Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A detour to McDonalds

Yesterday I had a long day at work. I had to go to Piscataway, NJ which is about a 90 minute ride each way from Casa Rockstar when there is no traffic and when driving through New York, there is never no traffic.

My plan was to stop for some dinner on the way home when traffic got the best of me. Fortunately fat guys, including yours truly, seem to know where most spots to eat are along most rides (car and bike). We don't need a fancy GPS to tell us. We just sort of know. Fat guys also can act as a GPS as well but they often give directions based on restaurants: "go down this road and turn left at McDonalds, keep going until you see a Burger King on the left and then turn right after the Bell (Taco that is) and you are there...."

So I'm driving in the car getting hungry. I've been trying to follow my diet as best I can especially since I'm working out much less but I rationalize that I need junk food. Buffalo Chicken Pizza or Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese + garnish (fries, etc) at the arches would do. My mind is now out of control now completely focused on unhealthy food.

And. Lots. Of. It.

There was a sign which shows that there are delays ahead and I find myself in auto-pilot mode pulling into a McDonalds. Sitting in the parking lot, I mentally go from double quarters to a salad with crispy chicken coupled with a crispy snack wrap. McDonalds has some healthy choices in the salad department and I find that their salads help me from time to time as they are premeasured and consistent (one of the real good things that Ronald has been able to serve up).This is a little slightly healthier option that still keeps the food volume high.

As I'm walking to the counter, I convince myself to not get the snack wrap but keep it as an option if I'm still hungry after the salad. Even though crispy chicken isn't as healthy as grilled, I'm not a saint and it is still much better for me than the burger and fries. So I order the southwest salad.

I few minutes later with no salad in sight, the manager comes out and tells me they are out of crispy chicken and that it will be a while since they have to cook more. Rather than hop on the burger bandwagon (which looked real tempting), I got grilled chicken in my salad instead. I left without getting the snack wrap either. This turned my trip to Ronald's house to be the most healthy alternative that I could get there.

When I got home a little after 8pm, I did 45 minutes on the bike trainer followed by a successful five minute jogging test on the t-mill.

What does this all mean? I don't know but I felt good that I chose to step down to the salad, good that there was no crispy chicken, good that I could get my workout in, and good that I could actually do the workout. The workout still hurt physically but it felt good at the same time.

And that's good.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why delay the inevitable?

Dear Rockstar,

We have received your cancellation notice for the ING New York City Marathon 2009. We're sorry to hear that you won’t be participating in this year's event. You are eligible for guaranteed entry into the ING New York City Marathon 2010. Please note that you must still apply for guaranteed entry into the 2010 event and pay the entry fees as well as applicable optional fees by May 1, 2010.

Now that you have cancelled, you cannot be reinstated into the ING New York City Marathon 2009. Your decision was final. If you did not cancel and are receiving this notice in error, please contact us.

Please note that your registration fee for the ING New York City Marathon 2009 is non-refundable. Also, you may not give or sell your race number or timing chip to another individual. NYRR will bar you and the person running with your number or chip from all future NYRR events, including the ING New York City Marathon.

Wishing you the best in your running endeavors and hoping to see you in 2010.

New York Road Runners
ING New York City Marathon

Friday, September 25, 2009

An update from Weber

Yesterday I received the part that Weber had back ordered for my smoker. Based on the last conversation that I had with them I didn't expect this delivery for at least a month. I don't know if the delivery was expedited since I called or if the person on the phone didn't have any reliable facts. Perhaps they were just making stuff up as they went along but it doesn't matter anymore since my smoker was working fine last weekend with a little help from Home Depot.

I won't be using the smoker this weekend as I still have some leftover pulled pork and ribs in the freezer but next week, ah next week, we try again to fine tune the recipe.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

...and that's ok.

  • Rode on the trainer Tuesday for 45 minutes L1/L2. It was harder than it should have been...and that's ok since I did it. Tonight I'm shooting for an easy hour on the trainer and plan to venture outside on the bike over the weekend.
  • My wounds are basically healed so I tried to swim last night. Lasted a little over 90 seconds and then had to stop since my ribs hurt too much...and that's ok since I tried it. I'll try again over the weekend. Rockstar Research says that a broken rib normally takes 4-6 weeks so I think I'm a little ahead of the curve.
  • Weighed in this morning at Weight Watchers and gained 0.4 lbs...and that's ok since I went instead of hiding. Maybe I was burning a few calories working out that I need to adjust due to my comparitive level of inactivity? To prevent finding excuses not to go, I prepaid for the next month. Since I already paid I'm sure I'll go. Sometimes cheapness can be a virtue.
  • My longest run since the accident has been across the parking lot...and that's ok since I made it all the way across without stopping. This weekend has yet another experiment on tap when I'll try to run a WHOLE LAP around the track. This will be at a pace no faster than a slow jog but I'll be happy if that happens. It might actually be slower than walking...and that's ok too.
  • Training will resume in earnest on Sunday with a plan to run a marathon (not NYC) as soon as practical...and that's more than ok.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Donovan McNabb

I was injured on 9/8. My main injury was a broken rib (left rib #5 to be specific). A few days later on 9/13 Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb (#5) was hurt in a game when he suffered, you guessed it, a broken rib. I don't know which rib he cracked some reports indicated that he would be able to play in the Eagle's next game on 9/20.

If McNabb was able to play in a football game with a similar injury to what I had, I figured that I know that there was no way that I could do anything like that. Sure this is his livelihood, that he would probably wear some sort of rib protector, that he is a professional and it may not be the same injury as mine but I still felt that if he was able to play then somehow he was more tolerant to pain than I was. In other words, I would have been a wimp.

Yes, these thoughts are some flavor of insanity but I secretly hoped he wouldn't be able to play because then I wouldn't be a wimp. I'm sorry for thinking these illogical thoughts.

I didn't know that McNabb couldn't practice all week and was ruled out 90 minutes before the game. The Eagles lost to the New Orleans Saints 48-22.

Tomorrow is two weeks from when I was hurt. I'm feeling that I am recovering and am trying to get on the bike every other day. I couldn't run the half marathon that I signed up for yesterday and the probability of me doing the NYC marathon is getting lower every day. Even if I recover physically in time, I doubt that I'll have the mileage necessary to do well. I'm sure I could slog through it but that wouldn't accomplish much.

Next week the Eagles play against Kansas City. There are reports that say it is possible that McNabb won't be able to play even next week due to his injury. I can see that. While I'm not an Eagles fan, though, I hope that McNabb can play. In fact, I hope he plays well.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dear Weber

I bought a smoker, a Weber Smokey Mountain. Ordered it online. Why did I order it online? It was 20% cheaper than the local stores with free shipping. It came in a couple of days and when I put it together  I found that one of the parts (the charcoal grate) was for a different size smoker rendering mine useless.

So I called Weber customer service. After explaining the deal to the rep, the said that they would Fedex out a replacement part. I thought that OK and expected it in a couple of days at the latest.

A week later no part so I called them again. After waiting on hold for about 20 minutes I got a rep who said that the part was backordered and they expect it in about a month! Then they would send it to me but since I was probably not the only person waiting for this part I should expect it early November. I tried to explain to the rep that this was unacceptable, found it incredulous that Weber had no parts, and that my option was to return it and buy a competitors' product. They didn't get it or seemed that they didn't care. I asked for a supervisor hoping there was some intelligence up the food chain. I was on hold a few minutes and then got cut off.

Rather than wait on hold to complain again to people that don't listen I figured out Plan B. I would go to either Home Depot or Lowes and buy another of the same Weber smoker, take the part out (what I was asking Weber to do but they couldn't understand that), and return the whole thing for a refund when I get the replacement part. I had a bit of a moral internal debate since this may not be the fairest thing to do to these stores but figured it would all go back to Weber.

Lowes was sold out but when I went to Home Depot, they had the part I needed that they sold individually. $9. I bought it. Problem solved.  A simple solution to a simple problem that would have turned an unhappy customer into a satisfied customer. Weber somehow doesn't understand that simple concept. Maybe I was dealing with someone having a bad day or someone who shouldn't be in a job dealing with customers. In any case, I'm wondering if I'll ever get the correct part from them.

Hope to do the first trial/experiment this weekend. I sense that a smoker is best operated with a beer in one hand and close proximity to a football game (or perhaps "games") on TV. Probably won't help with the weight loss diet so much. I won't be racing this weekend so I have some time to figure it out.

Recipe's anyone?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Questions I keep getting about the accident

Question #1) What happened to the car?
Answer #1) I am not a small guy. I'm 6'2", approximately 250 pounds and was going >20mph. All I know is that I left on a flatbed and so did the car.

Question #2) Were you wearing a helmet?
Answer#2) I was once told to consider this when thinking about not wearing a helmet: Take a cantaloupe and drop it on the floor. Watch it break. Then think about what would happen if it was going 20mph. Then think about the cantaloupe being your head. Then put on your helmet. In other words, I was wearing a helmet.

Question #3) Why aren't you as injured as you could have been?
Answer #3) It could be that my superior cat like reflexes saved the day. It could have been that it wasn't my time. Or it could just be, as Yukon Cornelius says, "Bumbles Bounce." Whatever it is, I'm not complaining.

Question #4) When are you getting back on the bike?
Answer #4) Just did. 15 minutes on the trainer. We build from here.

Game on.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Putting the pieces back together.

Today I went to the office. I have a long commute with plenty of opportunity for people to invade my "personal" space. The inadvertent bump as people jostle for seats on the train or when walking along is one of my biggest fears. Actually, the pain from that bump is what makes it, let me word this right, "not good".

Monday night is supposed to be master's swim class for me but I only can resume training in the water when my wounds heal. My daughter Courtney swims at the same time with her junior tri team but since I look forward to the quality time to and from with her in the car, I'll sit there and watch the workout. Maybe I'll take a short walk. Oh, how my athletic goals are getting recalibrated.

The haggling is starting with the insurance company. I'm preparing the property loss estimates and will soon see which neighborhood their first offer lives in. I've ordered new glasses since my old ones are in pieces. I found that I had a bunch of spare glasses but none seem to be the right Rx.

I haven't eaten a lot of green food the past week as I've sort of focused on my type of comfort food (which are all unhealthy choices). With the return to work is the return to weight watchers and the eating program. I need to take control of something, not be a victim, and this is something that I have to do anyway.

The thing I miss the most is sleep. I can't sleep for more than about 90 minutes without moving and when I move my rib pain wakes me up. The pain killers buy me only a little more time of continuous sleep. A great accomplishment will be to sleep through the night. I'm sure MrsRockstar feels the same as I keep waking her up too.

But going to the office is a big step. Bit by bit, piece by piece, I'm getting it together. Hopefully the pace of recovery will quicken but I've never been known for my pace - the slow part of the journey strikes again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thank you.

I'm still investigating new aches, bruises, and pains but the pieces of glass are almost all out of my body (at least I hope they are). There are all sorts of stages that my mind is now going through that I'm sure some PhD types have defined much better than I would ever be able to but I have been amazed by the support that I've gotten from friends, family and even complete strangers.

Mighty Hamptons Tri on Sunday will happen without me. The likelihood of doing the rest of my 2009 race calendar on the road to the NYC marathon is low. The likelihood of the marathon itself grows slimmer every day.

But I am alive. A lot goes through your mind in the split second when you realize that there is nothing you can do to not crash. I wondered how fast I was going (22.4mph was the answer) and what my chances were (not great). I'm still sorting out the other thoughts that were racing through my mind at that point. I realized that I can look at this as a "why did this happen to me?" moment and be angry. I may look it it that way soon but I've decided to view this as I was lucky and it could have been much worse.

I feel that I am now at the entrance ramp to the road to recovery. MrsRockstar asked me today if I was afraid to get back on the bike and ride. I can't physically ride yet (I hope to return to work on Monday) but I did set up my road bike on the trainer. I think that would be a good step once I'm ready physically. Won't be today but hopefully will be soon.

I'm not going to wait until then to say thank you for the help. Expressing gratitude is not one of my strengths so I'm trying the best I can to give thanks where it is due. I can't say thanks enough to all the people that are helping me through this. Thank you for the support and thank you for everything else.

It means more to me than I can write or say. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Abrupt end to the tri season

My ride ended tonight at the trauma ward. I was brought there in an ambulance as I was a participant in a bike vs. car accident (I played the part of the bike rider). I have some major road rash and broken ribs. I never lost consciousness but my bike is in pieces.

I hurt a lot. Tomorrow will probably suck. The day after too.

It could have been worse.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weight Watcher's week #1 results.

This week I lost 8.6 pounds.

Let me say that again - this week I lost 8.6 pounds. I weigh less than an eighth of a ton for the first time in a long time. While I don't expect to lose this amount every week, I feel it was a good start.

I like saying it so here it goes again: This week I lost 8.6 pounds and now weigh less than an eighth of a ton.

Of course it won't matter if I just put the weight back on and this week is looking like it will be a challenge. On one hand I've got an open water swim followed by a 2hr ride (where I'll preview the Mighty Hamptons Bike Course) and on Sunday a 9 mile run. On the other hand I'm hosting an end of summer barbeque with friends on Saturday and TeamRockstar is going to the US Open to watch some tennis on Monday.

MrsRockstar commented that I may weigh less now that when we got married those many moons ago. I don't know if that is true or not but it is a good thought. A few more pounds and I'll know that it is true. I also know that continued focus on my body composition is one of the keys to my athletic success.

Rock on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

525,600 Minutes

"525,600 minutes,
525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?"
- "Seasons of Love" from Rent

A year ago today I started on this triathlon journey seriously. Before that, while I competed in a variety of events and thought I was focused properly , my goal was simply to finish whichever event was next on the agenda. On some level with those goals, I was successful.

When I originally signed up for 2009's Eagleman Ironman 70.3 in Summer 2008, I had a change of mind or perhaps an evolution of my mindset. I no longer wanted to simply finish but I wanted to do well. Of course, defining "well" was ambiguous at best but it was a goal none the less.

I mark September 1, 2008 as the tipping point in this journey as it was the day I signed on to start trying to listen to the sage advice offered by BikeMike. At that point, I couldn't run since I was injured but no one could really tell since I normally ran very slowly. My biking endurance was OK but I didn't have a lot of speed. My swimming was best described as poor and was poor only with the aid of a wetsuit or pull buoy.

MrsRockstar oftens says that I sometime have "patience" issues but every once in a while I like to take a look backwards to see if the plan is working or not and to revise if necessary. Anniversaries are a good time to do this and I found that I set a PR at every distance I raced. Specifically I found these PR changes from last year:
  • My 5K PR was 35:41 and is now 29:57 - 16% improvement
  • My 4mile PR was 44:48 and now is 42:34 - 5% improvement
  • My 8k/5m PR was 58:33 and now is 55:30 - 5% improvement
  • My 10k PR was 1:14:10 and now is 1:08:16 - 8% improvement
  • My Half Marathon PR was 2:53:58 and now is 2:31:11 - 13% improvement
  • My Oly tri bike split PR was 1:28:53 and now is 1:16:56 - 13% improvement
  • My Oly tri run split PR was 1:29:01 and now is 1:13:44 - 17% improvement
  • I'm sure my Oly tri overall would have been better too but the only race at that distance scheduled this years had the swim cancelled. I do have high hopes for the Mighty Hamptons scheduled for 9/13.
  • I did, for the first time a 15k
  • And I finished two Ironman 70.3 races, a distance that I never competed at before.

While I'm still not up to the performance standards I've set in my mind not at the body composition that I hope for, I am making measurable and, I think, significant progress. There is some debate on this (mostly with the voices in my head) especially after my Timberman performance but over all I believe I am headed in the right direction and that more improvement is still possible.

The journey is continuing. Mighty Hamptons Olympic distance triathlon in less than two weeks.