Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 300.21

If I told you what was REALLY going on it would burn off the both of your ears.

Suffice it to say that these 'behind the scenes' theatrics provide fertile ground for the practice of stress management.

And I think that I might be making progress. With the stress management - not the theatrics.

Yesterday was horrible. Today was manageable. I got to deal with my health care service department, the pharmacy and my cardiology staff. Seems when they say 200 mg they mean it. No prescribing 400! That is a personal foul and you can go sit on the bench and stew in your ailment should you try. Double the dose? That is between you and your doctor. OK, I get it, thanks (and have a nice day).

After another blood test I stopped by Trader Joe's for my now favorite meal/snack: Chile Spiced Mango dried fruit and Roasted Seaweed with wasabi. It's about the synergy! Usually I wash that down with some compatible flavor of low-fat yoghurt (vanilla goes with anything) but today I wanted to try to go sugarless and yoghurt has TONS. So I sipped water.

Being it Halloween I will try to keep the sugar zombies away as long as possible. I don't expect much walk-up activity out here anyway, so it should be easy.

Two days off has been a test. I hope I am up to the task tomorrow as we tackle our weekly 90 minute spin fest. I am going to work on the set list and workout protocol right now although I have limited mobile resources. Classic Rock and standing climbs are another great mix!

The Huskies play Colorado almost immediately after our session, we finish at 0900, they kick-off (freaking NCAA money grubbers) at 1000. Here is my weekly prediction (so far I am 5 and 3):

Starring into the abyss of death, both squads, on opposite sides of the chasm of failure, know the decision will go to the most resilient, most tenacious, most hungry and most persistent. And to the most lucky. Washington in a season saving win over the courageous, but eventually over-matched and over-whelmed Buffaloes 36-17.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 299.20

I woke today feeling like shit.

Took a nap.

Felt worse after.

Took another one.

Same result.

Dawned on me that the virus everyone has might have found a home here.

And who knows what the reaction to that means with the pacer.

Took a long hot shower.

Felt good in it, worse out.

Another nap. Had a horrible dream about falling off a church roof.

Made a bowl of lentil soup.

And went back to bed.

Tried every position possible to ease the pain.

No luck.

Went to the PB because four people wanted to ride.

Slept on the concrete floor as they did.

Stopped for tea on the way home.

That was good.

Off for another nap.

Still feeling like shit.

What a day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Day 298.19

The way I see it today.

We have a fresh opportunity every day to do what we want. We can push the envelope in the direction of 'good' or scrunch it into a ball and toss in the waste.

What an incredible opportunity this is. Combining both the miraculous and magical.

Of course I reference all this from the health and fitness perspective for one simple fact:


I have been there. Lived it. Felt it. Dealt with it. Looked it in the bloodshot eye. Played Rigoletto.

And made it through. With a LOT of help from some very talented and compassionate care providers.

So please let me reiterate, your health and fitness are number one. Numero uno baby. Without them you got squat. Double-diddly-squat. Which is, as you know, the worst kind.

So if your house, car, boat, jet, job or career is your primary focus, smell these roses and sip this double espresso:

You have the choice today, right now to do something about it. So do it.

I speak the truth. Please hear. The fat lady wants to sing. Tell her she will have to wait some.

And that is the way I see it today.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 297.18

I could cop-out and say that it has been a long day. Surely you would understand and empathize. But I am trying to be a good blogger and give something to you (besides the privilege of being part of the streak.)

So here goes.

Today I learned a little something about myself. It was in the heat of battle. Instead of defaulting to my usual defense mechanisms and tactics I tossed some patience, understanding and compassion into the mix.

It worked and I was at once as surprised as elated. WOW.

I got a lot done. I did what I had to do. The plate was full but we fit another serving of veggies in there ntl.

I finally read the label of those peanuts I have been enjoying so much on the drive home after PB sessions. I asked Walt at the mart why he didn't tell me that they contained 35 grams of saturated fat. He said, I was the last person that should be worried about that. The conversation got interesting when I replied that I should be the FIRST person to be worried.

I learned tonight that lack of regular sex is the primary cause of adult male grumpiness.

Damn. It was a long day, but a productive one.

Sleep needed, see you tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Day 296.17, Magic


There is no magic. There is no mystery. There is no conspiracy.

If (that BIG if) we actively, consistently and with awareness and grace,


…we will get fitter, feel better, look better, run faster, ride longer and sleep deeper.

There is also some evidence that the BIG THREE listed above will also make you smarter, more appealing to the opposite sex (should this be your preference), more cheerful (handy this time of year) able to focus more on the job, and, at the end of the week, have more money in the bank (or wherever you choose to store your cabbage.)

I bring this up because this morning one of our regulars shared some scientific data with us regarding a home test he has been conducting of late.

Seems our cycling scientist has been experimenting with the juice/no juice factor. One day he rides after a 'regular' night of IPA consumption and the next with 'just' water the night before. Wanna take a stab at the results? Even without knowing any additional specifics (age, fitness level, diet, exercise schedule, work stress) we can safely make some educated guess' as to the results.

This morning, after my comments, he blurted, "Its all a mystery."

I thought, no, it really isn't. You have isolated ONE of many elements that contribute to the success of your training (and the quality of testing). You have moved up another rung on the ladder by creating a protocol that allows you to measure, test, manage and train. We have tools that record precisely this effort (photo above). In order to PROVE that what you feel as change, progress, growth, speed, advanced recovery, is real, not mere perception.

Do one thing better and you better the whole. Remove one 'limiter' and you streamline your execution. You are more aero, carrying a lighter load through space and time and running on a higher quality (octane) fuel mixture. The result becomes your place on your fitness timeline. Today's ride.

No magic here*. Nothing mysterious. No unknown diabolical powers at work.


*There IS magic, but of another kind altogether. Maybe we'l talk that up some tomorrow.

ALSO, for the first time, I went OUT of A-Fib and back into sinus rhythm during our set the morning. HR was all over the place to start, but (magically?) returned to 'normal' at minute 32 (during a 500 watt sprint). I have no idea as to the the why and how of this. But I'll take it.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 295.16, get a haircut

We are racing an indoor time trial. Something is wrong. I am going WAY too fast out of the gate. Having been here before many times I look at the data, take a physiological reading and attempt another on-the-fly measure and manage maneuver.

Except that today I have another, long forgotten tool at my disposal. I look at my heart rate monitor and immediately see that I am fluctuating between 190 and 120.

I have spun my heart back into A-Fib.

FUCK I shout to myself. Nobody hears because they are all in their own spheres, trying to accomplish the same thing. Measure, manage, eek as much power as possible out of the motor without blowing up. That is the beauty of the indoor time trial and its outdoor cousin the 'test of truth'.

It truly is the sole reason that we train with so much passion. For this moment. The time trial. There is nothing else that compares.

And I must now deal with the decision. Go or no go? Quit or finish? Back off or speed up? After all, the faster I go the sooner I finish.

The metrics are screwed-up as well. There is no way I am in first place, leading the monster cyclists who showed up today to race. NO WAY.

So I negotiate with the general controller. OK, (he says) soft pedal and back off, let Garry catch you (me) in the final mile and finish. Nobody will know the struggle. Nobody would care anyway. We all have our crosses to bear. Get it done, TCB, relax, get some protein, drink lots of water and take a nap. Live to fight another day. He finishes with a cheerful, 'That is an order.' Yessssir.

Stress and intensity play interestingly well together as allies in the battle over control of my heart. The Battle of the Beat.

Maybe I should go to Florida for a couple of days for some R&R.

Or just head down to the Navy Barbershop and get a haircut.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Day 294.15. Is this it?

Classical music on HD radio. Intense. The new system is so nice. I am simply siting here listening to Spanish classical guitar with the falling rain as backdrop. I have slogged 40 grams of protein, gulped a smoked Gouda cheese sandwich (on sourdough) and now onto the 'tween activities before the Huskies take on the ASU Sun Devils at (yikes) 7:45 tonight.

We had a rather interesting 90 minute set this morning. My right hip flexor was still inflamed from yesterday's ride home, so I needed to hunker down and focus on each pedal rotation in order to balance and control. Still we did some pretty dynamic and demanding protocols, so much so that I fielded three 'complains' about the degree of difficulty afterwords. THREE! Usually I just get one or two.

Things continue to improve in pacer world. I feel pretty good. Yesterday there were several instances of chest pings, but all manageable. And post workout today I feel very good. SO THIS MIGHT BE IT! Just a few meters away from the KoM? CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH?

I pray that it is. I m so tired of all the symptoms popping up around the clock. I am tired of feeling like I am one beat away from a stroke. I HATE the hypotension, the dizziness, the fatigue, the mental fog. Could all that have been a result of the combination of Bradycardia, Atrial Fibrillation and (gasp) the aging process?

It took us twenty months to get to here. Twenty long and painful months, but twenty of 746. (62x12+2)

Ans maybe, just maybe, the next twenty will have a record level of quality. If it is to be, guess it's up to me.

The music sure helps.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 293.14

I am driving the RV (PowerBus) down to the Silverdale Car Toys to have the new audio/video system installed. I am feeling good. There are several feelings and emotions that always swirl when I am on the road. And even though this trip is a mere 20 miles I smile at the wheel of this big tuna. I remember taking what we called 'major excursions' way back in college, driving up to San Francisco from LA, out to Ogden, Utah and even all the way East to Nawlins for a Mardi Gras one year. I remember heading North in my 1950 Chevy half-ton, breaking down in Pittsburgh, CA and then downscaling to a back-pack to continue the trek into Spokane. That was the first leg of this very adventure. They are all connected to today.

I like being out there. On the road. Always have, and it looks like I always will.

We have officially established Nov 8 as the inaugural PowerBus trip. The big tuna will morph into the PowerDawg as we haul a rabid crew to the Husky/UCLA game. After today's music/movie upgrade, a few bike racks, indoor couches to replace the rear bed and BBQ cooking apparatus will have us breaking huddle and ready to establish a ground game and dominate.

I am putting the menu together for the tailgate activities as we speak. There will be Coho.

I think it will be fun. Out there. Husky Stadium. Dawgs, Bruins. Coach Pete and the Montlake Mutts need us. There is a LOT of history there (especially versus UCLA) and we are drawing up a few new plays to add to the arsenal.

It WILL rock.

Pic is from the Husky Stadium project, 2012. We'll be there 11.8.14. WOOF.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Day 292.13, Clean Bill

(Somewhat) clean bill of health from the cardiology department at UW this afternoon. They hooked up the pacer and pulled out all kinds of data. A surprising amount actually. Including the times that I have slipped into AF since the implant, 13 days ago.

I was amazed to find that the four incidents precisely matched the times that I had recorded on my own, using my cheap Polar monitor as tool. The EP, Dr. Robinson wants to now try some drugs to keep that (slipping into AF) from happening at all, ever again. They also dialed up the lower register response to 60bpm from 50. The thinking is that now that everything looks good, we can tweak the technology to best fit the symptoms. Even if I am not a fan of the drugs (they seriously lowered my HR the first go around) now that that is no longer and issue, if the drugs (no side effects) keep me in sinus rhythm and I cannot drop below 60 bpm, we might have a winner!!

That is the theory. Testing will begin immediately. Like in about 90 minutes as we saddle up in the PB for another 2x20 set.

The only bad news in all this is that Rite-Aid said the prescription needs to be pre-approved, so I might have to ante up to cover the cost of the meds.

So somebody needs to hire me. STAT.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Day 291.12

Every so often I find it helpful to review. We have covered so much ground. Made so much progress (even though at times it seems like none.) I mentioned in class this morning that we compare to our former selves, NOT to others.

So today, after a rollicking Super Eight set of maximum blasts of 30 second explosive power, and as I am feeling particularly good (fit and healthy) and before another 2x20 set of 85% of FTP in the PowerBarn this evening, let's spend a few minutes looking in the rear-view mirror. Shall we?

Don Miguel Ruiz has authored many books. His wisdom comes from the Toltec tribe. Perhaps his most famous work, The Four Agreements, is his finest. It is as simple as it is pure. As important as timely. Here are the Four:

1) Be impeccable with your word.
2) Don't take anything personally.
3) Don't make assumptions.
4) Always do your best.

How this fits into my day?

When I said I was going to kill the Super Eights, I meant it. I needed to back up that talk with the walk.

When I got to number seven and found my gas tank to be almost empty, I didn't berate the fool that I am.

I DID assume that I could execute the protocol flawlessly. Once again, I was not 100% correct.

Despite all this (failing at the first three) I did the best I could.

Tonight I will remind myself and review these principles prior to the nightcap.

I will not assume that taking it personally will create a falsehood in the process of doing the best that I can.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Day 290.11

I am a passenger on a tour bus gawking out the window at the surrealistic view. We are on a narrow walk-way paved with stone. I am awed that the driver (it might be me) is able to guide the huge coach without disaster. We are on the private grounds of what seems to be old European money. It is a castle on a lake. Across the deep blue water are mountains of vibrant red clay. There are ancient dwellings built into the face of the rock and the sky and clouds contrast with crisp fierceness.

Suddenly we stop. I am outside trying to frame a shot of all this with my iPhone when an elderly woman appears. She has silver hair atop a serious, but kind, face.  She looks very fit, perhaps a mountaineer. She is holding a clipboard. I sense that there has been some mix up in scheduling. She isn't happy that we are there. 

As I re-frame my money-shot a motorcade of sports cars, all carrying Swiss pennants, comes racing past me on the twisty road. I get one or two shots between the cars and return to the bus.

The driver, as tour operator (is it me again?) has successfully negotiated a solution with the woman and is calling for the passengers to re-board the coach.

As I pass in front of him he says to me, 'nothing a few dollars can't fix', and smiles.

I am at once relieved and concerned.

I want this to be above board, not some cheesy back-roads midnight limo service to the red-light district.

We are on our way and I look out the window across the lake for a last peek of the million dollar view.

It is gone.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Day 289.10

I sent out a few resumes today. Talked with a couple of folks. Did some internet searches. There are jobs out there. Some even involve travel.

BUT, they all seem to leave me in the middle of the road. Way too techie, or well beneath my skill set.

I am middle America. Lost at sea. Without a paddle or a canteen. There is another word for it but I am trying my best to refrain from the vulgar.

I want to build something. Put hands to work. Cut, sand, nail, paint. I need a side project to get me untied from this horrifying computer tether. My ideal day (for now) looks like this:

Exercise (train)
Computer work (video)
Outside project (build)
More exercise (cross-train)
Computer push
Exercise (easy)
Follow up
Read, write
Sleep (with nice dreams)

I can grab healthy snacks and fit in commutes with this schedule. It suits me. There is precious little compensation however.

What would I think if all that came crashing down and ended up looking like this:


I don't know. What I DO know is that I need to generate some revenue. Re-stock the coffers. Fill some coffee cans with Bens and bury them in the forest. Buy a lot in Sequim so I can dig holes and place seedlings in them. Pay taxes again. Get square with the IRS. Fix my credit. Buy some medical insurance. Sound like middle of the middle in the USofA?

Maybe they won't ever call for an interview. Then I won't have to answer that question. In the meantime I have an exercise session at 1800.

Thank the Lord for that!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Day 288.9

I have said this before…

and probably will a few more times…

I would rather be a Husky in defeat…

than a Duck in victory.

That being said. Today was another tough one. Issues early on included dizziness, fatigue, navigational problems, acute light sensitivity. Did a load of laundry (workout kits, despite tech fabrics, pile up in a hurry), then sauntered down to Silverdale to schedule an install time for the A/V upgrade on the PowerBus. That will be Friday at 0900. At Car Toys. Sorry Best Buy but you had three chances to get my dough, and went o-for-three. You will not get a fourth chance BB. No no no.

Another graphic example of nonexistent customer service. Seriously, I held my American Express GOLD card above my head in the car stereo department for twenty minutes. Closest I came to assistance was a gal from the phone sector who winked with a "we going out?" grin.


Did some shopping on way home and stopped in to see my old pals at Poulsbo Running. They are sooooooooooooooooooo great. I told Brooke that I am in the hunt for steady employment (after giving her the condensed story) and she volunteered to contact our mutual friend out at Bangor MWR and put in a good word.


So we have a week till install. I will put up the racks, continue the outfitting (chairs, tent, BBQ next up) and have this puppy road-ready by this time next week. Now to attract some clients. Fishing to Neah Bay? Hiking Mt St Helens? A marathon, a football game, a concert?


You put together 2-6 people and I will haul them wherever they want to go. This puppy will sleep 4 comfortably, six when the weather is nice and we have a campsite. If no sleepover, she'll take half a dozen anywhere at a remarkably good price. This, in spite of the lingering greed of the oil barons. We did some modeling Thursday, how is this?

Saturday: Depart from BI ferry terminal. Cyclists ride, supported, the 75 miles to Dungeness Rec Area Campground in Sequim. Dinner, campfire, accommodations.
Sunday: Ride, supported, from Sequim to Hurricane Ridge and back, 50 miles. Cruise back to BI ferry. Home by 6pm.

All that for $110/pp.


Photo: Pioneers of the Fun 101 bike trip about to leave Forks for another great day of Olympic cycling. l-r Ace, RCVman, 8T. An RG photo.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day 287.8. Woof and Cheers!


There is lots of good stuff to celebrate.

We should be happy our community isn't dealing with an ebola crisis, for one.

That we have no visible barbarians at the gate, for another.

That we have shelter, a wardrobe, fresh fruit and clean water.

That we have brothers and sisters that care.

That we have the freedom to choose what we do, how we do it and with whom.

That people aren't getting tossed in the slammer because they light up.

That love is not gender specific.

That you have a job. A 401K and something in the bank called savings.


I wish I was chilling some IPAs in preparation to watch the contest via a live feed on my MacBook, but…..

I feel like shit. Today's 90 minute session kicked my butt in a totally new way. I went into AF at the 67 minute mark and ever since have been dealing with dizziness and hypotension.

So I am going to take another nap and see how that helps.

We have about an hour and a half before the start. I should be ready.

Lucky I am merely a fan and not trying to contain Mariotta.

I will leave that for the Dawg D. I made my prediction yesterday and stand by it.

38-37 Huskies.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 286.7

Out of the blue and into the black.

Friday's have been my 'off-day' for quite a while now. The one day out of seven where I curtail all training in the hopes that a mere 24 hours will somehow miraculously heal all wounds. In the good-old-days this worked well for me. Recovering from a M-F double session routine to prepare for the LSD of the weekend. I think it still does. But for different reasons.

Now I need it for a break. A buffer between those two-a-days and the demands of the weekend. Almost everything in my life has been turned upside down. There remains zero stability, nary a comfort zone and nothing resembling status quo. I am on a mission of living in the present moment. Everything has evolved, changed or been recycled.

This is on the one hand thrilling and on the other terrifying. The terrible twos in a grudge-match of eternal proportions. My heart related issues have caused a series of reactive events that could be labeled catastrophic. I have lost my house, its equity, my savings, my job. I am broke. I am working my way back from surgery and a two year bout with some mysterious, and as yet undiagnosed, heart ailment. It was suggested to me the other day that the retail value of the treatment and procedures I have undergone in the last 18 months would fetch over 400K on today's medical market.

And still I run at 50%. No wonder they always ask if I live alone. I am one breath away from stroking out. SOMEBODY should know. That 911 thing.

Friday in the RV. A downscale of proportion. I like it. I am content and happy, just finishing off a plate of rice and sardines. I am drinking cheap beer. It tastes like happy days in High School on the beach. I keep telling myself that it will be OK.

And it will. Say it again. IT WILL.

I will do the best I can. Something has got to shake. I will find a place to park the Blue Whale. I will get a job. I don't care if it is a holiday temp for I will find somebody who wants simple pleasures and joy. The pacer will work. The sun will shine in my backyard someday.

Out of the grey and into the gold.

Huskies 38, Ducks 37, would be a great way to start.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Day 285.6

A little better but far from perfect.

The down bags, ceramic heater and gas furnace dialed up the comfort factor significantly.

After yesterday's two sessions I felt fairly good. Had to gulp one of the prescribed pain killers at bedtime, and today I felt OK, although I have the odd sensation that 'something's not quite right' constantly buffering my on-going desire to feel normal again. The voice I am hearing is the same one that has been singing for a while now: There is something else involved.

And of course the song, as the singer, are 100% correct. There IS something else involved.

We simply do not know at this time what it is. So it remains idiopathic. Other. The 64 thousand dollar question. Mystery of mysteries.

Tactic: Time. Let it heal. Find some calm. Drink plenty of water, eat as good as you can afford and schedule in proper rest and recovery time. My workouts are interestingly decent. They are not overwhelmingly powerful, but they are consistent. Further, I am still here. Which should be good news for those of you betting the over on the streak!

It dawned on me today that our age group really isn't training to get stronger or faster - we aren't necessarily riding and running for more power - as we are making a noble stand in the defense of what we have. To not lose any more. To stand our hard-earned ground and never surrender. To fight the good fight against the omnipresent and relentless reality we call Time. (I almost called it the enemy, whew!).

So we do things a little differently. We warm up more, use our experience in place of raw power, warm down longer, stretch more, stop making the same stupid mistakes and apply a whole new mind-set to this miraculous circumstance we call training.

I don't need perfection today, just another step in its direction.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

284.5, Rock this Joint

Now we got somethin'. My first night in the PowerBus (shown below) was cold. I didn't have the external power figured out nor hooked up, so I slept with merely a thin blanket. When the alarm sounded at 0400 I was a touch alarmed that my sleep was so short and incomplete. That is the bad news.

The good news is that as a result of my early (and caffeine-less) wake-up and commute, our sixth Super Eight session in the House of Mirth was rather interesting. From the standpoint that I should have been, in the athletic sense, worthless.

But I was not.

Shoulder is recovering fast, so I had some decent leverage with which to apply power to pedals. HR got up to 150, always recovering efficiently during the 90 seconds of rest between the 30 second blasts. In the past, once this activity was over I would (after thanking the Lord for it) almost immediately, as if on cue, begin to feel worse and worse, sometimes ending with drugs and/or sleep as response.


It is now four hours after the set, and five days after the pacer install, and I feel remarkably good. (There are some other stressors playing out - I hope that with patience and faith - they will soon be resolved as well.)


A circumstance that will be improved upon as this day progresses. I am making a trip to my storage unit to grab a small electric heater, down sleeping bag, coffee pot and a few books. My ukulele is already here.

We will rock this joint.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Day 283.4

In the new RV at camp. WiFi is comical. Rain falling. Good, but weak 2x20 set tonight. Drama escalates, stress deepens. I forgot to pack meds. I like this space. It will rock when I get it cleaned up  and modernized. Goin' Mobile was first tune on KZOK on virgin drive. First night sleep minutes away. Long day. God bless.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 282.3

 Monday, Oct 13, 2014. Columbus Day. I am not a fan. I would rather see a Vito Corleone Day. But I am not in charge.

What I am in charge of is the way that I deal with the events of the past, the challenge of the present and the way they create the success' of the future.

That is the way I see it.

I don't care about what happened yesterday, last week of when I was a teenager. What I care about is making the best choices I can make today.

Those is challenge enough without adding guilt, remorse or anger.

There are issues galore in my little world. Tonight will be my last night at my brothers house. Tomorrow afternoon Dad and I will drive down and pick up the RV. I continue to search for a parking spot. I have called in some favors, made the cold calls, dug into the web and asked around. Nothing yet. Except the easy way, which is to pay a 'nominal' amount for weekly parking in a dedicated lot. It is called an RV Park. And when I say nominal I really mean 'expensive'.

But that is the best option today, here and now.

It could change tomorrow.

The first workout with the new pacer was tense. It hurt. My heart rate was all over the map and I was gassed after our 60 minute spin. Usually this affects me 'nominally' but today I was like a newbie in class for the first time. Ouch. I stripped the bandage in the shower and the scar is kinda ugly. I joked to Bernie (who helped me off with my jersey because I couldn't get it over my head) that we should use this scar in a happy face tattoo. Ha.

I am trying to be patient (verb) and a good patient (noun) simultaneously, so I am ready to give it some time, but this is not what I expected. I can understand the chest, shoulder and arm pain, but why do I still have the lightheadedness, hypotension and AF if this is what the pacer is designed to eliminate? Is there a break-in period? Will it be 'better' tomorrow? Will I sense improvement soon?

Monday. Might as well be 1492.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Day 281.2

 My first full day out of hospital with new pacer. Kinda weird, as I can't perfectly differentiate between post surgery pain and the effects of an implanted electrical device designed to 'regulate' or 'pace' my natural (albeit irregular) heart rate. There were lot of issues last night. The usual palpitations and ventricle flood release, a very uncomfortable sensation that I was hoping I had seen the end of, as well as the usual lightheartedness, dizziness and hypotension.

If you were to poll me right now about the difference from organic to 'performance enhanced' I would have to check the 'no change' box. But I am a big fan of change and it was definitely warranted in this case. Progress is one foot (one paw) in front of the other(s). And I ain't looking back. No 'what ifs'.

Today is another chance. I will give it time and be a good patient. My shoulder is healing and I am getting some range of motion back, I even get to take a shower today. I will allow the pacer to introduce itself (see 'before' photo) and show, prove, its capabilities to the rest of the team. A team that I am sure will appreciate the full cooperation and youthful exuberance of the rookie phenom (a five-star number one pick.) But these things can sometimes take time, eh? We always made the rookies carry the bat bag.

In other news, I might go down and pickup the SouthWind (shown above) later today. I made a few phone calls to friends yesterday and may have scored a parking place for the 33 foot behemoth. I am itching to get started with the outfitting, especially the A/V system and bike racks. Everything else is ready to go.

Should the Huskies continue their winning ways against Oregon next Saturday, we will 100% will be touring to Pullman for the Apple Cup. And since it wouldn't be a sleep over, maximum capacity is 7. As in number 7. As in Shaq.

Nicely done Dawgs. We both got off on the right paw.

Let's build some momentum.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Day 280.1

It went well. No complications, nothing dramatic, no issues. No Hail Mary.

I am now the proud owner of a Medtronic MRI Sure Scan A2DR01 PaceMaker (with MVP Complete Capture Management). To be clear, the device was graceful and professionally  inserted yesterday by Dr. Robinson, to act as mechanical governor to regulate the lower end of my range, which, as a result of bradycardia had been getting as low as 38. This was triggering many other symptoms, 99% of them classified as containing zero fun. The 1% lied (in both senses of the word) in the myth that a super low resting heart rate was something that endurance athletes worked hard to obtain and was a reward for building a dynamic aerobic foundation. Not when mixed with bradycardia it seems (in this n=1).

The cut a 'pocket' in my chest, implanted the device and attached two leads into the upper and lower chambers of my heart. I was under conscious sedation, meaning I was warm, fuzzy and humming Phish riffs, as the hour procedure played out. I had to spend a long and uncomfortable night, as the nurses 'rounded', checking vitals and administering antibiotics. My fellow Husky fan roommate and I watched the Cougars/Stanford game and then went lights-out.

Four tests this morning have all been positive, an EGK, X-Ray, mechanical test from the manufacturers rep and we now wait for the final check-up from cardiology, and discharge. I will see how much fun a guy can have getting from the U-District to downtown via the #25 bus, assuming it runs on Saturday, with one arm.  My left is in a sling when it will stay for a few days.

I would really like to get home prior to the 1500 kick-off of the Dawgs/Cal game.

Because for both of us I sense a new beginning of sorts. I am now putting a . after the title day of the year to indicate the days after insert of the 'pacer'. And the Dawgs will look back upon today as the day they found an offense and took the lead in the Pac12 North.

It has been a long time.

For both of us.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Day 279

Guy with the biggest heart I have ever met. Is shown at left. My neighbor of almost 30 years Frank Peabody.

I pray that after today's procedure, a pacer install, that my 'new and improved' heart beats within half of Frankie's standard of quality.

I post early to ensure the continuance of the streak, now at 279 and - counting.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Day 278

I sit and think.

No I sit and feel.

Not yet. I sit and allow myself to be part of the larger reality.

I let go. I breathe. I immediately sense the tension leaving like a wisp of smoke.

I relax.


I smile.

That issue doesn't really matter anymore.

I realize how silly it is.

All of it.

And I understand my place, my role, my part.

I stifle a laugh.

It seems hilarious, this moment of clarity and understanding.

Why do I make it harder than it already is?

Why do I fight? Why resist? Why try to push the river?

Why do I judge so?

Maybe I'll just sit here all day.

I sit and think.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Day 277. My Ship?

Maybe it was the full moon tonight, or maybe it was the high octane mix (with adrenaline) but tonight's set was phenomenal. I got back to 200 watts for the first time in several months and rode it like I stole it. All this after a Super Eight set in the morning. Once again, for the record, this is no brag (really NOBODY brags about 200 watts), more a record of the process. For what end result I have no clear idea, but I feel a need to (b)log.

Because tomorrow (God willing and Puget Sound don't rise) I am going to conduct a test upon my humble and pathetic self. The classic before and after.

I want to test FTP before I have the pacemaker installed Friday and than again after.

Won't THAT be fun??????

I keep telling my PB mates that the procedure idea is to regulate the Bradycardia and its divesting low end symptoms, and has nothing to do with 85% or maximum, but they all still think that this will be somehow performance enhancing and that I will end up on the Tour. I know they are wrong

But I hope they are right.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 276 Abe

I missed my scheduled run this morning because…well…other stuff seemed to take priority. THAT is the biggest reason why I like working out before anything else. Even if it means getting out of bed at 0430. Which is something you might imagine I am used to by now. I actually kind of like it. Oh yeah, and I also turn out the lights at 9, so there is your trade. I start with this because it makes me sad that my life has become such a 'gamble'. Some days you roll a seven, sometimes snake eyes.

I have been remiss in logging daily 'heart related activity' so I will summarize and move along. There has been nothing major. The usual chest pains and pings, dizziness, shortness of breath, mindfog (I love that one) and other stuff like numbness and hypotension, but nothing to alert the Times about. It has all been pretty normal, dealing with the symptoms and adapting to the stress. Most of the stress anyway, there are some other issues that are building, and affecting my 'peace' but that is another story altogether. In the meantime I try my best to follow the Dalai Llama's sagacity and remember that "Love is the absence of judgment."

Because I can judge with the best of them.

Everybody keeps telling me, and providing some entertaining antidotes, that having a pacemaker installed is a re-birthing of sorts. I listen and smile and nod my head in affirmation, but I am still a long way from total agreement.

On one hand I want to say, 'what have I got to lose?', and on the other, 'no way you are sticking a 'device' in my chest and attaching leads into the very chambers of my heart. No freaking way, Senior Jose.

But I may be over-reacting. Kinda like the day before you are scheduled to have a root canal. Or the night before a big event. Or a first date. Or putting your life savings on red 5. Or running for president (and signing up for an Ironman).

It will all work out OK, right?

I mean either way it will be WAY better than this way it is right now. So….

What have I got to lose?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Day 275

I am picking apples and chopping wood. The fall day is crisp and refreshing. On my run yesterday morning I actually felt some dew on my eyebrows, always an indicator of steamy runs to come.

As I move the ladder into proper position to grab the few apples that hang high on inner limbs, I remember when I used to do this for a living. Later as I bring the maul crashing down towards the center of the cedar round, I remember when this was for heat, not merely ambiance.

There is nothing like manual labor to clear one's mind. The physical effort, the necessary focus (up on ladders, crashing axes with maximal force) creates a wonderful opportunity to synergyze body and spirit. You don't have to think too much, you just need to get it done, and get it done smoothly, efficiently and safely.

There can be harmony.

And as I was humming along a thought entered my zone (completely welcomed):

I am looking forward to writing something tonight.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Day 274 neurogenesis

I am not going to name names - or teams. BUT…

Last night I wanted to do a little scouting on UWs next opponent. They happened to be playing our cross-state rivals (clues enough?).

The team in crimson and grey (easily the fugliest unis in all of college football) took an early lead, the result of a beautiful 90 yard TD pass. As the camera zoomed to the coach on the diselines (and his infamous smirk) behind him stood a player wearing an altogether too cocky and inappropriate grin. He was laughing.

I thought to self: Oh oh, you are asking for it kiddo.

As you know I watch only one team. So I made it to the half, curtailed my scouting activities and returned to my scholastic studies (a romance novel).

Imagine my surprise when I woke this gorgeous morning to find that the team leading at the half ended up losing by one.


There is even a name for it.

In other news (as if the Pac12 needed more highlight media) cheek out this juicy quote from Tim Noakes, the distinguished South African Doctor of Exercise Physiology (and see if you agree - as I do):

Exercise (aerobic, ideally with complex motor movements) and mindfulness practice promote nueroplasticity and nuerogenesis - as does any activity/cognition that requires focus and concentration, which strengthens the prefrontal cortex, wherein lies will power, which I think is what your ultimately trying to train specifically for competition.

Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is an umbrella term that encompasses both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic plasticity—it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking, emotions, as well as changes resulting from bodily injury.

Neurogenesis (birth of neurons) is the process by which neurons are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Day 273

Looks like somewhere during, or immediately after, our weekly 90 minute spin-fest I slipped back into AF. First noticed as I finished doing the dishes and sat for a minute waiting for Junior to shower before we went shopping for new shoes. The minute I 'stopped' activity I felt like my heart was going to pulse itself into my throat. It was so violent that the paper I was reading began to shake.

I did what I normally do when this happens; breathe deep, relax and try to keep thoughts positive. I had just had some protein and carbs (huevos rancheros) so most likely electrolytes or dehydration was not the issue.

What the issue was remains unknown. Was it the intensity of our sessions? Its duration? What happened after? Stress?

I did reveal the pacemaker news to one of my friends after class and she almost screamed for joy, 'You'll be a new man, feel like your twenty again, LOOK OUT GIRLS!)

OK (cool on the girls part).

But I am not sold. I don't see how it can "fix" what I am feeling right now. And I am going to allow a (albeit gifted and personable) doctor to cut my chest stick in a foreign object (that includes a battery) and attach leads (with screws) into my atrium and ventricle chambers? REALLY? OF MY OWN FREE WILL AND WITHOUT A GUN POINTED AT MY TEMPLE?

I am simply going to waltz in and allow this to happen?

I am not so sure.

But what options remain?

I can't continue with this one day on and one day off stuff. It is too schizophrenic. Jekyll & Hyde for athletes isn't my kind of read. Steven King would have a field day with this.

So, as of now, I remain firmly in the saddle cinched to the top fence rail. I suppose by Friday (D-Day) I will have my answer.

Hopefully sooner.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 272

The noon deadline has come and gone. I am still on the bubble. I don't know if I should be happy and jump up and down, or be sad and jump in front of a Kenworth.

So maybe I'll jump in place for a while, shake things up some and then let them settle where they will.

Until that glorious time and place, life and the show (they are the same thing in this usage) will, and must, go on.

I am a touch hamstrung with all the work to be done in preparation for the first annual Bainbridge Island Row - Ride event. Postcards, flyers, posters, a commercial, insurance, carpet, etc, etc. At least we got the on-line registration up and running. All this in case you are interested in having some serious multi-sport indoor racing fun. As in a 2K row and an 8K ride. Hardware courtesy of Concept II and CopmpuTrainer.

All good, as they say.

A paradox like we find almost everywhere. Like a handicapped parking area in front of a cycling store in Augusta, Georgia.

Get off the bubble.

Day 271

I am not going to Kona this year. First time in a decade I will miss the World Championships of Triathlon. I am already in withdrawals. I will get over it, but it may take a some time. I will give it till noon tomorrow.

Found out yesterday that I will be the recipient of a dual-chamber pacemaker come one week from today. Yup, as nothing else has worked so far, Dr. Robbinson and my lead counsel agreed to the procedure. I am not 100% sure how I feel about it, but much like the Kona situation I am confident that quicker than a heartbeat (don't start) I will accept the reality and move along. She has insisted that it can only help and that my training and racing will be impacted to the positive as a result.

I am feeling better already.

The observatory on Mona Kea shot last March. Back in the days when I was 100% organic.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Day 270

Two workouts in the log book. The annual Wednesday Super Eight session (20 minute warm-up, 30 seconds MAX and a 90 second recovery eight times), and then a follow-on 2x20 session eight hours later (twenty minutes at 85% if FTP, twice with a five minute break between).

Tried to get caught up between sets and marginally succeeded. What I was pleased with was the video we shot out in Salisbury, MD on Saturday. As the screen grab indicates, the resolution is magnificent. Even with the huge file size (pixels take space) I will figure a way to charge and power the camera for any duration using this new and vastly improved protocol and setting.

I have a few hours in the morning tomorrow to continue the process before heading into HQ and another appointment at UW Med.

I am 200 pages into a Nicholas Sparks tome (The Longest Ride), amazed at his ability to develop characters and create moods with crisp dialogue. For examples consider his fine work with Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember or The Notebook.
Now you know.