Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What am I not taking advantage of?

When I was a little kid I can recall being told that "This is the best time of your life". I guess I would say it was only when I was a little kid because I have been told that throughout my life, it just has to come from someone older.

I was reminded of this the other day while driving with Cadence in the car on our way home from daycare. We were listening to Christmas music and I got a feeling that I had when I was a kid. It was the kind of feeling that reminded me how at one point I believed in magic, Santa Claus, and didn't have bills to pay. I get the same kind of feeling when I smell a mixture of eraser and crayons.

If you are like me and you get these feelings of, I guess deja vu, then when it happens you focus completely on that one thing that is giving you that feeling or memory to try and keep it around for just a few seconds longer. The feeling usually goes as quickly as it comes though.

Well, the last occasion of this feeling the other day got me to thinking. "I will literally never get to be a kid again, or really have those feelings again." Magic no longer exists and Santa Claus is dead. But I was also thinking about how I should have taken advantage of life when I was a kid. I don't know how you can tell a kid to be more of a kid and do more kid stuff because they won't get it. But when I was younger I just wanted to get to be older and bigger so I could be cool.

Now I'm starting to think that maybe I'm missing something now. I'm about to turn 30 and is there something that I should be doing to take advantage of my young adult life? Maybe I'm already doing it or maybe I already did it. When I'm 80 will I look back on what I'm doing now and ask myself, "what the hell were you doing?" I spend a lot of time focusing on training, and working out. What's not spent there I spend on work. What's not spent at work is spent on my family. And then the remainder gets put toward friends. And there is even more in the list of what I need to get done in a day but that's the bulk of it. So am I using my time wisely? Is fitness actually a priority in the big picture? How about work? I highly doubt I will look back on my life and wonder why I didn't work more.

I guess this post is mostly a question. What are the things that you wish you could do more of? What do you wish you would have taken advantage of that you no longer have the opportunity to? I just hope I'm not doing something that 120 year old me will regret.

Training the past couple weeks has actually been great. I doubled up on my training the past week and a half by mistake. Made for some long days at work but the workouts were actually fun. It was challenging to try and fit so much work into a day already filled with stuff to do. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved when I found out I could cut back today.

I heard this song while running the other day and it just hit the spot. Enjoy!

Monday I was running and feeling great all the way to the finish. My calf started to knot up again so I skipped the sprints I had scheduled. I went to the doctor yesterday about my foot and he recommended that I get my old shoe size back on and give it a try. He thinks that the narrower shoe is squeezing my foot forcing me to land on a smaller area which is causing my pain. So my  freakish foot size (8.5 4E) is on order and should be here by early next week.

Back to the calf issue. I have an appointment on Monday to see the physical therapist. I imagine they will do some ultrasound and massage. Maybe put a heal lift in my shoe again since I'm lopsided. I also just purchased a Foam Roller that arrived today. It's pretty nice I rolled a little bit over my lunch and will do some more before bed. It feels alot better than a tennis ball and I can get more pressure than I can from the stick. I would feel better after a doctor tells me that I don't have a torn muscle or something serious. Pretty sure the muscle is just tight and balled up.

Looks like my Ironman schedule is going to change a bit too. I was planning on going to Texas for the Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3. But I found one that is just 2 weeks later in Indiana. So it will be a much shorter drive and the reviews I found on this race sound pretty good. It also means that I will probably be able to do Copper Creek Triathlon still. I was really hoping to do this race because I want to kill it! I would really like to see some hard work pay off in just one race next year with a podium finish. Even if it's a small race and I'm the only one in my age group. So if it ends up fitting into the schedule I plan on going as hard as I can for it.

Our "Spin-a-thon" is coming together. Sounds like we have some gym's interested in hosting us. Our site will be going live at the end of this month and we will officially be seeking donations. We are still looking for sponsors so if you or anyone you know would be interested please contact me. Our charity, Children's Cancer Connection, is very worthy and I would be happy to share more information about them if you would like. We do have a couple sponsors and possible a couple more in the works. So thank you to our current sponsors, Traviss Audio Video, Legacy Stone of Eastern Iowa and Xtreme Hit. Your help is going to make a big difference in a lot of peoples lives.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Skinny or Fat Debate and the Aha Moment!

Recently my wife posted an image that from Pinterest that shows an illusration of a larger woman with the caption "Skinny Girls are for Wimps". It seemed to have gotten more than a couple people fairly fired up. The reason she posted it stems from what her and I have been discussing lately. Something that we have seen quite a bit of on Pinterest, and no it's not delicious looking cookies. The consensus of the debate is that no one should make another person feel ugly because of their shape...

I agree that making someone feeling bad about themselves is not a very good approach to helping them see the light or to convert their sinful ways. I do know that when a co-worker has told me that my kid would go to hell since I was not a Christian I didn't rush to the nearest church for my baptism. In fact it did the very opposite... So why would telling an obese person that what they are doing to their body will eventually kill them? Why does showing a tar filled lung of a smoker do nothing to help them quit? In my experience I was finding my happiness in things that were unhealthy for me; food, smoking, etc... 

Let's get back to the image on Pinterest before I start rambling, then the next thing you know is I'm sharing recipes or something. So Nicole and I have been talking about how so many people on Pinterest will post an image of a model, or fitness model and comment on how their ribs show and they should eat a burger. Or their muscles are ugly and that being fat is better than having that muscle. But at the same time if a person were to post an image of an overweight person and say they should cut out the donuts or maybe run a few blocks, everyone would be throwing a fit. When did it become ok to celebrate the lazy and chastise the hard working people? Well, it's not ok and not only do I know it but the people making the comments know it. The people making the comments are trying to convince everyone else that they are happy with how they look. That they are choosing to not have that body because it disgusts them. I know this because I was there, I have done it. Anyone skinnier than me needed to eat more and anyone bigger than me was fat. I did it to help myself feel better, right or wrong, it's what I did. So I understand why they do this, but how do you make the person that tries to build themself up by destroying another's image?

And secondly on this subject. Why are we telling ourselves and others that fat is beautiful? When I was big I knew this wasn't true, I hated my body. My problem was that I lacked the spark and motivation to do anything about it. I just dealt with it by medicating myself in different ways. I remember looking in the mirror and saying I would try to lose weight once I was over 250 or when my belly started to hang over my jeans. Well, neither of these two things did the trick for me. Being overweight isn't even about what is or isn't attractive. It's about what's healthy and living your life. I was having fun with the activities I was doing then, going to concerts and hanging out with friends all the time. But at the same time, life was hard to enjoy when I would literally run out of breath bending over to tie my shoes. That is one feeling I will never forget. I swim, bike, run, lift weights and do all of these active things when at one point I could barely tie my shoes without getting winded. Granted it was mostly due to my ginormous gut getting in the way. 

When you really consider the state of our nations health when it comes to weight, why is it so hard for people to see the problem? You DO NOT have to give up everything you love to eat and do to be healthy. You will have to cut back, probably by a lot, but you still get those things. I could not do this if I just couldn't have the junk food that I love. I limit it to once a week and I am able to manage just fine. If I slip up and have a little more than what I should, I get over it and move on. I don't beat myself up if I overeat I'm not going to instantly fat again. I had to change my lifestyle to become fit but I didn't have to give up everything to do it. When more people realize that you don't have to do a fad diet the rest of your life and that you can just cut back, maybe our country will get a bit more fit.

And finally the "AHA" moment. For me it was my daughter and my wife. I could see the path we were going down and I didn't see much of a future for any of us. We were doing things that would probably make our daughter embarrassed of us at some point. I want nothing more than to be a hero to just one person, and that wasn't going  to happen being fat Caleb. And I also know that I was dragging Nicole down, and she is full of potential that I was keeping her from. So to be exact, my aha moment was my family. Another aha moment was watching the 2008 Ironman World Championship on Hulu. I highly recommend you look it up and watch it. It was one of the first times in my life when I said to myself, "If they can do it, so can I". And guess what, I'm doing it!

Now to keep you up to date on my training and surgery recovery. The past couple weeks were full of breakthrough workouts. Probably mostly because I was constantly pushing myself beyond what I thought I should because I want to be back to normal. I did several double spin classes last week after 3 days of walking. The walking really screwed up my hip and foot so I couldn't have continued with that. Not sure what was going on but I was hurting from walking. Today I did an interval workout on the elliptical and followed it by a quick jog in the gym to test out the legs and see how the belly felt. Well, everything is good except for a little soreness where my 4 incisions are. So I will keep at the bike and elliptical this week and next week I think I should be right back on schedule. Lifting, running, swimming, biking, yoga, the elliptical and all of my good friends at the gym. So I'm pretty happy with how everything has worked out.

I have also been testing my digestion and it seems to be fairly close to normal. I ate some pretty horrible foods this Thanksgiving, as in bad for you, and also went out to eat and drinking this last weekend. Everything went good so I can still enjoy all the things I used to without any problems. So I'm pretty excited about that! I did try a banana again the other night with disastrous results. I had problems in the past with them but figured they were gallbladder issues. So I tried it again the other night and ended up sick all night. So bad that I skipped the gym the next morning, which never happens. No bananas or pineapple for me ever again, and maybe even sweet potatoes. But there are other things to eat that I like. Tonight I am trying Ryan Irwin and Nicole's recipe for Casein Protein and Peanut Butter Pudding. I will let you know how that goes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November 11, 2011 (Surgery Recovery)

This past week was fairly stressful leading up to my surgery. Looking online for other peoples stories about having gallbladder problems and surgery is enough to scare anyone. I'd be lying if I was ever convinced leading up to the surgery that it was the right decision. At this point, I'm still not completely convinced but I don't see myself as every having a decision in the matter. I could have skipped the surgery and waited to see if it came to he point of emergency surgery or to the point of unbearable pain. My decision was based on the fact that I am in my off season training and I have time to recover. Had I waited, it's possible that my racing season next year could be blown.

I was able to continue all of my scheduled workouts last week leading up to my surgery, which was Friday. The morning of, I had Yoga scheduled. I had a hard time focusing and was only able to complete about 30 minutes worth before stopping. I just couldn't get my head into it, and I was doing a new workout that I was unprepared for so it wasn't feeling the fulfilling.

I also met with our charity last week and we have decided on a date for our indoor cycling event as well as some of the details. I'm hoping we have some major decisions made on that in the next week or two so we can really get to work on it. I really want this to be a success for them, and for my grandpa. I have been sending out a few emails regarding our fundraising and so far it's fairly discouraging who isn't responding. Some places I really counted on getting their support are not even acknowledging me. Makes it hard to want to continue being a customer of these companies, but I will give them more time and hopefully they will come around. But really, you could at least tell me know and not just ignore me. Ignoring me will not get me to go away, I promise. On the other hand I am getting responses from unexpected people that are expressing their support, which really inspires me to keep pushing on and things will work out.

Today I was able to get back to the gym. Just being at the gym made me feel like I'm getting something done. I was able to walk for about an hour which was around 3 miles or more. It wasn't what I'm used to but it felt really good. I plan on being at the gym every day now and will keep pushing it so that I don't get set too far back. I really don't expect to fall too far behind. My pain level has been fairly low, I haven't really taken any of my pain meds out of necessity. Maybe a little out of boredom though... It's surprising what drugs the doc will give you for something like this. Honestly, I could make do with Tylenol if needed. But they gave me about 50 Hydrocodone with a refill within 6 months. I can't believe that, no wonder pill addiction is such a problem. I don't plan on finishing this bottle let alone a refill. And why would they give a refill in 6 months when I should be fully recovered in a matter of weeks? Sometimes it seems like doctors are trying to keep us sick or something. I don't trust prescription drugs at all.

My nutrition has not been that great since the surgery though. Which I kind of expected so I am not beating myself up about it. I feel that today I will be getting that back on track so I am throwing out whatever junk food is left today, maybe... I have  been digging on the grilled cheese sandwiches quite a bit, forgot how much I love those. Thinking about making some stir fry tonight for dinner, maybe with egg and no chicken though.

Right now I am probably ok to return to work but I will probably hold off until Tuesday. I can't lie,  I'm not in a huge rush to get back. I left things pretty caught up so I don't think they will miss me one more day. I am super ready for Thanksgiving though. I've been daydreaming about some apple pie all week. In fact yesterday, I made Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal and then put vanilla ice cream on it. It was legit!

Anyways, sorry for the boring update but that's life. If you don't hear from me until after Thanksgiving, have a good holiday and eat as much as you can. As long as you plan on working it off!

Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7, 2012 (How far CAN you go?)

There have been countless times in my short life as a parent that I have said to myself, "If anyone ever hurts my daughter or family I will..." I know for a fact that every parent out there has said this. That's our job as parents, to protect our kids and families to the very last breath if needed. I know that if Cadence were sick and I were given the option to take all of her sickness into my own body I wouldn't think twice about it if it meant her life would continue. I would literally do ANYTHING for her.

While all of us parents have these feelings, why is it that it takes such a drastic situation for us to realize our potential as parents? Right now we have the opportunity to be the hero or heroin to our kids. Although our kids will see us as their idols, hopefully, have we really done anything to deserve that? What reason do they have to see us as not just Mom and Dad but as who the aspire to be. I often feel like my life is in a rut, like I'm maxed out with what I have in material things. I don't like my house, my job, my car and so on. In no way am I saying I live without or that I base my success on these things, because I don't. But I realize that I deal with these things because these are the things that allow me to provide and protect my family. I also realize, actually just moments ago, what it means that I never give up improving myself and moving forward. I can never say that I am satisfied with where I am at in life or with what I am doing. I need to always be improving myself so that I can be the idol to my daughter. I realize that I need to keep going to school, even if it takes the rest of my life, so that maybe I can have a better job. I need to keep applying myself in every aspect so that Cadence will see what I do for her and Nicole.

This thinking just started a few days ago while watching Rick and Dick Hoyt. Rick has Cerebral Palsy and his dad, Dick, is an endurance athlete. Since Rick can not swim, bike or run, his Dad does it all for him. They have competed in numerous different races including 6 Ironman races! Just to complete an Ironman is quite the accomplishment. But to complete it while pulling, pedaling and pushing another person is on a whole new level. Their story truly shows what the love of a parent is meant to look like. It started when Rick told his dad that he wanted to participate in a 5 mile race that was raising money for a young man that had become paralyzed. Dick agreed and he pushed his son to the finish line. Later that night Rick told his father, "When I'm running, it feels like I am not handicapped." That was in 1977, now Dick is now 70 years old and still pushing and pulling his son so that he can feel like he is no longer handicapped.

So what would it take for you to go the distance for your kids? For me, I don't know... I'm going to keep pushing myself and maybe that will be enough. But I am waiting for the day that she asks me to do something that tests my dedication to her. I am waiting for the moment I can be a hero. Until then I will just do what I feel is right. And hopefully, if my plan works, she will ask me to run a marathon with her or better yet, and Ironman.

Now to keep you up to date on what has been going on in my world the past week. Last week I had a recovery week that was pretty great. Probably not quite as much recovery as I'm suppose to have but more than I've ever had. I was letting my calf get better so I just biked about 5 or 6 times last week, 1 elliptical interval workout and 2 Yoga sessions. I really like the Yoga and plan on keeping it around for the remainder of my training. Friday we lost another co-worker to another job and so a few people brought in some junk food. I new this was going to happen so I did an extra workout the night before to help deal with the guilt of caving. Let's just say that guilt didn't hold me back from digging into the food. What can I say, I LOVE FOOD!

Saturday Nicole and I had our official free meal. We went to Jethro's BBQ with our friend Nicole Essink and had maybe the best free meal in history. We ordered, and shared with the three of us; Fried Cheese, BBQ Sliders. Nicole and I shared the Jethro which was the hugest fried tenderloin I have ever seen topped with pulled pork, smoked ham and bacon. It was actually delicious and definitely something that needs to be split. We then ordered desserts... I had an Apple Turnover Sunday, Nicole P. had a brownie sunday and Nicole E. had a Smore sunday. They were all really good and none of us could finish them. What's funny is that mine was freezer burned, which to me means that no one ever makes it to dessert here. But you don't come between a group of ex fatties and dessert at a free meal. You are likely to walk away with a few less digits.

Today I was scheduled for a run but was having an odd pain and decided to swim instead at the last minute. Just as I was about to head to the pool from the locker room I realized I forgot my goggles. This is the kind of situation that, if no one were around, I would throw a tantrum like a little baby. But instead I asked the life guard for a loaner pair. He had a couple pairs and they were made for little girls. The pair I used was bright pink and orange striped and way too small for my face. The piece that goes over my nose was cutting into my face and it was pretty painful. The goggles wouldn't get a good seal on my face so I frequently had to stop to readjust them. Needless to say, the swim was horrible and I had to cut it short but about 500m. But I plan on considering today a recovery day and taking my Yoga day this week to make up for it, so it's not too big of a deal.

And finally, my fund raising project is about to take off but I am in need of advice and help. We are going to be looking for sponsors to help us spread the word and fund an event or two the following year. Sponsorship will not  be expensive and you can guarantee that your money will be put to good use. If you or someone you know may own or be part of a company that wants their community to recognize that they care about their neighbors then get in touch with me and I can share the details. And either way, more information is on the way soon! I promise that this is going to be a successful and awesome project that will touch a lot of lives. So don't be afraid to join and help out!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October 27, 2011 (Holy Gallbladder Batman!)

The doc seems to have finally found what has been causing me to feel ill so often. First they tested my blood and had an ultra-sound test done. They both came back normal, except they did mention my liver being enlarged. Which I then Googled and was convinced that I was going to die if I didn't get a liver transplant. That's a story for another day though. I met with my doctor to go over those results and he sent me in to have a HIDA scan done of my gallbladder. It shows an expulsion rate in my gallbladder of 9%, 30% being normal. So he said I have a abnormal or non-working gallbladder, something like that. So I now have to meet with a surgeon in a couple weeks to get that sucker pulled out.

The news of getting a surgery done led me to the internet to see how long I will be unable to swim, bike and run. I was not too happy with what I found. A lot of people saying that having their gallbladder removed was the worst thing they ever did. They say they suffer from all sorts of digestive problems and pains worse then when they did have the gallbladder. Not only that but the best time frame I could find about getting back to the gym was a few weeks out from surgery. So I'm stressing about all of this pretty bad. Hopefully the surgery will happen in the off season so I don't miss any of my training, but that is yet to be determined. Worst case scenario for me at this point is having chronic digestive problems and racing in Ironman Wisconsin. That could prove to be a disastrous day...

I have a bit of an anxiety problem, if you know me at all then you already know this. I try to stay ahead of the game when it comes to being sick or getting hurt. Any little pain I get I want someone, with an education, to tell me I'm ok. Even though I probably know my body better than anyone else does, something I'm starting to realize. But first the "enlarged liver" news, and now the gallbladder news. With the liver deal, the first thing I though of was Cadence with a new dad if I were no longer here. Wow, that's no fun to think about, at all. Luckily that news was false and I was able to move on. Second, the gallbladder news and the first thing that I thought about then was Ironman. I know that best case scenario I will be out for a few weeks and I am having a hard time wrapping my head around that. I really do need the time off to let my body heal and to give my head a rest from the training. So it's not that I'm worried about having to "catch up". The problem I am having has to do with whether I will be the same person after all of this. So many times in my life I have changed what I find interesting or entertaining. I have also changed friends, goals, principles, everything! My biggest fear of this surgery is not anything more than my intense fear of failing. There is no way for me or anyone to say that after this is all done that I will be back at it or if I will enjoy sitting around doing nothing too much to return. I honestly don't see that happening but I also can't tell the future and no one else can either. Will I let myself get too comfortable or will I be so anxious to get back to it that when I start I'm disappointed with my results and feel defeated? There are so many questions I have that only time can answer and with the anxiety I have about it, the situation is hard for me. Funny thing though is that I heard a quote last night on Parks 'n' Rec. I know it's not a likely place to hear an inspirational quote but it was said at the right time for it to ring true to me. "Failure isn't the going down, it's the staying down."
The New shoes, Asics 2160. The shoes I had to take back were Mizuno. Asics Are grrrreat!

My training last week was pretty good, for the most part. I thought I would try a new brand of shoe which proved to be a huge mistake. While running on Monday at a very easy pace my left calf just gave up on me. I have been limping all week because of it! I was only 4 minutes into my run and a pain just shot up my leg and I was done. I have been able to continue with my other workouts like lifting and biking so I have other things I can do, but running is so important. I really don't want to not be running for too long. Luckily next week is a recovery week so I will get some time to let it get better. Today's Yoga session seemed to have helped a lot since today is the first day I am able to walk correctly. Next week will be a light cardio with Yoga alternating each day for the entire week. I'm thinking I will just ride my bike with my HR in zone 3 for the cardio and that should be good.
These are what they looked like, but this is not my picture. http://quickfeetgoodeats.com 

Last night I made Funfetti Cake Balls to take to work. Not gonna lie, I ate some, ok alot, of them last night too. They were really good and they are all gone now. The potluck at work was pretty fun. It seems like the moral has been much better since some time last week, weird.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23, 2011 (I want to be an Ironman!)

The past week had quite a few ups and downs. The downs were dealing with whatever stomach issue that still seems to be hanging around. I have been to the doc a few times, had some tests done and they still are unsure of what is going on. Tomorrow I am having some sort of scan where they inject dye into my arm and then watch what happens when it moves through my organs. Really I just want to get it figured out so I can get it taken care of and move on. It's not very fun to know that any time during the day, you're going to feel like crap for a few hours.

The ups the past week were pretty great though! Started the off-season plan on Monday and I really like it so far. Like I said before, it seems like it will keep it changed up enough to keep if from getting boring and that's pretty important. Also on Monday I was able to meet with a few charities about fund raising for them during our Ironman training. I have decided to raise money for charity during my training, along with my friend Carl Nofstger, in honor of my Grandpa RM Traviss. RM passed away earlier this year after a short battle with cancer.

First I met with Mark Slocum, Executive Director of Children's Cancer Connection, at Smokey Row for coffee. We shared our stories and information about our goals and possibilities of what we are doing. Mark gave me some materials to go over about the services that his organization provides. This charity is pretty amazing. To sum it up in their words, "We enhance the quality of life for children and families affected by childhood cancer by providing programs for education, recreation and support." That barely scratches the surface of what they do so I encourage you to check out their website at www.childrenscancerconnection.org.

Second I met with Chaney Yeast with the Regional Child Protection Center at Blank Children's Hospital. Again, I was blown away by what these people do for our children and community. And how much they are able to do with limited resources. This organization helps kids that have been harmed or are living in unsafe conditions. Chaney was very, very nice and had a ton of information for me. This was about the time that I started to realize that this wasn't going to be an easy decision. I also suggest that you check out their information, http://www.blankchildrens.org/child-protection.aspx. At least check out what services are provided to the kid's in our community that need help the most.

And lastly, I met with Alissa McKinney who is the Director of Development for Blank Children's Hospital. She told me about all of the different services and departments within the hospital. I really had no idea how much Blank does. Honestly, I kind of thought Blank was just a kid friendly hospital or ER. I guess I never really thought about how much a hospital does, but Blank goes above and beyond for kids. I was very impressed with some success stories she shared and how selfless the staff sounds. Again, I am super proud Blank Hospital calls Des Moines home. If something were to ever happen to Cadence, I am glad that somewhere like this is only a short drive away.

After talking all of the information over with Carl and Nicole, we decided that Children's Cancer Connection was our best fit. We could not decide on who was most deserving, because they all were. We decided by who was most compatible and excited about what we were doing. Not to mention that I have a personal hate for cancer and would like to have something to do with people dealing with it. I could really tell that Mark was excited about what we were doing and very willing to help us too. So we are very excited to start working with them and we will have a lot more information on this soon. Be prepared to share what we are doing with anyone and every one you know. We want it to be big and it's going to take all the help we can get. You could start helping by following this blog and getting others to read and follow. We will have a site soon but for now, information will be shared on here every now and then.

So the other day while I was swimming I was trying to think about what I should write about this week. And I started to think about what made me decide to do all of this. Why do I do triathlons? Why do I spend money on things that other people would think are crazy? Why do I think of a bikes like others might think of a nice car or motorcycle? It all started after I met a goal that I set out months in advance and then worked for. I was king of starting and not finishing, and in some aspects I still am. But after I ran my first half marathon, slow as it may have been, I accomplished something that I had to work hard for. I remember saying after that race that I was going to just run no more than 5 miles at a time from now on. That didn't last too long. That was in an October and the following December I happened to watch the Ironman World Championship in Kona on TV. I was glued to the TV during the entire broadcast. I had seen this before but for the first time I was thinking, "that could be me". Seeing Chrissie Wellington overcome obstacles that would have possibly sidelined the average age grouper. But she took that diversity and used it as fuel to continue and dominate. I also watched as 80 year olds, people paralyzed from the waist down, and just ordinary folks race in this epic feat. I sat there and watched and by the end of the broadcast I had decided that I wanted to be an Ironman. So I set the goal to complete a triathlon the following summer and the rest is history. Next summer I WILL hear the words, "Caleb Pike, from Des Moines, Iowa, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" And my family will be there to see it. Cadence will then have an Ironman dad. How many dads are Ironman? I know that some day she will still be embarassed by me but I also know that she will be proud that I am her dad. And that is why I do this. Well, that, the medal, and cookies you get when you finish.

The photo above is from the Des Moines Marathon. Starting from the left: Kathryn, Janet, Nicole E., Nicole P., and me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October 16, 2011 (Des Moines Half Marathon Recap)

Last night we didn't get the pre-race meal we had planned on due to some stomach troubles I have been dealing with. We had planned on getting take out from Latin King and then checking out the Oakley Night Cap Cyclocross race. We ended up settling on Chinese take out (I had chicken fried rice) and then headed down to the race. We were not able to watch a lot of the race but it was still fun to see. The cycling world has the best crowd in my opinion. So after the race we came home to watch a movie and go to bed. Fell to sleep during the movie and slept pretty good through out the night. I have been turning the alarm off instead of on lately so the last hour of sleep was pretty bad. I woke up a little early because I moved my lip or something and it split from being dry. So between the lip and not being able to tell if I had already slept too long, the last hour wasn't that great. 

Once I was officially awake at 6am I felt, actually, pretty rested. Probably due to being able to sleep in the past couple of days, recovery days. I quickly started a pot of coffee and ate two pieces of toast with cinnamon and sugar. Both settled well so I hit the shower and headed to the race with Nicole. We found a close spot in a parking ramp and walked to the large umbrella at Nollen Plaza to meet Janet and Nicole E. We took a shortcut through some building, we don't remember what it's called. There were lots of runners in there keeping warm, stretching and discussing the race ahead. After a few last minute preparations we headed for the start to prepare to run. By this time it was about 7:55 so I split from the girls to try to get in my pace group. It was already pretty packed so I was only able to get to about the 9:30 pace groups, I was trying to get with the 8 minute group. After pushing my way through as far as I could I just had to give up because there were so many people.

Supposedly a canon or gun went off but I didn't hear anything. Shortly after the start everyone around me started to jog but was quickly stopped by the wall of people still in front of them. I just walked to the start line where I began my run. Everything felt pretty good from the start, I was passing a lot of people trying to get closer to the people running my pace. Running through downtown was a lot of fun, there was a big crowd for the first mile or two while downtown. That makes it much more fun. I was taking the outside of the road and running right along the crowd.

Once we are outside of downtown we head into waterworks park for a long, fairly boring loop. Surprisingly, there were a lot of spectators for this portion. I don't remember it being that way the last time I ran this race. This is also where we were able to see the elite runners racing the half coming back toward us, water works is an out and back. At the back of Water Works there is a large loop and once I completed that I saw Nicole and Nicole E. running. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of them, so that I could see how they were feeling and also so they would know I wasn't dead. There was a little worry I think after yesterday and the previous week. But I was feeling pretty strong at this point, unfortunately it wouldn't last long. A few minutes behind them I saw Rebecca and Daniel from Biggest Loser. Being a person who has lost a lot of weight and kept it off, I find it discouraging to see people like that. They have had every opportunity handed to them to stay healthy and fit but have obviously chosen to piss on that and do whatever they want. With so many people looking at you for inspiration and motivation you would think they would put the effort in and make a difference. Instead someone trying to lose weight will just think, "If they failed, I will surely fail too." They truly disappoint me and it's sad because I really respected them at one point.

ANYWAYS, this is about the time that my left calf knotted up pretty bad. It was pretty painful but eventually I just got used to it and was able to continue. It never slowed me down but it did hurt pretty bad. This is about when I started hitting roughly every other water station. I would stop and drink my glass of water or gatorade and then continue. They were only filling the cups with a sip so it didn't take long to drink. There was another running right around this point that was cracking me up too. He was wearing a yellow dry fit shirt and also a yellow lay (spelling?). Someone was handing them out in Water Works. The first time I was aware of him I heard him behind me talking to a runner wearing a Hy Vee Triathlon shirt. The shirt says "2 Hours is the average time to finish a triathlon, but it stays with you forever" or something like that. They were handing them out at the race for free, probably because the saying makes no sense. The average race lasts well over 2 hours. But I heard the yellow shirt guy ask the other runner if he had done the triathlon, "No, I got this shirt for free" he responded. And then they both said they would really like to do one but would need to learn to swim. I laughed to myself about their conversation. Then the yellow shirt guy passed me and away he went, catching up to someone else to chat with. Then at the next few water stations for the next few miles I would pass the yellow shirt guy while he stopped to drink. Then he would catch back up and stop at the next station where I would pass him again. Finally we both noticed the back and forth and we started to talk. We talked about hydration and how we only drink water while at work so they need to hold more races during the week so that we may be properly hydrated. Finally, off he went and I never caught back up to him.

Once I was just before the bridge in Grey's Lake I landed on a rock and rolled my right ankle completely flat on it's side. I skipped a few times and someone behind me saw what had happened. He asked if I was alright and I replied, "I don't know, I hope so." I really thought I was done but after skipping and hopping a bit I was able to land on it again and everything was fine. The runner that asked if I was alright shared a story of almost eating it at the finish line when he turned to acknowledge a family member on the sideline yelling at him.

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful. I think this was the point that most people were just pushing hard to finish and get some of that post race free stuff waiting for us at the finish line.

Once I crossed the finish line I was hurting pretty badly. My calf and quad were hurting to the point of not being able to really use my left leg. I tried stretching a bit but it didn't really help. But there was food to be had so I wasn't too concerned. I knew I had a while before any of my racing buddies would be catching up so I helped myself to: Pizza, Cupcakes, BBQ, Chocolate Milk, Fruit and probably some other stuff too.

Once the girls finished I went through the food again and then Nicole and I headed out to pick up Cadence from my parent's house.

All in all, it was a really good race and with all of my setbacks this week and today I was still able to PR. Not the specific time I was hoping for but I still bettered my time so I'm happy with that. My official time ended up being 1:44:59. Nicole's time ended up being 2:20:06 and she was happy with that as well. So it was a good day for us.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14, 2011 (Will always feel like the fat guy)

The final week of m half marathon training has finally arrived, and I am glad! Just running all the time starts to get boring. I'm pretty excited about getting back into the triathlon training to change it up. The plan I will be following keeps it mixed up really well too and I think it's going to be a lot of fun, I'm really excited for it!

But this week wasn't all that great with the taper though. Early last week I had gotten sick and thought that maybe it was from sweet potatoes. In the past I have developed intollerances to foods, that I eat normally, out of the blue. So I figured this was just another food that I really love that I will no longer be able to eat. Well, it happened again Sunday and everyday since. Sunday was really shitty though because we were on a bike ride and the weather was great. Cadence was in the Burley and everything was good until  I started to feel ill. We were about 8 miles out or so when we turned around and when we did we were met with about a 15-20mph head wind. So not only did I feel horrible but I also had a nasty headwind to fight while pulling the Burley. What got me through that ride was thinking about having a milk shake when we were done. That shake was awesome too and it did make me feel better.

Anyways, I haven't been feeling well and the doctor had a few ideas of what it could be. First he thought maybe it was caffeine, then dairy and next will be gluten. I don't think it is any of those things though and I am hoping to get in to a specialist early next week. I would like to get on top of whatever it is before the Ironman training starts.

My runs this week have felt off as well. Nicole and I set out to run the Des Moines Half course last Sunday. We were scheduled to only run 12, set out to run 13 and ran 11. We both were having an off day. I think Nicole might have been running harder than normal to keep me from feeling like she was holding me back. But when we finished I just didn't feel that great about it. It wasn't the pace, it wasn't that I felt beat up, I just didn't feel that great like I normally do after a long run. And the rest of the week was the same way. I didn't run anything over 4 miles after that, one tempo run of 3 miles. Every run just felt awful. Nothing felt right. And to make it even worse, I have had a pain in my left quad ever since Sunday. It only hurts at certain times and not when running so it's nothing too bad. And I know it will heal, it's the other issues that concern me.

My nutrition seems to be a little off this week too. Maybe I have been too strict lately on what to eat and I'm craving foods or maybe I really do need to eat more. I wish I knew how to read my body and mind better because I can never tell one from the other. Almost every night this week I have had to eat an extra carb, like toast or oatmeal or something to make me feel full. I never eat until I am stuffed but I don't really ever eat until I am full. Toast has got to be about my favorite thing to eat these days. It's the highlight of my day, toast in the morning and usually with dinner. I did have some of Cadence's popcorn tonight while we watched a movie, but not a lot. Nicole bought me some Honey Crisp apples that I have been eating at night and they are delicious. Certain foods I have to eat a certain way to enjoy them to the fullest. Apples have to be eaten so that the juice is swallowed before the actual apple. I love apples...

Whenever I eat that extra carb or sneak a piece of candy at work I feel like a huge fat ass. When I was really big I never really felt like the fat kid that I was. And now that I am over 100lbs lighter I feel fat. I feel like when people see me they don't see a triathlete or a runner, they see a fat guy with an addiction to food. I feel like it is worn on my sleeve and I can't shake it. I don't starve myself and I do eat a good amount of food, whether it's enough I can't tell. But sometimes I think maybe I have some kind of eating disorder, or more of a food disorder. I exercise because I love to exercise and run and do all of these things. But I eat the way I eat because I don't want to be fat. I fear being that way again almost constantly. I have a feeling it's a common thing with people who have lost a lot of weight. All it is going to take is for one thing to sideline me for a few weeks and I will gain all that weight back. That is what my head is thinking even though I know I am a changed person. How can I get rid of the Ex Fat Boy Syndrome? Maybe it's best to keep it around to keep my food addictions in check.

Nicole is starting a new workout and nutrition program next week and I'm super excited for her. She has never really enjoyed the endurance sport type of exercise. I can't blame her, it gets really boring at times. Unless you can have awesome inner dialogue for hours. I think she will do good at the new program and I think she will be happy with the results she gets.

Since we are both at the end of a training period we have deemed this weekend a "free" weekend. So we are going to eat some things we wouldn't typically eat to try to settle our heads before getting back on track. Again, this will make me feel like a huge fat ass and then next week I will be ready to tear it up at the gym. But right now the plan is to have Latin King (the best Italian food in Des Moines) for dinner tomorrow night. After that we are heading to a cyclocross race at Mullets where we will probably have a couple Fat Tires  and then call it a night so that we may be ready for the race Sunday morning. A few friends are in town from Missouri and we are planning to try out Zombie Burger Sunday afternoon. I'm sure we will also stop a few times for Casey's cups of cookies. They are the best cookies ever! This weekend is a TREAT YO' SELF weekend! If you watched Parks and Rec this week, you get the reference.

Monday I am meeting with 3 different charities about our fundraising project. I'm really excited to get this started and to hopefully do some good for some local kids. It would really put a heart into the Ironman training and I can't wait to do it. I also hope that we will get a chance to actually meet some of the kids and families we intend on helping. It means alot more when you can put a face with the deed. While fundraising for Team in Training last year it just didn't feel like it was coming from the heart. I know we did good but I just can't say that my heart was in it. This is going to be different, I can tell already.

But I will keep you up to date on what's happening with the ol' gut and the charity situation. Should have both figured out by the middle of next week. And once the charity has been figured out we can start putting our project into motion. I can't wait to tell everyone about it because it means a lot to me.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7, 2011

So this week started with a great weekend! Last Saturday began with a 5 mile tempo run and then the typical Pike household breakfast (2 scrambled eggs with peppers and Turkey sausage. and 2 pieces of toast). Breakfast is easily my favorite and most satisfying meal, and it's the same thing every day but I still look forward to it. After our daily errands Nicole made a chocolate chip cookie recipe that produced the best cookies ever! If you know anything about me, you know that I love cookies. Actually I love all food but I can go to town on a batch of cookies when I don't allow sweets but once a week.

Sunday is our day for our long runs. This particular Sunday was the longest run in the Hal Higdon Intermediate Half Marathon Schedule at 11 miles. It was an easy pace in cool weather with a few friends and Nicole. We started somewhere new and ran some roads just outside of town. At the end of the run we found a trail that was about half a mile long that winded through a field of what we guessed is wheat. It was a really nice end to the run. We went with our friends, Nicole, Jeff, Ben and Kaity to a pumpkin patch. Cadence loves Ben and Kaity and when she knows we are going to see them that is all we hear about until she gets her fix. Right before we left for the pumpkin patch I made the rest of the cookies. I think I baked about 5 dozen while Cadence napped... I sampled at least one cookie from each batch that came out of the oven. I was not doing so well in a house filled with cookies. They had to be eaten, given away and/or DESTROYED!

The weekdays are just the days we go through the motions. Nothing that great ever happens during the week except the moment I walk out of the door from work. Monday was a upper body strength day, also the day my iPod quit working. Tuesday was the day for speed work and this day was a 10 x 400 workout with a 1.5 mile warm up and cool down. I think it was about 7 miles total and I was feeling pretty good when it was over. Wednesday was my recovery run of 5 miles easy. Thursday was lower body strength and for the first time I had some company on this workout. Carl joined me for a lower body thrashing. Since we finished the workout we have been texting back and forth describing what new pain our lower half is feeling at that moment. And at this moment it's a throbbing throughout the backs of my legs, top to bottom. Friday, today, was an easy 3 mile jog.

So after this week everything seems to be working well and no new pains and nothing has gotten any worse. I have been having a bit of tension in my left knee but have been stretching and paying attention to it. It seems to be fine and I think it's mostly nerves that make it hurt. My anxiety of missing a workout, race, anything really, can really play tricks on my mind and body. I have actually made my doctor give me X Rays to look for kidney stones in my past because I was worried about missing a music festival. Another time for that story though... My left shoulder did have a bit of pain after my upper body workout on Monday but it seems better as well. I'm hoping that the strength conditioning in my IM training will do a better job of injury prevention and keep these pains to a minnimum so that my brain will slow down.

So the day I went to get my iPod replacement at the Apple Store just happened to be the same day that Steve Jobs passed away. I think he was a pretty amazing person that really did make a ding in the Universe. And his ding was a lot more than being able to carry 5000 songs in your pocket. I always thought he was just a good money maker and the iPod guy. After hearing all of the stories about him now I feel that I should have paid closer attention to him. He was a very smart guy with a great outlook on the world. I feel  that he and I share a lot of views, only he is much better at following them. Without looking up the exact quote I'm going to just paraphrase. He said something about not living in someone else's dreams, chase your own dreams. I have always felt this way but never followed it or acted on it. I have always felt that I have the ideas but I just need someone else to either do it for me or to force me to do it. Well, I'm not doing this any more... In my first blog I mentioned that I am setting goals and following them. And I am, I have a plan and I'm going to stick to it until I reach my destination.

Friday, September 30, 2011

As you may know, I am a huge Flaming Lips fan. I often share their view of the world and that is probably why I am such a fan. I really feel that they have a logical view of the world and that's the best way to look at things, with logic. One of their songs asks the question, "Do you realize, we are floating in space?" And this morning that question seemed to really hit home with me. It was just short run and I didn't start thinking about this until about half way through my run, but it seemed like it lasted a while. I was running through the park near my home and I looked up through the trees and saw hundreds of twinkling stars. Right then the lyrics to that song started playing in  my head. And for the first time in the million times hearing the song, the lyrics seemed to actually take hold. "Do you realize we are floating in space?" 

Looking up at all the stars, galaxies, and whatever else is floating in space I realized that the chances of me ever existing are very, very small. There are literally millions or billions or whatever unimaginably high number of other galaxies out there. Within each of those galaxies is an even larger number of stars. And around each of those stars there are possibly planets orbiting it, like us orbiting our sun. So what are the odds that out of all of those galaxies, stars and planets that we would end up with the perfect storm of everything needed to create life? Our planet needs to be the perfect distance from the sun so we don't freeze or burn up. We need an ozone to contain our air to breathe. We need sunlight to grow food for fuel. Think about what it takes to sustain life and how unlikely it is that we have it, right here.

Now, as I am thinking all of this and running I start to think about what it is I'm going to do with my time living. Because when you think about the unlikeliness of ever existing, it's even far more unlikely that we are alive RIGHT NOW. How many people spend their lives just going to work and getting by until they die. Don't get me wrong, most people create a family and have love and get to their own taste of the human experience. But is that really all you want to do with your limited time here? Well, today wasn't my first time coming to the realization that this is my one shot at something. Tomorrow could be the end and if it was, I wouldn't have been satisfied with what I had done to now. Sure I have love with my wife and family, I have the best little girl ever created. But am I happy with myself? Just about anybody can create a family, there's just more out there. I want to be part of the bigger picture and I want to go out and do and experience because the end is truly the end. 

So, what am I doing to change my path? Well, I am taking classes to move toward a better, more rewarding career. I have not set my sights on any one thing because I have found narrowing it down to one thing really puts a limit on you. Instead, I'm only limiting it down to something that helps people. Whether it be in nursing, fire fighting, helping people regain confidence and losing weight.... Just something that helps someone! At the same time I am going to do an IRONMAN!

That's right, on September 9th, 2012 I will try my hand at Ironman in Madison, Wisconsin.