Thursday, May 29, 2008

Making Change

A blogger friend asked me how to get her father-in-law who is undergoing cardiac bypass surgery to make lifestyle changes.

It's not easy. I struggle every day with motivating my patients to change their lives.

If many of my patients with high blood pressure stopped smoking, started exercising, ate better, cut out excess salt, and lost weight, they would be on fewer blood pressure medicines. And, in the long run they would have fewer health problems and live longer.

How do we get people to do these things? To someone who has lived a sedentary lifestyle eating whatever they want, making all these changes at once must be overwhelming.

The best time to get people to make changes is at a life-changing moment, such as when hospitalized with a first heart attack or when needing coronary bypass surgery. People are scared, and as a result they are receptive.

So, to my blogger friend who asked how to get her father-in-law how to live more healthfully, use the resources at your hospital while he's recovering. Ask for someone from the hospital's cardiac rehabilitation program to talk to him. Get the nutritionist to sit down with him and explain what he should and should not be eating. Encourage your father's nurse to educate him also. And, you personally may live a healthy lifestyle, but it's hard to hear these things from a family member. There's too much emotional attachment. It really has to come from someone else, not just you, so try not to sound preachy.

Think back if you've made lifestyle changes. Did you do it overnight? I certainly didn't. In college, I was a vegetarian who ate way too much sugar and dairy and barely exercised. During my sophomore year of college, I decided I should start running -- on that first day, I got halfway around the block before my friends drove by and picked me up.

Be patient, and be supportive, and best of luck.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Needed Break


The Blog has been slow. Life has been busy in balancing work, triathlon, family, and friends.

I just got back from a very needed vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico. Four days to just relax in the sun. I didn't completely slack -- I did take a couple of 30-minute runs barefoot on the sand. I brought my goggles and swam a few laps, Perhaps I could have done more, but I didn't.

More to come to the blog soon.
Photo taken from http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/usa/images/vacation-travel.jpg

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Building Up

Here's an action shot from Wildflower, the triathlon that I did last weekend:

My training is being turned up a notch. I'm in what my coach calls the "Build Phase", which is supposed to get me ready for my half ironman race in two months. On Saturday, I rode 32 miles, and today I swam a mile in the ocean and ran four miles along the Santa Monica and Venice boardwalks.

One of the perks of having this blog is that every so often someone will send cool stuff. I was selected to sample some of ProBar's new flavors. This is the Sesame Goji bar. I was a little daunted when I read that the bar had 400 calories, but as I thought about it, that's the perfet number of calories for a bike ride of almost two and a half hours. The bar was delicious and gave me the energy I needed for my ride. I don't think I'd use it as a meal replacement, as it would leave me feeling quite hungry, but for a long ride or run it'll work.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Wildflower Race Report


First off... camping was successful. I assembled a tent all by myself and slept in it for two nights. I consider this an accomplishment.


This is the toughest race that I've ever done. It's a hilly course, particularly the bike. The run is pretty hilly too. Because the bike has been my weakness, I've been training hard for the bike with a long ride on the hilly Pacific Coast Highway on weekends and two spin classes each week. And, while I felt ready for the bike portion of this course, I should have run more hills. I also should have hydrated myself better while on the bike.


The swim went well. My goggles kept fogging up, so I lost a few seconds in the water trying to sight the correct direction to swim in.


Next on to the bike. The first mile and a half of the course is uphill, and it is one heck of a hill! I was absolutely sucking wind getting up that hill. In past races, I've been passed left and right, but this time around that wasn't the case. I was definitely stronger on the bike.

The run did not go well at all. At the beginning of the run, I checked my heart rate -- 180. That's way too high. So I walked. And I could barely get my heart rate under 170. On top of that, the hills were awful. I ended up power walking much of the 10k, with a time of 1 hour 10 minutes, surprisingly faster than what I thought I had done, but definitely slower than what I wanted to do.

Even after the race, my heart rate was still high. I was standing waiting for the shuttle a half hour after finishing, and my heart rate was still 145!!! I sat down, chugged some water, and it came down to 120, and finally when I got back to my car where I had some extra water bottles, I drank more and it came down after about an hour and a half.

It was a challenging race. I'm so glad I did it, and I feel like this race will definitely help me prepare for Vineman 70.3, my half ironman race in July.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thoughts before the First Tri of the Season

My first triathlon of this season is on Sunday -- the Wildflower Olympic Course. I'm not nervous about the course; never mind that it's the toughest course that I've ever raced -- I'm well trained and I'm ready to race. What I am fretting over is the preparations and travel to get there. And the camping.

Wildflower is taking place about four hours from LA. It is known as the Woodstock of Triathlons. People camp out at the race site. Thousands of them.

I don't camp. I haven't camped since I was 19 years old, and for good reason. I like a bed and plumbing and indoor amenities and protection from the elements. Houses and apartments are really not that bad of inventions.

In fact, when I registered for this race over a month ago, I booked a hotel room about 30 minutes away. Then I thought I'd sleep in my car. And then I had the courage to do the unthinkable.... I bought a tent. I looked over the instructions thoroughly last night and I think I can put this thing together. Heck, I do angioplasties to unclog coronary arteries; I think I can handle assembling a tent.

And finally, there's the packing. I had no idea that so many things had to be thought about before traveling to a triathlon. Here's my tri club's packing list. Amazing.

I'm a little overwhelmed, but I think I can do this.