Tuesday, December 6, 2011


120411...fast Sunday, and heavy GI cleanse afterwards.

120511...post call. 2 full sets, sixty minutes each, 6 stations of ten minutes per (stair master, incline treadmill, bike trainer, weights, rower, heavy bag). For the twenty minutes of stair master and incline treadmill every other 2 minute segment was accompanied by shadow boxing. Followed this with a 2-scoop protein shake one cup of milk and 150 calories of 70% cocoa chocolate and a multivitamin which replaced lunch.

Today. Got through the above this morning up until the rower, when a defusing of an angry son was necessary, and the sequence was dropped.

Back into the hole tonight and did the whole sequence, and almost ralphed up the protein shake and chocolate when I sat down. Almost bonked.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the highway's alive tonight...

I never thought that Zach de la Rocha et al would be anything more than music I try to not let my kids find out about, and to which I listen more than just occasionally. Today, however, as I took this year’s first long road ride, it became apparent that Iowa culture is a real machine, and that if I want to be ready for the monster triathlon I’m shooting for in September, I am going to have to feed my rage appropriately.

January was full of a new and awesome baby, plenty of call nights, and the reality that I was not going to the Ruth Glacier this year. Five or six attempts at getting back on the wagon were made in desperation over the next two months, but the dark winter won out each time and by April fitness was far from my mind.

Then, on a whim, I stopped into 2nd Wind, a used fitness equipment shop in Minneapolis, and there was a Stairmaster and a rower. These pieces gathered dust for a couple of weeks, I do confess, but something in my gut told me a new phase of life was about to begin.

The details are not important, but in one week’s time the Iowa bubble was burst in a manner that left me locking my doors and saying hello to a lot fewer people on the street. All at once my inner fire was moving in life again, and as a byproduct I began seeing the Iowa anti-fitness machine for what it is.

It began slowly, 20 minutes each morning, six days per week. I kept my rage to myself for three weeks until disciplined eating and my daily 250 calories of Stairmaster loosened my pants to the point that Jojo noticed.

One of the night nurses at our ER is to blame for the next phase. I knew she was into triathlon, a sport I formerly worshipped with a disturbing amount of time spent training. I also somehow knew she would understand when I said, “I am going after a big race this year. I have no idea what it will be, but it will be big.” She told me about the full distance tri in Oklahoma City in September, and my rage came into focus.

No one has really noticed my rage, but I have never felt so entirely disconnected with the culture of the place where I live, not even while living in the desert of northern Chile when my Spanish was pretty weak. No one has really noticed anything but me being really dang tired, which has been blamed on taking too much call.

Rage is not the ideal. Its heavy. But somehow its effective sometimes where forces like long dark winters and pervasive piles of truck-stop food are in the local. And so its time to rage, and in so doing actively live in a separate world from the kind people with whom I live and work at the greatest hospital on earth, if only where my course of living that life of aggressive training is concerned.

The highway's alive tonight, nobody's fooling nobody as to where it goes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Death of An Eskimo Makes For New Perspective...Get Living.

In July of 2000 I lived with a band, and in doing so I was audience to a powerful and honest friendship that existed among its members, its roommates, and its friends. Though on the periefery at best, I counted myself lucky to be among them. Every one of them, aside from being outstanding musicians, had a plan in life, and lived a working class work ethic as they graduated to lawyers, geologists, businessmen, and engineers.

One of them, the one I admittedly knew the least, died this last week.

While chatting with Leo tonight a new tone developed in the spontaneous plan-making that we kick around and quite never get around to making reality. We both probably recognized it, but Leo finally summed it up with something like: we are getting old, I regret not doing more stuff with my friends, and holy cow I need to get in shape.

Sometimes it is time to turn the music up louder, you know, Mark Twight style, when the painful moments arise. The painful moments to which he refers are those you have to push aside and not let inside of you in order to finish the race. But death passes through you the moment it occurs, and a pause from the high volume is required to gather yourself and start climbing again.

So, for my mate Leo, who is stuck in the Midwest instead of joining his mates to mourn a brother gone forward, I accept his wise charge that now is the time, and I honor Bill Howe and my mourning brothers by saying that I will be there when trips are planned, and yes, Leo, we will get in shape.

Life is now, and today is the only day I have to get in shape for the rest of my life.

I will live the advice I give my patients:

-Eat lean protein at every meal

-Drink 10 huge glasses per day

-Ditch the salt

-Cook your meals from scratch

-Get your heart rate above 120 every day for 20 minutes, increasing by 3-4 minutes every week (I will be doing quite a bit more than this, mind you)

-Plan a use for your good future physical conditioning, one to which you become committed.

Rest in peace, Bill. We will live, we will ponder our permanent ceilings, we will remember you, and we will toast you at our campfires while we make good on plans we only before talked about.

Here's to now.