Monday, November 2, 2009

In the Bag

July 16

Coach Patrick and Coach Rich of suggested that checklists, making them, checking them, repeating this process, could help to dissipate nervous energy and prevent blowing the taper. I liked Rich's suggestion too about using brown paper shopping bags, to keep things organized and accessible. I stopped by King Kullen this morning and offered to buy 10 bags; the checkout girl handed me 15 and a smile.

Next, I made up checklists. Six of them.

Bike Setup


Power bars

Jelly beans

Power shots




Electrical tape

Rubber bands

Aero drink

3 bottles water


Bento box

Peanut m&m


Velcro straps

Plastic coverup

Race Morning








Timex Watch


Light jacket


Swim to Bike Transition

Race belt

Bib shorts in plastic bag

Jersey in plastic bag

Socks in plastic bag

Shoes in plastic bag




Light jacket in bag


Bike Special Needs


Socks in plastic bag

Bandana in plastic bag

Extra gloves

Power Bars

Jelly Beans




Extra Lenses



Fig newtons in plastic bag

Electrical tape

Bandaids in plastic bag

Bike to Run Transition

Shorts in plastic bag

Short sleeve Shirt in plastic bag

Long sleeve shirt in plastic bag


Socks in plastic bag

Shoes in plastic bag

Bandaids in plastic bag

Garmin 305

Run Special Needs

Socks in plastic bag

Short sleeve shirt in plastic bag

Long sleeve shirt in plastic bag

Shoes in plastic bag

Bandaids in plastic bag


I printed 4 copies of each, stapled one to each bag, put two copies in each bag and then the last copy in a three ring binder. This Binder also included the Ironman Athlete Guide and an hour by hour schedule covering the drive up right through the day after the race.

Tonight I'll spread the bags out in the living room, along with every piece of tri gear i own, and I will sort it all out and make a shopping list for whats missing.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

supernatural running

July 15, 2009

Thanks to Rich Strauss and Buddha Shakyamuni.

You guys got my head right.

The guys at Endurance Nation provided great guidance on ironman execution. Coach Roach told a story about writing "patience" and "discipline" on his forearms, to remind himself not to blow up chasing cyclists too early in the day. Their mantra "
Race Day is about EXECUTION, not FITNESS.” is hammered home in their race kits at, with both general strategy and detailed course guidance.

This morning I was reading Mahamudra Tantra by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Mahamudra is a very specific set of meditation instructions intened to aid in the realization of the "very subtle mind", a supremly peaceful and powerful state of conciousness. Geshela makes reference to Jetsun Milarepa, a Tibetan Yogi, who attained Mahamudra Tantra without the instructions, but instead "through patience and determination".

(Parenthetically, Milarepa boasted of having “crossed in a few days, a distance which, before his training had taken him more than a month." He ascribed his gift to the clever control of ‘internal air’.)

This really is speaking to me. At this point I can do nothign further to improve my skills and abilities and fitness. Only through patiently applying my available abilities, knowing and then keeping concious of my purpose for racing, can i acheive a satisfactory result.

Kerrie asked me last week if i was ready, and why exactly I was doing this. I didnt have an answer then, but i think i have one now. As she suggested, the first reason I am doign this is because i can. And the reason that will get me through the day and the last, dark 6 miles of the marathon: becuase i can do this with a smile on my face, finishign happy and strong.

I need to start to think about packing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Normally before an execution they offer you a blindfold or cigarette.

July 4, 2009

I see some tweets about final workouts and taper beginning from prospective Lake Placid Ironman participants. This is disturbing, as I have really not been training enough to call what I do next a taper. In fact, i have barely trained for the swim or run since February. I have a certain comfort level for the bike leg, having done numerous 100 + mile rides, and good familiarity with the race course from last year and a camp in June. It's really sunk in that i am facing the jaws of this beast with no prep, and no time to do anything about it.

Last year I finished Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3 in just under 7:00, so am assuming something around 14:00 for Lake Placid. That assumption was made at the end of last season. Now with my nonexistent training, I am looking at the cut off times, and figuring max time for the swim and biking until the bike cutoff at 530pm, i would have 6:30 to finish the marathon. That would bring me to 17:00, the midnight cutoff.

I reached out to Coach Adam for some advice on how to attack the race. His advice is to focus on 'keep moving forward' and don't burn out in the first 10 miles of the run. Thanks Adam, very helpful indeed.

I also called on Pat and Rich of Endurance Nation for their advice. Beyond the excellent training plans they provide, they have also produced an amazing array of online resources and assistance. "Race day is about execution, not fitness". Seems right up my alley.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A lesson learned about lessons learned.

Now, 6 weeks after my first Ironman at Lake Placid, NY, I find I have still not begun my race report. It's particularly remarkable considering the achievement. I mean, if i could do Ironman, why cant i write a little race report? The fact that i finished in over 16 hours simply indicates I have a certain degree of determination and stamina, an ability to finish what I start.

And there's the lesson, which I learned so well On July 26, and which I apparently forgot already. The key to finishing is - beginning. And here's the other lesson. Use what you learn.

I will begin this race report and it will be in serial format. It will be in present tense, from the best of my recollection. I hope you enjoy my story as much as i enjoyed living it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Ironman Happy Ending

Ironman Lake Placid 2009

Race report to follow. For now,
I'm going to DisneyWorld.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

you may have been wondering...

You may have been wondering about me, my training and the status of this blog. (Maybe not ;) )

Some time back I started a series of posts on dietary cleansing and ayurvedic eating, never finished. Stopped blogging on my training status. Haven't been logging much on Buckeye. Raced Tupper Lake "Sprint", did Lake Placid camp, but never blogged on it.

Now with 10 days to race day, I feel i need to put my affairs in order. Gees that sounds a little ominous. But no time like the present. And I am thinking I will certainly be blogging my race report and remainder of season, so it'd be good to tie up some loose ends here.

There will be more to come in the next few days. Let me start by addressing the training issue, and my readiness. Due to some unanticipated personal and health issues, I virtually started my taper in February. I have done some long rides, and I am most comfortable thinning about the 112 mile bike leg. I haven't swam more than a dozen times since last October. I am pretty confident I can make the swim cutoff, that's my goal. My longest run this year has been about 10 miles. I have done some 5K and 10K races, one hilly 15k in March, and I have gotten faster, but I am not sure how my body holds up for a whole marathon.

In short, I am overweight and under trained. Yipee, here we go!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

whipped up dinner

Roasted potatoes, rainbow chard, garlic, bermuda onion, tomato and fennel sausage.

A hit.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Grilled Tempeh with hot chili sauce on tomato basil bread, with grilled collard greens, green leaf lettuce, red onion, sliced tomato and sour cream blue cheese dressing.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Bike from East Quogue to Orient Ferry and back, 80 flat miles averaging 17.5 miles per hour, normalized power 157 watts, average cadence 85 ,TSS 438,4:45 in motion 5:55 start to finish.

3 liters of water, 4 nuun tablets, 3 power gels, 1 power bar, 1 sports beans and 3 oranges.

The house I live in is for sale!

There's this Big Duck...

At the Orient Ferry, they wanted to charge
me a dollar to take my picture.
But I negotiated "for free"

I took a 20 minute power nap
under this Laurel tree, in Laurel.
This was a long lonely day, but
there is something to be said for
stopping and laying down
whenever you want.

Run 3 miles, 27:45

Green Salad, two grilled chicken
thighs, wilted spinach, quinoa
pasta with tomato sauce.
(Couldn't eat the salad, stuffed)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

fiddleheads and mussels

Mussels steamed with whole tomatoes and garlic, fiddlehead fern with olive oil, garlic and lemon, spelt pasta finished in mussel sauce, fresh green salad.

This is how i eat. I need to focus and write my post on my 'spring cleanse' tonight.

100 mile ride and some kind of run planned for tommorow, there will be photos :)

The Backyard Pool

Going to just do 1 length :)

Ok it was sooo nice in the briney i did 2 out and backs, about 35 mins. Its top of the out going tide, so when i reached the cut out to Tiana Bay i could really feel the current pullign me out, so i turned back.

That's my longest swim since February 14, felt good, and i only bumped into the dock once, sighting was pretty well right on :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Get in the Door

When I first started my sport parachute training, the static line method was still the generally accepted method of learning. In the years after I left “student status” the Accelerated Free Fall system came into favor, and I am not sure there are very many drop zones still using the “dope rope”.

The static line is a length of canvas webbing with a clip on one end, which attaches to a D ring on the aircraft floor, and a section of Velcro loops, which attaches to a corresponding section of Velcro hooks on the parachute ripcord. In my experience these static line training jumps were performed from a Cessna 305, a small single engine plane with room for pilot, jumpmaster and three students. Once over ‘the spot’, the jumpmaster signals to the first student to move toward the door, and attaches the static line to the D ring. The jumpmaster then opens the door and signals for the student to ‘get out’. The student carefully pivots on his ass and steps out onto the step, a wide metal plate over the right landing gear. He reaches forward and grasps the wing strut, walks out and drops his feet off the step, and is now hanging under the wing, looking back at the jumpmaster. On signal the student drops away, the static line draws taught and pulls the ripcord, opening the parachute container and pulling the chute out and lines taut, and finally tearing away, student now under an open canopy.

For those who continued beyond the first few static line jumps, the agenda was to get off student status, to be allowed to spot and exit the aircraft on your own, and from higher altitudes so actual freefall could happen. The static line exit altitude was around 3500 feet, whereas a majority of freefall jumps are from 13,500 feet, affording about 60 seconds of free flight before deploying a parachute. On this particular day I was taking a ride up with two static line students for a ‘hop and pop’, an exit and quick manual deployment of my chute.

You can think of the aircraft layout as like a panel van with the interior removed, except for the pilot’ seat, on the left just like a car. The exit door is on the right, just below the wing. The jumpmaster sits on the floor next to the pilot, facing the rear of the plane. One student sits behind the pilot and facing the rear, and two students sit against the back bulkhead, both facing forward. On this flight I would be the last one out, and as usual the jumpmaster would land with the plane.

As the plane neared jump altitude the pilot poked the jumpmaster, who kneeled and looked down through the door and motioned to the pilot with course adjustments. The spot to exit needed to take into account wind speed and direction so the jumpers could easily make it back to the DZ. He motioned to the jumper behind the pilot, clipped the static line in, opened the door and yelled “get out”. I couldn’t see him from where I sat, but as he dropped off the plane dipped slightly as the pilot adjusted for the change in weight distribution. One away.

The jumpmaster reached out and pulled the door closed and motioned for number two to move up. Clip in, open door, climb out, go! With the shift in weight this time the pilot overcorrected and I watched as the jumpmaster lost his balance and lurched out the door! I kneeled to move toward the door myself and saw him hanging from the strut, facing the tail. I will never forget the look of terror on his face. He was too far away to get footing back on the step, and his handhold on the strut wasn’t strong enough to hold him there long. And anyway, landing the plan with someone hanging there was not a viable option.

I kneeled and crawled forward to get a better look. I had placed my life in the hands of this man who now looked back at me with this plaintiff glare, as if I could possibly have some solution to his problem! I moved closer to the door and gauged if I could possibly reach him with a hand to help him back in, but there was just no way. I saw his attitude change from terror to sadness as he resigned himself to his position.

I had heard the pilot yelling but hadn’t really been able to make out what he was saying. I don’t think the jumpmaster could hear him from outside in the slipstream, but he did finally look over my shoulder to see the pilot gesturing. I leaned back on my legs to see him point at the jumpmaster and clearly mouth the words,

“You have a parachute”.

I will never forget the look of peace that came over the jumpmaster as he realized the solution to his problem had been with him all along.

All he had to do was let go.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Habits and Change

I haven't abandoned the cleanse process, in fact I have started with a pretty significant change to my diet the past week. I wanted to jump in here though to talk a bit about my coffee habit.

I had a pretty substantial coffee habit, drinking about 1 quart each day, usually either sitting in Starbucks reading, or working at my desk, black from a french press. As I started to look more closely at what I put in my mouth, I had to be honest and come to the conclusion that this was ALOT of coffee, and there was no real reason to be taking it in.

I wasn't sure how it would work, but last Wednesday I went a bought a box of Yerba Mate tea. This is an herbal tea which is supposed to contain a small amount of caffeine, should be a good substitute to bridge me off the juice. I drank two cups of that, and i have to say i didn't find it to be a very good substitute for my daily dose of the mother bean. I had a nice headache going, was kind of cranky and really foggy in the head. I felt like crap.

The next day I woke up feeling better, but still missing the usual morning routine. The top of the Yerba Mate box had a recipe for a 'Mate Latte'. I made a cup with hot soy milk heated with some grated nutmeg and ground clove. This was really good! More substantial than the weak tea version. This week I've instituted a new morning and evening routine, brewing up a mate latte with my oats in the morning and before bed at night.

The obvious benefit is I have greatly reduced my caffeine intake. But more than this, I've radically altered my daily routine. The warm spiced drink has enhanced my digestion, curbed my nighttime appetite and improved my nightly sleep.

I've noticed the last few days that my rosacea has flaired up in the morning. I am not sure if this is connected to the Yerba, the withdrawal of caffeine, the change in diet, or perhaps a symptom of the auto immune stuff i am dealing with. This week I am going to eliminate the Yerba Mate, replacing it with a cup of spiced soy milk morning and night.

Beyond what I am learning about the coffee/caffeine habit, I think I might have hit on some valuable lessons about dealing with habits and change.

I don't think I had much of a caffeine addiction, rather I was hooked on this comfortable daily routine that revolved around coffee. Looking at it honesty, i could see it was not in the best interest of my health and was not the best use of my time. I didnt just quit that routine cold turkey, instead i replaced it with a new routine. The new routine is healthier and less time consuming than the old one.

There's something else here about dealing with change, which i am not sure i have quite put my finger on. We all deal with changes in our lives, sometimes minor speedbumps, sometimes mountains rising to block our planned life path. The loss of control when we encounter change is I think what makes dealing so hard. I wonder if taking control and instituting our own changes elsewhere might make dealing with all change easier to handle. Can we train our minds to embrace, rather than resist change?

Anyway, no coffee for me all week, and hardly a drop of caffeine except some sports beans during the century ride last week. Super energy level, my mind is sharp. I am doing something right.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Focus on Food I

Before even addressing specific foods, here's a few general guidelines I'll follow in my new dietary routine for "spring cleaning":

As much as possible,
Eliminate non fresh foods, like canned foods, leftovers, frozen foods and processed foods,
Eliminate junk food including heavy desserts, fried foods, candy, refined sugars, processed foods, carbonated drinks, caffeine and alcohol,
Eliminate dairy,
Avoid raw foods in favor of cooked foods to aid in digestion,
Avoid cold foods and drinks and drink lots of warm water throughout the day.

As important as what I eat is when I eat it. I will stick to three meals each day with the main meal mid day when digestion is most active. The main meal will not be larger than I can fit in my two hands. After the main meal a short 'lay down' on my left side to aid digestion, then a short brisk walk. Mid morning and mid afternoon snacks to hold me over between meals. Evening meal will never be less than 2 hours before sleep.

My Basic Metabolic Requirement is approximately 2000 calories per day. Assuming 30% of calories are from protein I should take in no less than 150 g of protein a day on a day with no workouts. I will try to maintain that 30% number but if necessary will take in additional calories in the form of carbohydrates rather than fat.

I would like to lose about 15 pounds in the next 60 days, so I will need to wacth the calories closely.

Next - Focus on Food II, the shopping list

Moving Toward Balance

Last summer after Ironman week in Lake Placid, the holisticguru, Christine Lynch shared with me some information on Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life. Specifically she lent me a book, "Body, Mind, and Sport: The Mind-Body Guide to Lifelong Health, Fitness, and Your Personal Best" by Dr. John Douillard. He is perhaps best known for his book "The Three Season Diet", which is based on the basic Ayurvedic concept that we should eat seasonally and according to our body types.

In short, Ayurveda is based on an understanding of various complimentary cycles and synergistic properties of everything in nature. Everything from body types, to seasons of the year, to times of the day, and foods and activities best suited for each, is described by ayurvedic knowldge. Everything is complimentary or cyclical. There is no 'good' or 'bad' body type, or season, or food. These things just are, described by ayurveda without judgement. However, there may be optimal relatinships between the various parts, and putting the right things together for the right purpose at the right time can help to maximize effectiveness, performance, health and joy.

Anyway this whole topic is huge. As with many areas of knowldge, very often the lessons to be learned are too big to take in one bite. You need to absorb what you can, apply as much as you can, and probably revisit the orginal lesson and start again. Small steps. I've been applying some of what I've learned, establishing my body type or 'dosha' (Pitta), altering some of the foods I eat to compliment my type, changing the timing of my main daily meal, waking and going to bed earlier and trying to do my main excercise early in the day. None of this happened at once and none of it is complete. I am moving toward balance.

I am not in balance. I am moving toward balance.

I have been wanting to post somethign on all this for a while. It's come to the fore now thanks to the Master Cleanse post at the Live and Eat Better blog. I think for me, the idea of a master cleanse doesnt work. What I mean is, ayurveda says your body is natuarly cleansed in the spring, if you do what nature intended. That is, a low fat high fiber diet consisting primarily of fresh greens, plenty of fluids, and lifestyle changes that mirror what happen in nature in spring:with the melting of snows and thawing of ground, the fluids in the body also start flowing more freely, performing an internal cleansing routine to accelarate the flushing of toxins accumlated through the winter.

Also, through the proper selection of foods and their preparation one should promote healthy digestion to reduce "ama", or residual toxins and underdigested food remaining in the body.

Finally, through the skillfull application of lifestyle changes one should promote the rejuvination of internal bodily systems with activities like yogic breathing (for the endocrine system and to remediate stress) and stretching and massage to help restore sore and tight muscial and fascia.

The real key to this 'cleanse', though, will be to continue the positive steps into summer and through to winter. While available foods and normal activity levels vary with the seasons, the importance of watchign the body and staying in harmony with the natural world in what one eats and does shoudl remain.

Tommorow- the food.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Me and my bike, Apple Crisp, had some alone time this weekend.

We rode from East Quogue east to Sag Harbor. The bad economy hasn't completely stopped development in the hamptons. This holistic thing is really catching on.

On the way back I stopped at Duckwalk Vineyard.

People try many different methods to end suffering.

I found these Golden Beets at the organic grocery store. I thought they were a myth!

Finished 50 miles on the bike, took a shoer 2 mile run in the new hood, then whipped up dinner. Oats and red quinoa with golden beets and beet greens, lacinato kale green onions and an egg.

Although my back is still killign me, I feel strong. A good day.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A bunny!

About 50 windy miles from Somers, NY to Ridgefield, CT and back.

Thanks, my friends , for the fellowship. What a great day! Let's do it again soon.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pushup Throwdown (#100friday)

Starting tomorrow we'll be doing push ups. 100 of them. Or trying to. And posting our progress and results in twitter with the hash tag #100friday.

Javier Gomez, triathlete coach, world famous triathlete and founder of Operation Ironman instigated this. We used to all so this on Wednesdays, last summer, but it fell off over the winter. Coach Javier is a bad ass.

SpeedySasquatch will most likely be doing #300friday. I think he says anything over 100 is called a Spartan. Whatever, i gave up trying to keep up with him.

Gusano82, who I know from triscoop, is joining in.

You can play too. Just log onto twitter and post when you're done, with the hash tag #100friday.

Oh, its not just dudes. There's a couple of womans who will probably give it a go, including SKDickey and holisticguru.

So the goal is 100 push ups durin the day friday. If you cannot do 100, do your max and work from there. Personally I will shoot to have my 100 done before 7AM . Great way to start the day. Post a comment here and join in.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Savory Oatmeal with Kale and Mushrooms

Whoa! This was actually good. Sometimes I surprise myself. Credit to Genevieve Laloue over at her blog Health Food Makes Me Sick for inspiring me with her post earlier this year.

1/2 cup quick oats
1 1/2 boiling water
2 tbl dried porcini mushroom
1 cup chopped lacinato kale
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbl tamari
1/2 tbl sesame oil
1/2 tbl hot sauce
1 soft boiled (4 minute) egg

Reconstitute the dried mushroom in the boiling water, allowing to soak 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and chop them, then add the water with the mushrooms, salt, tamari, hot sauce and sesame oil to a small pot with the instant oats. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, steering all the while until oats are nearly done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped kale and half the scalions and stir, cooking another minute or so. The oatmeal should be somewhat watery, like a thick soup. Pour into a bowl, break the egg onto the top and garnish with remaining scallions.

The crunchiness of the kale and scallions go well with the creamy soft oats and mushrooms. The rich, salty and earthy flavors from the tamari and porcini play nicely with the dash of hot sauce. And who doesnt love a 4 minute egg! Even so, I am wondering how i might incorporate some tofu cubes instead of th egg, maintaing the protein and makign this vegan. It's all ready gluten free (check the label on your tamari to be sure).

otro ves
I did this one again tonight, but instead of the quick oats I used 1/3 cup red quinoa and 1/3 cup steel cut oats. It needed a little more water and about 30 more minutes of cooking. Egg cooked for 3 minutes. Home run!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Teach a man to fish...

On Sunday, July 26th, 2009, I will complete Ironman USA in Lake Placid, NY. (Ironman is a multisport endurance event consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run). As a member of RaceWithPurpose.Org, I am combining my passion for community service with athletic performance and working toward something bigger than myself.

My goal this year is to raise funds to serve kids who struggle because of poverty and disadvantaged educational systems. In particular, I will support efforts in Youth Financial Literacy Education through World of Money, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.


I truly believe that by teaching kids to approach their finances responsibly we can have a lifelong positive impact on them, their families and communities.

WorldOfMoney.Org is committed to prepare under served youth for real world financial responsibility. The Money Track curriculum includes: wealth consciousness, disciplined savings, stock market investment, bank accounts, real estate investing, mutual funds, credit and mortgages, house-hunting and business etiquette. The Summer Financial Literacy Training Institute was launched in 2006 with its mission to give young people empowering tools to survive life’s economic roller-coasters.

The training will serve 75 young people, ages 11-17, over three weeks at The Beacon School in Manhattan. Each youth will receive a Certificate of Completion, book bag and school supplies at the graduation ceremony in August of 2009.

The Money Track curriculum focuses on financial literacy and financial responsibility.


Ø Budgeting/Money Management
Ø Investing
Ø Real Estate
Ø Stock & Bonds
Ø Disciplined Saving
Ø Developing Credit
Ø Wealth Creation
Ø Taxes
Ø Responsible Consumption
Ø Poverty Mindset vs. Prosperity
Ø Mindset
Ø Understanding the Stock Market
Ø Banking Experience

Ø Meeting prominent financial experts
Ø New York Stock Exchange Visit (where possible)
Ø Bank Visit

I am raising money to support World of Money ( , an organization providing education in financial literacy to under served youth in our area. I truly believe that by teaching kids to approach their finances responsibly we can have a lifelong positive impact on them, their families and communities. And having made a commitment to this meaningful cause will help me to stay focused through long months of training and the many hours of actual execution during the event.

I'm asking you to help by making a contribution! Please use this link ( to donate online quickly & securely. You will receive email confirmation of your donation and I will be notified as soon as you make your donation. I thank you in advance for your support, and really appreciate your generosity!

There is also a link on our home page at, for your convenience.

Or, if you prefer to make your donation offline by check, please contact me directly for a donor card and information on how to make your donation in that way.

I’ve set a goal to raise $20,000 for this worthwhile cause. Whatever the size of your contribution, it is appreciated and will help us to achieve our goal. Thank you!

Newman Company
925 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 340
Franklin Square, NY 11010
(516) 488-1100

Cash Camp, Inc dba formed in December, 2005 is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501© 3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Robert H Lorsch Foundation is a private 501 (c)(3) organization with a long history of supporting youth-wellness causes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Strassburg Sock

Northcoast Footcare directed me to remove the post on their product. Rather shortsighted, gentleman. As you wish, good day to you!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Red Cheeks

I went to the dermatologist today. I've had a couple of little skin things kind of bugging me, nothing major or scary. A bump on my chin that i cut a couple of times this month, and a mole or mark on the front of my right thigh that seems to get irritated by my cycling shorts.

What made me finally take action and call for an appointment? The Super Bowl halftime show, and specifically Bruce Springsteen and his public service announcement for The Danny Fund. Read more about it here. Danny Federici was the E Street band organist and recently died of skin cancer.

The bullet points you should take note of:

  • Be aware of the dangers of the sun
  • Take precaution, like sunblock and staying out of the sun
  • Have yourself checked out regularly by a dermatologist from head to toe.
The full body check took no more than 15 minutes. I had a female doc and nurse present, but I suppose if you aren't comfortable you could ask for same gender. I kept my underwear on. I had a silly paper gown on, but really this exam was not a big deal. We all should have it done annually.

The doctor suggested i have rosacea, a reddening of the skin on my face caused by broken capillaries. I don't know, i think I might have been blushing just a little. And it is 20 degrees outside. She gave me a script for a cream to use. I will try it. She also told me to use sun block. Yep, I want to do that too. Every day, even when its cold out!

Thallium Stress Test Results

I had my Nuclear, or Thallium, stress test on Monday. The whole test took about 4 hours and the staff at Winthrop Cardiology Associates couldn't have been nicer or more professional.

For the exercise part of the test they had me hooked up to an electrocardiogram and wearing a blood pressure cuff. The goal was to get me around 80-90% of my estimated maximum heart rate, which they calculated using the old fashioned and somewhat dubious 220 minus your age formula. I am 50, so that puts my estimated max around 170, and my target for the test around 136-153. I am not sure, not having done a max heart rate test recently, that my actual max is higher. My training is based on percentage of functional threshold power on the bike and pace on the track.

My resting heart rate is around 58, and measured 60 at the start of the test. I beleive my blood pressure was 130/50, not exactly sure of that. The physician assistant raised the incline and started the treadmill and i walked. The plan was to increase incline and speed every three minutes until i cried uncle. At that point they woudl inject the isotope through my IV, then have me stop and rest a bit before more photos.

I got up to about 4.2 miles per hour at a 16% grade before they stopped me. I could have continued, but my blood pressure had risen to 214/90. They seemed concerned by this. My heart rate was 150, or about 90%, so technically the test was completed.

Results came back to my primary care doc, who had his nurse call me to say everything was fine. I asked her about the blood pressure issue. She had no idea what I was talking about, so I asked to have the doc call me back. Later in the day we connected and he took a little more time to read the report. While my blood pressure is usually perfect when i am sitting still, apparently I am about ready to pop 6 days a week when i am doing my interval training.

For now I am doubling my Diovan HCT dosage and have an appointment to discuss in a couple of weeks. Still good to train as far as I can tell.

Oh one intersting thing, when i was in the scanner machine, its kind of like a MRI machine that lowers over you and slowly turns as it takes pictures, makes some noises but not as loud as an MRI. I actually was able to take a nap in that thing both times, 15 minutes each. I think thats the perfect amount of time for a power nap. Need to work that in somewhere.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Name This Photo

9.5 mile run at Rockefeller this morning, with Coach Adam. Any idea what I am doing here?


I like all the answers. It did feel good on my quads for sure. And I almost could feel the curvature of the earth as I imagined myself hugging the world. Good thing I didnt try to taste the ice, or i might still be there!

There is no answer, really. I do not know what I was doing. Perhaps "dancing naked in the rain", as Roshi Richard Hart recommends, best describes it. Except it was too cold to be naked and the rain had frozen into a sheet of ice on the trail.

Adam said he wanted a picture and I just got down on the ground. We both laughed :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Say Nuclear

I am really going to miss President Bush 43. And I am not intending to open a political discussion, I will keep those opinions to myself (for now at least). Regardless your political bent, you are going to have to admit we have had a great 8 year run of jokes. How long will we have to wait before we can start in on Barack?

Actually what made me think of this has nothing to do with politics, I am just trying to lighten up the mood before I begin what some will consider a very serious post. So mom, as you read below, feel free to go back to the video frequently, it should help to put things in the proper perspective.

On Monday at 7:30 am I am scheduled for a Thallium Stress Test (sometimes also referred to as a nuclear stress test). My physician and I agreed it would be wise to do this test based on an episode of lightheadedness and shortness of breath after my December 21 run and my cardiac risk factors. (I'm a male over 50, taking blood pressure and cholesterol meds, have a stressful job, am 'overweight' and have a family history of coronary artery disease and diabetes).

So out of an abundance of caution we started the process by requesting a preapproval from my health insurance, and after an initial refusal they did relent and authorize the test. Here's a desription of the test from the American Heart Association website:

Thallium Stress Test

What is a thallium stress test?

thallium stress test

This is a type of nuclear scanning test or myocardial perfusion (mi"o-KAR'de-al per-FU'zhun) imaging test. It shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle. It's usually done along with an exercise stress test on a treadmill or bicycle.

The thallium stress test is useful to determine:

  • Extent of a coronary artery blockage
  • Prognosis of patients who've suffered a heart attack
  • Effectiveness of cardiac procedures done to improve circulation in coronary arteries
  • Cause(s) of chest pain
  • Level of exercise that a patient can safely perform

When the patient reaches his or her maximum level of exercise, a small amount of a radioactive substance called thallium is injected into the bloodstream. Then the patient lies down on a special table under a camera ("gamma camera") that can see the thallium and make pictures. The thallium mixes with the blood in the bloodstream and heart's arteries and enters heart muscle cells. If a part of the heart muscle doesn't receive a normal blood supply, less than a normal amount of thallium will be in those heart muscle cells.

The first pictures are made shortly after the exercise test and show blood flow to the heart during exercise. The heart is "stressed" during the exercise test — thus the name "stress test." The patient then lies quietly for 2-3 hours and another series of pictures is made. These show blood flow to the heart muscle during rest.

What does the thallium stress test show?

  • If the test is normal during both exercise and rest, then blood flow through the coronary arteries is normal. The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle.
  • If the test shows that perfusion (blood flow) is normal during rest but not during exercise (a perfusion defect), then the heart isn't getting enough blood when it must work harder than normal. This may be due to a blockage in one or more coronary arteries.
  • If the test is abnormal during both exercise and rest, there's limited blood flow to that part of the heart at all times.
  • If no thallium is seen in some part of the heart muscle, the cells in this part of the heart are dead from a prior heart attack. (They have become scar tissue.)

What if I can't perform an exercise test?

Sometimes you can't do an exercise test because you're too sick or have physical problems. In this case, a drug such as dipyridamole (di-pi-RID'ah-mol) or adenosine is given. This drug increases blood flow to the heart and thus "mimics" an exercise test. Then the thallium test is given.

Hey by the way I like the idea of a drug to mimic exercise. Why aren't we all using this every day?

Anyway, I scheduled the test as soon as I got the preapproval. In the meantime I am doing about 8 hours a week of intervals cycling and running, and I feel fine. Actually, I feel great. I am even kind of looking forward to this test, treating it like a race of sorts. Maybe I can get them to give me a max heart rate measurement? I will ask them to snap a few photos and post a report.

The worst thing I can see so far is, no caffeine for 24 hours before the test, and its the day after the super bowl, so I need to go easy on the chicken wings and Toasted Lager Sunday night.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grease the Groove Take Two

Its been about 5 weeks since I posted first about the 'Grease The Groove' training method. It's supposed to foster neoromuscular facilitation, a big name for a simple concept: alot of reps of an excercise, with light enough resistance so you don't reach failure, is an effective way to improve your performance at that excercise.

I am wanting to develop the ability to do pullups and so i designed my little 6 week plan to build up to some minimal number of reps. I started at the most minimal possible number, that being zero.

Now, 5 weeks havng past, I can report some progress. Very little progress actually, as I have just barely completed the first 2 weeks of my plan. I do notice greater strentgh in my upper arms, shoulders, back and lats. However I think I do need to rethink before continuing.

The GtG plan I had received from an online friend involved daily work, with reps varying in number as a percentage of a 2 minute max test, and sets at different time intervals each day.

While the suggested reps were quite reasonable, i found that some of the frequencies wouldnt work for me in my office, where I will be doing this workout. 15 or 20 minute breaks are just disruptive. 60 or even 90 minute intervals make more sense.

Additionaly, because my pull up bar is in my office, i would have to go in every day in order to maintian the 7 day a week schedule. I'd rather not. In fact I have come to beleive that days off are of great value, even from things you really enjoy :). They allow for recovery and rehabilitation from stress. One day off of a specific excercise for each 3 days on, at least for me, seems to work.

So here is the new plan, to start tommorow with 'Australian Pull Ups'

Day 1 test Max reps in 2 minutes. Remaineder of day do 30% of max every 60 minutes
Day 2 50% every 60 minutes
Day 3 60% every 45 minutes
Day 4 OFF
Day 5 25% every 60 minutes
Day 6 40% every 60 minutes
Day 7 20% every 90 minutes
Day 8 OFF
Day 9 Test max reps n 2 minutes. Remainder of day do 35% every 45 minutes
Day 10 55% every 90 minutes
Day 11 65% every 60 minutes
Day 12 OFF
Day 13 45% every 60 minutes
Day 14 25% every 120 minutes

Let's try that and reconvene in 14 days.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Monty Python - Lumber Jack - More amazing video clips are a click away

Em, no. I mean logging workouts. When I first started running, I would log my workouts, but as my workouts became more frequent and I started to get a good 'feel' for what I was doing, I stopped. When I started doing triathlon, again I started a little online journal to keep track of my work outs and progress, but again, I stopped after a while.

Now I am back to using an online log, and here's why.

  • Ironman training is serious! I should probably keep track of what I do.
  • I am going to want to look back on what I did this year, because I am already thinking about 2010 and beyond.
  • I bought a plan (from Endurance Nation), something I have never done before, and I want to be sure I do all the workouts as prescribed.
  • Having work outs to check off, and a place to ad details, adds accountability.
  • An online log allows other people to check up on me, another layer of accountability.
  • An online log, as opposed to an old fashioned paper log, provides so many more options, is secured from loss and accessible wherever there is Internets excess.
I had a few choices. the EN plan was available for download directly into Training Peaks, saving me all that data entry time. I am training with power and so I am using Cycling Peaks WKO+, which goes hand in hand with TP. However, not all of my pals use Training Peaks. Instead, it seems that the online triathlon world that I live in is pretty well tied in with Buckeye Outdoors. So thats what I am using to log my work. In addition, some neat functinality there include:

Log multiple workouts in a day, including time, distance, heart rate wattage and comments.
Calculates estimated calories for most workouts.
Daily sleep, energy level and hydration record.
Food log including USDA and custom food data.
Can set up coach relationship with access to planned and completed workout data.
Ability to set up teams with exclusive access for team members to view and comment.
Blog widget thingy lets me show my worout log over there on the right --->

There's a bunch of other stuff it does that i dont even know yet. The guys who built the app are triatletes themselves, so really understand whats needed. And while they are providing it for free, they are constantly makign updates, many times at the request of their users.

Oh yeah did I mention its FREE.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hydrostatic Weighing

One of the things I am keying on in my preparation for Ironman is 'body composition', or to put it more simply, body fat percentage. I want to have more muscle carrying around less fat, that just makes sense. I will be faster and able to go longer with that greater efficiency. I also know its healthier and more attreactive to have a flat stomach!

In early December I set some benchmark measurements, including this dubious online calculation of Body Fat Percent:

My weight is now 220 pounds, up 10 pounds since early October. I measured by body fat percentage last night using an online calculator. The tool uses weight, age and some body dimensions to estimate percent fat. I scored 26.6% (fat). Not sure how accurate the percent is, but the component measurements were as follows: waist (belly) 45 hips 43 forearm 12 wrist 7.5

Last night I remeasured and got

waist (belly) 45
hips 41
forearm 12.5
wrist 7


The acuracy of this type of circumfrence test is dubious. Some basic assumptions are made, not the least of which is the accuracy of the measurements in each test, and compared between tests. The difference between these two tests is 1.8%. This could be real prgress, or a difference in the tightness of the measuring tape. That said, I do believe its helpful to periodically measure my waist along with stepping on the scale to guage my progress.

This morning I made my way over to Adelphi University and the Human Performance Program labs for actual hydrostatic weighing, the second most accurate means of measuring body composition. (The most accurate method is cadaver analysis, probably the least popular method). Hydrostatic weighing involves measurement of body density and the application of a mathematical formula to estimate fat mass, and thus the percent of fat compared to the total body mass.

I met one of the two grad students who would conduct the test, in the lobby of the new Phys Ed complex. She walked me down to the locker room, told me to change and meet her in the lab, behind the bleachers at the far end of the basketball courts.

Awesome Human Perfomace grad students
Courtney and Sarah administerd my test

I had my VO2 max testing done here two years ago, in Woodruff Hall, next door. That building is under renovation, and until that's done, the Human Performance lab is in the equipment closet! It's clean and orderly, but yeah, mats and cones and so forth in there. Off to the side there's the tank, a Detecto scale and a couple of computers.

The Tank

First they weighed me, wearing only my swim suit. Next they measured my lung capacity, by plugging my nose, having me take a huge breath, clamp my mouth around this hair drier looking thing and blow out as much as i could. My "vital capacity" was 4810 ml. I believe this must be used to calculate the volume of my body without air in my lungs.

Now I climbed into the tank. It was hot! 34 C or 93 F!!! The tank has a swing hanging in the middle, which is attached to the scale. I hung out in there to get rid of any air bubbles in my suit, dunked my head to get the air out of my hair, fill up my ears.

Next I needed to expel all the air from my lungs, remain completely underwater and not touch the swing seat, so they could get the tare weight (weight of the scale without me on it).

Now the hard part. I put a weighted belt around my waist (this belt was on the seat when measuring tare weight), sat on the swing, exhaled as much as i could and stayed under the water without touching anything inside the tank except the scale. Sarah watched me to see when my bubble stopped, and Courtney watched the monitor which lit up when the swing was completely still. There is a learning curve involved with this, and you don't realize how hard this is, to get all thew air out of your lungs and then hold it, without moving.

We did probably 10 or 12 trys at this to get 10 good results, and ended up averaging the two best readings of the ones we kept. The ladies did their calculations and determined the following:

Weight 217 lbs
% Body Fat 31%
Estimated fat Mass 67.27 lbs
Estimated Fat Free Mass 149.73 lbs
Target Weight at 10% Body Fat 166 lbs.

This 31% number is higher than I expected, based on the online tests and what i have read is 'average'. So I am glad I did this, it really does give me a good benchmark to work from, and a little kick in the ass as well, to shed some of this bodyfat. i think I can still use the online calculator on an interim basis to see where I am at.

On the other hand, this suggestion that my ideal race weight should be 166 lbs...quite frankly i do not see how that coudl be right. Thats 51 pounds ligher than I am today. Ok, maybe over time I could get there, but just imaginign that change between now and July, you'd have to consider checkign me into a clinic for eating disorders. I would be emaciated, a concentraion camp survivor.

That calculation assumes my lean body mass remains static. In other words, lose fat, do not gain muslce. Is there maybe another way to view this? What if I maintain my fat body mass and increase the lean part? With that sssumption, I simply need to add muscle until I weight 670 pounds. This also assumes that a 10% body fat is desired. Is it?

Ok maybe a different approach. Based on those charts you see in the doctors office, for my height I should weigh between 174 and 188, assuming a 'large frame'. So couldnt we just say that instead of being overweight, i am just under height. If I could get up to 7 feet tall I'd be perfect.

On the way back to the office, I stopped at the deli for a ham and swiss in rye. Enjoyed it. Last time I will do that for a whiel I guess. As much as I hate the idea of it, tommorow I start counting calories.