Saturday, July 27, 2013

Active Saturday

 

Up early for a walk with the dogs and then out with Sarah for a great bike ride.  Sarah is really developing her riding skills and she added a few sprints today for good measure.  After the ride we did yoga to stretch out and work the core.  That reminds me, watched a great video on bike fitting this morning and the presenter used too analogies that really hit home.  "We are cement waiting to harden" and "motion is lotion".  It has always seemed unfair that I need to stretch after exercise but injury combined with aging teaches that we have a choice, work on strength & flexibility or set like cement.  I know what I choose.

The ride inspired me to work on my old road bike.  I have been slowly improving the build over the years until I get around to having the frame re-sprayed and re-built with a new group set.  Until then I enjoy tinkering with it and riding it.  The bike is over 20 years old and holds lots of memories since I had it custom built by Chas Roberts in England.  The paint took a punishing when it was shipped to the US, I can't tell you how annoyed I was and since then I have used old or retro equipment to keep mostly period.  Today I added 20 year old 105 brake calipers and a 20 year old Mavic wheel set.  Here she is.


 
John do you recognize the wheels - they still feel like silk after all these years - WOW
 
 

And now for something completely different.  The following picture is for everyone who thinks a primal diet is boring.  This feast was put on a few weeks ago.  It was awesome.

Perfect Wave SUP Race - July 7/25/2013

On the spur of the moment we headed down to Kirkland on Lake Washington to watch the Perfect Wave SUP race, take some pictures and catch up with a friend.  It was a fabulously sunny and warm evening and perfect for photography.  I could not have asked for a better opportunity to meet a nicer group of people and thankful for the chance to start new friendships.  Here are a few pictures and the full gallery can be found at http://shuttermack.smugmug.com

The crew before the race

 
Racing into the Sun - YES this is Seattle

 
Winner

 
Bobby - Race Sponsor 

 
Friend killing it as the only woman
 
 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day of Firsts

The last couple of days have been really eventful in a good way.  It is funny how it has coincided with reading the book "Infinite Possibilities, the art of living your dreams" by Mike Dooley.  A book recommended to me by my coach.  But then there are no coincidences and we are at the point we are meant to be at.  I have had the opportunity connect with some great people over the last couple of days and today I made my first ever photography sale, very exciting.  Sunday night I had a very strange night sleep, at 3pm I woke up with my mind spinning with the idea and need to create a video diary.  It kept me up most of the night.  Monday evening I really wanted to get out for a bike ride but I am proud to say I listened to my body and stayed in allowing me to ride to the office and back home again today.  The legs ached but it just reminded me how lucky I was to be riding in the sun.

As soon as I got home tonight I kept the promise I made at 4am Monday morning and created my first video diary, riding my trainer in the back yard, exactly as it came to me at night.  I could not review it as I would probably not have posted it.  I asked Sarah to review it for me and let me know if I should post.  She said yes so here is the link.
 


Here are a couple of inspirational pictures for you to enjoy.




Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 20/21 Weekend Roundup

Wow it's Sunday night already, closing out a weekend that has flown by.  I wanted to take sometime tonight to share what I have been up to this weekend and to remind myself and let you know that we are all on this amazing adventure called life and we are the architects of our adventures.  It is often so easy to get caught up in everything and forget to just simply have fun.  I know I forget and writing these words helps me remember to be grateful for the wonders in my life, that includes you.

It has been a bits a pieces weekend and I'm sure you can identify with that.  Saturday we took the dogs for a walk in Kirkland on what started as an overcast morning.  We arrived to find an event taking place which offered up a nice diversion from our normal walking pattern.  I stopped off at a local bike shop to ask some questions regarding purchasing a new road bike.  As I might have mentioned earlier I am super excited to be getting my new bike in October but I wanted to do a little comparison.  Anyway I want to rant a little because I just cannot believe shop owners who seem to throw away customers because that cannot be bothered with a little customer service.  This happened to me twice this weekend "idiots".  The shop that has my business won it through get service.

We meet up with a good friend at Lake Washington Physical Therapy, if you ever need a PT, I cannot recommend them high enough.  Ask for Ben and mention me, he has put me together more times than I care to remember and Ben if you are reading this Thank You.

Despite my back reminding me that I needed to pay attention to it, the weather cleared up and it was such a nice day that I felt compelled to get the road bike out.  I texted a friend and we hit the road around 3:30pm.  BTW if you are in the Seattle eastside area and want to Road Ride, Mountain Bike or Paddle let me know in the comments as it is always great getting out with new people especially when they become friends.  The ride was magical, the weather was perfect, we did a 24 mile circuit that took in winding roads, fast descents, fast flats and good climbs.  When I go home I did some yoga stretching, iced the knees and settled in to watch one of the best stages of this years Tour De France, a hard fought mountain top finish that made me want to get the bike out again, but the body reminded me that was probably a bad idea :)

Sunday, was late out of bed, yes I paid a little for the ride on Saturday and my back and knees had something to say about it, but that is what learning about our body's is all about.  I took the queue's and avoided doing anything to aggravate injuries further and by the evening as I write this I am happy with the recovery.  If like me you are suffering from an injury, I know what it is like and how depressing it can be to not be active or as active as the mind wants to be.  I encourage you to look at what you can do and every day build health and strength through eating right and strengthening your body.  Do this and you will get stronger.  I am still scared every time I do activities but it is my adventure and I will enjoy it.

I went into another local bike shop today and had are really pleasant experience.  They have a club I am thinking of joining.  I secretly harbor thoughts of getting strong enough to race as a senior next year and it quite honestly scares the crap out of me joining a club, it is a personal fear as it triggers the competitive streak in me as well as the "What if I'm not good enough and they judge me" thoughts, I know it is a limiting belief so in the next few weeks I plan on taking the plunge - stay tuned. 

On the technology side, I spent a good amount of time this weekend messing around with a poor internet connection and setting up my smugmug photography account.  I enjoyed the event photography so much that I plan on doing more later in the year.  I had an enquiry to buy pictures and decided to take the plunge and buy a professional account.  It took forever to setup and get pricing in, now I just need customers :).  Ah yes the customers have to know who I am and how to get to the pictures so the last thing tonight was to create a personal card I could hand out.  Here is the picture I used, hope you like it.



Thinking of you and wishing you health, happiness and the power to do the things you love to do.




Friday, July 19, 2013

Hemel Board Company Flash Paddle (July 18th, 2013)

Recovery update:  I am pleased to say that my back recovery is going well.  I worked on flexibility at Yoga this week and whilst there is still discomfort I was able to Paddle Board at the Flash Paddle yesterday, something I was a little nervous about.


FLASH  PADDLE



Yesterday was a Beautiful evening in Seattle for a Flash Paddle on Lake Washington with the crew of the Hemel Board Company.  One of the reasons I decided to purchase the Hemel board was the social and community aspect the company embodies.   A Flash Paddle is an evening event organized to provide access to Hemel boards to share the experience of paddle boarding and to showcase the unique design of the boards, and the best thing of all it is FREE.  Like the Hemel Board Company on Facebook and get access to the exclusive Flash Paddle events at https://www.facebook.com/hemel.board.company.  Check out Daisy  and I on the cover page taken at the last Flash Paddle.

Hemel has two boards a 12' and 11' both hollow with the companies unique three stage rocker  design.  You can read about the design at http://www.hemelboards.com/index.php/technology.  No amount of reading however makes up for experiencing it for yourself and the guys at Hemel will bend over backwards to give you the opportunity to experience it for yourself.  Which lots of first time paddle boarders did yesterday.

If you was at the event yesterday is great to meet you and spend time on the water sharing in the passion for SUP'ing (Stand Up Paddle boarding).  I hope you had as good a time as I did and I look forward to seeing you on the water again.




 
More pictures of the event can be found @   Shuttermack

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Age, Health and Fitness

Today's I want to talk about the journey to a healthy mind and body as we mature in years.  Yes as we age the body changes and let's face it things go wrong.  We all pay for the choices we made earlier in life either as a result of trauma  or through repetitive stress.  In my case I have experienced trauma and repetitive injury due to both genetics and sports, and I can attest that managing your health is a journey that requires action and attention.

 
 

It is important to point out that we are all unique individuals and there is no norm when it comes to individual journey's.  That being true I do believe there are extremes.  On the one side there is the individual that has a high metabolic rate and is highly active all the way to the individual who engages in as little activity as possible, oh and yes we all have experience the of the low energy/activity individual who looks slim and fit.  They are the exception and not the rule.

 Let me share with you some of my journey.  I was born with a form or hyper-activity and as a result was a very active child growing up in a family that valued home cooking and quite honestly could not afford to eat out.  I was a skinny child and developed what I now understand to be a very limiting belief that I could eat anything and everything early in life and let's face it outwardly I could.  I put on no weight but I did suffer from stomach cramps that would double me over in pain.  The cramps however where irregular and lasted only for a short period and therefore could be put out of mind until they happened.  My wife will tell you I was born with a bicycle attached and yes cycling has been a lifelong passion inspired by my father.  Along with many other sports, I have always been active but in my late twenties despite regular exercise I started to gain weight and the scary reality is that I did not realize it as pretty much everyone was either the same or larger than me in my perception. 

If you asked me I would joke about my belly and make comment about needing to lose a few pounds and at times I would redouble my effort to increase exercise relying on the belief I developed as a young man that I did exercise so that I could eat what I wanted.  Well with a career, the ability to eat out and indulging in what I liked it was clear that exercise was not getting the job done.

At 42 I had returned to fitness and was very active at least 3-4 times a week but the weight would not budge.  I had secretly told myself by 40 I would have a six pack and look great.  Well 40 came and went, surprise no six pack.  The next step was to get a personal trainer and we trained, circuits, cardio and strength for an entire year and yes I got stronger but no I did not "Shape Up".

The ah-ha moment can during my last serious injury at the darkest moment when I had put more weight on as a result of depression and comfort eating.  It was at that point my wife put her study into practice on me and we changed our diet.  Yes I said "Changed our Diet" not "We went on a diet".   We adopted what I refer to as Primal+ as we do not always adhere to the rigger of Primal.

We hear it all the time "You are what you eat" so why do we focus on exercise, because it is external and easier to do.  Working hard and building up a sweat whilst it is tough is nowhere near as tough as giving up that feeling our favorite comfort food gives us.   We perceive eating differently as beyond hard especially if you are in a household that is not supportive, it feels like constant punishment and depravation.

The hard truth is that what you eat affects your body in so much more than weight.  Mother nature has been providing us with the nutrition we need to sustain and heal our bodies since time began and for some reason we believe we know better, I hate to tell you this but we don't.  We isolate one thing for one result but the body is a complex interrelation system that is so remarkable that it can deal with toxins for years before the results manifest themselves, but they do eventually.  They manifest as we age as the body can't deal with them anymore and they show up as inflammation, high cholesterol, diabetes, irritable bowl and a host of other conditions including obesity which is now considered a disease.

 When we are young and invincible we look into the future and our 40's and 50's seem so far away and the price of "fun" today seems worth it, but once in our 40's and 50's the price seems less worth it as we struggle to be what we are in our minds.  I for one refuse to accept that getting older should compromise quality of life and limit us to the sidelines of the sport that we loved or have dreamed of doing.  We can't always overcome wear and tear but we can chose to and believe in the attainment of our optimal health and continue to do the things we love long into old age.

Gaining optimal body performance is a combination of diet and exercise.  The diet we eat will determine our shape and regulate the levels of acidity or alkalinity as well as many other factors.  It is the diet that allowed me to lose the weight I had been trying to lose for years.  Exercise is what is making me strong.  The exercise is stressing the body and old injuries and it becomes the focus now that my weight is stabilized.

 In closing I want to address a statement I hear often and one I have used myself.  "Don't worry about not losing weight you are building muscle which is why it is not changing".  For most of us and from personal experience this is not a true statement.  What it means is you have plateaued and your body is balancing the input with the output.  At times like this turning up the exercise will not achieve the goal, it is what is being consumed that needs to be considered.    Let's face it if exercise was all that was needed why do you see large Iron Men/Women or Large Marathon runners or (you pick a sport).

If you do anything focus on becoming informed about what you eat, chose a lifestyle diet not a diet of the moment and don't fall into the healthy food marketing trap, take the harder path and know what you are eating and why.  Enjoy your exercise in the knowledge that what you eat is nourishing and balancing your body and what you do is making you stronger.  If you do these things you will be well on your way to the body you desire. 

I wish you every success in your journey and I hope in some small way what I have shared and written helps you as much as it has helped me.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Stroke the Slough 2013

Sunday July 16th we woke to a perfect summer day in the pacific northwest and great weather for the Sammamish Slough Stroke the Slough SUP race.  After the Urban Surf event on Saturday I was looking forward to another great SUP event.  I decided I would ride my bike to the event so that I could pace the racers along the slough.  It almost finished before it started for me as trouble with one of my peddles caused my back to complain and once on the bike it complained even more.  I turned round to head home but could not miss the event so I took a gamble that the back would loosen up on the ride to the event.  It did and the game was on.

The event was a race and a recreational event organized by http://stroketheslough.com.  In this blog I will summarize the race with lots of pictures of the whole event on my photo gallery @ http://shuttermack.smugmug.com.

Starting at Luke Mc Redmond Park all the participants got together for the pre race briefing.


After the briefing the Elite racers headed down to the start line gathering in the water in anticipation of the pending start.
 
 
 
The race started and the group powered away from the line heading out past the Redhook Brewery on to Wilmot Gateway turning point followed by the final up stream push to the finish line at Redhook.


The leaders set a blistering pace right off the start line stringing out the field as they powered down the river.


At the first bridge of the race a leading group had firmly asserted themselves matching each other stroke for stroke.

 
As they past the wineries on the way to Redhook two leaders pulled away from the pack stamping their authority on the race.



At the Wilmot Gateway turnaround the two leaders where neck and neck but out of the turn there was a decisive attack at the very start of the up stream section to the finish creating a 3 board length gap.



The leader powered home leaving clear water behind as he won the race. 


 
After the event the hosts put on an after party for all the participants and I am sure a great time was had by all.  As a non participant and having afternoon plans I could not stick around. I enjoyed my ride back to Marymoor park  When I got back to the car and looked in the mirror I found that a piece of blueberry from breakfast had stuck fast in my braces.  With all the cheering and riding it made a mess of my mouth, it must have been a right sight for all the people who saw me, lol.  It was great to see everyone having such a good time at such a well organized event, and me I had a wonderful afternoon at a BBQ and enjoyed the sun.

Here is a taste of over 814 pictures you can find in the full gallery - enjoy

 




 







Sunday, July 14, 2013

Urban Surf Sponsored SUP Event at Seafair

What a glorious weekend in Seattle with great SUP events on both side East and West. With a little more recovery needed ( can you believe the pain moved to the other side - bummer) and our boards on order it was a great opportunity to get the camera out and cover the events that next year I hope to participate in.

Saturday 7/13:  Seafair and the Urban Surf Race at Green Lake

Full Picture Gallery:  Here is a taste of the three events.  Individual Race, Team Relay and the Gladiator.  Urban Surf put on a great show with relay being a real crowd pleaser.






 


My buddy Nate after the individual race and his first event,  He recovered quickly and jumped right into the team relay.  Way to go Nate.





 
Sunday was the Eastside "Stroke the Slough" race and recreational event.  It was a great opportunity to combine three of my passions, cycling, photography and SUP.  Tomorrows post will have more detail as I have whittled down the photo count to 814 and I am in the process of publishing the gallery.


 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Friday

This week has been all about recovery and patience and I want to share the emotions I have experienced and dealt with so that you know that you are not the only one.  Academically I know that rest is what is needed, I know that if I rest I will get back to full activity as quickly as possible but emotionally I have been assailed by frustration and guilt which takes both concentration and support to keep a positive frame of mind through.

It is always interesting that one of the hardest points of recovery is when the body has overcome the worst but is managing what seems like ongoing low grade issues.  It is also the most dangerous time.  If you lose patience or give into frustration it is all to easy to push the body too far and go back to square one or worse and yes in the past I have done just that.

The other important thing I focus on is continuing to nourish my body and rest.  Both of which become a challenge due to gravitation to "Comfort Food" and lack of rest due to"Agitation".   I have dealt with both this week.

It is important to celebrate the achievements of recovery and not dwell on what is not getting done.

Going into the weekend I am looking forward to seeing some great Paddle Board Racing and getting out on the bike if things pan out, which of course I will share with you.

Have a great Friday and Weekend and whatever you are doing live life to the max and have fun.





Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thought for Today - Fear

I truly believe that nothing happens by coincidence and the universe is really conspiring in our favor whilst we often conspire against ourselves.  I was gratefully reminded by my coach today that it is important to understand what drives us and to be honest to ourselves about what holds us back.

Fear of Failure, Fear of Success or Both prevent us from setting our course or going the distance.  Don't let fear dictate your direction but embrace the fact that you are your perfect self and you deserve the, health, fitness and goals you set for yourself.  When we focus and believe in the "What" the action needed in the "How" will manifest itself.





My Recovery Update:  I was able to attend yoga today with focus on lengthening and control followed by a session on the bike trainer this evening.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Set Backs Happen - Don't Let Them Beat You

Set backs happen and they always mess with your head.  The reality is most of us either recovering from injury, changing our eating lifestyle or doing exercise will experience a set back either large or small.  The lesson I have learnt is to not let the set backs dictate who you are but rather you control the set back.  Learning to recover as quickly as possible is the key to staying motivated and in control.  It is after all a "Set Back".  Some things I have learnt are:

1. Forgive yourself, if it was your fault or not it is past, forgive and move on.
2. Accept the situation, don't rail against it.
3. Take action to start getting back on track, however small the step is.
4. Build recovery momentum.
5. Use your support system (family and friends).
6. Be patient with yourself - healing takes time, it is worth the wait.

After hurting my back on Sunday which I was sure was muscular.  My first step to recovery was rest.  Yesterday I did nothing but very basic back exercises, heat, ice, lots of water and massage from my wonderful wife.  By the end of the day the pain had subsided enough to get a good night sleep.

Today I felt good enough to increase motion exercises with basic yoga and foundation exercises.  We walked the dogs once in the afternoon and once in the evening.  both times only half the distance and time we normally walk.  By this evening I felt strong enough to ride my bike but to control the experience I did so on a trainer rather than on the road.

I want nothing more that to get back out there but I know getting out too early could result in another setback, so tomorrow I will not ride to work but limit myself to a planned yoga session, walking and a trainer ride if all still feels good.

If you are in a setback you will get through it. 
 
One of my supporters helping me out

 
 
The back holding up well on the bike




Monday, July 8, 2013

Backpain & Recovery

A topical discussion today given that Sundays Paddle Boarding left me immobile today due to back pain.  I knew I had strained muscle in my back but it was not until I woke up at 2am in pain that I realized the extent of it.  It seems I needed to experience it to share with you my thoughts with a little bit of authority.

Background

I am no stranger to back pain, first experiencing it in 2004 after lifting a heavy object when I herniated a disc in my lower back.  I recovered from that experience after a spinal injection and Physical Therapy.  I did not think any more of it until 2011 whilst recovering from a knee injury (another story) I stood up and felt a sharp sensation in my back, I was concerned but after a visit from the doctor I was assured it would likely clear up in a couple of days and it did.  Only about 3 weeks later I made a small movement and again the sharp sensation only this time it did not recover but got worse and worse.  I will not lie to you when I say it was the worst pain I have ever experienced and even prescribed narcotic pain killers did not help much.  If you have ever experienced nerve pain you will know what I am talking about, if you have not I wish with my whole heart that you never have to.

I learnt a great deal from the last injury of which the most important and most scary was that the specialists don't really know a whole lot about the back.  Outside of the spinal injection the next options are surgical.  The answer I received is that the lower back is the prime site for injury especially as we get older given our lifestyle and the fulcrum point of pressure for the body due to the fact we stand on two feet.  I can tell you it shakes your confidence when you are looking for solutions and the answers are not exact. 

Thankfully I recovered following the spinal injections and I attribute a lot of my post injection recovery to spending time strengthening my back muscles or what I have come to understand as my posterior chain and learning to move correctly.  Put simply bending from the hips and not the lower back which most of us spend our lives doing.

An interesting fact that I found out was that during the MRI for the latest herniation they found no evidence of the early herniation from 2004.  The human body is a marvelous biological machine and we should never forget that.

Strength Matters

Regardless of the type of exercise you do or don't do I have come to realize that keeping my back muscles strong is very important.  The muscles stabilize the nerves and keep them from being pinched or knocked which would seem to be the cause of most radiated pain often in the buttocks and down the leg sometimes referred to as sciatica.  

To strengthen my back I practice the techniques outlined in DR Eric Goodman and Peter Parks book "Foundation, Redefine your core, conquer back pain, and move with confidence".  It provides both an overview of the causes and techniques.  I have found it to be so successful for me that I have signed up to attend a certified training course to get deeper and understand more.  BTW I am not a fitness instructor or in the fitness industry, I just have a passion for the outdoors and for living a long, healthy and fit life.

What Happened to Me and What am I doing about it.

On Sunday I paddled for 2 hours, about 1 hour into the journey I felt a slight discomfort in my hip.  This was the first indication that I was getting muscle fatigue.  It is important to listen to our bodies as they will tell us what is going on.  If however you are like me ignoring the message leads to consequences.  I believe it was compounded by the motion of the board as I had to deal with a fair amount of boat wake which was working my legs and lower body hard.  When I get muscle pain now I am very cautious as it is the muscles that are protecting the nerves and ligaments, when they are fatigued it is then really easy to go beyond a muscle pain and do something far more damaging.  Active rest is the path I have taken for this injury, that is to say small and gentle movement combined with heat and icing to bring down inflammation.  I also drink a lot of water as water also helps with inflammation.  It is going to be slow but tonight it feels a whole lot better than it did at 2am.  I use the foundation techniques to help work the muscles without putting strain on them.  Once the pain subsides I will resume my regular back strengthening to ensure I maintain a strong back especially since Paddle Boarding puts such a demand on the lower body.

If you are interested in the book here is a link to there site: http://foundationtraining.com/

Here are a couple of pictures taken today to show both the founder and the chest lift techniques that have worked particularly well for me.  I should also point out that the techniques have also considerably improved my posture as well as strength.