Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 347.69

Is there, should there be, a seasonal grace period, where we soften our rigid training and dieting regimen?

Short answer is yes. Because we social animals need the brotherhood and companionship (sometimes) neatly tied in a velvet crimson bow at this time of year.

We need to connect with family and friends. Nine times out of ten this involves food or drink of some sort. Last night we sat, ate pizza, hummus and a tin of delicious cookies, paired with several rounds of craft IPAs. It was fun, it was joyous and it nicely made an early segue from the fiery disaster that was 2014 to the hope of a better 2015. All meaning that the 5K of calories consumed could, with focus and intent, set the foundation for a 5K PR come the new year.

So please do not worry. Eat, drink and smoke MaryJane. Hoist a toast to the enemy. Thank them for giving you the opportunity to compete. Life is WAY to short to carry grudges, bottle anger and frustration and allow anything but goodness and positive energy to carry your days.

Interestingly, I am loading up on workouts, volunteering for as many classes as I can, this to help out those that have family commitments, but mainly to partake of my own medicinal advice. Because you have heard this before:

THE BEST WAY TO GET BACK IN SHAPE IS NOT TO GET OUT OF IT.

With the fait accompli adage that a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. If this has already happened, fear not. We can start tomorrow. Choose your enemies wisely. I guarantee that those empty (but fun) calories from fat are exponentially more difficult to lose now than they were twenty years ago.

But lose them we must.

Please push back, just say no and close the other cheek. Nobody needs three slices of pecan pie ala mode.

NOBODY.

Don't let this happen to you Merry Ladies and Gentlemen.

But if it does, may it be with smiles and hugs surrounded by those we love.

Then it's OK.

Until I see you in class where I will show no mercy and leave you willing to pay any price for cessation.

Hope you have enjoyed the grace period.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 348.68

Spent the day under surveillance at the medical center. We did some tests, tweaked the pacer and exchanged antidotes. I am amazed at the technology that goes into all this. Seriously. We tried no less than than three times to avert the A-Fib, once to ablate and then decided (I had a vote, but deferred) to slice and dice, add the pacer. We downloaded all the data from the last 45 days and it appear that the combination of electronic stimulation, regulating the rate, and the amiodorone/warafin combination has kept me in sinus rhythm with impressive consistency.

But wait, it gets better. After my narrative on the symptoms and the sorry saga of the last two weeks, the assistant MD suggested that we tweak the pacer. So she hooks me up with a sensor and changes the range on the lower end to 70BPM adding ten to the regulation. I say, 'what about sleep?'. She responds with the information that we can tweak that too, how about 50BPM between 2200 and 0500?

You can do that?

Done.

WOW.

After the visit it was time for the Thursday workout where I very attentively preformed a 2x20 set at 180 watts. HR was around 120 for both sets. It was hard but OK.

We had a low-key Christmas Party after featuring pizza, hummus, cookies and exotic beers.

After a drive home in the pouring rain, I sit pondering the reality that I am no longer in charge. It is all electronic. I have been programmed. Daily I consume medicine that keeps me from arrhythmia and stroke. I cannot go too low with heart rate. I am programmed to sleep between very precise hours. Everything is recorded.

I am not sure I like that. It is very big brother-ish.

But I suppose it is better than the alternative.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 347.67, 242?

An elaborate metaphor it is. Irony, karma, cause and effect rolled into one life-sized ready-to-eat circumstance.

Finding an opportunity in last week's paper, I light out to spread the word on my availability. The conceit of a video resume in production, printed resumes updated and tailored to suit, schemes of future vagabonding underway, I realize the need to act. Do something today.

I see two options. One is to increase revenue. Hence the resume and video. Two is to cut overhead to the bone. Reduce, reuse and recycle, as they say. Which is like telling a starving man that he needs to diet.

None of this is going to happen without my willful intent of making it so. If it is to be - it is up to me. I must act in the direction of my goals.

Make more. Spend less. Or the best combination of that pair that I can colorfully assemble.

I get an e-mail from an old friend. She is in NY en route to Europe. She and her professorial husband are going to be traveling a lot next year, and would I be interested in acting as estate caretaker, including the 'little house' as quarters.

I see 'spend less' in glittering neon but more importantly I feel the beautiful energy that the little house brings to my soul upon every entry.

They are wonderful, generous, happy people. I like them a lot. They have been in my classes for over a decade.

I say it would be an honor to provide the service. I see the little house with its magnificent view of the water, surrounded by her harden, in the shadow of their exquisite, contemporarily rustic, Sunset magazine home.

I smile. I laugh. I give silent thanks.

Now, if the Museum calls to offer the marketing position, I'll go two-for-two today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 346.66

Here we are. Victorious at the finish line.

Everybody likes lists. They are a quick read, concise and sometimes thought provoking. They can be silly as well. We listers take our chances and roll the dice. What is there to lose? I decided to do mine by month. Covering each up to this point.

Without additional ah, do-do, here are the twelve items I have gleaned from my day timer that represent each month's high (or low) lights.

JANUARY - Despite numerous tests and rests, I stayed consistent with spinning and running, posting a PW (personal worst) 5K time of 32:41.

FEBRUARY - Switched cardiology Docs and made the HUGE decision to sell the cabin.

MARCH - Was victim of locker room theft. What I once thought I had, was no more. The big yard sale went down.

APRIL - After thirty years, I voluntarily drove down the dirt lane with the cabin in rear-view mirror. Shot Austin, TX bike course.

MAY - Shot St. George, UT course. Made beer.

JUNE - Competed in the Blue Lake Triathlon, Atlantic City shoot.

JULY - Cardio aversion procedure (failed) Vineman triathlon shoot.

AUGUST - Obtained moto endorsement. Back to Lake Placid. Cardio ablation procedure (failed). Another cardio aversion (failed).

SEPTEMBER - Back to Madison ,WI. DC, Cambridge, Augusta shoots.

OCTOBER - Had the pacemaker installed (successful) and bought the RV to celebrate.

NOVEMBER -  Junior & George's B-Days and movie spin in PB.

DECEMBER - Well here we are. As I am fond of saying in response to questions of my health, "I'm still here."

I will additionally resolve to make the twelve in 2015 a touch less dramatic and a pinch more adventurous.

I there a better time and place to start?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Day 345.65 in the Bus

                               HAVE BUS - WILL TRAVEL

I own a 33 foot RV in Seattle outfitted for fun. I know it is warm and sunny in Mexico. If you have money for gas and food, like adventure and the Pacific Coast, we should talk, 'cause I am ready for some epic. 360.674.8128. Cheers!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Day 344.64 Albert

They say that records are made to be broken. I insist that some are not...

I wake at the usual time, take the three steps to the bathroom, empty bladder and return to the warmth, comfort and the three more hours that await. It is Sunday and I have no commitments until 0900.

I put another piece of the puzzle together, enough to, perhaps, crack the code. A broken record is stuck playing the same passage over and over in the headphones of my sleeping mind.

It came to mind during the last REMs of the night. Wasn't even a song, it was a couple of lyrics. Which of course started the fascinating mind game of name that tune. Amazingly enough, I was able to string together some more lyrics and almost had the chorus. I had the melody and the time signature, but the band and their song (was it a B side dog?) remained in copyright and out of my memory files.

Relaxing and chuckling to myself, I breathed deep into the morning's unspoiled calm.

I will sleep on it and all else failing, Google it in the marooning.

Which I did.

The lyric was "high school - my school."

The song was Albert Flasher.

The album was Share the Land (or Greatest Hits)

The band was the Guess Who.

It was 1971. Mike and I had just rented our first apartment. It was a tiny studio convenient to 405, which helped us both as I had a 50 mile commute to school and he a short haul to work. I think the rent was $175. Gas was .40. I found out quick that feeding oneself meant shopping, cooking and cleaning. The commute after practice left precious little time for homework and partying with my cheerleader GF. Homework lost. And then I lost my GF.

I felt horrible but still had to shop, cook, clean, commute, work, sleep.

I was a mess, learning a lot of life's important lessons in a woefully short period of time. My GPA sank as did my batting average. I got fired from my job, crashed the car.

One night I started to sob, knocked down by the enormity of the decisions I had made and their disastrous results. 

My friend, roommate and pit-buddy put an album on our makeshift (but very proficient) stereo. He lifted the arm of my Gerrard turntable and played this song, as a reminder, according to legend, that things, however bitter at present, have the potential to get better. Further, it is recorded that we are all in this together, and please never to forget that you have brothers and sisters that care.

I guess my subconscious was playing that theme again last night.

...like a broken record.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Day 343.63 WHY?

We talked this morning as we rode stationary bicycles indoors. I am the leader. I get to design the workouts, select the musical accompaniment and ensure that morale is maintained throughout the 90 minutes.

It isn't always that easy. Rarely, in fact. There are as many reasons as to why we do this as there are people who do it. There are, and here is the topical point I pounded today, also as many reasons why NOT.

We know a lot of whys. The weight control why. The health and fitness why. The social interaction why. The improvement why. The fun why. I could go on.

I ask for a review of the why, the reason(s) that we do this to such a degree of precision and execution. I call out the most basic situational negative known to all athletes. The why not.

The insidious Central Governor has the awesome responsibility of keeping you from harming yourself. She is a built-in 50 amp fuse. You cannot go past maximum, an oxymoron if ever there was. Worse, the CG constructs, creates and devises excuses to keep you from even doing the damage necessary to bring about cellular change and physical adaptation. The Rolodex of why nots.

This, I explain, gasping for air, is the face of the enemy. The why not bastard.

I ask over and over to embrace the why. To own your why. To improve the why when in the danger zone. Anybody can have a strong sense of why when the effort is contort zone or less. ANYBODY.

What separates us from the cheetah and barracuda is our ability to talk ourselves out of maximum effort. The why not.

Know your why I shout (over a Jimi jam). Practice its meaning in the the firefight of the moment. Trust your inner why, not your outer why not.

Do you hold your why, your meaning, in your head or in your soul? The combination of physical and mental training creates a glimpse at spirit.  The very soul of the matter, where meaning is clear. There awaits the most powerful force in the universe. Your why, your purpose and meaning, ready to act.

Know your why.