Monday, August 14, 2017

Holidayman Triathlon Series 2017

The triathlife toed the line this a couple weekends ago. 

Our only multisport race of the season. 

With the house this year there has been little time for extensive training and racing. Other triathletes out in the social ether call that kind of stuff “life points”. Well then, what did I win? Because I am sitting on pale yellow, stucco sided, two story mountain of life points. 

It’s been a bit of a deal. I’m not complaining. We love our house. But it’s been, like…well, remember that scene in “The Money Pit” where Tom Hanks and Shelley Long each pour their buckets of water into the tub and the tub falls through the floor and Tom laughs, nay, howls at the hole in the floor and then at poor Shelley? Yeah, that.

But that’s not why you called. The race. Holidayman. Somonauk, IL. Sprint Dualthon. 1.2 mile run, 17.6 mile bike, 3.5 mile run. 

We kept it simple. Almost to a fault. Arrived late (“Hey Jen isn’t it usually darker when we arrive?”). Forgot our bike pump and racked our bikes with 10 minutes left in transition. But if you’re keeping it simple and you arrive two hours early, you’re not doing it right, amiright?

Holidayman is going to turn into my every year race. It’s small. It’s well run. The race director loves multisport. His pre-race Facebook updates are the stuff of legend. And prior to race start with transition closing  and the “Man of Steel” soundtrack playing he read these words from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena”

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Now if that doesn’t make you just want to run through a brick wall.'s the race report. 

Since this was a sprint, and the weather was literally perfect, the set-up was next to nothing. Shoes are already clipped in. Helmet on bars. Small towel on ground to mark place to leave my running shoes and hat while on the bike. My only nutrition was pre-race and then 24 oz of Gatorade whilst in the saddle. Grabbed Gatorade on the run course. Easy. The only decision I had to really worry about was...just go easy? Or go all in.

Not a lot to tell. Toed the line. Shot gunned a beer and away we went. Ok I lied. I didn’t shot gun a beer. I shot gunned two beers. Ok, just kidding…Or am I?...anyway, I went all in and got me 4th overall. Just off the podium. First loser. I was third for quite a bit but was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. 

Great course. Run is hilly with not a lot of relief and since it was a sprint it was game on start to finish. The Triathlife had a great time though. We hadn’t raced since IMCHOO last September (in fact I peeled the race number’s from Jen’s bike the day prior). It was good to go out against competition at a good race. We had perfect weather…if I were going to do have one multisport race, then that was a pretty good day to have and the race was low key, competitive and fun. Bravo.  

I darted to the porta potty in the last few minutes leading up to the race start. In my haste I forgot to lock the door. And then…yup…you guessed it. Poor woman. I can still hear her scream as she swung the door open and found li’l ol Schmitty, squatting on the potty…the last thing she saw before heading off to start her day. You poor, poor dear. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

For the Week Ending 4/29

Shoulder update #57

The shoulder is healing nicely.

I think. I'm not sure...

I've never done this before.

This week was a down week in the schedule with the exception of a bike FTP test. This is always a big deal. The FTP test represents your ability to sustain the highest possible power output over 45 to 60 minutes. The test is generally completed on the trainer so the outside variables are controlled. If done correctly, by the end of the 20 minute test, you're legs should be ready to fall off and your stomach should be ready to relieve itself of it's contents.

In order to get through this ordeal I always order up Foo Fighters. For this test I pulled up Live from Hyde Park - 2006. Lots of angst right from the jump. The test is a solitary effort and feels weird to finish...there's no finish line, no audience response. Just Lance looking at me like, "well yeah, that get off the bike and scratch my belly."

As it turns out I gained 10 watts to my FTP.

Is that good? I don't know.

The 'burbs
We're moving. In our non-Ironman - post surgery - just enjoy training, year we decided that we actually do like being stressed (all the stress!) In other news, I'm every day drinking now. Just kidding. Not really. The move is bad for my work commute but it will be great for my get out on my bike commute. We're excited. Lance is getting a fenced yard. Look ma, we're suburbanites!

This Week in Cycling Cinema
Here a run down of the movies that I saved up, rented and watched during my long trainer rides over the winter and early spring.

Ratings out of 4 water bottles.

Jason Bourne - (2.5 water bottles)
Synopsis - It's been 10 years since Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) walked away from the agency that trained him to become a deadly weapon. Hoping to draw him out of the shadows, CIA director Robert Dewey assigns hacker and counterinsurgency expert Heather Lee to find him. Lee suspects that former operative Nicky Parsons is also looking for him. As she begins tracking the duo, Bourne finds himself back in action battling a sinister network that utilizes terror and technology to maintain unchecked power.

Liked it. Not great but even not great Bourne, is still good Bourne. I wanted a little more of a conclusion but I was fine with where they left it. Overall the pedalability was good - I could track both my planned workout and the story line without any confusion. Which is the hall mark of a cycling cinema movie.

Dr. Strange - (3.5 water bottles)
Synopsis - Dr. Stephen Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) life changes after a car accident robs him of the use of his hands. When traditional medicine fails him, he looks for healing, and hope, in a mysterious enclave. He quickly learns that the enclave is at the front line of a battle against unseen dark forces bent on destroying reality. Before long, Strange is forced to choose between his life of fortune and status or leave it all behind to defend the world as the most powerful sorcerer in existence.

Marvel meets Inception. Interesting choice in the current Marvel Universe (MU) but still solid Marvel. Good story telling. Heavy when needed with just the right amount of levity. Cumberbatch plays Strange very well...the whole way through his evolution. And I have to say that Dr. Strange sure is able to get to the front of the ER line with relative ease with no paper work or insurance required.

The Accountant - (half bottle)
Synopsis - Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant...

I'll stop right there. I really wanted to like this movie. It's too easy and in vogue to crush the lesser Matt Damon (see?) but I still kinda like BA in certain roles. But this is not one of those roles. Bigger issue for Cycling Cinema...I really knew I was on my bike the whole time. There is this scene at the end where JK Simmons describes a movies worth of backstory. It stopped the movie (and my ride) cold. So much so that I didn't go back to finish my iTunes rental. For me, the ending and how the movie even got made, will remain a mystery.

Arrival - (2.5 water bottles)
Synopsis - Linguistics professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) leads an elite team of investigators when gigantic spaceships touch down in 12 locations around the world. As nations teeter on the verge of global war, Banks and her crew must race against time to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrial visitors. Hoping to unravel the mystery, she takes a chance that could threaten her life and quite possibly all of mankind.

I really want to give this 3 water bottles but I just have too many questions. And the movie is one big Shyamalan (spoiler alert!) - What?! Those weren't memories?! It kept my attention but was full of all the usual tropes.

Captain America - Civil War (4 water bottles)
Synopsis -  Political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability when the actions of the Avengers lead to collateral damage. The new status quo deeply divides members of the team. Captain America (Chris Evans) believes superheroes should remain free to defend humanity without government interference. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) sharply disagrees and supports oversight. As the debate escalates into an all-out feud, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) must pick a side.

Movie sequels are notorious for getting progressively worse with each release. This Captain America trilogy is an extraordinary exception. Saw this in the theater last year and I think my second viewing was even better.

And finally the Triathlife would like to salute those that brought me into this world. Went back to Michigan to "surprise" the 'rents. They are too smart not to know something was a foot. Still a good time was had by all with visitors near and far. Love ya lots!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Where do I begin...

On Dec 30th 2016 I had my shoulder scoped. This is that story.

Our scene opens at River North Same Day Surgery. It's like the quick service restaurant of the surgery world.  In fact the experience is much the same. They ask for your order, take your money and before you know it you're on your way out the door feeling far worse than when you arrived.  I was a little cranky and nervous. Not so much about the procedure but because I wasn't allowed my morning espresso. Anyway. We filled out all the paper work, I took a number and ran to the bathroom, twice...because I have a wicked streak of paranoia and actually had the thought...I wonder if anyone has ever wet the bed during surgery...damned if I'm going to be the first.

We were only there a few minutes before they called my name.

So how did we arrive at this point? Let me there is too much, let me sum up.
Look ma, a fluid cyst (posterior view) 
My shoulder hurts when I run (when you run? Yeah, that's right, when I run). And when I sleep. Lots of waking up at night. For over a year (yes, that's a long time of stoopid). An MRI in late October reveals I have a fluid cyst in my rotator cuff. And not like, "we think there's a fluid cyst"...more like, "holy mother of pearl I've never seen a fluid cyst with it's own zip code."
So going in they know there's an problem as evidence of my leaky, incontinent shoulder. Most likely a torn labrum but it wasn't clear. I was showing none of the typical labrum tear signs (so says my doc...I have no idea what they are). I never had an issue swimming. In fact I swam a 2800 meter workout the morning before the surgery.  
Walking though the doors I immediately felt out of place. One, I was the only guy patient (hello ladies, how do you like my open back smock and grey footies?) and two, everyone else was visibly injured. Like bad-ass, athlete injured. A couple of runners, a high school lacrosse player. I looked like I had wondered in off the street. Like one of the redshirts from Star Trek - I was along to fill out the search party but also expendable since I clearly served no other purpose to the plot.

So there I am nervously hanging out in my surgery day finest getting a lot of mileage out of telling the nurses that I was there because I lost a bet (Schmitty, masking real feelings with humor since 1972). After plugging me into the IV they let Jen come back to make fun of  sit with me. Next up was the anesthesiologist who wrote directly on my shoulder with his sharpie (I guess because they ran out of post it notes) and explained the nerve blocker and what that was going to feel like before and after. And finally, rounding out our pre-op line up was the arrival of my surgeon Dr. Gordon Nuber who stopped by to leave me with, "well, we'll see what we can find...who knows, if this goes well, you could be back running in a week." (Cool side note: Dr Nuber is the team surgeon for the Chicago Bears. Take that nugget however you wish but he's guy when you say stuff like..."if there's one guy you want doing this surgery"...yeah, he's that guy.)

Finally it was cuttin time. Jen kissed me goodbye (and was a little too happy to see me off for my taste) and off I went. By the time I was rolled through the doors I was well on my way to dream town. But sleepy or not, I was keenly aware that the room was far too white for the urban hip-hop they were spinning. The place was thumping. I half expected my gurney to have hydraulics. I lifted my self onto the operating table, bobbed my head to the beat and was out cold.

4th incision not shown
So here is what they found. Some fraying of the labrum. Natch. That's what they thought. Shaved that down. Easy peasy. Smoothed the bone to give me more clearance. And then -- surprise! -- doc had to go into overtime re-attaching the labrum. Re-attaching. That means it had become completely un-attached. So, that's fun.

Remember what I told you about Dr. Nuber talking all best outcome and junk...well this was pretty close to the worst outcome. In a sling for 4 weeks (at least). No running for 7/8 weeks. No swimming until June.

So here we are at week 8.

If raising my hand straight up over my head is 180 degrees I can get to about 140 unassisted anterior flexion (in front). Maybe 60 degrees laterally. I'm still not really supposed to be lifting anything (but I am - I am an impatient patient). I've been riding my bike on the trainer for the last two weeks. It will be a few weeks until I can get into aero. I've been on the elliptical a few times using the static bars. Going to try to run this weekend finally on the treadmill.

Chester Copperpot
I'm thankful for Jen. I really suck at being an invalid. She was so patient with me and was a solo doggie parent until I was freed from my sling. I'm thankful for all the cards, the get well gifts and the get well beer :). And I am thankful for my co-workers who had Chester Copperpot sit in for me while I was out.

So what's the one thing that the Triathlife does while on the sidelines? The Triathlife signs up for a duathlon and a marathon as training carrots to get back at it as soon as possible.

Just don't ask for a high five quite yet.