Thursday, July 29, 2010

You can't pick your parents

I love them both - A LOT. But hereditary issues suck. Last week, I added a new blood pressure medicine to my mix of meds I take. This one was a beta blocker and the bottom line is
a) my BP numbers are probably where my doctor wants them to be, I haven't taken a reading in a week to confirm.
b) the slugishness I felt when I started them a week ago  has not gone away.Sucks, I'm sluggish in a few areas...

Granted, I take it in the evening before bed, and seem to be sleeping better,  it's knocked me down as far as having any kind of "snap". I just feel slower than normal. Last nights group run confirmed what I suspected. It was a relatively quick tempo pace not over the top fast like in a 5k but with minimal to no talking. That's ALWAYS a sign that someone means business. 3/4s of the way thru the run I had to back off the lead runner. Not that I'm so egotistical that I HAVE to be in front, actually I prefer to not be in front and let the "Mob Rule" (Black Sabbath reference ;) ). But this was different. I HAD to back off the pace because it was above where I was able to hang and I let him go... I never had to do that with this group, so I KNOW something is up. YES we all have our good and bad days, but this is different. Like I said, I can feel the change, and it's not subsiding. SOOO I may take my pressure readings later just to see where I'm at, and then stop the new medicine. Better to stop now then do it after I have been on it and my body is completely accustomed to it. I've looked up side effects and treatments of this kind of med, and everything I am experiencing has been discussed everywhere I looked. If I was sedentary or am forced to be, then I'd consider it, but I'm active!

 It's a double edge knife. On one side my blood pressure is falling within the range of healthy blood pressure, and that has always been a goal of mine. I'm already on a BP med in the morning and have been for the better part of 6 years now. I also feel a bit more laid back and less stressed.

On the other side I'm left feeling slower than I want to feel pretty much ALL the time. Long term this can change exercise and perrformance as I know it.
Feel like I've been walking around with a sand filled vest and ankle weights, albeit a bit more laid back and at ease.
It's NEVER easy is it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sometimes what you get is not what u intended

I went to the Dr last week and what I was concerned about went a different direction.The bottom line, I am on an additional blood pressure medicine now. We both agreed that although my PP was up, and not the dangerously kind of up, I simply could not bring it down to the recommended values of 120/70. So I agreeed to add a med to address the longstanding issue. It's not for lack of exercise, relatively good diet, and lifestyle. It's mostly a hereditary thing. The new stuff is a new type of betablocker. A more selective type he tells me.I take it at night before bed. I will simply have to accept it, but a side effect of betablockers is slugishness in a number of areas. BUT this is a newer more selective type, and may not be an issue like older style BBlockers. So since I've tried with limited success to bring my blood pressure down without adding to the BP meds I take, I decided to do the right thing and address the issue a bit more agresively. This may well slow me down on the bike and run. It's been 5 days since I started and I have noticed it in a few different areas of my life. A bit more tired, etter sleep, but then theres that slugishness. It MAY go away when my body adjusts, but may not. Either way I'm doing the right thing, and like I said I wasn't expecting this outcome. A different one but not this one...
I got a 60 mile road ride in on sunday morning. I meant to do a Saturday ride as well but we had torrentrial rains on Saturday,  and news reports were 7 inches fell in a days time! Trail riding is out of the question for a while. So I rode out to the Monee resovoir and back making it a good 60 miler. It was 30 miles pretty due south with a tailwind, and upon turning around, a 30 mile headwind. Breeze was a bit stiff and the flags were standing straight out at times. Like I said earlier, I feel "flat "on this new blood pressure med. I'm sure the numbers are improved but I do not have that kick or snap in my legs since starting the new medicine. Maybe I will bounce back after my body gets used to it. A few good hilly road rides over the next 10 days should put me in a doable position to ride that 100 mile HILLY Granfondo. I'm looking forward to the challenge it brings. It's been a while since I did 100, and this one is going to have some very challenging "climbs". I did notice that all the running I've recently done really helps with fitness and has some carry over when you get back on the bike, BUT I still think that to improve the best I can for this ride I will really need to stay on the road bike leading up to August 8th event. A challenge it will be no doubt. I'm lookling to take those road miles and brring the training effect off road for the Palos Meltdown on Aug 22nd. Even though the BP medicine has me feeling like I'm riding and running thru a bit of sand all the time right now, I'm still looking forward to these events.
The tour coverage was great this year. What an epic battle. It was interesting how the mornings coverage (that I missed because I was riding) showed the whole big to do with RadioShak trying to ride with a different jersey provided by Arstrongs LIVESTRONG movement. The tour organizes had nothing to do with it and delayed the start, and made them change uniforms. Armstrong was the last to comply. The primetime coverage pretty much glanced over it. This is the Tour NOT the Armstrong show. They followed protocol and kept the focus on the riders and the winning team and rider. CONTADOR. I wonder if Alberto was adamant that Lance and his jersey escapade NOT steal ANY of Contadors victory. Not this time...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Band names

So I have had a pretty good collection of band name ideas over the years. Here's some of my favorites
  • ChemicalButter (top of the list) has that REM feel to it...
  • KillOprah - kind of has that punk sound to it doesn't it? Not sure if I would ever use that one though because after all she IS Oprah, and I'm sure I'd be paid "a visit" LOL
  • SpatialTranquility - now this one sounds like a jam band ala Greatful Dead style. Note - I think I seen the Dead about 25 times or so back in the late 80s and 90s. Not that it has anything to do with anything, but Im just sayin'...
  • RobotSnowman - hmmm, alternative band?
Felt a need to do this today since more and more of my posts have been about "going fast", than "playing loud" LOL

I still want to rebuild my guitar. The only thing stopping me is once I begin the painting process it's going to be off limits for about 6 to 8 weeks. So I should pick it up and get some playing time in before I do it. Then theres the issue as to how I'm going to paint it. I've had the idea of doing it with glow in the dark paint. Maybe a secret message that only appears when its glowing in a blacklight etc. I'm also liking the idea of restriping it ala Eddie Van Halens 5150 guitar -here's how I origonally did it,  but this time make it white body with glow in the dark stripes. So you only see the VH stripes when its glowing.

It's got a unique look nowadays being sanded down but still having a purple hue in the grain work from the short lived Purple guitar phase. It will make for a good project when I need to preoccupy myself. Think I'l brush up on the playing first.

I'm lookin to try and get in about 75 miles this weekend on the road bike in prep for an upcoming GranFondo in Madison WI. The good news is all the running I've been doing lately has me feeling a bit of the snap in my legs. Not only that but the runs have made jumping back on the bike feel better than I thought. AHH that was the whole reason I took up cross training to begin with! Running and cycling REALLY compliment each other.

Monday, July 19, 2010

OK here goes..

I have been, and am currently completely perplexed (to say the least) over a pending Dr visit tomorrow. I had to cancel the last visit for a different reason, but previously (mentally) I was not ready to make a decision, and I'm in the same situation today...........
If you read the post in it's entirety and can offer feedback and or advice, I'd appreciate hearing from you :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

If hell is like that....

Yesterday for the first time in my life I cut a planned ride short. I was going to go out and get a solid 40 plus miler in out to Lemont to get some hills in. It turned out to be a sub par 20 miler. My legs(and the rest of me) felt lousy. The temps were in the 90s and the heat index was rediculous. Last year on a similar occasion I rode the same route and at the end sprint (against a car full of teenagers) I had to pull over because I became dizzy. It startled me last year. This time around I didn't have it in me. I started the ride with a headache I had since 10 in the morning and that certainly didn't help. - I went out for the ride at 4... SUCKS, but I came back feeling pretty down, which is a common occurence lately :(  Granted this years training as far as intensity and mental toughness go has been inconsistent compared to my last go round , but this has NEVER happened. They say setbacks are opportunities to reasses and overcome but I've had more than my fair share lately - SUCKS. Nevertheless I am reassesing my outlook, goals, actions, etc. Something's got to give, because where I'm at isn't all that great. Each small step right? I've got the Dr's appt that I blew off a few weeks ago coming up this Tuesday, and I STILL don't know if I should go. Its a dichotomy. Pros and Cons, trust and distrust, comfort in the familiar, and fear of the unknown. SUCKS. So I got in a 20 miler, and seen on the evening news that a whole bunch of people were being treated for heat related trauma downtown. A bit of reassurance that I'm not completely failing, and I did actually go out for a ride, but like I said, I've always managed to push thru and overcome in the past. AGE? Lack of razor sharp training focus thru the year?, poor diet habits, too many negative distractions? - A combination of all of them? Can't be the heat...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Le Tour and Le Run

It's Tour time BABY! Although I could do without Craig Hummer and Bob Roll each night, I mean come on, who wouldn't want to listen to Phil Ligget's anecdotes instead of those 2 knuckle heads. This isn't NASCAR, its Pro Cycling?! . The only down side to Phil is he would no doubt take Lance as a "life partner" if he could, and that gets old pretty quick. So the evenings are spent watching the tour, and I can't tell you how cool it is to have one of the boys and my "long time personal manager" LOL enjoy watching it with me.
So the Eiffel tower statue is on the office desk, The "Tour Tie" (circa about 1992) has come out at least once a week -notice the French flag as the tie clip, and I've donned the yellow converse professing my admiration, respect, and overzealous love for the grandest bicycle race in the world (2nd possibly only to Paris Roubaix...) As far as the pro riders go, I've been saying it for the last 2 years- ANDY SCHLECK... Looks like I may be right this year :)

 I plan on going out for a ride after work today, temps are in the 90s again, but I'm not complaining. I need to hit the road for some much needed clarity of mind and the training effect. Maybe out to Lemont to hit the "climbs" Vandevelde was raised on.

 Yesterday was another succesful group run, with yet another new face showing up. I'm SOOO glad I  put this together. It's like I was made to do stuff like this.  I've received a lot of good feedback from a number of people who have shown up, and I know it will continue to grow. So much for not running anymore LOL Funny thing is, with this "project", I feel I have a purpose lately. A way to give back and inspire. That is GREATLY needed in my life right now. I'm going thru some tough personal stuff, and I've been perplexed , frustrated, down, and stressed, etc, instead of being accepting of "life and how to live it" (an obvious REM reference ;) ). It's not been easy lately..., but leading this new group certainly stands out as a positive. I should "step up", and pull out the ACE fitness test prep stuff and get my certification if anything to at least have something to take my mind off of stuff and accomplish something in an area of life that is so worthwhile- Fitness... 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

not bad, not bad at all

I'm stoked, yesterday was week 3 of our new Wednesday night run group. 4 of us hit the local streets for what we've measured at just under a 5 mile course that includes water and facilities at the midpoint.. My old cycling buddy Budman showed up as well! Good times. So now we've got a group of what has already shown to be regulars, and were "visible" in the village. I'm seeing nothing but good stuff happening for this fun little project.
The trails have been GREAT all week.I give a lot of credit. They monitor the trail systems (including our local trails) and have a simple green, yellow, red light system. If it's red - you stay off the trails, if it's green - you ride them. We had the better part of June with red light (wet) conditions. I've been ( as was everyone else in the region)looking forward to off road riding for quite a while and it was driving me crazy. When the lights went green,  I found myself out riding the single track, and one thing evident was the trails were in PERFECT condition. Kudos to you guys for all you do (even the simple light system on your web site). Our trails kick a$$! So after all the bar and seat height adjustments, and the extra time I've spent riding it lately, I  FINALLY feel comfortable on the Full Suspension mountain bike.
 It's becoming more and more frequent for me to stop "thinking about the bike",
 and let it just do it's thing. It's an interesting concept (that not everyone takes the time to grasp), when your finally setup well, you become one with the bike when your out riding. It's the payoff for having a bit of healthy Eddy Merckx style OCD. It's a beautiful thing...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

upon further review, a bit of ridicule

So we did go see Sammy Hagar at Naperville's Rib Fest Friday night. I was excited we were going, (and that he was playing there with his old band the Wabos) for a charity. Here's where it gets strange. We show up around 6ish for an 8pm show. The front of the field near the stage isn't filled for the opening band. Regardless, we decided to keep the kids one sction back so there was room for the blankets etc. The later it got, the more I was surprised at the room to move around. It was like everyone was at the rib tasting and vendor booths. Then someone says it.... Juliane Hough will be coming up next. WTF? Turns out we were sitting by the wrong FCKUING?!?# stage! Did I say WTF?!?!We picked up and ran to the other side of the festival where we found another stage and hundreds of people walking toward us. Gates closed, filled to capacity. A lot of bummed out/pissed people. We cut thru the crowd and made our way to some bleachers near a fence outside the stage are, but within earshot. Turns out there was a policeman there and a crowd growing, at one point he moved to the other side and a gap in the fence appeared, that was our ticket in, bewildered kids and all! - hey this is rock and roll baby, they don't see us in concert mode often LOL. Right on time for the start of the show at 8:08 ("It's time to rock!!)- a good time. The fact that Sammy was at a festival is still not completely sittin well with me even if it does have the charity spin, but even Diamond Dave played there about 5 or so years ago so MAYBE it's a tad above one of your favorite musicians playin a neighborhood fest LMAO...

I went out on the 4th of July for the 100k ride down in Joliet, it's a good way to start the holiday each year, and. I make it a goal to break 3 hours so I am sure to get some good quality hard miles in my legs for the coming weeks of summer. This year was windy and by the later part of the morning getting hot. So I head out a bit after 8, and a small group of racers (from a team I will not name) roll past and one of the riders calls me out on the kit I was wearing. "Hey, aren't you supposed to be in France?!" chuckle.... At that point I'm flabergasted (at least on the inside.) these riders were half my age. I was racing when they were 10 years old WTF? Hypothetically speaking they may have been in a kit of the team I last raced with, or a kit of the team I decided to join this season I felt fukcing Fredded - All because I have style. I'm talking Mario FCUKING Cipollini style, and if Im decking myself out in some sweet lookin red and white polkadot colors complete with red shorts and shoes to compliment it, it's because I can. Kids...they don't even know who the Fck Super Mario, or Zaskula, or the pre L.A. era of cycling is all about. Legalize Spinacci- maybe ancient lore to them LOL. Lemond who right? SLX steel? chromed lugs on a Tomassini sintesi, Knowing what a Carbitubo rode like, or own a Leather hairnet because it made for a kick ass christmas present.? . WTF, I was a bit taken aback by the smart ass comment... So inevitably the group of racers form up in a pack, and I jump on. They proceed to animate the pack to shake off as many stragglers as possible and at times the pace was moving along quickly.  They stopped at the first rest stop, but I decided to roll thru. That first stretch presented a small dilema, I want to ride this alone, I can't break away from the group I just jumped on,  because Mob Rules in this situation, AND I'm a bit miffed at feeling a ridiculed and literally out of the click based on comments from that group of riders that just rode by. Another thing worth mentioning, I said hi to about 4 or so racers in kit - hypothetically speaking they may have been in a kit of the team I last raced with, or a kit of the team I decided to join this season, at a few different times while on the ride.Once as they were on the side of the road with a flat. - One of em looked agast as I called out asking if they have all they need.and completely ignored me. The other time was when myself ,and the guy who continued on with me from the first rest stop rode up and past another (racer in kit's) small group. I called out a hello when I seen the familiar kit, but did not get a response. MAYBE if I was in a race kit....They would have been friendly But today I wasn't representing albeit my own colors on a sick bike with what looks like no local race team affiliation. FCUK!!! are these guys that fcuking JADED nowadays? That's such a bad rap for the snobbie roadie!, and here I have just found myself on the other side of the current racers fence. All because I am out of a local kit and unrecognized by the current locals (or even teammmates)albeit the guys I've seen out there forever as well I think I'm gonna be sick... . I did not stop with the group at the first rest stop because it would have been a free ride all day in the pack, and I needed to get a hard bit longer effort in the tank for training purposes.  I was also not completley enjoying that certain pace you get to called race pace in a group of seasoned racers who have been stretching the elastic for the last few months, and wasn't lookin to do that all morning, althought I was surprised and a bit happy to experience that electricity that develops when the pack turns the screw and your moving along with it. Either way I did not want to hang with the race click at the time. So 2 of us continued on and pretty much time trialed on and off (more so on) the rest of the hot windy morning alone, and did stay away from the race pack the remaining 2/3rds of the ride..I broke 3 hours for the 100k again this year. The winds made riding with my new buddy Victor appreciated during some of that bitch slappin winds, and it was a feel good to hear him ask if I raced as a cat 1 or 2 when we were talking about our racing past and current happenings.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

this is gonna be HUGE! and complex machines...

 Last night was our first official group run night, and we had 5 people show up. It's funny,  I had a Michael Scott (from the TV show "The Office") level of enthusiasm LOL. I'm thrilled to see how we kicked off last night. Like I said all along, I didn't think it took much to get this going outside of having the idea and getting the word out there. :) It was a great way to start, and I'm sure it will only grow with time. I was thrilled to see a number of people show up!
 I managed to get a ride on the mountain bike in after the run due to the long days of summer being at it's peak. Looks like the trails are finally ready (dry) to be ridden! WAY overdue because of all the rains we have had during the last month. So I spent the ride continuing to make minor adjustments to the seat height, bar height etc. The one thing I noticed (and drives me crazy) is the fact that there a LOT of adjustments to make on a full suspension mountain bike, but once you find the sweet spots, you notice it. I'm not there yet but as these "adjustment rides" have continued (while waiting for the trails to dry out), I've begun to have  moments where I notice some pretty noticable improvements and things feel right. YES it is tedious but like I said, when your sitting in the right spot, the benefits of the bike become evident. SUCKS to have that Eddy Merckx criticalness in adjustment mentality, but the end results are worth the time and 420 adjustments it takes to get there LOL. Plans are to hit the trails later today to get some much needed dirt time in, and the 4th is the annual 4th of July 100k. Every year I try to break3 hours, it has become a solo break away effort ride, and I'm lookin to once again meet my mark. It's all about personal goal setting, be it a race for some, or in my case winning a stage of the tour by soloing away and "stretching the elastic"as Phil Liggitt would say while commentating on my inspiring solo effort ;)

Tomorrow I'm off to Naperville's Rib fest to catch Sammy Hagar in concert. Sammys is a HUGE part of my defining young adult years, and when he joined the MIGHTY Van Halen, I was in musical nirvana. I've seen EVERYTHING he's done since the early 80's starting with up front at Chicago Fest back in 83, witnessed the first time he and EddieVan Halen shared a stage down at the first FarmAid concert, been down to Cabo and met him at his annual birthday bash...You get the picture? Not gonna miss this one, should be fun!

2 of my favorite front men - Michael Stipe, and SAMMY!
ROCK (and ride) ON...