Showing posts from February, 2017

The 2017 Iditarod Trail Invitational

The 2017 ITI started at 2 p.m. Sunday at the edge of Knik Lake. I was there, but rather than standing next to a loaded bike and bubbling with nervous excitement, I was on the sidelines. I've mentioned this before, but I'm pretty bummed about missing the race. I need to get over it. I'm in Alaska, enjoying gorgeous scenery, and visiting friends. To be honest, though, the prospect of an Idiatrod Trail adventure is one thing that's kept me optimistic through all of my issues over the past few months: Anxiety over the world's current state of affairs, increasing brain fog, poor writing efforts, and diminishing physical capacity. Now that I know the likely cause, I have a potential solution to my issues. This is reason for optimism, but I still have the anxiety and the brain fog without the release of physical activity and joy of adventure. I've been taking it fairly easy. This just makes me feel worse. 
I learned last week that I have Grave's Disease. It's…

Too much is not enough

A crushing heat wave settled in this week, melting the last of the ice from the small ponds in our back yard. For the first time in three months, I knelt beside the pond and sprinkled fish food into the water. Two-dozen goldfish swam to the surface and sluggishly nibbled at the flakes. I watched with fascination. They spent three months hidden beneath a thick sheet of ice, in a pond so small that I wondered if it could freeze solid, and I hadn't fed them since November. Yet there they were, as healthy as ever. I felt strong appreciation for these hardy little fish, matched in an instant by disgust in my own fragile body.

Shortly afterward, I slathered my arms and legs in sunscreen and went for a walk. That's what I've been doing since I found out about my wonky thyroid levels: going to the gym, and hiking — short distances and nothing strenuous. Strangely, or maybe not strangely, I've been feeling symptoms to a deeper degree. Knowledge has made my head even more foggy…


Just over two weeks ago, I was having dinner with friends in Fairbanks a few hours before heading to the airport. We were at a Thai restaurant with harsh lighting, and I was describing my exercise woes to friends I hadn't seen in a while. The quick explanation is: "I can't breathe when I exert myself, really, at all. It doesn't take much before I start gasping and become dizzy, and sometimes I have to sit down. I used to be able to run entire 50Ks with an average heart rate in the 160s, and now I rarely hit that number before I'm breathless." Corrine, who is a family doctor, looked over at me and said, "You know, your thyroid looks enlarged."

That set off a series of medical visits, and the latest was to an endocrinologist today. I'm very lucky to have good health insurance (thanks Beat!) and medical providers who sympathize with my desire to participate in the ITI, so they fast-tracked me through several tests ahead of the race. This much now …

Another week

I stopped posting my weekly training logs at the end of December, after deciding that they were more demoralizing than motivating, and "training" was probably hurting more than it was helping. I'm still getting out 15+ hours each week, lifting twice a week, and generally doing what I was doing before. And ever since the Fat Pursuit, I've felt progressively better. I still have occasional battles with shallow breathing, and realized that I might be overcompensating by taking it too easy. For the most part, thought, things have been going well.
A long-time blog reader recently contacted me about my "Running on 3 Cylinders" post, and completed the car analogy. I laughed at his observations:
"A car analogy is apt since we humans are a thermodynamic (a heat engine) — funny, we convert our fuel about just as efficiently. Going on with the car theme, a gasoline engine needs three things in the right amount and at the right time for oxidation (combustion) to t…

This disappearing world

I've had a bout of writer's block lately. The kind where I stare at a blank screen for twenty minutes before relenting to Twitter browsing, and repeat. The main problem, I think, its that I'm a hopeless news junkie. Lately my morning coffee reading has left me with malaise bordering on despair. What do I do that matters? Nothing. What do any of us do that matters? We're just digging deeper holes. Well, you see where I'm at. It's that existential despair that all of us battle, with varying degrees of optimism and denial and faith. And it's not like this every minute of the day. I'm happy where I'm at and generally excited about the future. But the trepidation remains.
 I was in a rut and I wanted to get away. When my friend Corrine mentioned she had Cache Mountain cabin reserved for the last weekend in January, the wanderlust began churning. Beat and I skipped the Christmas training trip for good reason. Could I justify an admittedly frivolous trip …