ramp up from the marina neared 30%.

It was a necessary re-set. I absolutely MUST reclaim my stride. Without the run component, even a sprit-tri will be painfully (and embarrassingly) slow.

So this represents another point on the time line. A small red dot perhaps. Call it the day we got back to the pavement.

My lower back is already sore, patellas in agony.

But I hold a happy heart. And that is the part that needs the most work.

I was thinking about this as the puny miles passed, how fast does this particular muscle take to bulk up? Is it like hamstrings, quads or glutes? Or more like overall fitness and endurance adaptations over time?

Once again, tonight will be an indicator of response to stress. If I sleep well, wake with an 'appropriate' resting HR and am able to execute a 'safe' 90 minute spin in the morning, we might be on to something.

Something big.

Which is HUGE considering the smallness of today's 5K.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 223, Kona & Me

Always helps to have a very clear picture of your goals. Not blurry, obscure, vague, hazy or in doubt. You know, a kinda-sorta-maybe goal. The old, I will win this race is no one faster than me shows up.

That is not a goal - that is a circumstance. You just lucked out. It is the kind of goal that Tony Soprano could manipulate by making sure about it. WHY nobody else showed up is sinister and criminal. Has nothing to do with goal attainment.

So let us know our goals. Let us reaffirm our targets. Let us add a dose of reality.

Here is what it is going to take:

1) Hard work.
2) Persistence.
3) Desire.

Yesterday was my first session, actually two, since the big ablation procedure. I gave rehab one week and now I need to see where we stand in order to devise an effective game plan moving forward (a term that makes me cringe most of the time.)

Today was a little rough. I can feel my cardiovascular system laboring to preform under stress. I will attempt a 2x20 set tonight, after 24 hours of recovery at a very low percentage of ftp. I will again monitor HR throughout, keeping it well under control. I will be patient and disciplined, fighting the urge to let 'er rip. That would be ego, not adaptation.

And we will repeat this process until progress and improvement are the result.

Because my goals are clear.

To return to racing Ironman,

To win my age group in Kona.

I have three years to train.

Clear enough?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 222

I am trying to create a journal of the change. In order to draw upon the data as experience down the line. I feel this is important and nobody is going to do it but me. It is my case study. This is n=1. And I tend to forget.

So this has morphed into that for the time being. It is the most important thing going, so might as well.

Today was another rite of passage. I felt it as a possibility yesterday but kept a tight lid on it as long as possible. One part from fear one part from counsel. "You won't fell like doing much for a week or so," I was warned by the medical staff, and they were right. But as the degree of symptomatic severity reduced over the last couple of days, the idea of returning to work (training) slowly found its way through the mind-maze and came to the table asking full-throated if it was time.

I don't know. I didn't know yesterday and I was still prepared to bail five minutes from spin time this morning.

But I hopped in the saddle and peddled slowly and with minimal amounts of power and cadence. Watching my heart rate monitor like a working man in overtime, we (the team and I) made it through a set of five minute hill repeats. Had it of been a real ride I would have finished as the sweep. And that was fine.

After a week in recovery, I was back. Made it through and am here to tell about it.

My HR is taking an eternity to come down. But that is part of the process as well.

All recorded for the record.


Day 222.

Pic is of my sano little set up at the Lake Stevens 70.3 expo last year. They go again Sunday.