Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
  Missing R's

My Main machine is a Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop that I purchased in 2002. It's still got a lot of life left in it, but it has its problems. The power cable went bad about a year ago and I purchased a new one and now, the part that the cable connects into on the machine is loose. Around the same time, my number keys cut out. I thought it was a virus, but virus scan after virus scan came up clean. Through Google, I eventually found the answer, I had a screw loose. No Jokes please. So I flipped the thing over and tightened every screw on the bottom. My numbers came back, but occasionally they cut out, so I just press on bottom as I press the key and that seems to work.

The casing is cracked in a couple of places, and its been dropped on the wireless card so many times the thing cries for mercy when the kids come anywhere near it. The left mouse button for the mouse pointer broke and now just floats there working when it wants to (kind of like LABCorp). The Space bar popped off, but that popped right back into place. About a week ago, my R key popped off and I worked without it...No I didn't use words that avoided the letter R, I just pressed the exposed metal contraption that the key connected to. We found the key a couple days ago and it doesn't work 100% of the time, so I have to repeat it a couple of times. Quite a pain when you're trying to get a blog out before your kid rolls onto the laptop or comes to tell you they just went potty all over the floor.

ABL thinks I should get a new laptop because Verizon offers a discount on Dells. I think it still works, What do you think? Keep in mind that $2000 could buy a tandem, pay half of the RAAM RV Rental, or fly a bunch of people into San Diego.


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  Pedaling Strength Workout

In order to more closely follow Coach Adam's Training plan, I dusted off the Pedaling Strength DVD. I was doing these intervals on the road like a Troy Jacobson workout...Balls out, with PowerCranks, pulling the kids in the trailer. But that's the wrong intensity.

From here on in, all my interval work will be done on my bike on a trainer to the Cycling Fitness Results DVDs to insure that I do them properly. In the past, I thought I was getting the same workouts on the road, but that apparently isn't working.

Yes, that's a shameless plug for Cycling Fitness Results, but it's also a shameless plug for doing intervals at the correct intensity.



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Monday, February 26, 2007
  50 Watts

With a disastrous performance at Sebring, I was hoping that my VO2 Max test would bring me good news. It wasn't to be. 50 Watts. When every watt is precious, losing 50 watts is a big deal.

My power in my aerobic zone is 160 watts, that's 20 watts less than it was 2 years ago. Power at my lactate threshold was 220 watts and it had been 270 watts 2 years ago.

Can I still do RAAM? Should I still do RAAM? RAAM is still months away, so I shouldn't stop now. But, I will re-evaluate the decision in April and make a Go/No-Go decision then.


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Saturday, February 24, 2007
  50 Watts To Leave Your Lower

More bad news. I took a VO2 max test today and I was disappointed by the results. My power at aerobic was down 20 watts and my power at Lactate Threshold was down a whopping 50 watts from 2 years ago. To quote Ming-Ming of The Wonder Pets, "THIS IS SERIOUS."

Stay Tuned.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
  What's Next? What Does This Mean?

I want to start by saying thanks to all for the words of encouragement I've received post-Sebring. The questions before me are: "Will I be ready for RAAM?" "Is my training on track?"

This is a rest week, so I'll spend it doing active recovery rides, yoga, and no weight training. I have an appointment with Coach Adam to do a VO2 Max test on Saturday. The VO2 Max test will answer some questions. Am I putting out more power? Am I more efficient? What are my training zones?

Then I'd like to talk a bit with Adam and answer some other questions...If I'm more efficient and putting out more power, why am I getting slower? My VO2 Max tests have shown great improvement over the years, but my fastest 200k was in 2002. Should I modify my training plan?


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  Bike Sebring Misc 2007

All of the chain hotels withing 15 miles of the event were booked, but the little motels weren't. We stayed at the Sunset Beach Motel, which was a hole. I'd never stay there again. My mattress was cup shaped. The Bathroom door was coming apart and wouldn't close until I figured out just where to push...

I didn't have a long valve extender for my Zipp 404 Rear, so it was the Zipp Disc or a Mavic Open Pro on the rear. I found out late, that the 404 front had a slow leak, so I spent twenty minutes manhandling a tire onto the rim. I never got around to gluing it, but it held up fine during the 222 miles (of course I wasn't doing any crit turns).

Chris Hopkinson was there again and he was out front early on. Once again, he was a good sport shouting encouragement. There was a lotta love this year down at Sebring. There were people on the side of the road cheering during the long loop and the 12 mile loops. The recumbents always had a word of praise as they passed. And there were a ton of recumbents including a fully faired bright yellow "Barracuda". The volunteers at the race referred to him as "Banana Man".

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Monday, February 19, 2007
  Sebring 2007

My Dad and I drove down to Sebring (Thursday into Friday) using his Prius, which took about half the gas that my Escape would have used to make the same trip. We got two bikes, my tools, two coolers, and clothes in there and still averaged 44.7 mpg down and 44.4 mpg back. We met up with David Caples and Jakson Badenhoop, two of my crew members for RAAM 2007, talked about RAAM, went out to dinner, then checked in with BikeSebring.

I froze when they handed me number 13, but they told me it was "lucky number 13." I don't think I was convinced. Everything leading up to the race went well. The four of us had breakfast, and got everything together, but it was cold out. I started out reasonably hard, but I just couldn't get into a rhythm. I ended up riding alongside Ray Hannah for awhile, he was doing the 12 hour event. At the turn around point, I had covered the first 48.8 miles at 16.3 mph. That's on target for a 6 hour century, so I dropped off some clothing with Dave and Jakson and picked up the pace. I made it to the next rest stop doing 18.6 mph, then back to the raceway averaging 18.4 mph. That means I covered the 100.2 miles in 5 hours and 47 minutes. That's 10 minutes slower than 2006 and 20 minutes slower than 2005.

I wasn't used to the Softride. I'm not sure if it was the tights on my legs or the softride, but my knees were really bothering me. I switched to the Litespeed for the 12 mile loops. My lap times averaged 49 minutes per lap. Accounting for the extra mile this year versus 2005, my lap times were almost identical, but were about a minute slower than last year on the same course.

I switched back to the softride for the race track and my lap times were around 15 minutes per lap, but my legs were getting worse and the temperatures were really dropping. Surprisingly, there were still people riding without any knee coverings. There were even people riding without headlights. Crazy people.

My resolve wavered and I abandoned after just 14 hours and 45 minutes of riding and a measly 222.5 miles. My dad and I went back to the hotel and got some shut eye before heading back to VA. Needless to say, I am really disappointed.


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Wednesday, February 14, 2007
  Pre Bike Sebring 2007

I'm having a bit of pre-Bike Sebring anxiety.

On the positive side, I've been weight training, I've been using my Altitude Simulator pretty regularly, and I've got more aerobic and lactate threshold workouts in this year than in years past. This year the race is a bit higher priority for me than last year. My father and two of my RAAM 2007 crew will be down for the race. My morning body weight is 160ish, which is just a couple pounds heavier than RAAM 2006, but I've put on a lot of muscle (Let's hope I can use it during the race!).

On the negative side, I'm at the end of a three week training cycle, so my body is ready for a rest week. That could mean I'll be putting out less power on Saturday than I am capable of (I was on the Life Fitness Bike at the gym on Tuesday and my lactate threshold interval was performed one level below normal - about 16 watts less). Because of the snow and generally cold weather, I haven't ridden a century in three weeks and lo and behold, the cold weather is following me down to Florida. Finally, I haven't put any miles on my Softride since destroying the ZIPP 202 during RAAM.

I've raised the handlebar on my Softride, so the position won't be so extreme and I'll be taking my Litespeed down just in case, and I've been doing Active recovery sessions on the Softride to hopefully get my body re-acquainted.

I feel pretty confident that I could have hit 400 miles last year if I had taken the race more seriously and I'd had a crew to keep me motivated; so, secretly, I've been hoping to push well into the 400's this year, maybe even coming close to the course record. I guess we'll see. I'll be leaving Thursday night and will post about the race on Monday.


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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
  LABCORP Must Die

I've been going to the LabCorp facility in Sterling since 1998. Back then, it was two Phlebotomists in one cramped room. One would process a patient on the computer and then draw blood. While the first was drawing blood, the second would start processing the next patient. The room was packed with equipment making it appear even smaller, but it did have its own bathroom. Now, that probably wasn't the most sanitary situation, but it worked for me.

Over the years, they've made at least two major renovations to the patient area. In the first renovation, they added more space and were drawing blood in a room that wasn't attached to a bathroom. During the construction phase of the most recent renovation, they were back drawing blood in the original room attached to the bathroom. The new facility is much bigger and has several draw stations a separate bathroom and a reasonably large waiting area. At times, I've seen as many as 6 people to draw blood and process patients. The funny thing is...They've actually gotten slower. Six people are now doing the workload of two. How bizarre is that?

The past three times I've gone there, they've made me wait a minimum 1 hour to a maximum of 2.5 hours. On what planet is it ok to make someone wait 1.5 hours to get their blood drawn when you have 4 people standing around doing nothing? It is important. For instance, the blood tests for my Prograf levels must be taken 12 hours after my last dose. If my blood is taken 14 hours after my last dose, the results will be much lower and it will appear like I need more medication. The same is true for pregnant women getting a glucose tolerance test done. Wait too long to draw blood and the results are meaningless or possibly even dangerous. i should also mentioned that the tests I get require me to be fasting.

I have kids, I take them with me. After an hour of sitting around, they get antsy. The last time I was at LabCorp I was told to keep them quiet because they were bothering the other patients. At that point I wanted to tell the kids to scream their little lungs out, because none of the other patients seemed to mind and since they were also waiting an inordinate amount of time, I think they probably felt like screaming too. The kids have been so antsy by the time they take me back, that I've put them in my lap while I've had my blood drawn. Otherwise, I'm afraid they would run around and I'd get yelled at.

This past Wednesday, I went in for blood work. I attempted to remind them that the Immuknow test is a STAT test and they have to call a courier for pickup. "That's not our policy. Unless the Doctor writes on the slip that it's a STAT test, we can't process it that way." I replied, "I don't need the results STAT, you need to process it STAT."
"That's not our policy. Sir" They called my Doctor, but the office wasn't open yet, but it was pretty darn close, so I said, "please try their direct number here it is..."
"That's Not Our Policy Sir. We only call the number on the slip. If they wanted us to have their direct number they would put it on the slip." They said I could wait and they would draw everything together, or I could get the Prograf done now and they would have to stick me twice. Since I had been waiting an hour and twenty minutes at this point, I said, "Stick me twice." They took me back and I pulled the kids into my lap.
"That's not our policy sir. For the safety of our Sticker, they cannot be in your lap" The woman in charge put Q and RJ on an exam table, but I pulled RJ down. All I needed was for him to wiggle off the exam table onto the concrete floor. They drew an extra vial of blood, but they didn't know what tube to use, so I knew they would have to draw another one. I took the kids back into the waiting room and we waited another twenty minutes before I went up and asked if they had talked with the doctor yet. Nope, but that was going to be their very next call. Sure I believe you. Another 15 minutes goes by and they call me in. The woman who kept reciting "Its not our policy..." tried to explain herself, but I was livid and hungry, the kids were thirsty. Obviously, there was a lot of stuff that was either newly banned, or it just wasn't enforced before.

There was a notice on the door that said as of February 12th, they would only be doing Drug Testing at that facility; so I couldn't go back if I wanted to. I think there is one other lab in the area that does blood testing and accepts my insurance.

So Long LabCorp and Thanks for all the fish.


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Saturday, February 10, 2007
  Weekend Rides

The temps at 7:30am where in the teens with a high predicted to be near 32 degrees. As much as I like riding, that's just too cold.

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  I've been Ionized, but I'm ok now

My Yoga Instructor...
My yoga instructor looks a bit like Steve Carrell, sounds like Bob Ross, dispenses wisdom like Buckaroo Banzai ("remember, no matter where you go, there you are"), and bends like Plasticman.

Heard in Thursday's class, "Be where you are. Do what you are doing." I love Yoga.


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Wednesday, February 07, 2007
  Funny Thought For The Day




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I went to LABCorp this morning to get blood drawn and I can't think about the experience without the word firebombing coming to mind, so I'll put off writing about the experience until I've calmed down. My day got a little better when I saw these pictures of my cousin Joe, home safe on R&R from Iraq. Enjoy!

Arriving in Hawaii
Joe arriving in Hawaii

Joe and his Beautiful wife Erica
Joe and his Beautiful wife Erica. Apparently, I'm not the only one in the family working out. I guess I can should start sending him junk food again.

Joe, His Wife Erica, and their Daughter Skye
Joe, His Wife Erica, and their daughter Skye.

My Aunt Toni and Uncle Ed
My Aunt Toni and Uncle Ed visiting their son and his family.

red white and blue
Joe, Skye, and his brother Eddie.

Going back to War
Joe waiting for a flight back to Iraq.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
  This is so going to be a "Law and Order" Episode

I was going to talk today about the "Heroes" episode last night. George Takei has been guest starring for two episodes and as he got in his car to go, the camera followed the actress playing his daughter as she went around the other side of the car and the license plate was clearly visible "NCC-1701". That's cool, but then I went to the gym...

After working out in the gym today, I realized I wasn't very motivated and it occurred to me that I haven't done any active recovery sessions in a very long while, which basically means I'm not getting the best recovery possible and because of that, my progress has been hindered. And I was going to write about that, but then I saw this...

One Steel Mallet, Two Latex Gloves, Three feet of Rubber Tubing and a YAK Knife

NASA Astronaut charged with trying to kidnap her rival...Lisa Nowak (43) (married with 3 kids) drove from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers to avoid bathroom stops. When she got there she donned a disguise and tried to kidnap Air Force Officer Colleen Shipman, presumably she changed her diaper first. Apparently, Nowak found out that Shipman was also dating fellow Astronaut Bill Oefelien (41). Amazingly, Nowak is still on active duty with NASA; now I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but I think someone was wound just a bit too tight and should probably be piloting a desk until she's had her day in court.

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Monday, February 05, 2007
  Pickin' Up Chicks

My hands get wicked dry in the winter. I've written about that before. I've also written about Aquaphor, the absolute all time best stuff ever invented for dry skin. I usually take my wedding ring off when applying the stuff, or when cooking, or anytime I anticipate getting it gooky. Sunday morning I forgot to put it back on before going to the gym. I had a week's worth of stubble and had changed into cycling clothes to sit on the Life Fitness bike. I had a headband on as well as a generic Breath Right strip on my nose. I probably looked like a whacked out loser. I certainly was the opposite of Euro-chic as exemplified by Signor Cippollini. Which reminds me it's probably time to shave my legs...

I've been going to the gym for several months and the most I've heard coming from the XX set was one woman asking if I was the guy pulling the kids in a trailer around Reston, and the other one told me to just leave my kid in the babysitting class because if I stayed he would continue crying and it would make her kid start crying (said while her underwear-less bum was hanging out of sweatpants - how she did aerobics without them falling down is a complete mystery Scoob).

So I was completely surprised when two women actually spoke to me. One warned me that her heart rate monitor was bleeding over onto the bike I was getting on, but she only had another 10 minutes or so to go. My heart rate monitor was bleeding over on to her display, so I took mine off while she finished her ride. The next woman who sat on that bike freaked out a bit because it was saying her heart rate was in the 160's and she had set it to keep her heart rate around 112. It wouldn't let her do a warmup because it thought she was already warmed up. She then went on to tell me that she used to be a triathlete "back in the day".

Needless to say, ABL was upset in the same way she was when I went to the hospital and all my nurses were hot. I heard her grumble something about guys not picking her up at the gym...

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Saturday, February 03, 2007
  Events To Promote Organ Donation

I'll be holding a Spin-A-Thon to benefit the National Kidney Foundation on March 11th. Please save the date. It will be held at the Washington Sports Clubs Sterling, VA location. Come and ride along with me. I'll be providing food, fluid, and entertainment. More details to follow.

I'll be holding a family fun ride on April 29th to benefit the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium. The ride will start and finish at the Reston Town Center, will be around 5 or 6 miles on paved trails, and will be suitable for young children. The WRTC is the local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) for the metropolitan DC area. About the WRTC:

  • With one hospital call to the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium (WRTC), a complex and sophisticated series of events brings together an organ or tissue donor, a donor family, surgical recovery and transplant teams and patients on the transplant waiting list. 
  • WRTC provides strong support both medically and emotionally to organ and tissue donor families, living donors, and transplant recipients throughout the donation process and for years afterwards.

I will also be holding an event to benefit the Give Life Foundation in Late May or Early June. Stay tuned for more details.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007
  I had one eye on the mirror as I watched myself gavotte

True confession time, the weight training and the high protein diet is starting to pay off. I've been checking myself out in the mirror more than I'd care to admit.

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  Mommy-O Andretti

Q is taking a "Giggle Toes" class at The Little Gym. It's 15 minutes of Tap, 15 minutes of Ballet, and 30 minutes of playing in the big gym with things like the air track, uneven bars, balance beam, etc.

The problem is that I'm usually the only adult male in the place. So I hear the mothers complaining about their husbands, inlaws, etc. There's two ways to go here, I could be Tommy or I could be Standford, Carrie Bradshaw's gay sidekick. I prefer to be Tommy.

Last week, the self confessed redneck, after describing her rural upbringing, went on about how she was a debutante and that men who can dance are worth their weight in gold. Um Yeah, where's my pinball machine again?

This week, Grandma, who showed up late, informed me that when the children are ready, they can bring their shoes in with them to the Tap Class and they can switch to their ballet shoes themselves. I have eyes, and have an intelligence above that of the common housefly; so yes, I see that. I asked Q and she didn't want to bring them in with her, so I caveman grunt at Grandma. Then Grandma asked me if Q knew how to tie her shoes. The ballet shoes slip on...NO NEED TO TIE THEM. So again, I caveman grunt at Grandma.

The redneck and her friend were going on about their rigorous tennis training and who is not following it, and who has a more powerful (backhand/serve/whatever). Then later as the teacher described the dance steps they worked on with the students, the mothers followed along while complaining how rusty they were...How come you can never find a pinball machine when you need one?

To add insult to injury, on the way home from the gym today, I got dusted by a mommy in a minivan about two miles from Q's school. Now, my Cavalier isn't a hot rod, but I was revving it out in each gear; which is to say, I was moving along at a good clip. Mommy-O passed me like I was standing still. She ended up directly in front of me on line at Q's school and I noticed that she had an infant seat in the back.

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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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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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