Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Failing to Prepare is Preparing to Fail

A few items to note...
1. I went on another epic ride with KDOG and Chad on Sunday. I had a blast. I did comment at about mile 54 that "I'll be happy when this is over but I'm just glad to be out here." We rode through a couple of rain showers and of course hit all the hills. I can't write better description of the ride than what is found here.

Bikes ready to roll

2. My brick on Saturday consisted of a faster bike and run pace. Very nice. I appear to be improving my speed while my heart rate continues to drop. Slowly getting back into shape.

3. I took yesterday off as I definitely had sore legs. I lifted weights today but workout was cut short as I have some soreness in my right wrist and also in my right arm just below my shoulder but above my bicep. It's not muscle soreness but more like joint or tendon pain.

Lastly... nothing like beating those damn Dallas Cowboys in Big D! Loved every minute of it though it was touch and go at the end.

How TJ felt about the Dallas Cowboys when he was a child.

JC: "Tony, I guess you're my punk biotch now." TR: "Anything you say, boss."

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bubble Boy No Longer

The bubble in my eye is gone. I'll miss it. But, good riddance. Saturday and Sunday I wore my contact lenses for the first time on my respective bike rides of 41.5 and 73 miles. It was a good thing too, as it rained both days. Very soggy and humid weekend. I felt really good, especially as the rides progressed and I believe I was stronger towards the end of each ride. This coming weekend, I'm going to push it up to 100 miles and I have a 14 mile long run on Wednesday.

Yesterday was the first day that Chad, KDOG and I trained together since August 9 at Deep Creek Lake. Chad was dropping us on the ride that day and KDOG and I each having extended time off from training only widened the gap in his favor. He dropped us with relative ease and I suspect was going at least 2 mph faster than each of us when we were at top speed.

I see the doctor a week from today and I'll be lobbying harder than Nancy Pelosi in order to get cleared to swim again. Though I still have some blur and spiders, I just can't see how I can be held back from competing on November 1. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mr. Magoo

I have to get a light. Sunrise isn't until about 6:30 am now and if you're getting in a long run before work, you'll be running in the dark without a light. To top it off, I'm running with glasses as I am not wearing my contact lenses yet. So, it's dark, my glasses are foggy, and I don't see too good right now to begin with. I'm like Mr. Magoo out there.

Ran solo this morning as my Wednesday running buddy caught a cold. She said she was kissing strange guys again. Thank God for the iPod. My Shuffle has been on the fritz lately but I revived it last night and wore it on today's run. I ran silent for about 20 minutes but kicked out the jams for the balance of the run. Got in 12 miles in 107 minutes. Average HR was 141 which is still a little high.

Back in 2006 when I was training for IMFL, I used to run with Chad and KDOG. We were like a little train because Chad had a BIG LIGHT and we would just follow him in single file. I have a little bike light I can use and we'll see how it works out on next week's long run. 14 miles next week.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Duathlon Training

Training in two disciplines continues. I broke the 50 mile barrier on a bike ride Sunday and did my first brick since being "back" on Saturday. I trained with KDOG over the weekend as Chad was in Vegas at a bachelor party. She's just getting back into training too as she was in Africa for a couple of weeks. I think she was nervous about being able to keep up but obviously didn't have anything to worry about as she dropped me on both River Road Sunday and Massachusetts Avenue both Saturday and Sunday. We did all the hills on the MacArthur Blvd. route both days. I believe it was good training for me and my heart rate continues to fall each time I go out.

I've mapped out a training plan that takes me to November 1 and today will be a rest day in prep for the truncated, action-packed 45 days that lay ahead of me. I am going to comply with Dr. Vu's orders that I not swim but I am anticipating that I will be able to swim after our appointment on October 6.

The bubble in my eye continues to shrink, though it is still there. Additionally, vision in my right eye appears to be constricted, especially with peripheral vision. In fact, it almost got me hit at the intersection of MacArthur and Arizona as I thought the intersection was all clear and I rode into it at 21 mph... only to THEN see a car coming from the right. I have a slight blur in the right eye and some "spiders" or floaters that sometimes lead me to believe there is a bug crawling on the wall or my desk... when there isn't.

I was talking to a friend of mine after being back into a training regimen. I was telling her that I was cycling and running again. Regina asked me how it felt to be on a bike again. I thought about it a minute and the only word I could come up with as an answer was... FREEDOM. That is what cycling feels like to me... FREEDOM.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two of Three Ain't Bad

Do you ever speak in public? Do you use an icebreaker to get your talk going? One that I use is as follows...

"I learned about speaking in public from my Mema. She taught me to stand up to be seen, speak up to be heard and shut up to be appreciated. So, two out of three ain't bad."

What relation does this adage have to triathlon and Ironman training? As my doctor has cleared me for cycling and running, but not for swimming, I've been back in training mode with two of the three triathlon disciplines. Last Saturday, September 6, I ran for the first time since August 17. I essentially had three weeks off. It was rough as my heart rate was high though my pace was slow. I was encouraged by my first cycling adventure the following day, however. Though I did tire quickly, I didn't have much of a problem covering 29 miles in 96 minutes. I purposely took a hilly route, too.

Yes, my first ride after being off ended at the liquor store.

My eye was ok although it was kind of like a snow globe. The running kicked up a bunch of black dots that circled around in my field of vision. I still have the bubble in my eye though it does continue to shrink. It seems like over time, little bubbles break away and then they dissolve into my eye.

On Friday when I was running, I resolved that I believe I can do Ironman Florida on November 1. I felt good on the run and that good feeling was only surpassed on my run this morning. It was hot and humid this morning but I was able to do a negative split and I was really trucking the last three miles. I really felt strong as I did on yesterday's "Hills of the Bay" ride. Yesterday, my fellow riders couldn't keep up with me and I caught and passed a group of people who appeared to be serious riders.

The way I look at it, swimming is only 10% of an Ironman. I know I could swim 2.4 miles at the drop of a hat. It might not be fast but mentally, I know I can get through it. I also believe that I am intelligent enough about this sport on how to get through it without blowing myself out for the bike and run. And, if I'm training for bike and run these last six weeks, with my current fitness base, I believe it is still possible to not only finish an Ironman, but to hit my 12:15 goal time.

The only hang-up to this plan is that I am currently not cleared to swim and my doctor has recommended that I *NOT* do Ironman Florida on November 1.

My next doctor appointment is October 6. At that appointment, I will speak to the doctor and we'll know once and for all if I'm on for IMFL this year or not. I'm not willing to give up on it and I am going to train for cycling and running in the mean time as if it is a go.

I do have to map out a training plan for these next 45 days. More on that later.

We've got clearance, Clarence.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Love America

I have only been to one other country and it was on this continent. So, maybe I don't know any better. But, I love America. I am proud to be an American. And I am grateful for the men and women in uniform who served and are serving my country.

“The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”
- John F. Kennedy

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Progress Not Perfection

Great success. Dr. Vu was very pleased with progress. He cleared me to begin cycling and running again. I can't run real long (his quote was, "don't run in a marathon or anything like that") but I can start to run again. He did not give me permission to swim yet. My next appointment is set for October 6, so he won't see me for another month. The good doctor recommended that I not do Ironman in November. I intend to follow his recommendation but I'll put it right out there... I am not giving up on the concept yet and will reserve judgement until our next appointment. However, I will not swim until he clears me to do so. I forgot to ask him about lifting weights so I'll be sure to ask him that via telephone. This includes core workouts, too... don't know if I'm cleared for that and will ask via telephone. I can now sleep on my back again.

I drove a car yesterday for the first time since August 19. I still have a bubble in my right eye, as reported yesterday. The vision is still very "dirty" in that eye, too. Blurry with floaters and little black dots. My right eye is essentially as it was before August 19... there is a small "blur" dot that moves around and a couple of "spider leg" floaters near the top of my field of vision in that eye.

I have been off physical activity since August 17. 19 days without a workout. 8/18 - 9/5 on my workout log reports those days as *OFF*. I did do a great deal of walking last week and my intention is to do something today. I don't know if it is going to be a run or a cycle. It may have to be indoors. Tropical Storm Hanna is coming up the coast and we have a great deal of rain coming into the area. It is going to rain all day and get windy this afternoon.

Lessons learned...

- I've never been through something like this before. Going through a medical emergency puts a lot of perspective on life.
- Friends and family that are with you when things aren't going well is a really big deal. Thanks to everyone for your love and your prayers/positive karma.
- If something is wrong with you, don't wait... go to the doctor right away.

Something I already knew is how things have a way of working themselves out. On Sunday, August 17, I was signed up to do Patriots Half Ironman on September 6 (today). I was talking to my dad on the phone that Sunday and he told me he was going to be sworn in as a judge on Friday, September 5. This put a big crimp in my plans for that (this) weekend. This eye thing came up which forced me to withdrawl from the race and then Tropical Storm Hanna appeared and cancelled the race anyway. I take my plans to God and he just laughs. I can hear him say, "Be still my child, do the next right thing or at least avoid doing a wrong thing, and I will take care of you. You have nothing to worry about. It will all work out." It always does. Every time.

Reminds me a couple of lines of dialog from "The Godfather", my favorite movie.

Don Corleone: Well, there wasn't enough time, Michael. There just wasn't enough time.
Michael: We'll get there, Pop. We'll get there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

In a Holding Pattern

Here is the update on my health status:

- My retina is re-attached.
- The tears have been closed.
- I still have a gas bubble in my eye, although it is slowly being absorbed into my eye.
- I still have floaters in both eyes and my right eye has blurry vision and black dots in my field of vision.
- The doctor has not cleared me to drive a a car.
- I have not done any training since August 17 and have not been cleared to do any physical activity at all, other than walking.
- I have a follow-up doctor appointment today at 1 pm.

So, I am in a holding pattern at this time. I have done a great deal of walking this week. I've walked at least 30 minutes each day this week. I have also been stretching every morning. At today's appointment, I am going to ask if I can be cleared to ride a stationary cycle and also if I can do "running" in a swimming pool.

I was signed up for the Patriots Half Ironman, to be held tomorrow in Williamsburg, VA. I had to cancel my registration last week. However, it appears that the race is going to be cancelled anyway as Tropical Storm Hanna is threatening the Mid-Atlantic region starting late tonight, early tomorrow. So, even if I was healthy, I wouldn't have been able to race this weekend, anyway. Funny how things work out that way.