Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sandy Review

We did better than most. Everyone is safe. Even though there are many trees down in the neighborhood, none of ours fell. We had some friends (aka refugees) stay over as they were evacuated from their home south of us. Their home is still standing without water damage (it stopped a few feet in front of their house) while others in their neighborhood are not so lucky.

We are in the minority as we never lost power. We had some flickering and a period of brown outs but all is good. Reports say 90% of homes on Long Island are dark. There is a massive tree down at the end of my block that took out two poles but the current is still running. The power folks say that in order to fix the wires on the ground they will need to take down our power. I would expect that to be a short time hopefully.

Driving is still hazardous due to trees across the road and more traffic lights are not working than are working. Cell phones don't really work, our land lines are hard down, no internet and no cable is available. My daughter said she had to do her current events homework "old school." I asked what that meant and she said she did it by reading the newspaper. Imagine that.

I can't make it into NYC as transit is still down. I was able to get to my alternate office so starting to be back to routine. Everyone I've checked with so far is safe. Schools are closed but no guidance available on when they will open again.

Prayers for the victims. Be safe and be well.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Noah is my hero

I was recently reading a bunch of articles on how to race an Ironman. One of the most interesting sound bites that resonated with me came from Endurance Nation. To paraphrase, there is a difference between building a vessel and operating a vessel. Race day is about operating the vessel, not building the vessel.

Training time, in contrast, should focus on building the vessel. Right now I have no vessel but need to build one with the raw materials (me) that I have. While they aren't the highest quality materials I do have some time. I realized that the StA triathlon is six months away so the time is about right to start.

Noah didn't start building the ark when the rain started, he started it way before so it would be ready when he needed it. I need to start training now to be successful next year. So the offseason is officially over, the coach has been called, Training Peaks is set up to start pestering me with the workouts, and I need to figure out an eating plan. Eating everything and a lot of it doesn't seem to be working so well for me.

The rain for Hurricane Sandy has already started here. This storm is real annoying as I couldn't even watch/record the IM Kona special since the TV kept breaking away to the politician's news conference that kept saying the same thing over and over. They didn't break into the football games as they used the split screen approach. Even so I believe that the Kona special is more impactful to me after I've completed an Ironman as compared to before.

Don't think I need an ark for Sandy but I need to build a vessel for the 2013 triathlon season. Time to start building.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A question of Iron protocol

My wife was having a lot of problems with "her" minivan. I use the quotes as although it is "hers," I frequently drive it. It had the unofficial moniker of the SAGmobile as it often was the vehicle of survival when bike rides went awry. It was also a great consolidator vehicle for biking road trips as it could seat 6 people with 4 bikes on the back. The main problem was that the car just stopped running randomly. This became a safety issue as it happened while at highway speeds as well as just driving around town. This issue was seemingly unsolvable, even by the dealer on multiple occasions. It got to the point where my wife vowed never to spend another minute of her life in Chrysler's service department.

We decided to break away from a minivan, traded it in and ordered a new car. The new car just came in the other day. We are enjoying the new car smell and all seems good. I happened to be at the Runner's Edge today and a saw the emblem above for sale. I didn't buy it as there were two questions in my mind:

  1. Am I breaking any sort of protocol by putting this on a car that I didn't own when I actually finished my Ironman?
  2. As this will be my wife's primary car, should it even have the emblem on it?
While we waited for the new car to come in my wife was driving my car. She did comment that driving a car with a 140.6 sticker on it didn't concern her except when she pulled into her tennis club parking lot (with the gym attached).

So, do I buy the emblem, wait for Santa to bring it for Christmas, or move on?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Spin Class Visualization

I've been becoming a regular in the Saturday morning Spin class at the local studio. During today's class my mind wandered a bit as it is wont to do during these classes. I found it interesting as to where my mind took me versus where it did not. Does this happen to you?

Most of the time during spin class my mind pictured me riding El Tour de Tucson. I've done this ride twice but the last time was in 2005 when I first started on this adult onset athletic disease. I started thinking I may need to swing by Tucson for a ride. This year seems out but maybe next year. I would then volunteer at IMAZ and sign up the next day. Could be a plan.

I also pictured myself doing hill repeats up Bear Mountain in upstate NY. I didn't ride Bear this year but  am looking forward to doing it many times next year with my friends training for IMLP. I thought fleetingly about riding up there in the next few weeks if the weather cooperates but don't know if my fitness is up to the point where I can do effectively the 3.5 mile ascent that averages 5.1%.

I did not think of either IMLP or IMFL's bike courses and wondered why a little. It is coming up on my one year anniversary of IMFL so there will be some recollections going through my brain shortly but they weren't there today.

The final thought that bounced around my feeble brain this morning was that I may not be in as bad shape as I thought I was. I get through these classes without issue and really don't think that I have any concerns on being able to do any similar class. Daughter#2 has said that she would be interested in trying a cardio kick boxing class. She needs a chaperone so I may be giving that a shot soon. Part of me was thinking that maybe I raising my kids to be athletic but a different part of me was thinking that I would be so inept at cardio kick boxing that they might ban me forever. We'll see as I'm leaving it up to her to show some initiative.

I haven't done any training yet for the Disney Half in January as compared to my daughter#1 who ran an easy 8 this morning (she is racing Disney with me as her first half mary). Think I need to mix in a little sneaker time soon.

Bit by bit I'm on the road back.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Interesting case

It is never a good place to be when a doctor says you have an "interesting case."

This phrase appears to be code for "we have no idea what is going on so we're going to continue to look." Today was a visit to the ENT to determine if there was evidence of reflux. Apparently reflux is the third most common cause of a chronic cough and/or breathing issues. Who knew? Reflux causes inflammation and the cough is in response to that irritation. Of course when a doctor asks you if you have reflux and you don't, every subsequent meal seems to generate some level of heartburn. I was also advised to take some preventative antacids, just in case reflux was the cause.

The antacid didn't seem to do anything and when the ENT looked down my throat he found no evidence of reflux. Another dead end.

But with an interesting case, it cannot end there. He did find a few abnormalities. First,  he saw I have nasal polyps. I've had them in the past and they come and go normally in response to some sort of allergy. When they were really bad in the past, I've had them surgically removed. I haven't had to have the surgery for over 20 years so I though I was good. I don't consider them really bad now since they do not obstruct my nasal airflow. The doctor  recommended a CAT scan to see how extensive they are. He said this may be the cause of the cough and breathing as the polyps may be obstructing sinus draining causing irritation. He recommended more detailed, up to date, allergy testing. My sense is that when winter really kicks in I'll magically be cured. Of course, I don't want to repeat this next summer.

The strangest thing he found was that one of my vocal cords wasn't working right. Can't tell if this was a symptom, cause, or result of my breathing and coughing. Even so it wouldn't be a visit to the doctor if he didn't call for more tests.

In the meantime, I'm starting some training with the goal of really training November 1.  My diet has remained poor so there is no surprise that I gained a little over a pound in the last month. I have to get back into the exercise mindset and found spin classes work. Next up is swimming.  When I told my coach was I was doing he asked how I felt. I told him I felt out of shape.

That, he said, we can fix.