Friday, March 16, 2018

Strong, is your heart.

Since I don't want to type up a big missive on FB or some such, I thought this would be a good time to crank up the old Blog that I haven't been around for awhile.

Since this is Aging Superhero and this is definitely an aging matter, why not?

Thursday I had to have a trans-radial arterial catheterization to check out my heart.
Check out you-tube videos on's pretty cool.

I've noticed a marked decrease in my running ability as of late with increasing chest pain with exercise.
Saw my doc, then the gastroenterologist as it was thought to be a acid reflux problem. That led to me having to be cleared by the cardiologist I see (for some genetic heart abnormalities) who did not like what he heard and had me come back for a nuclear stress test. Saw a shadow on my heart that he was not comfortable with, which then saw me on the table of an eminent Heart doc who specializes in Trans-radial caths.
With me so far?
So that's:
Monday: Gastro.
Tuesday: Cardiologist.
Wednesday: Cardiologist again.
Thursday: a Heart Yoda.

Friday, here at four o'clockish, I'm finally feeling better enough to stand up, and cognizant enough to type and make sense! (I think. Sorry for any mistakes.)

Lots of emotion involved.
Go for the  catheterization, though the arm, and here are the possible outcomes:
You're fine, go home.
You need meds and monitoring to keep partial blockages open.
You need a stent to prop open the blockages that they find in the heart arteries that are severe.
You get to come back for open heart surgery and a bi-pass operation.

Had to take time with Mary Lou (best wife of the world) and talk about insurance, living wills, and what happens if it all goes bad. Tough.

Tears before the procedure. Kisses. "I love yous'"

In and out in 30 minutes.
I remember snap shots of it all with the doc, a Yoda figure, directing his team, teaching, helping, joking.
Urging his cardiac padwans to great things.

In short?
"You have 100 more years on that heart. Go run. go bike. Keep doing what your doing!"
He repeated it again after the meds had worn off a bit as did the nurse later verbatim.

Heart is clear with "Minimal coronary heart disease". I'm 63 so some plaque is to be expected for crying out loud!

My right arm where they placed the port for the catheter is quite sore as is the whole arm. No lifting  for a week and use it as little as possible.

Follow up with the cardiologist ( a man I now trust with my life) this week and off to the gastroenterologist to see whats what with the stomach  and acid business.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Want some humble pie with that run?

Just a long run today, easy, but working on some fueling options, (like…none).

Last week or so I was sort of humble-bragging about never having fallen in years and years ( 40, maybe) of trail running.
Today. Twice.
It's a good thing I don't believe in fate or kismet or superstitions or angels or demons or stuff like that.
(Karma might be a real thing but that's more psychological than theological)

Was trundling along in an un-fueled haze (water yes, but no gels or such) and switching back and forth between road and trail. Running in Seneca Creek State Park and zipping down the Old Bathtub trail cross into a clearing and see a fox! Stop to watch and then scoot on. Connect up with the Seneca Creek Greenway and feeling better coursing by the creek when I hear an owl. Seconds later, I see the owl flying low through the trees "Nice!" I say and then…
Stumble, stumble, roll left and kapow, on my left side into some soft earth and hummocks of grass.
Groan, roll over and do a quick check. All good! except my left collar bone, but while it's sore from the impact, I can wiggle my fingers and raise my arm so in my opinion, not broken. 

I laugh to myself and head off again…the soul of caution, I move along more carefully and ignore the owl who hoots and flits.

An hour later, running the same loop again, I'm being quite careful and…
Down again in an almost exact re-play of the earlier tumble.
I get up, shake myself off, wipe off the mud, check for damage and walk a bit just to make sure I'm ok.

The rest of the run I stick to the roads and less possibility of a face plant which I KNOW will be next of the dance card.
18 miles in 3:20. Stops, drops and rolls included.

Running un-fueled is a great way to teach the body to burn fat for fuel. It's intentional bonking and brings in mental toughness to the game. Do this once in awhile, and while it can suck you learn to run on less fuel and know how to gut it out if you do bonk. Caution! You can get yourself into a lot of trouble doing this so always have a plan "B".

For folks not in the know: Bonking, The Bonk: Running out of fuel and becoming so depleted that you sometimes literally sit on the side of the road and cry, stumble, slur your words, stop in the middle of the street and are unable to take another step and generally feel like death warmed over.
Bonking IS NOT "I'm tired but I can still walk." or you are forced to slow your pace because the old energy level is falling. i.e.: "I was running this half marathon and running 7:00 minute miles but I bonked and had to drop my pace to 7:10. 
That's not bonking.
There is another "bonking" but that usually involves someone you like… a lot.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Now is the winter...

Now is the winter of our discontent.

Especially if you try to get out and run a bunch or ride a bike or get in a good hike or heck, even get to work.
Frozen gack
Black ice
At least the days are getting longer.

The first real winter we've had in three years has caused havoc with the training schedule for Spring races. Havoc with the work schedule as we've been off enough days to make us have to flip schedules around. Not happy. 

Been spending time on the trainer in the Pit of Despair (the basement) spinning up the miles. Running three times a week. One noodle run, some speed and a long. Pushing metal around, juggling kettle bells and doing squats till the calves come home. Getting out for anything has been a battle. I should have joined a gym.

Been dealing with a cold/flu that won't go away. Picked it up after the Disney races. ML came down sick post race and me a few days later. I just can't shake it. Feeling better lately but still manky after a hard effort.

Have to get my business together if I am really going to get out to The Challenge Atlantic City race. 
(Iron distance race - 2.4 mile swim, 112 on the bike and a marathon) Have not been in the pool since last fall and then only for a few days. Heck the winter weather has me so discombobulated I had planned to do several indoor triathlons that are now only a few weeks away!

If I don't get in the pool soon, I'll end up under a car park.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best Speed

As most of my running friends know I eschew GPS running devices. Really, I think they are one of the worst things to happen to running. Folks relying on technology instead of themselves, their training and common sense…always striving for a number that's faster and farther than yesterday and it leads them down the road to injury and burnout. Now, mind you, if it works for you great! It's not for me and I think more folks should run naked. (Technology wise I mean)

I'm just back from running the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge Weekend…every year for nine years now Mary Lou and I skip down to see The Mouse, run a bit (or a lot) and decompress from life in general.

This year was the inaugural Dopey Challenge. Four
days of racing starting with the 5k on Thursday, 10k on Friday, Half marathon on Saturday and Marathon on Sunday.

How do you do that? You can follow a GPS for pacing and speed which ignores the 100% humidity and warm temps and racing in the dark and the gobs of people or you can follow
Rate of Perceived Exertion or RPE.

You go at best speed. The best speed you can maintain and not blow up.
It's how I got through my four races. Running by feel, which is quickly becoming a lost art in running and other endurance sports.

The 5k started at 6:15 with my wave going off a bit after that. Now, I can run a 5k in 24 or 25 minutes now, OK for my age, but I knew there would be the devil to pay if I ran too hard. It went well and I finished in 27 running comfortably hard.
Comfortably hard? Yup. A pace where I was working' but not killing myself.

On Friday the 10k started at 5:30. I was in the second wave so we tooled off a few minutes after the first. A great course through Epcot for the Inaugural Minnie Mouse 10k. Lots of fun. Lots of characters  and a race done almost completely in the dark! Disney lights everywhere.
My PR for 10k is 42:20 but I'm not in that kind of shape right now. I'd be happy under and hour. 57 minutes. Again, running at best speed…comfortably hard, an eye to the half and marathon.

Saturday is tough. Not only does the 2am wake up call hurt, but the 100% humidity will cause all kinds of havoc. By Saturday morning the early wake ups are causing problems for some. Throw in the wetness and you have folks suffering with 100% humility. Lots of walking.
My 13.1 went well. Running at my best speed for the day I still made 2:10 which considering the situation was fine with me! ML finishes well although she suffers in the heat. This and all of her previous 7 WDW 1/2 marathon finishes are within 5 minutes of each other. Oh! I also negative split the race, running the second half faster then the first! Runners dig that.

By Sunday the early mornings are really the worst part. I feel good for the marathon…sort of. The odd hours and strange eating times leave my guts a little Grumpy.
To the race on WDW transportation, and to the start about 4:45 to wait for the fireworks. Thankfully Sunday is cooler and breezy with less humidity. While I do have to make a few bathroom stops because of Grumpy Colon (a new Disney character) I feel good and am moving at best speed! I make a few character stops. (I'll post those pics when I get them)  Tons of characters, great support and even greater volunteers make for a real good time! By mile 10 things are calming down in my stomach and I negative split the marathon! I couldn't do that if I tried and planned for it. Not looking for one it happens. Typical.

The Goofy Challenge continues with next year being the 10th year. I am hopeful to maintain my "Perfectly Goofy" status.

Will I be Dopey again? Maybe. Maybe not. It's hard doing four early mornings in a row even though THAT has to be good training for something.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Some rocks…some roll.

Got out the Swiffer and dusted off the blog for a spin.
Trying to blog a bit more this year for various reasons that are mine alone.

I'll turn 60 effing years old. Can you believe that? I sure as hell can't. Creak a bit more, my bones rattle more than they used to, jeepers I've gotten slower but in my heart and in my head I'm, well, younger than I am now.

I never blog about work, because it's never been about work for me. It's about free time and adventure and testing limits and moving. Just moving. Work this fall has been drag and my heart isn't in it anymore. Time to move on. Goal Number One for the year. Find a different path.

Goal Number Two get out a bit more. Do more. See more. With my best girl by my side, floating down the rivers of…(I'm wearing a plaid flannel shirt RIGHT NOW!)

This year was ok in the movement area for me although I missed a month and a half of running early in the year recovering from a disc issue.
2,555 miles on the bike
1495 miles running
51 hours of weight training
Total hours: 490:45
So when you think "He looks good for 60!" now you know: It takes a lot of work.

This year I'd like to do 60 events to celebrate my 60th year. Runs, organized bike rides and races Triathlons, Duathlons, the odd swim (Yuck! I hate swimming and only do it to get to the bike and run)
Weird stuff off the grid too. Just me and SPOT.

I'll also hope to raise a little bit of money for ALS, the disease that killed my cousin Pete and now has grabbed a dear running friend of mine. I hate it, this disease.

France and Spain were great with the SeƱora. I could retire to our favorite pinxos bar…after a run on the beach.

Later younglings!
All the best  for a great 2014 for you!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Remember this? I posted this a few weeks ago when the marathon I ran today had to change the route due to the government lock out. 
Freedoms Run Marathon normally ran from Harpers Ferry West Virginia, crossed into Mary Land and ended in Shepherdstown West Virginia.
Due to the nincompoops on "The Hill" all the parks are closed and while many races have been canceled the fine folks at Freeedoms found an alternate route. A two loop out and back.

Above is the map, a hammerhead out and back which is pretty rare. The red squiggly thing at the bottom is the elevation chart.


Probably the hilliest road marathon I've ever done. The hills weren't too long mind you, but many kicked back to 12% at least. I found many of the hills un-runnable. Oh, I could run them but the energy expenditure would be too great on the first lap and lead to a hellish second.  Now I can WALK. I was passing folks who were running...them gasping for air and me humming along up hill.

The real nasties showed up about mile 22.

I run a fair bit. I run down hills a lot, which all good runners should to help strengthen the quads. At mile 22 my quads were mush. Trying to keep an even effort down hills of steep grade trashed them. I feel like I've been carrying Mary Lou up and down flights of stairs all day.

Perfect weather but humid, so lots of sweating.
The aid stations could have spaced a bit better but big thanks to the high school kids who staffed them.

I'd really like to do the race when it's back on it's regular turf next year.

Freedoms Run Marathon
Half in 2:05 (my watch, they didn't have a timing mat at the turn)
This makes my 55th race of Marathon distance or greater and places my total race count close to 500.
Used the Hal Higdon Marathon 3 training program with special Anton tweaks.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Batter up!

Spring! Even with the "Snowquester" on the horizon for Wednesday, Spring is just around the corner.
About time. I don't want to admit this because we often didn't see eye to eye, but my mother told me when I was off on some winter lovin'- bring on the snow -where's my ice ax rant: "You just wait! One day you won't love the winter so much!
She was right dammit.
Now, I like a good snow, and a snow day from school is like a "Free Space" in bingo, but I am tired of trying to get out the door for a run in the blowing nasties. I'm done.
After an epic MCM and recovery and doctor's appointments and yet another total rebuild when it comes to running, things are heading up!
Milage has improved. Pace is just ok but I'll save improving that till after this Springs fun.
I blew off the Greenway 50k as work intervened.
Next up is the Hampton Roads Run shown above. A warm up and long catered training run for 3 Days at The Fair in May. I might jump in something for St. Patricks day because I need to shake the dust off the kilts.
I'll take a break after the 3 Days then come back for short stuff and a build to a fall marathon.

Spending a fair amount of time on the bike. Some summer and fall plans to play out on two wheels and many many miles.

Buds on the trees already and the crocus and snow drops have their heads up...Spring!
Shorts and no shirt....well, maybe a shirt below 60 degrees.