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Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
  Rice Krispies

I've been eating a lot lately, I'm chalking it up to the weight training revving up my metabolism because I'm not gaining weight. I sat down to watch "Bones" with a bowl of Rice Krispies and the taste brought me right back to my childhood.

When I was a child (around 4 or 5), I remember my grandparents stopping by the house on a Friday night and picking me up. Then we drove down to their bungalow in Lake Hopatcong in a blue mid 70's Thunderbird. The kind of car you could land a plane on the hood and sit three across comfortably in the front or back. We'd get to the bungalow after dark and walk down a path to get to the front door. The lot was only 25 feet wide and the house was just a couple feet thinner. The lot sloped from the road down to the house and then leveled out over the septic tank, then another steep slope before leveling out at the shoreline. I forget how much my Gramps had paid for it but I'm pretty sure I spent more on my first new car and when he sold it, he got about as much as I paid for my house.

I'd usually be up past my bedtime and hungry, Grandma would fix me a bowl of Rice Krispies, of course I put a lot more sugar in it back then. We'd sit on these greenish-blue ultra scratchy 70's couches with a funky pattern and watch TV and I'd chow down on my Rice Krispies. There was only one bedroom if you could call it that. In later years, it was a bedroom/laundry room/storage area. There was one main heating vent in the floor in the center off the place and it was the best place to sit on a cold morning. The area over the bedroom was a loft that was used for storage. There was a sliding glass door on the back side of the house which lead to a deck made from logs - real honest to goodness logs.

I don't remember anything else from that weekend, except the Rice Krispies and watching TV on the scratchy couch. My guess is that there was swimming and boating (I'll tell you about the "Pink Swan" some other time), cold cuts, and then on Sunday, my grandma would whip up a batch of sauce and a big old pot of pasta.

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Monday, November 20, 2006
  You'd Better Start Swimming Or You'll Sink Like A Stone

My parents invited us down to Chincoteague for the weekend. The hotel had a "quasi-"indoor pool, so my dad and I took the little ones for a swim...RJ was fearlessly jumping into the water, and even jumping away from us as we waited to catch him. He kept wanting us to bring him out to the ladder at the deep end, so we did, he would climb up and sprint down to the shallow end and then jump in again - no amount of yelling 'slow down' works when he's that excited and forget about the stop or wait command before jumping in, we were speaking Swahili as far as he was concerned. So, he's got the swimming motions down for the dog paddle, he just doesn't do it frequently enough to keep himself up.

My dad stepped out of the pool to sit with my mom. I brought RJ to the ladder, he climbed up and then sprinted for the shallow end, so I went into my best freestyle stroke to catch up. I got two strokes down the pool when I heard a splash, I immediately surfaced and spun towards the sound. By the time I was facing the bubbling water, my father was already breaking the surface with RJ in his arms. RJ ran a post pattern, jumped in, and went straight to the bottom. Once up, we got him out of the pool and he was shocked for about 10 seconds before he was back jumping into the water. The kid definitely needs private swim lessons.

The Best Part Of The Weekend

ABL (da wife) and I rented a tandem, it was a fat tired (sand tires with low pressure), laid back (beach cruiser), flexible monstrosity, and we loved every minute of it. We were out for an hour and I didn't once worry that I left her behind, she was happy with my cadence, and I could stand and pedal even when she stayed seated. She liked the speed...in moderation, she only told me to slow down twice; although, I think she'd flip-out if I was bombing down a hill at Chuck & Crista speed (or Ed & Mary or Steve & Lin speed). Most importantly, we could talk the whole time.

We'll probably get a tandem in the spring and she only put one condition on a purchase - she would not do tandem RAAM...

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Friday, November 17, 2006
  Takeaways From Jim Fox "Discussion"

As I said in my last post, I wasn't impressed with the actual presentation, but I thought the content held some promise. So here is what I took away from the presentation.

1) Twenty minutes of meditation has the same recuperative power as three hours of sleep. If this is true, then I have a new secret weapon for RAAM next year. So, I'll research this and get back to you on the results.

2) Nasal breathing increases efficiency and during exercise can lower your heart rate. Again, I'll research and let you know what I discover.

3) He mentioned "Invincible Athletics" by John Douillard, which is a $59 set of tapes, but John Douillard also has a book called, "Mind, Body, Sport: The Mind Body Guide to Lifelong Health, Fitness, and Your Personal Best" which covers many of things Jim talked about. I will buy a copy and let you know how it works out.

 
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
  Coaching TReport

Monday night, I went out to the Ashburn Library for "Discussion with strength and conditioning coach Jim Fox". I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I'm always looking for more and better information on training, and after hearing the "discussion", I'm still not sure what it was about. Jim Fox was the strength and conditioning coach for the Caps and is currently a professor at American U.

His delivery was amateurish, with lots of "ums". The content seemed fragmented and lacking in substance, but there is real potential there. He covered his training philosophy in a "this is better for you so if you want to learn more buy my...". But I'm pretty sure this was unintentional.

He started out talking about the mind body connection as it relates to sports and I agree with most of what he said. Its not the muscles that do the lifting, its the mind. In The Complete Book Of Long Distance Cycling they say ultracycling is 90% mental. I think it was Henry Ford who said, "whether you think you can or you can't, you're right." Its all the same thing.

With the mind body connection established, then he went on to cover his philosophy about training:

Comfort

Here he talked about training based on perceived exertion(PE) and heart rate(HR), nothing new here, but for more accurate training a VO2 Max test gives a more accurate range for training than HR and PE. He was also trying to get across that these measures could be used to determine overtraining or potential training. In particular, I think he was trying to say an Ayurvedic athlete who listens to his/her body takes more rest days and gets better results.

Mind Body Type

He had us fill out a quick survey to determine our type VATTA, PITTA, KAPHA. I'm a bit skeptical about this part of the presentation. He claimed that his training plans take these types in to account when planning workouts and he gave some generalizations, but there wasn't much substance here. For instance, for my type I should avoid training in hot weather...Which I truly believe is hogwash. I know my body can get heat acclimated, just as it can get acclimated to the cold. In fact, I hate training in the 70 degree days during the winter because once I get cold acclimated I don't like to switch until spring (when I start to hate the cold days because I'm acclimating to the heat). Also, he postulated that specific mind/body types require specific nutrition. as well as specific training. So it sounded like he was selling his services, which I'm cool with, but a hand out or flyer on the types might have been nice.

Don't Divide The Mind Body Connection

Essentially, stress at work or stress at home is the same as stress from a workout, so don't try to separate them or think you can.

Then he covered a typical workout which is logical and similar to other workouts I've seen. Finally he told us about the new facility he was opening in Rockville. I did get two important take-aways from the presentation which I'll cover tomorrow.

What could he have done better? The mechanics of the presentation need work, the "ums" are the first thing, but I would also suggest an outline at the beginning to give structure to the presentation. Also a snappier title might help, there were just 3 other people in the seats with me..."The Ayurvedic Athlete" maybe or "The Stress Less Athlete" or even "The Holistic Athlete". A better title will get people to the talks and an improved structure and content will impress them. In ten years, he could have a book series and a profitable practice, because the information is there, but the presentation isn't.

 
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Thursday, November 09, 2006
  Have You Seen This Man?

I used to work with a guy named Mike Timberlake at Wavecrest Labs. He is a Mechanical Engineer and in his spare time he likes to hunt and fish. He is a bit of a history buff. He used to live in Winchester, VA (he owned a horse there), but I think he moved. If anybody knows him and could get him to send me an email, I'd appreciate it. I've googled him and also searched Yahoo, but haven't been able to find any contact info. I've even called Wavecrest, but their records are in storage. Thanks.
 
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Monday, November 06, 2006
  COX Sux

Before I get to rantin' about my internet provider, I wanted to say that I had an awesome ride on Sunday. I pulled the kids out to Rte 7 with Adrienne following. We bought some underwear for RJ (he just started his potty training) and then had lunch at a Deli almost worthy of New Jersey. Then we explored the trail system in Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park. There were several fair weather stream crossings and Adrienne got her feet wet at the first one, but she learned...The crossing is basically a concrete pad across the water. There are little concrete pylons on the upriver side for stepping stones. When I went through the park on Thursday, there had been a lot of rain, so I walked the crossings to make sure the water didn't flow into the trailer and also to make sure the current didn't sweep RJ downstream, but on Sunday it was low enough I could ride across without worrying about flooding out the kids.

The crossings are a bit slippery, so I had to be really careful riding across, the trailer tends to pick up a lot of momentum going into the river and it pushes the back end of the bike around. That actually caused me to fall on Thursday at the last crossing before home; luckily I was mostly across, so I didn't end up in the water, but the kids were in the water when I went down and they had some water go into the trailer.

We followed the trail from where it starts on Dranesville Rd near where Dranesville used to get flooded down to the "Secret Playground", south under Wiehle to Herndon Parkway near Elden. There's a bit more trail to explore at the end, but we were pressed for time and made a beeline for home along Herndon Parkway. The "Secret Playground" is a small playground at the edge of the woods in Sugarland Run and its basically how I got the kids into the trailer for bike rides this year and last year..."Let's go visit the Secret Playground". (That's a tip for Drew) The weather was excellent, everybody got exercise, and we got to explore, so it was a great day.

Cox Communications SUX

A long time ago, when we first moved to Herndon, we had Cox for our cable provider. The picture was grainy and static-y and would randomly cut out, like say at the start of a F1 race...The picture would actually black out for say 30 seconds or more. They blamed it on our interior wiring which they would gladly fix for a fee. Nice try guys, but I'm a Mechanical Engineer and I'm not buying that excuse. I switched to Dish Network and was immediately pleased with the picture quality and features. After we switched to Dish, Cox ripped up our neighborhood and put fiber optic cable everywhere. They tried to get us back with their "Crystal clear digital picture" and "crisp stereo quality sound" but by that time I was happy with Dish and happy to "Stick it" to the Cox Cable monopoly. Alas, after four years of Dish, my neighbors tree grew up and blocked the signal, so I switched to Verizon FIOS. They actually offer TV over a fiber optic cable right to the house and I'm loving the High Definition Signal.

Fast forward a couple of years, and we decided to get rid of the DSL line for a cheaper faster Cable Modem and back to COX again...They have brand new fiber optic wiring I thought, what could possibly go wrong...Well, about once a month my internet connection goes dark and with it my phone. Lately, when I've been on the phone, the signal will cut out and the lights on the modem go haywire, then reset themselves like nothing happened, but both the internet and phone will be down. According to tech support, the modem gets a new IP address when its booted, but my router and WIFI don't, so everything needs to be rebooted with the modem first...Tech support said the problem could be a power surge, some other company working on the line, Sunspots, anything but them (sounds familiar, I bet they could fix it for a fee). R-E-L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y Look it up (See also UPTIME, DEPENDABILITY, RESILIENCE).

I think its time to switch to Verizon FIOS for my Internet Provider too. Now if my wife could only get us an employee discount, things would be golden.

 
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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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