Tuesday, July 16, 2013

On a Podium

At Saturday's Tri for Fun at Rancho Seco, I checked off two triathlon goals. I broke 1:30 for the sprint-distance race, finishing in 1:28:54 after a half-mile swim, 16 mile bike and three mile run.

And I hit the podium in my age group. The guys on the top two steps are out of range right now, but the guy in third, well, I think I can get him...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Birthdays are Inevitable. Age is Irrelevant.

Today is my 47th birthday. I didn't plan writing a blog post about it until I was about halfway through a hill-repeat workout this morning and realized that at 47 I'm fitter and healthier than I was at 37, and probably 27.

I owe a lot of people for that, beginning with my wife, Diane, who was out running the hills with me today. If she didn't also enjoy the growth and fitness and challenge of training and triathlons as much as I do, I'd probably lose interest in the sport. It's more fun doing things together - even hill repeats and swimming intervals - and I'm glad we're doing this. Thank you.

A bunch of good doctors get a good deal of the credit, including surgeons Benson Roe and Katsuhide Maeda, pediatric cardiologist Saul Robinson and Stanford adult congenital cardiologists Daniel Murphy, Christopher Talluto and nurse practitioner Andrea Frederick. Dr. Roe was years ahead of his time when he did my initial repair in 1970, and Dr. Maeda matched that level of excellence during my re-repair two years ago. I'm collecting a nice array of chest-tube scars on my torso (but hopefully won't be adding to it any time soon!) 

I owe a thank you to Medtronic for making the valve that keeps blood flowing to my lungs. I'm not being easy on the valve, guys, but I don't have to be. Thanks for that.

I also want to thank TriSports.com for choosing me for its Champions Team and being my first-ever sponsor. I'm sure I'm not the oldest triathlete they've sponsored (and I hope I'm not the slowest!) but I certainly haven't put up the results that other TriSports Champions have. And that's OK, because this sport isn't just for the fast few. It's for anyone who wants to challenge themselves and grow and become fitter, stronger and healthier as they age.

So today was fun, finishing a hard workout I wouldn't have been able to do in my younger days. In fact, one of the hills on the menu I named "Five Minute Hill" when we first started running it a year or so ago, because that's the time I aspired to going up it. Today the Five Minute Hill took 4:33. And on my next birthday, I think it'll even be faster.

I can't keep from getting older, but that won't keep me from getting fitter. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

If You Can't Get a Good Finish, Hope for a Good Picture...

Raced in the Real Xterra off-road triathlon at the end of March, which was a hard season-opener. Half-mile swim, 16 mile trail ride and four-mile run. I'd never done this race or this distance in a mountain-bike tri, so I couldn't set a goal time. (Mountain biking is slower than road riding.) My pre-season goal was to try to qualify for the Xterra National Championship by earning points in four series races, but I knew I'd be reevaluating the likelihood of that after this race. Reevaluation complete - I'm still a year or two away. I finished 16th in my age group, and the top 15 earn National Championship points. I'd hoped to finish better, but can't be disappointed. I raced as hard as I could, and wouldn't have been able to finish this race last March 30. In fact, I didn't enter this race a year ago because I knew it'd be over my head. So that's progress, and that's what this is all about.
A couple of good things happened. One, there were photographers on-course, so I finally have a decent (and recent) race photo. Two, although the swim started badly, I kept at it and had a decent final leg. (First open-water swim of the year, so I'm not surprised I wasn't comfortable despite having more pool laps under my belt this year than last.) And my lake will be warm enough for training soon.
Would have represented in my TriSports jersey, but the XL is on backorder. Hope to have it for my next event either mid-May or early June. In the meantime, there are miles to be logged...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Stand Up, Sit Down, Type, Type, Type!

 I've always wanted to try a stand-up desk, and all the extra commuting to Davis has really been getting to my back. So it was nice this weekend when we made some changes in the master bedroom that made an old oak sewing cabinet superfluous. I originally had no designs on the cabinet, but did plan to pull some hardware and wood off of it. (Can never have too much oak around.)

As I stripped various bits off, I decided to take the motor and elevator too. Figured it might be useful one day. Woke up the next morning - yesterday - with the stand-up desk idea, worked on it all weekend and pushed it into place this afternoon.

Zero parts costs - I had everything I needed or made it from the cabinet. (The typing tray, for instance, used to be a door.) Typing this in the stand-up mode now, and I think the option to move between the two will serve me well. The pictures don't really do it justice, but do give you the idea. Will probably get a wireless keyboard and mouse to simplify cord issues eventually, but that's all it really needs.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Team Kit Day and Pig-Valve Racing

Got my TriSports.com team kit the other day, and I have to admit, wearing a sponsor's jersey makes you want to go faster - even on a training ride. 

First race is an Xterra off-road triathlon March 30th - finally!

Also got an idea for another sponsor a few days later. I was organizing medical records and came across the name of the valve they put in my heart. Wondered if the company who made it might want to be a race sponsor as well.

Turns out it's a Medtronic valve, and I think the logo would be cool:

I'm racing today with a

 pig valve in my heart

(If they wanted to be more technical, it could say a Medtronic Mosaic Porcine Valve...)

I got on their website, and Medtronic sponsors runners in the Twin Cities Marathon and Twin Cities 10 Mile Race every fall in a very cool program they call Global Heroes. I applied, and maybe will get to take a trip to Minnesota later this year to join two-dozen other endurance athletes with various medical technologies stitched into their bodies.

It'd be a very special thing to be a part of and I really do hope I get chosen. But I'm racing eight or nine times between now and then, and I'd like the pig-valve logo on my tri gear as well!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Good News - and Guilt

Had an odd experience at my annual heart check-up last week. This is the second one since my latest open-heart surgery, and I went into it looking forward to the tests and visit, and even wrote a blog post for TriSports.com ahead of the visit, anticipating good new.

I went in there to ace the tests, and I guess I did (although I'd hoped to improve on my pre-op VO2-max and that didn't happen.) I just didn't feel as good about everything as I expected, and I'm a bit guilty about that.

My heart is in great condition. The valve they put in two years ago looks good. There are no rhythm problems. I left with an appointment to come back in a year, and orders to keep up the good work. It was everything you want to hear.

But sitting there in the waiting room, watching other patients come and go, I could hear the "but" in that sentence. Or, more accurately, the "for now."

My heart is in great condition and the valve does look good and my rhythm is steady - for now. One of these visits it won't be.

I'm just going to hope - and expect - that I get the same kind of longevity out of my latest repair as I got out of the first one. And if they have to fix it again some day, so be it.

In the meantime, I have a meeting to take in a few minutes, then a snowy forest awaiting my morning run.