Monday, February 19, 2007

One Small Step for Aaron, One Giant Leap...

Actually there was no giant leap today and I don't know if I can draw comparison to Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon and my first steps since breaking my femur. However, we also don't know if Armstrong DID walk on the moon (holla to all my conspiracy theorist friends), but there were eye witnesses to my 30' walk down Stuart Jones PT Clinic. Will I get a hero's welcome for me feat, probably not, but I'm not in this for the notoriety and wealth. I'm doing this for the children, because they are the future of this great country...what the hell am I talking about.

To wrap this up, I took my first steps today without the assistance of crutches. My gait was a bit shaky and my hips uneven, but with each step I was able to smooth out the walk and near the end of the clinic was walking similar to a 14 month old baby. Giddy-up!

These feet are made for walking

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wheels on the bike go round and round, round and round!

Tonight was the first stationary spin on my road bike since that infamous day back on November 4th, 2006. My bike and I had a long talk before the spin and decided that it was neither of our faults and it was simply a unfortunate circumstance that lead to the crash(however, I still believe it was the bike fault...but I'm not here to place blame...stupid bike). I had been spinning on the stationary bike at physical therapy, but this was the first time on a real road bike, albeit on the trainer. I was worried that the harder seat might put more pressure on my hip, but everything felt fine. My physio is allowing me to ride at home, but he stresses that I limit the duration and resistance. The resistance level was set on one and I was able to muster thirty minutes of spinning before my leg fatigued and tightened. Not exactly earth shattering performance, but it felt good to get on the bike and elevate the heart rate. Tomorrow I am going kayaking for the first time since the accident. I'm stoked! The weather looks favorable and the company should be excellent!

Not sure why I look so pissed...honestly I was enjoying the spin.

Packing in some nutrition with yummy Clif bars. Best bars on the market

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fun in the Snow - Winter AR

4th Dimension Adventure Racing held it's very first race this past weekend at Hyak on Snoqualmie Pass. 4th DAR is a new event promotion company started by my teammate Roger Michel and his wife Yumay Chang. Roger is no rookie to endurance sports and with the structure provided by Yumay I am expecting bigger and longer races.

The race focused on disciplines of snowshoeing and navigation. Estimated winning time prior to the start of the race was around 3.5 hours with a final cut-off time of 7 hours. The field was composed of veteran AR teams and quite a few new faces, which is always welcome to see. A majority of the teams arrived the night prior to enjoy pre-race nutrition loading and a good night sleep instead of opting for the early morning trudge up to the mountain. I opted for the former, as I was handling registration and helping Yumay keep Roger mental state in check.

The morning came way too soon, as registration opened back up at 5am. Everyone seems pretty stoked to get the race going. Roger provided final instructions, the raffle was held and maps were distributed by 7:30 with an anticipated start of 8am.

Everything went smooth and by 8:05 the gun, or in this case Roger's voice, sounded the start of the race. It was clear to see that the field would separate rather quickly. The lead teams easily ran across the slick bridge while other teams cautiously walked the bridge. Three teams set the early pace included DART-nuun and MOMAR, which was not a huge surprise. The race continued like this for most of the day with DART eventually pulling away for a solid victory with MOMAR finishing 2nd. The race course and conditions proved rather tricky for many of the teams. The lack of features available from the snow definitely caused some havoc for navigating and CP3 turned out to be the Achilles heal in many of the teams.

All the racers were treated to a great post-race food bonanza by Bruce. I am looking forward to future races by Roger and Yumay and hopefully my gimp leg will be healed and ready for battle.

Until then...keep the rubber side down.

On your marks...get set...

Dart-nuun taking 1st place

MOMAR with a great 2nd place effort

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

300 Club (update)

My quest to reach the Herculean 300 Club ended today at 6:55am. The crowd on hand was light, but emotions were running high. Since my quest started I had befriended a couple of older gents to be workout buddies on my MAX day (MAX refers to the ability to lift as much weight as possible in one controlled rep). Both in the mid to late forties, one rather portly and the other just plain fat, we have had some humor in my dedication to reaching my goal. Upon arriving today I let it be known that I would be "maxing" today in an all out onslaught to enter the club. The odds were definitely stacked against me. It had taken me years to reach my previous record of 285 and now I was trying to surpass that goal in less than two months. I was hoping that I was gaining "old man strength" and age alone would help me. With little media on hand (actually none...I was hoping the Enumclaw Cuirier Herald would run a feature story, but it sounds like there was a new calf born at the Van Hoof farm which garned more attention) and only a few eyes watching I slowly warmed up. I warmed up with 135, than 185, than 225. I was feeling good, but extremely cautious of the challenge in front of me. We put on two more tens and a five putting the weight up to 255. With Eminem singing to "lose myself" I entered the zone for the lift. The lift off the stand felt good, Eminem was blasting now, telling my I "had one chance to make it", this was it, I lowered the bar, the music is pumping louder and I am visualizing the execution of the lift. The bar touches my chest and the explosion of power was nothing short of a firecracker, as I struggled to finish out the repetition. BAM, I slammed the weight back against the rack as I was a challenger in a Tough Man Competition after lifting two cars. Wow, I had just lifted 255lbs and I knew there was no way in hell I was going any higher. We laughed, we cried, we hugged. It was a valiant effort for the entire crew, but I fell short of my goal by 45lbs. I'm sure there are fans out there shouting for me to continue and not give up. I hear you, but I need to focus on getting back to cardio shape. I have been given the green light to start weight bearing PT and this is now my focus. I have gained 14 lbs. during my injury and I need to start shedding some of this muscle. Before I wrecked I was at peak racing weight of 162lbs. Today at the gym I was just over 175lbs. By no means heavy, but definitely 10 more pounds that I do not need in my upper body for biking and running. I am sorry to disappoint my fans out there, but I will give you other reasons to cheer me on during the year. Thank you for your support and see you on the trails.

Breaststroke, backstroke, stroke of a genius

I have logged more swim time in the past three weeks than in my previous year of triathlon training. OK, maybe a bit of an overstatement, but not by much. I'm not a swimmer. I enjoy swimming to some degree, but it is not a natural ability of mine. However, with the inability to walk, run or ride at this current moment of my life, swimming is my main cardio fix. My previous swim workouts would be 800-1600m splash around, normally siding on the shorter side of the workout. Lately though my workouts have been 1600-2000m arm-burning hammer fest. Without the use of my legs, my shoulders and tri's are definitely receiving a workout. I need to be careful not to develop any tendinitis from overuse though. I still haven't had a euphoric epiphany to love swimming, but I am definitely enjoying my time in the pool.