Friday, October 27, 2006

Eastern vs Western Medicine

I should begin by apologizing for my camera phone. It was stunning here yesterday and, during this pic, the sun was setting and the "haze" on the right of the screen was red. Oh, well. This was taken from a trail above my house; about 10 minutes on my CX bike.

My back has recovered enough to get on my bike for a couple of hours yesterday. Saw an accupuncturist and it greatly helped. I tell ya, western medicine is great if you're very sick or have a traumatic injury. But for most of the maladies that affect daily life, eastern medicine is the way to go.

For example, going to my western doctor feels like I'm in a fallout shelter during a war. No matter what time I make an appointment I have to wait for hours in a room filled with sick patients complaining about our medical system. When I get inside, my doc wants to prescribe some medication and get me out of there asap. I can't blame him, as there's generally a lot of moaning and yelling coming from the other side of the wall.

Eastern medical clinics couldn't be more different. They're quiet and serene. Everyone on the staff is utterly calm and the entire experience is soothing. You feel better just sitting in the waiting room because it's filling with positive energy and decorated in a way the exudes calm. Treatments involve you as an individual. Questions are asked and answers taken into consideration.

By contrast, my western doctor usually acts as if I have no idea what I'm talking about, even when I know far more than him about something. For example, I have dupuytrens in my hands from climbing and wanted a specialist to look at it. My doctor didn't believe me (he barely knew what it was), even though I obviously knew a lot about it, and sent me to the wrong specialist twice. After this time I just found a hand doctor through my network and saw him (it took him about 3 seconds to diagnose me). But since my doctor wouldn't recommend it, my insurance won't cover it. They did, however, pay for three appoinments with the wrong people.

Don't get me wrong, if I tear my ACL or get cancer, I want the most technologically advanced people I can find addressing my problem. But for everyday living, eastern medicine is where it's at because it's all about wellness and living in harmony with the natural world. But western doctors, who are not required to take nutrition or exercise classes, seem to ignore this part of the process. Western medicine is based on fixing problems that often arise from living a life out of balance. Eastern attempt to help keep you life in balance and, hence, avoid those problems in the first place.

They are really two completely different things and we'd save a lot of money if our system could change to acknowledge this fact. Insurance should support fitness, nutrition, and eastern medicine which, in turn, would keep my doctor's office from looking like a fallout shelter and give him time to do the job he was trained for. Even without insurance, I suggest eastern medicine for everyone. I spent nearly two hours at my accupunturist's office. The cost: $85.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Some Days You Eat The Bear...

And some days, well, he eats you.

A man much wiser than myself once said that and I'll be damned if it isn't the truth. So, I've spent a few days down and out because I threw out my back. And I did it doing basically nothing. Just one of those things, I guess. Anyway, it's been one of those years where I can't seem to string any sort of fitness routine along. I mean, I'm out there doin' stuff constantly. But every time I've set my mind up to doing something challenging, something else in life has seemed to get in the way. So, the birthday challenge is, at least, on hold. I will do something but, realistically, there is just no way I can plan it at this point. At this rate, I'll just be happy to be rollin' at all when the day arrives.

Strikes and gutters. But, hey, I can't complain.

The Dude abides.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Birthday Challenge Thoughts

Since I'm going to be in California for my birthday it's a perfect chance to clean up some unfinished business. Here's what I'm thinking:

Because rushing into climbing shape tends to lead to injuries, I've been in no hurry here in Utah. With thousands of new routes within an hour radius of my house, I have no need to. This is completely different than California, where I've climbed pretty much every route I've wanted to that isn't in the Sierras, which would translate to an accelerated training program after cycling season and then getting injured. However, I've very little on my climbing agenda in Ca anyway. Nothing from this time of year.

A couple of years ago I concocted an idea to run and ride the Backbone Trail. It's been run before, at least once (probably a lot more), but never run and biked. The main problem here--besides fitness--is that some of it's closed to bikes. I'm not going to poach it, so I've come up with an alternate route. Well, maybe I'll poach a little of it...

I've always wanted to run the 9 Trail in Santa Barbara but because it's around Thanksgiving (and my birthday) there's always been other stuff on the agenda. Of course, just because I finally decide to do it the sucker sold out. I think I'll try it anyway.

I've also wondered about a big day on the bike near SB, climbing all the major climbs: Gibraltar, Painted Cave, Figueroa from both the north and south. This day is on par with the hardest single days I've had on a bike, or at least close.

I should add some climbing as well.

Okay, this ain't all happening in one day. The Backbone is 100k plus with heaps (probably 20,000' at least) of elevation change. The 9 Trails has 10,500' in just 35 miles and not even one section of simple running. In fact, the 9 Trails course is the toughest running course, step by step, I've seen, which is why it's so cool. The biking is, well, just biking. But a lot of biking. The climbing is going to be hard no matter what because I didn't climb all summer and, currently, don't even have the upper body strength to do a half hour set of pull-ups, something I used to do on my rest days.

Here's what I'm thinking with a month to go:

I've done loads of one day challenges, a 40 day challenge, and a 43 hour challenge. This year will be four days, with an optional .6 a day off (maybe for Thanksgiving).

The main portion of the challenge with be the Backbone link-up. By far the hardest thing. I have no idea if I'm even in the realm of being able to do it.

Next will be some riding: the 4 climbs around Santa Barbara.

Next will be some climbing. I guess 46 routes sounds good. Most I've done in a day this year is, hmmm, maybe a bunch when I was fit last winter. Anyway, it's 10 since I've been climbing again. This will not be a rest day. I'll probably have to climb at Echo, meaning that less than 10 will be under 5.10. And probably more than 10 will be 5.11. I may throw some 12s in there but I'd have to change this to laps because there's no way I can do six laps of 5.12 right now, even without 40 other routes. But, hey, I've still got a month....

I'll try and finish with the 9 Trails. Could be ugly at this stage. Fresh I'm sure I could do a decent time but, hmmm, I'm thinking that just finishing will be enough by this point.

Anyway, more thoughts later. I'be better get training.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Next President?

In my work I don't take my politics beyond the business at hand: health and fitness. These issues, however, are crucially tied to our political system where more and more politicians find their hands tied by those who put them in office in the first place. This, unfortunately, is not the individual voter but ultra partisan interest groups. We've become a nation ruled by lobbyists.

During a discussion with one of my most politically polarized friends we easily came to the conclusion that we, as a team, would do a much better job in running our country than those in charge. This was due to a very simple fact; that our goal would be to do what's best for the country instead of placating a long list of special interests.

This is a disturbing idea. I mean, I'm pretty smart. So is my friend. It's not that I don't have confidence in my abilities. But I think it could be said for many people as well. As long as the ultimate interest would be creating a better country--or world--as opposed to personal gain (which includes "payback" to those who've personally helped you), I don't think it would be hard to do a better job than we're doing now.

I was almost disgusted when Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California using a campaign of forced rhetoric and movie quotes. Now, however, I'm very glad he did. While I disagree with much of his agenda, the pure fact that's he's bipartisan is forcing both parties to find some sort of common ground. For example, he's pro business and pro environment. If we could rectify even this one problem--businesses polluting in order to boost their quarterly earnings--the world would make its most significant change in a long time.

Anyway, the point of this morning's diatribe is not to preach. I merely wanted to point something out. In a political conversation a few years back someone said to me, "You're like a combination of Gandhi and Barack Obama." I didn't know much about the latter name at the time but have been watching him since. And, for certain, he's worth watching. Because, like him or not, his agenda is for a more thoughtful and bipartisan world. And if we can't find some common ground to stand on, we've got a lot bigger problems facing our future than being overweight.

Btw, this is a bipartisan article. Not necessarily pro Obama at all.

The Fresh Face

Here's an excerpt of his book.

The Audacity of Hope

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Floyd's New Career


Yo, peeps. Check this out. My main man, Floyd Landis, calls bull shit on the French and starts a new career.


Bikin' Dirty

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Training in Utah

Just a couple of average things you see while training here. One's my cyclocross rig in front of "This is the place" state park, the site where Brigham uttered those famous words on their pilgramage west. The other is, ya know, a moose. He was just kickin' it at the top of "Little Mountain", which is what everyone calls the pass at the summit of Emigration Canyon. I noticed a few cyclists and some tourists all standing around but, this being sorta normal, didn't give it a thought until I stopped my bike about 10' from a moose. This started both of us, a bit, and he sauntered off. I wasn't quick enough with my camera phone or you would have seen antlers n' stuff. Anyway, there's more where he came from. This is my second moose siting in less than a month. They're cool, just so long as you don't piss 'em off. Then you find out why they have no natural predators. For this reason I decided that just because I was the only person around on a bike with knobby tires wasn't reason enough to warrent following him in hopes of getting a better shot.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A World Bigger Than Yourself

My dad had an article published today in his local paper. He's discussing issues concerning Lake Tahoe, but his point it relevant to all of us. I've never understood the 'it's all about me' cliche. What kind of world would that be to live in?

Ask not what the lake can do for you, but what you can do for the lake.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Diet Coke Is Very Very Bad

So I talk about this all the time, but have you seen the video(s) of what happens when you drop a Mentos into a Diet Coke? Funny, indeed, but the idea that some people drink this stuff in an attempt to get healthier is absurd.

Diet Coke/Mentos Fountain Show

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Time For A New Challenge

It's that time of year again; birthday challenge time. Since the last two years have, basically, gone down due to injury it's time to attempt something rather difficult. The rub, as the saying goes, is that I've not had ample time this year for serious training and I'll I've been doing is a lot of random exercise. Good exercise, mind you, but random as the same. So what to do...

Well, I'm not about to announce it yet. It's still too soon. But 460 clicks on the bike has a nice ring to it. I also planned to do the Santa Barbara 9 Trails race but it's sold out. This sucker is grueling all it's own, with 10,500' feet of elevation change over 35 miles of rocky singletrack. But, ya know, they can't really close the course so maybe I'll do it anyway. So let's see, that's 460k's on the bike, along with 35 miles of trail running with 10,500' of elevation change. How about rounding it up to 46,000' of elevation change? That's a cool 35,500 on the bike. I've done that much in a day; twice even. Course, both those days and I could hardly move when I was finished but what the hell? Isn't endurance suppose to increase as you age? Anyway, I rode three of our six canyons last weekend with Dustin (in prep for his challenge) and faired pretty well. That's a good 10,000' or so of climbing. Speaking of which, don't I need some in my challenge? Hmmm, starting to exceed what's possible in 24hrs for anyone. Maybe 46 hours. Then I could probably throw in 46 routes. Course, I haven't climbed much this year and the most pitches I've probably done in a day is 10. But, anyway, that's why I announce it in advance; so I can train. That's the FUN part!

So I've got something brewin', and it ain't gonna be easy. I'd better find some time for some long days and find out what kind of fitness all this randomness has given me.

Guess I'll go and ice now...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Drugs or Food?

Found this on the wires today:

Food Affects Some Like Drugs

Interesting in the wake up my feature article last week:

Food, Drugs, and Supplements: What's the Difference?
Part of my piece discusses which aided/hindered the person more, Bonds' nefarious drug use or The Babe's imfamous "diet".

While I'd like to file this under the "duh files", I can't. Our society seems to become more and more disconnected to their own bodies. We really need to change our education system. This should be basic knowledge for everyone, not some elective class that most people skip. It's just about the most fundamental thing we should learn--how our body works and how to take care of it. But I'll refrain from ranting today. Just read this stuff and see if you agree.