Saturday, April 11, 2009

Random Picture of the Day

Picture: My grandma holding my 2nd cousin six times removed, Luke (her 4th great-grandchild)

Great Strides 09- Anthem

5:15am: The alarm went off a little early this morning, and as I lay there listening to the death beep, I was really starting to regret agreeing to help with the set-up of the walk. I told them that we would be there around 7ish, so I knew I had to get my butt in gear. First thing I did when I woke up was hop on my treatments. I wasn't coughing too much this morning, which was nice, but I wasn't going to have time for a dog walk. I did my treatments, threw on some clothes, and headed out the door. Dunkin Donuts, here I come!
After scooping up my coffee and breakfast sandwich, Mandi and I made the long drive to Anthem. We of course enjoyed some car karaoke on the way which made the drive go by fast. A storm was predicted to roll through Anthem last night, but I assured the ladies at CFF that it rarely rains into the morning in Arizona and that we would be fine. Boy was I wrong! It was raining like kitties and puppies and on top of that it was about 50 degrees. We arrived to the site about the same time as other volunteers and starting unpacking in hopes that it would clear up.

It never did clear up. I thought the turn out was pretty good all things considered and it was really nice of people to show up in the drizzle. I believe about 75 people were expected, and while I was there, roughly 50 came to the site. For one of the smaller AZ walks, I would consider it a success. We'll have to see how much money came in. Keep those fingers crossed.

The best thing to come out of the walk today for me was meeting some other CF families that I had never met before. It's fun for me to talk CF and to trade secrets on how to take better care of ourselves. A met a lot of positive people this morning, which sadly, isn't a common theme among CFers and their families. It's refreshing to meet people with the same hope and love for life that I have. There's no reason to let CF take the wind out of your sails.

11:30am: Mandi and I headed to the gym to blast our arms. We got in the full arm workout in probably 75% of the normal time. We barely took any breaks in between sets and generally were switching back and forth between biceps and triceps. While she'd be doing one, I'd be dong the other. We didn't want to spend too much time at the gym cause we were going to swing by another CF event hosted by an AZ's Finest Honoree. It was a great workout and I'm glad that we were able to get everything done so we could enjoy the afternoon together. Current Weight: 192 lbs.

Side Note: We were planning on walking earlier at the Great Strides event but it got rained out. I'm going to try and squeeze in a walk tonight, but there is a lot of family time happening later. We'll have to see what happens.

Total Distance Walk/Run for Day: O miles

(I'm ashamed. I wanted to get a walk in tonight but it is still raining and I'm afraid that I will melt. Boo.)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Random Picture of the Day

Picture: Me, J.P., Corky, Tom. We have all been friends for over 15 years.

Rest is so Important

7:15 am: So I allowed myself to sleep in this morning cause I was feeling a little run down and I wasn't going to be able to sleep in late tomorrow. There is a Great Strides walk in Anthem tomorrow that Mandi and I will be headed to, so it's going to be a bright and early morning. Now the problem with always waking up at 6am is that my body has become programmed to it. Today, my eyes opened wide at 6:18am, but I forced my self to stay in bed for another hour. I dozed off once or twice but didn't sleep much. It did feel good however, just to lay there and relax. I realize the importance of not pushing myself too hard and making sure I am getting enough rest. I need to constantly be in the best position to succeed. A well rested body puts me in that position.

I switched it up a little this morning and ate before I took J Bell for a walk. I also was able to sneak in about 3 cups of coffee. Now this is usually a risky move. If I have a coughing attack on my walk, all of the food and coffee would end up on the street. As luck would have it, I never once dry heaved during my walk today. I kept a very good pace as well. I was breathing heavily and getting a bunch of junk up. Jezzy Face also cooperated wonderfully during today's stroll. She only pooped once and peed a handful of times. It's definitely a little hotter when I walk later in the morning and I don't think she's a big fan of that. Her tongue starts dragging and she gets that "can we please just get home" look on her face. Then again, maybe just me mentioning the Dog Whisperer yesterday got her attention.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 33'38"

3:30pm: Mandi got off of work early today so we were able to hit up the gym and our run/walk a little sooner than normal. Wahooo!!! We went to the gym first to work out our chest and back. I felt particularly strong today. I'm not sure what it is. I've been making sure to take in a protein shake with bananas, peanut butter, yogart, and oatmeal after I work out, so maybe it's paying off. It could also be the NAC and Glutathione that I started taking on Monday. Maybe it's made it's way into my system and has somehow made me stronger and less fatigued. I've just heard a lot of positive things about those two supplements from other CFers so I figured that I would give it a shot. I was increasing the weight on every lift and some of them by 33%! It was a great workout overall and I'm hoping that this feeling goes into next week. Current Weight: 190.5 lbs.

5:00pm: Right after the gym we took off for our walk/run. We actually did more running than walking. And by more, I mean that we actually walked the whole time. I made my protein shake after the gym and I knew if I downed it real quick before the walk, that I would throw it up. So I took it with me and we took our time during the walk. It was VERY windy out, to the point that the wind had a play in which route that we chose. We were doing our best not to walk head on into the wind. Not only is it harder to breath, but all of the debris flying through the air and sticking to your eyeballs doesn't feel very good either. We had a great conversation the whole time and mostly just told stories from our glory high school days. Unfortunately for me, that was long ago, so I only remember a few. The walk felt fine and we cut it short cause the wind was just a little bit too much.

Total Distance: 2.0 miles

Side Note: I was able to swing by the CFF in Phoenix today and hang out with the girls. It's always a good time. They are in full swing right now because it is Great Strides season. There is a walk each of the next three weekends. If you live in Phoenix and would like to join me at a walk tomorrow, I'll be at the Anthem walk. I don't have an address but I'm sure you can link to it through the CFF site.

Total Distance Walked for Day: 4.1 miles

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maybe I Need the Dog Whisperer

6:00am: Apparently someone out there said a little prayer for me cause I felt so much better this morning than I did yesterday! When the alarm went off, I thought that I accidentally set it for the wrong time, cause it felt like I had just closed my eyes to go to bed. Usually that's probably a bad thing, but I felt incredibly rested and ready to tackle the day. I did my normal morning mucus clearance into the sink, but my lung tightness and coughing didn't last for too long today. By the time I started the walk, my coughing was all but done. I had a couple coughs in the beginning of the walk but nothing crazy.

I wish I could tell you why I feel so good today, but I really don't know what it is. Maybe it was the sprints that I did yesterday? Maybe it's because I laid my head on the pillow by 10pm last night? Maybe it was because of the later workout at the gym? I don't know. I would probably just opt to go for the reason that I can be sure of: Prayers were answered and it's by the Grace of God that I was able to get up this morning and get my butt moving.

The walk went really well and I was able to increase the pace compared to the last couple of days. There were a couple of times that I felt myself slowing down and had to focus on picking it up a little. I also made J Beezy do a couple of walk by peeings (she literally walks, or waddles, and pees at the same time). It's probably not the nicest thing in the world to do to my little princess, but I'm trying to break her of the habit of marking her spot every 25 feet. I'll let her take a long pee in the beginning, but after that, it needs to be all about business. That, of course being opening up my lungs and getting nice and loose for the upcoming day. I just don't understand why she doesn't get that. Maybe I need to bring in the Dog Whisperer...

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 36'41"

12:00pm: I ended up walking to the gym today to sneak in some extra mileage and because I felt like doing some sprints. I walked most of the way to warm up my legs and did a 15 second sprint and then a 10 second sprint. It REALLY opens my lungs up. It worked out well also, because today was leg day and they were already warm when I got to the gym.

It was a good day overall and I was able to add weight or reps to pretty much every lift. I felt strong and my lungs felt really good. I tried to focus on taking real deep breaths when I was short of breath from a lift. When I do squats it really takes a lot out of me and literally takes my breath away. So after squats I took about a 2 minute break and just sat on a bench deep breathing. It helped to open my lungs and regain some energy for the final push.

I walked back home and encountered some landscapers with their blowers so I had to tuck my mouth and nose in my shirt. That's the risk I take by walking to the gym, not to mention the car fumes that are passing by. I think it's worth it though cause the walk with the sprints really opens me up. Current Weight: 190 lbs.

Total Distance: .5 miles

5:45pm: Mandi and I decided to explore a different part of the neighborhood today, which ended up making our walk a little longer than normal. I was thinking about doing some sprints during our walk, but my legs were pretty dead from my workout earlier and my left foot was giving me trouble again. It was sore throughout most of the walk and was a nag until about .5 miles left. I think it was good to give it a break from the pounding for the night.

My left lower lung lobe also had some pain in it during the stroll. I'm thinking it's because I have been bringing a lot of stuff up today and maybe I strained something in there a bit. It feels like I'm laying on my back and a 225 lbs man is just standing on that lobe. I don't mind about 200 lbs, but 225? Come on! Sometimes that just happens. I can strain a muscle from coughing or the irritation in a particular lobe starts to sting a little. Only got one choice though: Work through it.

Total Distance: 3.35 miles Time: 55'08"

Total Distance Run/Walk for Day: 5.95 miles

Random Picture of the Day

Picture: Me in my get up for our annual Christmas "Black Out" Party

Any creative captions?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random Picture of the Day

Picture: I decided to ride some horse statue in some cute little town in Upstate New York.
Anybody have a caption for me?

Tips for Feeling Better in the Morning?

6:00am: It seems to get harder by the day to wake up. I don't know if it's the novelty of this whole morning dog walk thing that's wearing off or I'm just not getting enough sleep. After getting up and moving around, I feel great. My energy generally lasts until about 9:30pm or 10pm. It's just those initial 10 minutes when I wake up in the morning. My eyes are heavy. My legs are heavy. My lungs are heavy. I think that it's pretty common though for us CFers to feel our worst in the morning. And it may be the common thing, but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. Does anybody out there have any tricks or tips to offer that makes them feel better when they first wake up? If so, I'm all ears.

After shaking off the cobwebs and spitting up some dark thick green mucus into the bathroom sink, I was ready to roll. J Bell was excited as usual, but was off a little bit this morning as well. Before we walk, I always tell her to bring me her leash. She'll run off, grab it, and then hand it to me. Well, today, she kept on running right buy her leash as if she had gone blind during the course of the night. It was really weird. She seemed extremely confused. I finally had to point right at it before she got it. Maybe we're both sleep walking during the night and don't even know it....

I coughed quite a bit during the beginning of the walk and was moving up a decent amount of light yellow or clear mucus. I was able to eat early last night, so this morning I was free of the "I'm about to lose my lunch (or dinner) feeling". The pace was slower today than normal, but I think that can be explained. One: the obvious is that I was walking a bit slower than normal. Two: Jezzabel peed at least 7 times and pooped 3. Three: We ran into two other dogs and two big trucks (garbage and construction) and a school bus. J Bell hates big vehicles. Not SUV big, but garbage truck big. I think it's the size and the crazy noises that come out of them. When she sees one she tries to turn around and run the other way. When I make her face her fear and walk by them, she'll crouch down real low and then start to sprint when she passes them up. She looks real funny during the whole process, I should film it one of these days.

So all of that added up to a slower time than normal. I need to concentrate though on picking up the pace a little in the morning to make my lungs work a little harder. I may also drive a new route today to get a change of scenery.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 39'02"

6:30pm: After Mandi got a "quick" 3 mile run in (again, I hate her), we headed off to the gym. We decided to switch things up a bit a run to the gym for our run/walk for the night. The gym is roughly .25 miles from my house. It was a very windy day, which made it incredibly tough, but I managed to run almost the whole way. We got caught up by a traffic light and decided to walk from that point to the gym.

At the gym we did arms. Everything felt good and I was able to increase the weight or reps on almost every lift. We concentrated on picking up the tempo while we were lifting and not taking long breaks in between lifts. We also wanted to hurry up and get back to watch the Idols results show. I did a max lift on both my triceps and biceps which felt really good and actually surprised me a bit. I need to start really challenging my muscles and focus on increasing my weight more rapidly.

We ended up doing 15 second sprints on the way back from the gym. This really got my lungs going. We would sprint for 15 seconds and then rest for 30, and so on. I started coughing like crazy before the last sprint and definitely got some stuff up that was way down in there. I'm going to work sprints into my workout more regularly. They really paid off today, because overall, I really didn't feel that great. I was just kind of junky all day and felt pretty tight all over. When I'm not feeling so hot, I think it's even more important to push myself harder. I just let my body know that feeling crappy is unacceptable. Today, my body listened.

Total Distance: .5 miles

Total Distance Run/Walk for Day: 2.6 miles

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Random Picture of the Day

I thought I would start a new feature on this blog and post a random picture of me, friends, family, Jezzabel, etc so you could get a little more insight into my life. I thought it would also be fun to make up captions for the picture, so give me your most clever one. A winner will be chosen every day and gets a cyber high five from me.

Picture: Mandi and I posing during an apple picking session in New York.

Captions anyone????

I Think I Gave Jezzabel CF

6:00am: Definitely more tired than usual this morning. I'm not sure what it is. I got to bed early and it felt like I slept like a rock. I woke up a couple of times because the bed was rubbing my burn wrong, but otherwise I was dead to the world. When I woke up, or should I say, got out of bed, I was hacking up quite a bit of thinned out gross tasting mucus. That theme seemed to continue through a good part of the morning and into the walk. I don't know why I have been coughing so much already today.

I have a few theories and I'd like to hear your guy's feedback as to if they may be accurate. Otherwise I'd love to hear what you think it may be. First Theory: I slept with the fan on high last night instead on medium. Maybe the extra air blowing into face either stirred something up or changed my breathing patterns? Second Theory: My stomach felt full this morning when I woke up. Maybe having a full stomach during the night caused me to take more shallow breaths than normal? Third Theory: I got so burned and my skin is so hot that it is literally melting away my mucus. Maybe my body is acting like a mucus oven because of the temperature of my skin? So that's what I got...think you can do better?

As for the walk, the pace was slower today due to all of my coughing spasms, wiping tears, dry heaving, and Jezzabel turning back into Bowel McPoopystein. She took three giant poops as if she has been saving them up for the last couple of days. Sometimes I think I gave my dog CF. She is bloated after she eats, she is constantly panting, and her bowel patterns are irregular. I'm no vet, but I'm pretty sure it's possible. Anyway, the walk improved as time went on and the bathroom breaks slowed down. I started to open up and I think I got a majority of the goo out before my treatments. This was definitely one of those mornings that I wasn't really excited about the prospect of walking, but as usual, I felt great once I hit the road.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 38'30"

12:30pm: I absolutely kicked my own butt at the gym today! I decided to do three of my normal lifts per muscle group plus do a heavy set on the core lift. So for instance, on chest, I did Pec Deck Flys, Incline bench, dumbbell press and then for the heavy set I did regular bench. By heavy, I mean doing 3 sets of 5 reps instead of my regular 3 sets of 10-15 reps. I increased my bench set by about 30 percent and did 5 reps. It was really tough. I was able to do it, but I definitely had to work real hard to get all of the reps up. I did the same for my back, using the upright row as my core lift.

I also ran .15 miles between each chest and back lift. So my routine was chest, back, run, chest, back , run, and so on. I increased the speed on the treadmill from the last time that Mandi and I ran together in the gym. I increased it from 4.0 to 5.0 to 5.5 on my last run. I was breathing extremely hard towards the end, but I definitely got my lungs to open wide. I also was sweating like crazy. I should probably start bringing a towel with me as a courtesy to the other gym rats. They already see me coughing up a storm, it probably isn't good to leave behind a pool of sweat as well. Current Weight: 189 lbs.

Total Distance: 1.2 miles

Side Note: There was no evening walk/run tonight due to a bible study that was across town and fighting traffic the whole way. We did however walk to a Dunkin Donuts to grab some coffee and a bite to eat beforehand.

Total Distance: .8 miles

Total Distance Walked/Run for Day: 4.1 miles

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smoke Inhalation

6:00am: This morning was a little rougher than most mornings, but I only had myself to blame. Yesterday afternoon Mandi and I went to see some friends play in their band at a local restaurant. Now the good thing about Arizona is you can't smoke inside at any public place, and that includes bars and restaurants. The problem was, they were playing outside on a patio. Now I think I only saw about 5 people lighting up, but 2 of them happened to be sitting at the table next to me. For most of the time, the wind was blowing the smoke away from were I was sitting. But once in a while the winds would change and I would get a nice mouthful of smoke. I didn't notice it as much last night, except for the coughing spasm I had right before I went to bed.

I did however notice it when I woke up. My lungs felt pretty junky and the mucus tasted like cigarette smoke. Yuck! I don't like anything about cancer sticks (cigarettes). The smell, the look, the smoke, the cancer causing affects that come with it, nothing. We could get on a whole other topic about why in the world somebody would want to destroy a perfectly good pair of lungs, when so many friends have died because of their bad lungs. But that's another topic for a different day.

Now in my "old age", I can't handle smoke at all. I used to be able to tolerate it when I was younger, but it probably never was a good idea to sit in a smoke filled bar. I'm very happy that the smoking laws changed in Arizona, although you would only find me at a bar about 5 times a year. Anyway, smoke kicks my butt now and I really try to avoid it. Not only did my mucus taste different this morning but it also had a different tinge to it. Darn that smoke!

After coughing all of the tar filled mucus up on the first part of my walk, my lungs started to open up more. My mucus became clear and I was pretty much back to normal. I was looking forward to getting back to my house and getting on my treatments though to make sure I would open up as much as possible. My lungs just had an irritated feel all morning that I'm hoping the treatments take care of that.

If you are reading this and you are a smoker, do me a favor, have one less cigarette today....Thanks.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 36'58"

2:00pm: I headed to the gym not really knowing what to expect. Today was shoulders and legs, and I killed my legs this weekend and burnt up my shoulders. If you need proof, go to yesterday's post and scroll down to the end. I, however, was pleasantly surprised. Both my shoulders and legs were stronger today than they have been any day thus far. It's so funny how are body can adapt to different situations that you put it in. And yes Mandi, I got that from you, who I think got it from your dad. Mandi's dad would always say to her, "Your body is unlike any other machine, in that it can adapt and adjust to any stresses that you put on it". Thanks for that Eric. Once in a while that mantra actually goes through my head while I'm lifting in the gym. Maybe one day I'll be as ripped as you.

Today was turned out to be a great day at the gym and I'm so thankful that I pushed myself through today's session. I was really dragging when I got there, so I actually increased the weight on almost all of the lifts just to make my body deal with it. I was surprised at some of the weight I was able to lift today. I should probably start challenging myself more and more like that in the weeks ahead. Current Weight: 187.5 lbs.

5:30pm: For today's walk, Mandi and I decided to reverse the morning loop. Problem is, we got lost and ended up having to wing it at the end. I think we managed to get the same distance in and possibly even more. We walked at a good pace, but were able to converse almost the whole time. This is important, because when this all began, I could barely talk during our walks. It was basically Mandi who would do the talking and I would just reply with grunts and head nods.

I was able to work some gunk out during the walk also. I think my lungs are almost all of the way recovered from the smoke last night, but it may take another day. It will be interesting to see what I feel like tomorrow. We have no plans tonight, so I'm looking forward to having a nice relaxing night on the couch with me and my lady. I know Mandi is too...she's been working her butt off.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 35'43"

Total Distance Walked for Day: 4.2 miles

31.7 Total Miles for Week of March 30th, 2009

Week of March 23rd: 24.48 miles
Week of March 16th: 34.85 miles
Week of March 9th: 23.6 miles

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Morning After...

6:45am: I'll tell you what, the morning after conquering your goal for the month feels great...mentally at least. I woke up fresh and ready to go and looking forward to my walk. My legs? Ehhhhhhhh, no. It felt like a professional soccer team spent the night kicking up and down my legs. My left hip hurt, along with my right ankle, left knee, right foot, and left calf. Maybe I'm just getting to old for this? I'm falling apart here.

Nevertheless, I rolled out of bed to gather my clothing and shoes for the walk. Jezzabel was of course all over my stuff and following me around my room and panting. She has a crazy internal alarm clock. I don't know if she actually walks to my door at 6 every morning or if she just wanders over in the middle of the night. It would be interesting to know. One thing that I do know, is that she starts to whine at 6 on the dot.

As for the walk, after working out all of the kinks in my legs, it went well. I was coughing quite a bit in the beginning and getting a decent amount of stuff up. It was mostly clear with a bit of light yellow streaks some of the time. It was a very cool morning out which always feels so refreshing to walk in. There were quite of few dogs out walking their masters this morning and J Bell wanted to say hello to every one of them (plus the cat that hid under a car). I think after church today Mandi and I are going to go for a little hike. I'm looking forward to it.

Total Distance: 2.1 miles Time: 35'28" (includes dog sniffing time)

1:00pm: Mandi and I set off to do Sunset Trail today after church (and Dunkin Donuts of course). What I love about Sunset Trail is it is not straight up and down. It kind of zig-zags back and forth on the steep areas to provide a more gradual climb. Don't get me wrong, it feels like my heart is going to beat out of my chest and I get incredibly winded, but it certainly isn't as bad as let's say a Squaw Peak.

I always get the most winded and tired right in the beginning of the hike. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I'm guessing that it is just my body adjusting to the hills. Up until today, I had never quite made it to Sunset Point. There is a check point of sorts about 1.8 miles in, that my previous two times doing this hike, I turned around and headed back at. Well, today was a different story. From that 1.8 mile marker it's only another .2 miles to Sunset Point. Let me just tell you, the last .2 miles are BY FAR the toughest. It's almost as if the trail makers just wanted to tease you and get you all worked up to get to the peak, before pulling the rug out from under you and really making you work for it.

I think I took double the breaks on the last .2 miles than I did the first 1.8. One thing I'll say though, is my breaks aren't nearly as long as they used to be. I just stop for about 30 seconds to catch my breath and wet my whistle. Getting a little taste for the face is always important for me cause I have had quite a few cramping episodes from not staying hydrated. I also had to stop a couple of times to rest my legs. They were really feeling it today and were super tired. I think overall, my legs had a worse performance than my lungs. I'm just not sure if that's a good or bad thing...

The view from the peak was absolutely worth it, and I was so glad that I got to share my first time there with Mandi. She's been pushing me hard for the last 3 weeks and I know it encourages her to see the progress that I'm making. The first time we ever did the trail together, I couldn't make it to the top and I took about 47 breaks. The breaks are way down and this time we finished it out strong. I took some pictures that I don't have time to post right now, but I will get to it as soon as possible. If you don't see pictures now, make sure to check back later.

Total Distance: 4.0 miles Time: 1h 45m (approx)

Total Distance Walk/Hike for Day: 6.1 miles

Remember to always wear sunscreen...whoops