Archive for June, 2007

Weekend in Phoenix, AZ.

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

June 23-26.

Phoenix, AZ, actually Scottsdale.  I am here for a few days for a Financial Planning conference.    Much good stuff here for me to take back to my clients to help them with better financial decisions.  AND To take advantage of the desert and the heat as I begin final preparations for Badwater, I go a couple days early to spend some time running in the heat.

On Saturday, I flew into Phoenix early, got my car and headed straight to the Superstition Mountains.   This is where parts of the second City Slickers was filmed, looking for the Lost Dutchman’s mine.  I didn’t find any gold, but I did manage 6 hours of running and hiking in about 110 degree heat.   I did not see a single other person, but jumped two deer that I was able to photograph.  This a remote and dangerous place if you have a problem and I saw remains of some old mining operations, and old ranches.   I was glad to be carrying my GPS to help me get back to my car, and to console me when I wasn’t sure which way I was going.   It was a very good workout, and I was surprised to feel so good even at the end of it.

here are some photos from my first day in the desert.

The next day, I did a 30 minute morning run, went to some meetings that were scheduled, and then skipped out for an afternoon workout at a state park out of Scottsdale with miles and miles of trails.   I did about a 3:30 hour run/hike, again it was mid-day, in the 110 degree or so range, and I had to carry all my water, but this time I did see one other person out running.   I had intended to go farther, but I got kind of lost on the trail and wasn’t sure where I was.  That and I could feel that I was pretty tired and it was getting a little late in the day.  Last thing I wanted was to be wandering around after dark so I turned around and retraced my steps back.

I was pretty depleted and tired after this workout, and dehydrated. 

Then next morning, my conference was to kick off, so I went out for just a 30 minute easy run.  Well, I got lost, and my 30 minute quicky turned into an hour and a half search for the right roads to be on.   I was a little late getting to the first session, and completely exhausted. 

BUT, it was all good training, and I think will serve me well come Badwater.

My First Entry! Welcome!

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

Welcome to my BLOG!  This first posting, written soon after finding out that some health issues that I’d been having are not a significant issue as I feared came as great news for me, and renewed my enthusiasm for many things in my life.   While I like writing and try to keep a written journal, I think this will be a lot of fun, to share the things that I’m doing with my friends, and also to look back on as time passes.  Welcome, enjoy, subscribe on the left if you want me to let you know when I’m added new things to the website.  AND PLEASE POST COMMENTS OR EMAILS TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO!

As far as the health issues that are now pretty much behind me, over the last year or so, some issues with my heart, and resulting running performance had me concerned.  After a couple of particularly bad episodes of what seemed to be an arrhythmia, or out of control heart rate where your heart is just fluttering and not really beating,  I went to see a cardiologist.  In these situations that lasted a few minutes, I really could not get a pulse, and my Heart Rate Monitor would give crazy reading, 280 bpm and such.  A very odd feeling.  In the last 8 months I had some episodes that seems particularly bad, so I went to see a cardiologist.  The resulting testing first showed an abnormal EKG that had him suspecting an enlarged heart or thickened heart walls.   Very high caffeine consumption and stress were also suspects.   CT Scans and Ultrasound testing was scheduled, and further testing revealed that the heart was in good condition, excepting an Aortic Valve that is not sealing properly, allowing some flowback of oxygenated blood back into the heart, rather than going into my system as it should, and some mild scarring in my lungs from some problem in the past.  At this point, we do not know if this is a condition I’ve had forever, or if it is a new occurrence, followup checks will tell us that.  But it’s fairly minor, and nothing that I can do about it at this point.  We just have to check it in a year, and see if the valve issue is the same or progressing to a worsened condition.  I feel like it’s probably something I’ve always had, but who knows, maybe I’ll have a pig heart transplant or something at some point in the future.  Just to provide me all the best karma possible, I’m swearing off bacon to save my friends the pigs.  But then again, if I eat more bacon, maybe there will be more pig hearts available.  Oh well, FOOD for thought, huh?

THEN the fun begins.

The next issue came with the CT Scans that were done which incidentally revealed two tumors in my liver.  Not a good thing, so additional scans were scheduled to make further determinations of the problem.  Eventually, they were diagnosed as two benign cavernous hemangiomas which are actually fairly common, and of no consequence.  

My original issue was likely caffeine, stress, and maybe the fact that I felt something was wrong, just increased the stress on me.  I was taking in massive amounts of caffeine.  I know I was trying to run and exercise but constantly worried that something may be seriously wrong.  I didn’t realize the toll this was taking, until I got a clean bill of health.  I can promise you a lot of soul searching and thought went on during that time.

In any case, I got some cool measurements and photos of my heart, and confirmation that there is no plaque buildup in my arteries, everything is wide open and good, but for the first quarter of this year, it was quite an unusual situation for me to be worried about possible serious heart problems, or the possibility of having to deal with a cancer diagnosis and what that would mean to me and my family. 

Part of my function as a Financial Planner is explaining to people that as part of a financial plan is the protection provided by insurance.  They NEED life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, long term care insurance and now we have available products like cancer, serious illness insurance.  So many that I speak with just don’t think it can happen to them, and it’s rather ironic that I’m healthier and more fit than almost all of them, yet here I am, having to review every aspect of what I have in place in my financial life to determine what we do if I am not able to work for 6 months, a year, or longer.  I practice what I preach, and will only make one significant financial change after having gone through this, but it was a wakeup call, and I wish I could make every client have to face these facts for just one day, to open their eyes as to what one medical diagnosis could mean to them and their families financial future.

This whole process took 2 or 3 months, and really derailed my ability to train effectively.  I missed some races that I really wanted to do, the Massennuten 100 miler in Virginia, and the Hardrock 100 in Colorado had to be scratched off the list.  I was hoping to compete in both Hardrock and Badwater, in the same year, 10 days apart.  But with all of this going on, I simply did not feel I had the time to be prepared for these two ultra-difficult events.

I do still intend to compete in my third Badwater 135 Ultra, and will follow that up in October with the Furnace Creek 508 bicycle race.  Completion of both of these events in the same year is pretty exclusive, only 11 people have completed it, none of them from Florida, so that is my goal for 2008.  I’m looking forward to it.