Jul 18 2013

13 months…and a prayer

Anna

Little Miss Abilene is 13 months old today! She is growing like crazy and just an absolute joy to have in our lives. She is so happy and content 99% of the time. She only ever really gets mad when she is hungry or we leave her at the church nursery.

We had her followup appointment with Cardiology on Tuesday. It was supposed to be simple. We go in, have an echo done, seen the Cardiologist and be sent on our way. I was completely unprepared for what actually happened. That is where YOU come in. We are praying for a miracle right now.

Abilene still has a moderate-sized hole in her atrium (upper chamber of the heart, also known as an ASD). This is causing shunting (blood flow over the pulmonary valve in excess to what should be there) and it has not yet caused dilatation of the atrium but it is coming. We have been told to prepare for surgery. She is going to have to have this hole repaired since it did not close on its own during her first year. We have 2 options – heart catheterization which will place a device in her heart to seal the hole or open heart surgery. This is not happening tomorrow or even in the next few months. We will be monitoring her for the next year once again and see how she does. If this winter does not go well (as far as frequent respiratory illnesses) then we will be repairing this defect sooner rather than later. Most likely we will wait until she is 2 but it all depends on her and if things start to change. Since she is going to be entering a HUGE development change (walking, running, massive mobility) issues will start to become apparent. She may tire easily, need to rest, want to take more naps, not meet mobility milestones, etc…

When the news was shared with me (Aaron was home with the boys “thank you, honey!”) I was actually stunned. I had not expected to be told that my precious baby girl would need HEART SURGERY. I came away in a daze. I just looked at her and held onto my precious baby and said a prayer. I am now…correction WE are now asking everyone who reads this to please be in prayer for little Abilene. We are asking the Lord for a miracle. We are asking that He heal her heart. We really don’t want to go through heart surgery with Abilene. She has been through enough. We know that whatever the outcome, God is in control. He has known from the beginning and we will trust in Him. But still…I can ask, right?

Anyway, you all have been really patient with me…here are some pictures!

Here I am celebrating with my bubs at his 3rd birthday in May!

She has a nickname “Queen Sugie” – She was able to sit on the throne for her birthday!

CAKE!

Look at my ponytail…look fast too because I will rip it out in about 5 seconds!


Dec 30 2011

2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

Aaron
2011 Recap and Visions for 2012

I would like to provide an update/review of a few things I’ve learned this year and a list of 2012 running goals. I give praise and glory to Christ that I exceeded all of my 2011 goals. For me I was grasping beyond capabilities when I initially set them 12 months ago. Setting easy goals just to say I achieved them is not my style. Below I will cover: things I have learned this year running, weight management and nutrition, and new goals for 2012.

Injury prevention, Correct Form

1. 180 to 190 strides per minute is almost magic. It relieves stress from the joints and lets the natural elasticity of your tendons and muscles carry you forward faster than if you struggle along at a more natural average stride count of 160 to 170. It therefore helps reduce injuries and soreness.

2. Land on the forefoot/midfoot and land with the foot directly under the knee, not reaching out front with the foot. This foot reaching is what will cause a heel strike and the subsequent shin splints and eventual chondromalacia.

3. A good forward lean at the ankle with a straight body posture will let gravity create forward momentum and require less effort to move forward.

More info on this see Good Form Running or The POSE Method.

Weight Management and Nutrition

1. I have lost 25+ pounds since January 1, 2011. I’ve lost a total of 60 pounds (probably more if I had owned a scale during a the heaviest part of my life) since I started taking fitness more serious in 2007. I reckon to achieve a body fat level that I would be entirely pleased with in the long term I have about 10 pounds to go. The general rule for excess weight and running is 1 pound = 2sec/mi so if I want to qualify for Boston Marathon those ~10 pounds of fat have got to go. I can gain some practical muscle weight but anything too bulky is still excess weight to carry.

2. My weight successes I attribute to a renewed discipline in what I allow into my body, and changing what I allow my eyes/mouth/hands to define as “food” and “nutrition”. Things that I have increased several-fold in my diet are fruits, vegetables, and whole/raw, unrefined carbohydrates in general (organic when possible), and white/green tea. Things I have reduced substantially that I consumed quite a bit of previously are nuts, refined carbohydrates, far too much snacking, animal protein, oils/dressings. Things I have cut out almost entirely: Dairy, beer/wine/alcohol. Notable benefits are that I now go days on end without needing allergy meds that I previously took multiple doses of each and every day and still felt terrible. I am rarely sick. Unless I overdo it, I recover from workouts very rapidly. I need less sleep and have increased energy levels. And best of all, it didn’t require starvation. In fact, with fruits and veggies, I can eat until I am stuffed (satiation) and be nothing but happy about it.  See books The 80 10 10 Diet or The China Study for more info on whole food nutrition, improving quality of life, and prevention/reversal of diseases through food.

3. Supplements: For the most part, don’t need them. This is a huge reversal for me. A good multi vitamin, perhaps a quality Omega-3 supplement, and that’s all. Eat as many raw, whole fruits and vegetables as I desire and get all of the micronutrients in the correct chemical formulas the natural way that God designed. It isn’t easy, nor have I mastered it yet, but it is more fun than swallowing pills.

Running Goals 2012

To sum it up, ultra-runner Ed Roshitsh recently said it quite well:

“Setting a big goal and failing is better than sitting on your ass watching the world go by.  I highly recommend to everyone to set a huge goal and work towards it.  Even if you fail – You learn.  You get better.
  1. 10K (6.21mi) of 44:59 or better. (7m 14s pace).
  2. Half marathon of 1h 40m or less (7m 38s pace).
  3. Average 21mi weekly, or put another way average 3mi x 366 days = 1,098mi total for leap year. 2011 goal was 14mi weekly, and ended up at 18.9mi weekly. 2012 will be my first year of 1,000mi+
  4. 3h 25m or less in a marathon (7m 49s pace)

Perhaps it is somewhat foolish since the FAA may end up sending me to OKC this year, but I’ve already registered/paid for the following races:

  • 5K on 2/11
  • 10K on 3/3
  • 15K on 4/7
  • Mini Marathon half mara on 5/5

I stopped registering when reality sank in about the FAA. If they don’t send me, I’m probably going to do the Geist Half mara on 5/19, and I’m still on the fence about which marathon to do in the fall. I may start toward my long term goal of completing all 5 of the World Majors and do the Chicago Marathon in October. There’s a 50K race in North IN in December I’ve had my eye on, though I may hold off entering into the crazy world of ultra-marathoning until I complete the 5 majors.

So, if you’ve read this far thanks. I hope you have something crazy planned for yourself next year. If not, definitely reconsider reaching beyond what you think your limits are. You might surprise yourself.


Nov 2 2011

Monumental Marathon this Saturday

Aaron
Monumental Marathon this Saturday

Well, the big day is almost here; my first full length 26.2mi marathon! This Saturday, 5-NOV, is the 4th running of the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. Packet pickup and the convention are on Friday (I am bib #983) and the race starts promptly at 8am Saturday at Missouri St & Washington St downtown.

Not that I really think anyone cares that much, but if you want to track my race results in real time you can signup here to receive emails or text messages. Messages will come in as I cross the halfway point (13.1mi), 30k, and finish. Anna and the boys will be crewing for me, the plan is to meet me where the race course passes the Christian Theological Seminary (~18mi mark, near the aid station at the NW corner of Haughey & 42nd St) to have spare socks, jacket, hat, food, and drink should I be needing anything. Hopefully I’ll just stop for a quick  photo op and a tasty recovery drink and keep on trucking. I’m right at my intended race weight (not my ultimate goal weight, but it adds up as every extra pound = 2 seconds/mile) and I feel better than ever. This will be my first of many marathons, coming soon will be a post announcing my long term fitness/health plans, and it has potential to involve the entire A-Team :)

Prayers for the safety of all 7,000 or so runners and walkers + all of the volunteers this Saturday are much appreciated. The weather forecast looks almost perfect; a tad cool to start off with at 36F , but a nice high of 61F. Regardless of how I do this weekend, I give God all the glory in getting me to this point!


May 13 2011

Need an energy boost? Allergy relief?

Aaron

Last October during my annual physical I asked my doctor for advice on boosting my energy levels. He tested my blood  iron levels along with a few other things and everything was normal. My doctor did tell me that I shouldn’t be worried about my “tired” feeling. You see, he laughed and said anyone with enough energy to have a full time job, be a husband and father of 2 kids and still be able to run over 20 miles per week has plenty of energy. Comforting, but I felt that I was still capable of more, and that is what I was after.

So began my quest to boost my energy levels, and after much research I found a nutrient supplement called Quercitin. Quercitin is a naturally occurring flavonoid that is in fruits/plants/grains. Published medical research I read indicates taking higher doses of Quercitin via supplements can have positive effects on blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, inhibits fat cells (healthy weight management), improved exercise endurance, cancer reduction, inhibiting histamine production, anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant properties similar to Vitamin C, and on goes the list. The main reason I desired to try it out was for endurance (energy) boost, and inhibiting histamine production and it has a anti-inflammatory like effect.

You see, with all of the running  (excess protaglandin causing inflammation and soreness) combined with my severe outdoor allergies (histamine response, inflammation) my thought is that my immune system was on maximum overdrive and draining my overall energy levels down. Anything that would reduce my immune system’s work load would increase energy level and I wouldn’t feel as tired. That was the theory anyway.

I found a version of Quercitin that is also mixed with Bromelain, a plant enzyme that comes from the stem of a pineapple. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties as well.

Anyway, after being on this for over 6 months now my outdoor allergies are the mildest I’ve ever experienced in my life. Five months ago I cut my daily antihistamine dose by 50% and still hardly any allergies. I’ve spent almost all of this week outside cutting grass, gardening, biking, etc and still no allergies at all. In years past I’d have been miserable. Overall I feel like I have more energy but that may just be a side effect from not fighting allergies 100% of the time. I buy from Netrition or Amazon, whichever is cheaper when needed. I take 2 vCaps a day which equals Quercetin 800mg & Bromelain 200mg.

Anna has noticed my improvement as well. On top of all this I barely got sick at all this past winter and when I did it wasn’t as severe, plus I have had several run weeks of 30 miles or more.

Let me summarize my perceived benefits thus far:

  • I’ve increased running by 50%
  • Stronger immune system
  • Less allergies, more fun
  • 50% less antihistamine drug use

If you know someone with severe outdoor allergies I’d definitely recommend giving it a try. It isn’t cheaper than antihistamines, but to me it sure beats putting synthetic pharmaceuticals with unknown long term effects into my liver and kidneys.