Friday, January 30, 2009

Winter Training Safety

"Though it's cold and lonely in the deep dark night, I can see paradise by the dashboard lights." Meatloaf

While donning my running shoes by my Jeeps interior lighting one recent morning I realized we only have 9 1/2 of daylight this time of year. And, since work takes up 8 of them, some of our training
must be done in the dark. I have a friend who used start his training
day at 0230! Yes, he's a mite intense. He'd get a majority of his training done in the dark.

You need to go the extra mile to absolutely ensure your safety-especially from motor vehicles. While running, attention to a possibly slippery road surface, choice of routes, bright clothing, reflector vests, even a red strobe light on your butt while always paying attention to your surroundings. If you're running down a snowy road against the traffic, have an escape route should an oncoming vehicle lose control.

When cycling, riding single file is even more important than summer. Although we've all seen riders with hardly a reflector, I ride with 3 red lights behind: 2 solid on my belt and a strobe under my saddle. My friend Greg has a suit with lights up and down the arms resembling Landing Signal Officer on an aircraft carrier. But, by gosh he's visible.

Many of us know someone who's been hit or killed on a bike because they weren't seen. Do your best to stay out of the obits. Really.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Using Your Head

I wasn't unconscious more than a couple minutes after the crash.

Just chatting on the return leg of a 3 hour Sunday ride, my bike accidentally collided with another and I went careening off in the opposite direction toward a face plant on the asphault-ouch! After regaining consciousness, my face bleeding profusely, I noticed that my helmet was split front to back. This injury could have been a lot worse.

"There are two kinds of cyclists; those who have crashed and those who are going to." Scott Tinley, winner Ironman Hawaii '82 and '85

My friend and I were far enough out in the country that we had no cell service or nearby home to call for help. So, we waited it out and very slowly rode back home (10 miles.) The kids wanted pictures of Daddy's hamburger face.

I had a concussion. A concussion comes from a blow to the head from a variety of sources. Although there's frequently a black out, some of the injured never lose consciousness. Symptoms may include confusion, visual changes, headache, memory loss, (even including details of the crash sometimes!) I asked my friend Mike to describe the accident...and then forget and ask him again. About 8 or 9 times. Occasionally nausea or vomiting will be part of the picture. You'd also look for impaired speech, a vacant stare, disorientation, etc.
I went to the doctor-my wife is a doctor. But, if this happens to you or your riding mate, at a minimum call your doctor and ask for advice. It would not be overkill for a quick trip to the ER and let the medical professionals determine the possible need for a Cat Scan. Usually there are few long term memory problems. Except for me. I seem to have great difficulty remembering our wedding anniversary, my wife's birthday,...... Just kidding.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Issues of the Heart

This somewhat surprising photo was taken on the Kona pier, 100' from the starting line of Ironman Hawaii. What action would you take upon sighting this warning before your planned swim? I, unfortunately, saw it after my planned swim!

Issues of the Heart

My 19 son Chris has an occasional resting heart rate of 38. How did I learn this you might ask? Well, 3 months after receiving his Virginia drivers license, he flipped our '88 Volvo station wagon on a Saturday morning coming home from track practice.

Eventually cleared of major injury, the interns nervously watched his heart rate monitor at 38 beats per minute, defibrillator at the ready, even though instructed by the attending physician that this is just his resting pulse, not totally unexpected in fit runner. Miguel Indurain, five time winner of the Tour de France, had a resting pulse of 38 (and a VO2 max of 88 compared to Lance's 82.)

Some of us use heart rate monitors or take our pulse before arising to augment our training, but mostly we don't think about our hearts.

Neither did my friend Bob Scott, Ironman Hawaii course record holder for the last 10 years. Just like you and me, he's a triathlete- invincible, never gets sick -illness is for non-triathletes! That kind of thinking, until one day he just didn't feel right, chest pain, should seek medical attention. So, being the triathlete he is, he rode his bike to his doctors, and his EKG was positive. Long story short, catheterization and stint placement followed, and Bob went on to win the age group again (yawn) and set another Kona course record. Moral, be like Bob, listen to your heart.

Listen to your body and if you have something unsusal, a pain that's worsening rather than improving, stop and get it checked out. How many stress fractures could have been avoided, races missed due to an an injury if we had only listened to our bodies instead of a demanding training log? Triathletes are a driven bunch, but if the Kona course record holder can, you can too.