Wednesday, October 05, 2016

October already

As I tiptoe toward some semblance of training, I'm having a bit of déjà vu for last October. There's this realization that Winter Is Coming, I have less than five months to get my act together, and my workouts are still completely unpredictable. There are days I feel great and charge up hills. Other days I stumble along, convinced that I am irreversibly out of shape, and perhaps I should concede this fact and stop trying so hard. Embrace the sedentary life. What's so bad about that, really?

These episodes would be more disconcerting if I wasn't in such a similar place last year.

I followed up with my allergist today, and my lung function tests measured a fair amount lower than they did in August. The numbers are more similar to October 2015, which is when I first went to see an asthma doctor in Palo Alto. It's difficult to say why I haven't improved. Unfortunately I was bad with my medications in September, so there's no way to gauge whether they're working or not. I will start immunotherapy in two weeks, with an accelerated treatment that sounds particularly unfun. It requires sitting in a room at the clinic for three hours, writhing in discomfort with an epi-pen ready in case of anaphylaxis. BUT, the main treatment will be over soon enough that I can still go to Alaska for a month in March. Priorities.

So that's where I am in "training" right now. Since I'm still having difficult days, I've been taking it relatively easy. I think my dad is worried my fitness is so poor that I won't make it across the Grand Canyon for our annual rim-to-rim (and back the next day), which is just over a week from now. I don't think my fitness is that bad. But I do acknowledge that once these fun diversions are done, I really need to focus on the Iditarod. I'm going to join a small gym in town, with a plan to put more emphasis on weight training this year. If I am having "overtraining" issues (which seems unlikely, as this past summer has been my laziest in years), weight training will be a good way to build strength while minimizing impact on my weak little lungs.

Still, I'm glad I can manage regular outdoor outings. It has been a beautiful couple of weeks. Autumn color and light give everything a new richness. A cold winter wind has been blasting through the valley. Crawling up Bear Peak this evening, I could see a thick layer of snow on the Continental Divide. I guess I missed my window to climb a 14'er this year, but no matter. I'm excited. Winter air is the best air.

Also, thank you to those who purchased my photo book. I actually had a rush of orders and sold out my first batch, but have another on the way that should arrive by the end of the week. So if there's a small delay, I apologize. Sending another book into the world is always a little nerve-wracking. What if it's terrible? What if everyone hates it? You know, the usual concerns. This in conjunction with fitness angst is apparently bad for self-esteem, which is the main reason I've been mostly avoiding my blog and social media since I returned to Colorado (except for book promotions. Sorry about that. Necessary evil.)

But yes, October is here! Everything got a lot better around this time last year. I'm confident it will again.

There are still more books available at this link:

Thanks again!


  1. Congrats on your new book. I think your emphasis has to be on your health. Taking a year or two off endurance activities is not that bad. Figure it out and get back to training. You are still young. BTW what happened to your blog roll?

    1. Blogger killed it for no reason. I came this close to switching over to Wordpress the other day, but conceded that Blogger is free and already hosts all of my photos. I will re-enter the blogroll soon.

      Although exercise clearly exacerbates my breathing issues, it's unlikely that giving it up will improve things at all. It will be interesting to see what winter holds, especially after immunotherapy. Whether that's been effective will be more clear come spring.

  2. you're lucky to have a great dad that can still do that venture... wish my dad would have done something like that with me. I try to do that with my kids, but being teenagers they want nothing to do with physical fitness and hanging out with their dad... oh well, hopefully in their 20s they will change their mind and hopefully my health and fitness are still up to snuff... I hope.

    1. I am very lucky that I can still share these experiences with my dad when I'm 37 years old ... and he's still in better shape than I am. Maybe your kids will come around.

  3. Sat on the couch last night with my 12yo daughter flipping through the pages and reading the first chapter and got cold just reading it. Looking forward to my weekend at a high school choir retreat where I will have nothing to do but listen to amazing singers, look at the rain on Lake Sammamish, and be inspired for new adventures while I read your book. Thanks!!

  4. I giggle when I read about you thinking you are unfit, but I guess it is all relative. Weight training has really helped me though I should do it more times a week than I do.


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