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. 

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

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, 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.