Monday, September 1, 2014
For some it might be strength. They are lucky. It is an 'easy' fix. Lift weights. Improve your power. Get stronger.
For others it might be speed. The ability to generate frequent repetitions. Picking them up and laying them down. Cadence. There is an easy fix there as well. Practice it. Do it for five seconds and as we adapt, add time. Before you know it you'll look like the son of Road Runner.
Balance> Practice extremes.
Explosive power>Do it.
But the one area we discussed as being perhaps the most important of all, and the least understood and therefore rarely practiced, it the one centered around our gray matter.
The ability to stay focused. To remain in the moment when everything, including your body and the 'Voice of Manny' screams for you to stop.
We spun at high cadence this morning for thirty seconds with the music off to illustrate the difficulty in doing this. Immediately I was amazed at how loud the fans were. But then I found a comfortable groove and orchestrated a melody of movement that was very precise in its nomenclature. I was in the moment. A satori of sustainable high output. It was fine. And not the OK, fine.
With the power of this drill casting light-beam prisms of success on the heads-up display of my delicate psyche, I wondered if this has been the weak link all along? Since the very first day that I stood from my knees and stumbled towards balance and flow?
Maybe it's the head and not the heart. Left isn't the ONLY direction to turn sometimes.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Started with a slight headache (drank four beers in four hours watching the Huskies underperform), and then the vision issue. I am using Emergen C to hydrate and drank several glasses of water. Then the weirdness turned Pro.
Sometimes I have difficulty with comprehension. I can HEAR but nor Understand. Simple dialogue is incredibly hard. It's like being in a foreign country for the first time.
Kim asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, suggesting pasta something or other. I had no idea what that was. I couldn't imagine the taste, smell, ingredients or the immediate satisfaction I always get from Italian food. I just stared at her trying to decide how to answer.
Walking became an issue with all my consciousness going into every step. My chest was pressurized and neck throbbing. Normally panic would follow but I have been here before and now simply wait for it to pass. I took a nap. Did some more prep for the Wisconsin trip and headed to the club to take a sauna. Drank another few glasses with E-C and dropped a Oxycodone-Acetaminophen.
Time, plus all of the above, seems to have helped as I now feel better than I have all day. Still weird, but manageable.
I did get a call from one of my ex GFs, so that was cool.
Maybe I felt so bad today because the Huskies played so poorly last night. I don't know. I am calling both idopathetic. I don't know why the UW stunk up Honolulu nor do I know why my weirdness was a real lulu.
Really weird day.
Like a Run Lola Run, Cinema Paradiso double feature.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
I leave the scene of the crime FAST when the banter turns bad.
You wanna bitch and moan? You wanna whine? You wanna see that beautiful cut crystal goblet as half empty? You wanna let your bias and bigotry show?
You can do all that without me.
But, you say, what about yesterday?
You were on a roll about how bad and frustrating things are and how miserable life is dealing with the idiopathic reality of atrial fibrillation. Remember THAT?
Yes, very clearly, thank you.
I am trying to keep a journal of this, and if I sometimes slip into the morose or macabre, it is because I feel horrible and defeated, and not because I have lost all hope, patience and sense of direction.
I don't have a lot of experience in this genera. For fifty years, whenever I have brought pencil to paper it has been for educational purposes, to enrich and entertain myself along this rugged, rocky road. If, occasionally (and we are on post number 2,008 today), I add a touch of inspiration or motivation to YOU, we all win.
So this is a challenge. One I begrudgingly accept. I will do my best. Here we go.
Today was OK. I woke early, as is my way, immediately checking vitals. Pulse was weak, still in AF. But I felt good, ready to go and do. My power and stamina remain so low that 90 minutes of spin class was a real effort. My heart rate was bouncing from 126 -188 like a ten year old on a new trampoline. But we made it.
Now, four hours later I am still feeling OK. Some ringing in ears and hypotension but I can deal with that. Medication (10mg warfarin) went down the hatch before class. I could take a nap, but there is work to be done. After all my beloved Huskies kick it off tonight against Hawaii.
So there is reason to sustain. It's all good. This rainy Saturday has hit the ground running and is now keeping a steady pace in preparation for the final jolt of peak power tonight.
As we have done in the past. Here are a few of my predictions:
UW 54 UH 10.
Jeff Lindquist will go 18-25, with a pair of TDs and 0 ints.
Dwane Washington (soon to be called DDub) will rush for 137 yards and three scores in the first half.
Shaq will take one to the house.
Either John Ross or Budda Baker will shake down some thunder on a punt return.
Hau'oli Kikaha will finish what Steve Emptman started in 1990.
Jaydon Mickens will drop 100,000 jaws in the viewing audience.
CBS will capture Coach Pete smiling.
Cooper will be Super Duper.
And not to be outdone, Timu will quietly lead the team in tackles, three for loss.
I will be the first to admit.
This team has a chance to be special.
It is Game Day.
Pic: Billy was talking about his riding lawn mower, I about the Rose Bowl. Bring it Back!
Friday, August 29, 2014
If I was manic/depressive or suffered from bi-polar syndrome, it would be acceptable. At least then, I, we, us, would have a clue as to what the heck is going on.
This we know: I have chronic atrial fibrillation, coupled with brady-cardia and some type of shortened artery that feeds blood into the top chambers.
What we don't know is what triggers it or what causes it to recede. I have had a cardio-ablation and four independent cardio-aversions. After each I return to arrhythmia within three days of the procedure.
This is like being on vacation from a job you detest (but pays the bills) and coming back to work early only to face the dickhead boss, an office full of twits and a pile of work on your desk at which your lazy secretary giggles.
So we know WHAT it is, we just don't know WHAT to do to fix it.
It also has mysterious additional symptoms. I have told you about the vision thing. Today it was like I had sixteen bleeding ulcers and the only thing to eat were enchiladas. Chest always has pressure, palpitations nearly rock me off the bed with neuro-pings in neck, jaw and temple that I swear are one move shy of check-mate.
I can spin for an hour but climbing the stairs to my room gasses me like a full-on 100 meters. I alternate between thoughts of poor Robin Williams and the complete ecstatic freedom of giving up.
Everything has gone to seed. TU. The remnants of a once beautiful stand of trees, dozed for commercial 'growth'.
All I have left is what I do. The future is now.
All meaning, that if the rest of my life is to be spent dealing with the frustrating uncertainties of this predicament they call idiopathic (we don't know) I will have to make some hard decisions.
Because this SUCKS.
We may not make it to 365.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
I can remember something like this as a kid. Playing catch with Dad and suddenly this flashing non-image, appearing somewhat like Mr Scott beaming Kirk and Spock back to the Enterprise, interferes with my ability to do, well, anything. I also remember getting hit on the head playing football and having the same vision issue once. Today, it lasted almost all morning, combined with some fairly serious stomach issues. I am feeling about 50% better and about to head out to try a 2x20 set at the PB, so we'll see what the response is to exercise.
Most of the posts I have found on-line suggest that this helps. Some even go so far as to say that hard efforts actually take them BACK to sinus rhythm from bouts of AF.
And while that hasn't been my luck as yet, I remain committed to the effort.
Lot's of other stuff going on, much of which will be updated over the next few days. Tonight the Pac-12 kicks off, Saturday the Huskies will kick the stuffing out of the Rainbow Warriors and a week from today we head out for Madison, WI and Ironman Moo.
So keep your eyes open and stick around. Could get interesting.
You know that sign says No Sitting on Sign.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
You get to that critical point in a workout or race where the internal Q&A is the same exchange that took place the last time you were at that critical juncture. The point of no return. You have two options:
1) Slow down, stop, quit, toss the towel and start inventing new excuses, or,
2) Stay outside your comfort zone (now known as the Elephant Zone) a little longer, or as long as it takes to achieve your objective.
Have you had that conversation?
Have you addressed it? Have your embraced the presence of the pachyderm?
Or is it sitting there laughing at you?
All it takes is a little. A little mo. Ten seconds longer. And with this consistent practice, we all gradually, over time, adapt to the stress requirements and get stronger, faster, healthier and, assuming we master the adjacent mental aspect associated with this chore, more powerful, confident and energized. We take the Buick to the Citgo and tank up.
You don't have to travel to New Delhi or Madagascar for this. We practice it on a daily basis. First step in its mastery is understanding the protocol. Next time you feel like quitting, have a conversation with the big fella.
He is here to help.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Deep in AF after our 2x20 session last night (a solid 40 minutes at 85% of FTP), I was again pondering the value/sanity/danger/hope of this practice as I finished another chapter in the Aubrey/Maturin saga and closed my eyes to sleep.
It has become ritual that the first five minutes are an assessment of the current state of my condition. I lay, listen and try like heck to breathe deep and relax. My heart sometimes makes another attempt at a break-out. Truly this is how it feels, the palpitations and pressure almost rock me right off the bed. On other days it is subtle, my heart rate is so slow and shallow that I can't take a reading. It's like I have no pulse.
Last night was calm. I smiled about the clean sheets and sighed a deep exhale of relief.
And when I awoke several hours later in the pre-dawn stillness, five or so minutes before the first 747 lowered landing gears, something was different.
I had a pulse, strong and regular.
I had somehow slipped back into sinus rhythm. Normal and regular.
WOW. It CAN be done!
As often as I use the roller-coaster metaphor to describe this incredibly frustrating circumstance, I am coming more and more to see if more like snaky S-turns, similar to what we learned in moto school, start outside, move inside and back outside. Straighten the curves out as best you can. Keep it steady. Have no fear and look in the direction you want to go.
The beats remain regular, the morning's 60 minute spin challenging. One more 2x20 tonight. I might be responding to the frequency. I think my heart likes the work. As of this moment: So far - So good. Whatever happened last night was a first. A positive and powerful first.
I hope it's not the last.