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Transplant Athlete
Friday, March 30, 2007
  RAAM 2006 Costs

ABL compiled all of the RAAM expenses from last year, but she was too afraid to total it up. All told, I spent around $17,650 on the race (mostly gas, food, hotels, flights, and RV), but that also includes cycling clothes, bike equipment, etc. Here are the main expenses:

RV $4300
Flights $2750
RAAM Entry Fee $1750
Food and Fuel To Get To Cali $600
Food And Fuel From Oceanside To NJ $2800
Hotels From Cali to NJ $400

It's Everywhere You Want To Be.

For 2007, The RAAM organization negotiated a 15% discount from Cruise America; however, Cruise America raised their one-way drop off charge nearly 3 times, so the RV will cost around $5000. If you'd like to help me meet my ultracycling dreams and spread the message of organ donation, please contribute to my RAAM expenses fund:






Or You Can Send A Check Payable To:
Lou Lamoureux
12607 Builders Rd
Herndon,VA 20170

Thanks

 
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007
  5 Essentials

I didn't mean to disparage Chris Camichael's Book, "The 5 Essentials For A Winning Life", but I was expecting more. The subtitle says "The Nutrition, Fitness, And Life Plan For Discovering The Champion Within." So, I was expecting something more, I'm not sure what. This book isn't really for athletes, it's for Joe Six-Pack. The guy who got married and gained a few pounds, got a desk job and gained a few pounds, woke up ten years later with a great career and wondered where his fitness went. There are a lot of people who meet this description, I for one before my transplant.

In "It's Not About The Bike," Lance Armstrong had attempted a comeback after surviving Cancer and he describes it as a "disaster". He and his future wife Kristin moved to Europe, she quit her job, gave away her dog, and leased her house. He took 14th in the Ruta Del Sol, but two weeks later, he DNFed Paris-Nice on just the second day and soon was on a plane back to the US. He bummed around for awhile, drowning in beer and burritos and hitting the links. Somehow, Chris Carmichael convinced him to go to Boone, NC for a training camp. :

    The ascent triggered something in me. As I rode upward, I reflected on my life, back to all points, my childhood, my early races, my illness, and how it changed me. Maybe it was the primitive act of climbing that made me confront the issues I'd been evading for weeks. It was time to quit stalling, I realized. Move, I told myself. If you can still move, you aren't sick...As I continued upward, I saw my life as a whole. I saw the pattern and the privilege of it, and the purpose of it, too.

After Sebring and the crappy VO2 Max Test, I felt like I had reached that turning point. I guess I just thought maybe, Carmichael had a bit more insight to offer to help me discover the champion within. I guess I could try to convince ABL to let me go to Boone for a week.

 
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Monday, March 26, 2007
  Definitely A Library Book

5 Essentials For A Winning Life - The Nutrition, Fitness, And Life Plan For Discovering The Champion Within

Chris Camichael & Jim Rutberg

I read this book two weeks ago and it's definitely one you want to pick up at the library and save yourself $25. Out of roughly 300 pages, the real meat is in the first 100 pages. The rest of the book is recipes, descriptions of exercises, weekly meal plans, and weekly exercise plans. Also, this book is not targeted to athlete's, it's targeted at former athletes (How much weight has Eddy Merckx gained?) and the general population.

What are the "5 Essentials"?

  1. Boost Your Fitness
  2. Master Your Nutrition
  3. Jump Start Your Career
  4. Fortify Your Relationships
  5. Supercharge Your Health
Boost Your Fitness
Since the book is aimed at Couch Potatoes everywhere, the main premise is that a little bit of fitness can go a long way. Athletes won't find anything new here.

Master Your Nutrition
There is a lot of No: No Soda, No Corn Syrup, No Trans Fats, No Alcohol, No Tobacco, No Fancy Coffee drinks. For the past couple of years, I've worked on improving my diet, more as a consequence of the people at Hammer Nutrition than anything else. I knew I had to look for 100% whole wheat when choosing bread, but did you know that almost all the bread at your local store contain High Fructose Corn Syrup? I finally found Pepperidge Farm's 100% Whole Grain, it's 100% whole wheat and no High Fructose Con Syrup. Then there are the yeses: Yes to Whole Foods, Yes To Fiber, and (suprisingly) yes to more water. Drink More Water surprised me, I always drink as much as necessary during training days, but on non-days, I revert back to the "8x8", eight eight ounces glasses of water a day and yet, my nephrologist was constantly sending me back for retests saying I was dehydrated. Carmichael recommends nearly a gallon a day, so I doubt my nephrologist will be calling me dehydrated now.

Jump Start Your Career
There's no secret here, Carmichael says that fit individuals perform better at work as long as they get the proper nutrition and sleep.

Fortify Your Relationships
There were some interesting tips here: Fire under performing friends, create training Triads, but the chapter is 9 pages long and nearly 5 pages explain how better fitness and nutrition improve your sex life. With the best advice "Touch Her For No Reason".

Supercharge Your Health
Where he covers all the medical tests you need and when you should get them done. He also covers the supplements you should be taking. He also points out that (surprise) exercise lowers the need for medicine.

The rest of the book as I've said is recipes and weekly meal plans, exercises and weekly exercise plans.

 
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Monday, March 19, 2007
  Volunteer Webmaster Needed

Over 95,000 people are currently waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Two of the main contributors to kidney failure, Diabetes and Hypertension, are controllable, but patients need to know they are at risk and then act to mitigate the risk. Also, by getting more people to sign organ donor cards and getting their families to follow through with the decision and by encouraging "Living Non-Directed Donation", it is possible to eliminate the waiting list.

That's the mission behind The Transplant Athlete Website . My idea for the site is to facilitate a buddy system, pairing transplant recipients and dialysis patients with at-risk individuals. The site would be designed to encourage exercise among at-risk individuals, by pairing them with geographically appropriate recipients. The site would also be a resource for individuals attempting to eat to support a healthy lifestyle, by showing recommended meals (and sizes) as well as shopping lists and weekly menus. There would also be sections on recognizing symptoms, finding free screenings, and suggestions to improve compliance with taking medication. The focus of the site would be on increasing quality of life and not on dropping dress sizes or losing pounds.

The site you currently see was hand coded by me in HTML, but the next generation of the site should incorporate "Web 2.0" services (mainly online collaboration and social networking with a geographic focus). If there is anyone out there interested in lending a hand, please send me an email at Lou@transplantathlete.com. Thanks.

 
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Friday, March 16, 2007
  Peace Love and Understanding

I had a magical day with Q and RJ yesterday, it was a perfect day to ride, so we bought Q to school on the bike. RJ and I picked up Q at preschool and rolled down to the Sugarland Run Stream Valley Park. The plan was to ride to the W&OD, stop at the Post Office for stamps, and then the Great Harvest Bread Company for some free slices before heading home. Immediately after we crossed Elden Street, I noticed two Beaver Dams on Sugarland Run, so I pulled over and let the kids out. I didn't see their lodge, but there was a tree in the water upriver a ways that looked a bit like a dam. The kids had a blast and it was tough to get them back in the trailer. A little Just before the W&OD, there was what looked like another dam in progress, with just a bit of water spilling through the center, so we pulled over for that one as well.

As we started up the incline to the W&OD, I realized there was another cyclist right behind us, he waited til we reached the top of the overpass on the W&OD before passing us, which wasn't the best idea, I may be slow going up pulling a trailer, but on the way down with all the extra weight, I'm pretty fast. Within a half mile we were on his wheel all the way to Spring Street. We stopped at the Post Office and after taking a left on Grove Street and then a quick right onto a little trail we were back on the W&OD.

Q and RJ got slices at GHBCo and then we got a free loaf of Apple Scrapple bread which is remarkably addictive. They have a buy 12 get one free program. I'm thinking of sending some bread to my cousin Joe in Iraq. I just shipped him a package with Powerbars and those individual packages of cereal (Froot Loops, Corn Pops, Apple Jacks, etc).

 
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007
  UMCAVille

There's been some serious issues raised within the UltraMarathon Cycling Association and I think the link above covers most of them. Here's my breakdown of a small sample of the issues:
  1. According to organizers, The Race Across America has never been financially viable. It's not exactly clear what transpired after the 2006 RAAM, but eventually, John Hughes and Fred Boethling got together a group of people to purchase the Race Across America. The physical race assets were sold to Fred, John, and a group of investors. The intellectual property was purchased by the UMCA using funds that were specifically donated for the purposes of purchasing RAAM. What could be wrong with that? The constitution of the UMCA strictly forbids owning RAAM. John Hughes and the UMCA Board had the power to alter the constitution to make it legal, but they didn't think of it at the time and they continue to argue that they did not violate the constitution.
  2. John Hughes through negligence, incompetence, or genuine error failed to place the call for elections in the September/October issue of ULTRACYCLING. The November/December issue of ULTRACYCLING was then delayed several months to explain and defend the UMCA purchase of RAAM, further delaying the elections. The January/February issue of ULTRACYCLING was held up because of the previously delayed issue. So, we are several months late in voting for new officers for the Board.
  3. John Hughes pulls in a meager salary as Managing Director of the UMCA and I think we have a case of "we get what we pay for." There's a lot of misdirection involved in the following argument, John Hughes claims that he has increased membership from 700 to 1650 in the decade that he has been in charge. Over the same time period, Randonneurs USA, a similar organization has started with around the same number of members and has grown to 2250 members. That's about 65 extra members a year, but that lags far behind USA Cycling's membership growth as mentioned in the above article. More members would mean more revenue for the organization and make it possible to pay a higher salary to the Managing Director. Here are three reasons why membership has lagged:
    1. Memberships were moved to be a calendar year to make it easier for John to manage memberships and not to make it more convenient to members.
    2. No follow up is done to retain members who have not renewed, John accepts it as inevitable that members leave, without even asking why they have left.
    3. My personal feeling is that the ULTRACYCLING and membership in the UMCA does not provide enough value or relevance to members or the value is not sold properly to the members.
  4. John Hughes has failed to produce documentation required by the constitution including Annual Reports.
  5. John Hughes currently controls the content of the magazine, the website, and recently has made attempts to control all dialogue relevant to ultracycling by creating a listserv that he can censor as needed to silence critics. His explanation can be found here. It's actually quite amusing.
  6. The Board has failed to meet according to the constitution. John Hughes feels that emails are sufficient to replace a physical meeting and emails probably would suffice, if all Board members were included in the email discussions. At least one Board member has complained that they were left out of the email loop, which is essentially like locking them out of the Boardroom when you are meeting by email.

In the past, it has seemed to me like there were 4 people running for 3 positions on the Board, at last count there were 18 people running for 6 positions. People are pissed. The times they are a changin'

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007
  Spin-A-Thon This Past Sunday

Well, some poor marketing on my part kept the participants from showing up. I raised $100 for the NKF; unfortunately, I spent $200 on food. I should have just given the $200 to the NKF, but I did learn some valuable lessons for the future. I may hold another Spin-A-Thon in the future, now that I know how to reach the correct demographic. On the plus side I spent a little over 6 hours on a spin bike. That was one heck of a workout, absolutely no coasting.

My next fundraiser is a family fun ride on April 29th. There will be a 5 mile ride and a 10 mile ride and the funds raised at this event will support the Washington Regional Transplant Consortium.

 
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  Blood Pressure

The new medicine is working and my blood pressure has come down to normal levels.
 
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Saturday, March 10, 2007
  Paying The Piper

Sometimes I wonder if the transplant was worth it. First of all, there is the very expensive medicine that I have to take twice a day. Second, there are the side effects from being immuno-compromised (Pneumonia, Shingles, the fear of rejection). Third is the hypertension, which is bad this time (177/114 accompanied by Headache and Nausea). I had to call my doctor for more medicine. My nephrologist thinks I'm close to an ER visit, especially if this new medicine doesn't bring my blood pressure down. Finally, there's the depression, which I think is a side effect of the medication, because it's a relatively new side effect.

I haven't always felt that way. When I was first transplanted, I had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for being alive. I had a second chance at life and I relished every minute of it.

 
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  Spin-A-Thon To Benefit The National Kidney Foundation

Spin-A-Thon

To Benefit the National Kidney Foundation



Join us for an hour or more on Sunday March 11, 2007 to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. We will provide Water, Gatorade, Perpetuem, Bananas, and Powerbars throughout the day and Lunch will be provided at noon. Food, Drinks, Prizes, and Entertainment for a $30 donation.

The Transplant Athlete, Lou Lamoureux, received a life-saving kidney transplant in September 2000 and is currently training to compete in the world’s toughest bicycle race, The Race Across America (RAAM), from Oceanside, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey. He will be sharing footage and stories from his 2006 attempt of the RAAM as well as leading discussions on Organ Donation and Kidney Health.

The Washington Sports Clubs is generously donating a one day pass to all participants to provide access to their facilities. Ample Parking and Showers are available.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and to increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Location:
Washington Sports Club
21800 Town Center Plaza, Suite 234
Sterling, VA 20164

Schedule:






9:00 AMAerobic SpinRace Across America DVD
10:00 AMPedaling Strength WorkoutCFR DVD
11:00 AMAerobic SpinKidney Health Discussion
NoonLunch
1:00 PMAerobic SpinOrgan Donation Discussion
2:00 PMPedaling Strength WorkoutCFR DVD
3:00 PMAerobic SpinRace Across America DVD


Generous Support Has Been Provided By:
Washington Sports Clubs
Optimum Fitness Results

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Monday, March 05, 2007
  She is Only 4 Years Old And Its A Real Fine Way To Start

I wasn't really into mainstream sports as a kid. I played soccer, which my buddy Rich used to refer to as "that commie sport...", but I didn't really like Baseball or Football. In High School, I made the JV team one year and played intramural another. To be honest, the intramural was much more fun. I tried out for the ski team, but couldn't make the cut. I even ran track one spring, and hated every minute of it.

It wasn't until I participated in the Outdoor Skills Club that I really felt at home. I liked camping and hiking, but the center ring for me was kayaking with climbing a close second. I had a love for kayaking but also great respect, maybe it was fear, I don't know. The same thing with climbing, Its been said, "I have a fear of heights, that's why I climb."

In high school I climbed outdoors (mostly at the Delaware Water Gap - there weren't any gyms back then).
Shanen Gianotto, Doug Sweeney, Byron Phelps, JJ, and Me
Then in college, it was the outside of the old gym.
me and pAULie climbing Stevens GymMe and pAULie climbing Stevens Gym
I know, not the most flattering pictures of me. Around this time, a gym opened in NYC and another opened in East Rutherford, NJ and I haven't climbed outside since. When I moved to VA, I climbed at a bunch of gyms as far south as Fredericksburg and as far North as Columbia, but mostly at Sportrock in Alexandria.

I took Q to the Sportrock in Sterling this weekend. It was a bit tough for her, most of the the bouldering walls were slanted a bit back from vertical and the footholds were ultra small. She did an amazing job and she was so much fun to watch. I know every parent thinks their kid is special, but she seemed to have an innate feel for the moves, this might be her sport. A woman at the gym asked how old she was and when I told her that Q was 4 she said she wished she had started climbing that early.

There were a bunch of guys in the bouldering area, hanging horizontally, dyno'ing, and slamming to the floor rather dramatically. Q loved that and kept asking me to back up so she could "Fall down." We spent about 2 hours there and about a half hour before we left she kept asking if she could use "the ropes." I hadn't rented a harness for her, so I couldn't belay her, maybe next time.

I feel really good about exposing her to other sports. I can't wait til she's big enough to kayak. When she's old enough to snowboard I'll send her to Chris Klug's camp. Of course, RJ will get the same treatment.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007
  Altitude Simulator Update #2

Hopefully this will answer some more questions about the Higher Peak Altitude Simulator. I adjusted the altitude weekly until I was sleeping at about 9000'. I had issues with Labcorp and they didn't get a hematocrit reading the first time around. The second time around, they did get a Hematocrit reading (34.9). I've done some math and think that my hematocrit post altitude training was 36.9%. That's a percentage point above my December reading. So, if I had to draw a conclusion here, I'd say that the Simulator raised my hematocrit about 2.8% over my previous reading. Not really worth the expense and sleep problems for such a small improvement and probably within my margin of error for the math calculation.

Another issue I have is that everytime my blood is drawn for one of these tests, I'm guessing it'll drop my hematocrit somewhere between .5% to 1%, depending on how much blood is drawn.

With that being said, I will now raise the altitude weekly until I reach the highest altitude it is capable of and hopefully this will have a bigger impact on my hematocrit. My next blood draw is prior to the PACTour Brevet Week and several weeks before RAAM.

For reference, it takes several weeks at altitude for you body to acclimatize to the altitude. A good illustation of this was the show "Everest Beyond The Limit" on the Discovery channel. The climbers would spend a week just sitting around acclimatizing at base camp and Advanced Base Camp. I think it takes 3 to 4 weeks for you bones to grow new red blood cells. When my kidneys were failing and I was giving myself shots of EPO, it took about 4 weeks for the drug to have an effect. The EPO told the bones to increase the number of RBC and then 3 to 4 weeks later the bones were pumping out new RBCs at a higher rate.

Bottom Line: The jury is still out on the Altitude Simulator.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007
  Missed Workout

I missed a workout yesterday - 90 minutes in my aerobic zone. I got the Pedaling Strength workout in today though. I did Workout 2: it's 1.5 hours long, with four 15 minute intervals in Zone 3 pedaling at 50 rpm. What a grind, but necessary to transfer strength earned in the gym to the bike. Jonathon looks a bit Psychotic somewhere in the middle, staring at the camera like a beaten man.

After digesting the VO2 Max test, I've decided to refocus my efforts. I'm following a plan Coach Adam made for me in 2005 for my Team RAAM preparations, with a few modifications here and there.

For instance, tomorrow is supposed to be an hour of active recovery and then I have the weekend off, which was probably because of something I had planned in 2005. So, I'll get the aerobic workout in tomorrow and probably ride Les Lamentations De Lothaire (One of Crista's weekend centuries) on Saturday. Sunday, I may scout out a route I'd like to lead as one of Crista's weekend rides.

 
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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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