Friday, January 13, 2017

Fitness Past and Fitness 2017

I played some football growing up but found it boring.  I played a lot of basketball bit I did not have anyone to play against so I was an above average spot up shooter.  Then, I found tennis.  I did not make the team my freshman year and frankly, that pissed me off.  From that day on, I played tennis at least 4 times a week for about 9 years.  I made it to 3 regional tennis tournaments.  I made it state 2 times.  I played D3 college tennis with one conference championship.  Obviously, I started tennis late but I was driven because every time I got better, someone else was always better than me.  College tennis was a blast. We practiced every week day and at night my buddy and I would go back again.  Looking back on it, I have no idea why he did that because he beat me every time we played.

After college I started working out more and learning about low carb diets, that no one taught me in college.  I was in the best shape of my life.  It is no coincidence this is when I met my wife. I was really in tuned with my spiritual walk, in grad school and really good shape.   Since she still wears the same size clothes as when I met her and I don't (195 lbs), she wonders where that guy went.

About 6 years ago, I started having a pain in my calf.  No big deal, just push through.  This felt different than normal pain.  I went to the doctor and he said, you are fine.  A week later, I wake up one morning and my back was in pain.  Suck it up.  Mow, edge and clean up the yard.  That night, I could not even sleep due to the pain.  Next day, same thing.  Day three, I wake up and while getting ready for work, cough up some blood.  No big deal, it happens right?  (I had no idea but no, this does not happen and you should immediately go to the doctor.)  I go on to work and start to feel like I have the flue.  Tired, out of breath and not happy.  I call my wife and she said I should go to the doctor. She was out of town and quickly, flew back.   Doctor says, why are you back here.  Well, I don't feel good and coughed up some blood this morning.  He starts to frantically typing on his computer. I am thinking, that is not good.  I drove my self to a hospital to get an Xray.  Then, drove my self to another hospital for an MRI.  Then, they drove me, in a wheel chair,  to the emergency room.  What?

Long story short, I had significant blood clots in my lungs.  The doctors could not explain why so they put in a filter in above my lungs so clots could not go into my brain and cause a stroke.  Question, doc why does he look and feel normal despite having lungs full of clots.  Answer, If he was unfit, smoked, obese or had any medical conditions, he might be dead.  His body was able to over come and adapt to keep him going but definitely was telling him something is wrong.  Three days later,  I left with some blood thinners and still a filter in my lungs.  Then, I go to a specialist for gallons of blood work.  They discovered I have a few genetic factors that increase the chances of blood clots.   Why suddenly at 35, no one knows.  So the only recommendation is take blood thinners forever.  Blood thinners are not bad but you have to stay away from green vegetables, "yea!"  That means no salads or other healthy vegies.  Last year I changed to a new Blood Thinner that is not affected by greens and I can now eat anything I want.  This has really opened up more doors to healthier eating.   6 weeks after having the filter put in, they went in and took it out because the clots should be gone by then.

Now many years later my fitness has been up and down.  3 years ago I started doing P90x at home and with some friends at work. Sometimes twice a day.   I felt that motivation again.  I have to do more pull ups.  Why can't I do more push-ups?  35 diamond push ups, no problem.  I started eating better and drinking less.  I was around 215 and in pretty good shape.  I was on my way back.  Until, I went skiing.  I felt if I was ever going to try moguls, it is time.  Since I failed to ask a simple question, how do you do moguls.  I started down the hill and about 3 seconds in, of course, I wiped out.  While not in any significant pain, I did fell something pop in my knee.  I pulled myself together and slowly worked my way down.  I skied the next two days.  Long story short and an MRI later, yes, I torn my ACL.  The doctor asks what activities I do.  Of course I gave him the long list because I am an athlete, right!?  He said, if you want to keep doing that stuff, you need surgery.  CRAAAAAPPPP. The doctor was concerned about my history of clots and made me go get a test to make sure they are all gone.  Thankfully, I was completely in both legs.

The surgery was not bad.  They took out a part of my patella tendon and recreated a stronger ACL.  That does not sound that bad but it requires recovery from 2 procedures at once.  I will not bore you of the details but after resting,  I drove back to work 5 days after the procedure, without crunches or pain killers. Stupid. I was in so much pain, I thought I was going to pass out.  The next three days I spent every minute Icing, stretching, strengthening and resting, over and over.  By Monday, I was done with pain pills and able to get around without crunches.  Next I started PT.  It was not bad and the doc said I was doing well, probably because I was fit before the tear, worked out before the procedure and worked hard after.  I stopped the PT after about 6 weeks because my insurance changed but keep working on the recovery.

Almost 2 years later, I still have discomfort but see progression in my knee.  So it sounds like I should be in pretty good shape right?  Playing in tennis leagues, working out and recovery.  Not really.  I dodn't have easy access to a gym due to job changes.  It is hard when you are 40.  I just haven't had anything to push me like tennis because I am still usually better than those around me.  Working out has not been that interesting.  Nothing is pushing me past the point where my athletic background gets me by.

Turning 40 has been a real eye opener.  I know I am not in great shape and at times weigh more than I ever have.  How can this be?  I am probably more active than the average person.  Well, my diet is not good, I don't push my self enough and break the cycle of normal activities. I haven't really pushed my fitness since the P90x days.  After watching many episodes on TV, I decided to enter a Spartan Race.  I will write an article just with my thoughts on my first Spartan sprint but what I have come to believe is we have to push our selves and continually change our selves to truly get healthy.  Our minds and body adapt very quick to how we treat it.  The longer it adapts to the norm, the longer it takes to break it.  This is why I have committed to push my self, at age 40, beyond anywhere it has been.  I want to be very fit as my girls start to grow into young women.  I want to provide examples for them to be healthy and exercise through out their lives because it has to be such a major part of my life.  I also want to be fit to walk my girls down the isle, so the guy at the end of the isle knows I can still kick his butt if he wrongs my girls.

Here are some of my goals for 2017 and I plan to share my experiences and ideas through out the year.

1. Spartan Tri Fecta - a sprint, super and beast completion in the same year.  (if you want to join us in any of these let me know.)
2. Learn to hand stand walk - why, I don't know.  It is just hard and cross fitters do it.
3. Run a < 7 minute mile - This might be the hardest
4. Run a half marathon
5. Run a 25 minute 5 k
6. Maybe run a Tough Mudder
7. Get back into tennis shape and a 5.0 playing level.

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