Race Sherpa Rises

Race Sherpa Rises

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The OCR Community, Peritoneal Perspiration, and Counting Chickens

I have never been quiet about the fact that I have an amazing family and amazing friends.

This has been true for as long as I can remember. Even though I have traveled around and lived in different places, I have always been blessed with a really great group of friends and acquaintances.

But I want to give a well-deserved, and specific, shout out to the OCR/Spartan community. In addition to the GoFundMe account that Matty and Amelia set up, and that so many people contributed to, I heard about the support shown for me and Rose at the LA Spartan Race this weekend; from moustache wearers to people running with Rose and Tim hashtags written on their bodies. There has been so much support from the OCR community, many people whom I don't know or haven't met personally, that it has been a little overwhelming.

Being a healthy and fit person my whole life, I never imagined that my name would be after one of those hashtags. And yet, here I am, recovering from cancer surgery and intraperitoneal chemotherapy, drain tubes still coming out of my abdomen, listening to stories about all of the community support. It is really amazing.

Of course, I know that this benefit is primarily the result of being Rose's significant other. She is the "popular" one. I have been at a lot of races with Rose. I know that whether she finishes 1st or 5th, the same number of people come up to her afterwards, wanting to talk to her or to get a photo with her. By association, much of that love spills over on to me. :)

But that aside, it doesn't change the fact that the OCR community has rallied around us in a way that I have not experienced from such a large group before. It is really remarkable, and I want to thank each and everyone of you for it. You, collectively as individuals, are why the community is what it is.

Ok, so, the drain tubes. They are still in because, apparently, my peritoneal keeps "sweating." I have the ok to have them removed as soon as the output gets below a certain number. But nope, they keep draining.

Of course, first and foremost, I am all for the best long-term recovery outcome. If that means leaving them in for another week, so be it.

But...I confess that I am ready to not be plugged in anymore. I have to wear a binder on my abdomen right now, and it is suppose to be a little snug to provide "support," both to my healing incision and to my (still in shock) abdominal muscles. But the binder also presses down on and rubs against the drain tubes sites, which is a bit uncomfortable. Probably the most discomfort that I have at this point.

And then there is also the logistics of the tubes and bulbs; pinned to my flannel shirt, tucked in to the internal pockets of a fleece vest, in the way of showering and washing, etc...

There have been a couple of times when the output has drastically dropped, and I'm like "sweet!" And then, eight hours later, there will be 50-100ml in them again. Ugh.

It's a mystery. I don't know how to stop my peritoneal from perspiring. :)

My next appointment with Dr. Foster is on Friday, 12/11. It might be my last appointment with him, outside of a CT we will have done the following week to get a "baseline" for future reference. At that point, I imagine the remaining incision stitches and the drain tubes will come out.

When I first received my cancer diagnosis back in late May, and I decided to blog about the experience, I thought long and hard about what to call the blog. I decided not to piggyback it on to my old blog (http://mydharmadays.blogspot.com/), which I started back in 2005.

Instead, I chose the Race Sherpa theme, and went with Race Sherpa Rises for two reasons:

1) Back when I started using Race Sherpa on Facebook (in private, I used it long before Rose got involved in OCR), I began every race travel morning with the line "Race Sherpa rises." Simply meaning, rises from sleep and off to action.

2) I knew that after surgery, there would come a time when I would have to battle back and reclaim my previous health and fitness. In this case, "rising" from the "ashes" of post-surgery/chemo.

I am not one to count my chickens before they hatch. At this point, I am still in full-on recovery mode (even though I am now past the point where most of the complications can arise). BUT, my mind is starting to create the template that I will use to re-create myself.

In many ways, this is a great opportunity. As a personal trainer and strength coach for the last 12 years, I have a lot of resources to draw from, but as sometimes happens when you are self-employed and busy, I had let my own training fall back in to a rut.

In my mind I was still seeking and innovating, but I wasn't spending enough time translating those new ideas to my body. I noticed this at least 2-3 years ago, but I continued to let the daily life stressors keep me from implementing all of the new ideas. I usually just defaulted back to the old tried and true routine.

But now I have the opportunity to start over, and to build from a different base. I am 49 years old, and have been an athlete all of my life. I don't want to just recover my old strength and fitness, I want to re-engineer myself, and embody the broad spectrum of what I think it means to be an athlete.

This doesn't mean I won't eventually find my way back in to the gym to push iron, but that isn't where I am going to start. I am going to lay a different foundation, and I have a lot of resources to draw upon.

First, yoga. I used to be a "yoga freak." I was really fortunate to be immersed in the yoga scene when I was (1998-2005 or so), because so many top teachers used to travel around and give amazing workshops. I had the opportunity to study with some of the best instructors in the world (at least those who visited the US), and I loved how each teacher had their own unique interpretation and expression. Many of these teachers are the primary teachers of people who teach today (or perhaps, by now, we are on the second generation).

At any rate, I took a break from yoga, for reasons that are too numerous to go in to now, and I never really went back. Not in earnest, at any rate. This winter will be a great time to re-immerse myself. My goal is not to become an asana master. Long ago I lost the desire to pursue the perfection of as many asansas as I could. I have some specific goals in mind, and knowing the principles of yoga very well, I will carve out and pursue my own unique practice.

Second, there are so many people out their doing cool work; bodyweight, clubbell/kettlebell, gymnastic/ground based movements, parkour, etc... I already own a lot of material/resources from these people, and I've dabbled it in for years, but I haven't really committed to it. And while there is way too much material here to do everything, and while each and every "system" might be complete in and of itself, I have already started to compose my own personal integration of it all. Mostly because that is just what I do. I am an integrator. I look for themes and principles and try to find the best ways to express them. Find what works and what is useful, and let the rest go.

There is no way I could list all of the people who are doing cool work in these areas, but here are some of my own personal favorites:
Ryan Hurst (Gold Medal Bodies) https://gmb.io/
Chip Conrad (BodyTribe) http://www.bodytribe.com/
Ross Enamait (Ross Training) http://rosstraining.com/blog/
Coach Sommer (Gymnastic Bodies) https://www.gymnasticbodies.com/
Mike Fitch (Global Bodyweight Training) http://www.globalbodyweighttraining.com/
Scott Sonnon (TACFIT/CST) http://www.rmaxinternational.com/om/home.php
Pavel Tsatsouline (StrongFirst) http://www.strongfirst.com/
Erwan Le Corre (MovNat) https://www.movnat.com/
Too many parkour-based resources to list

Of course, there are a lot of people in the traditional strength and conditioning world that I love as well, but because I am going to hold off on that piece until the rest of the foundation is in place, I won't bother listing any of them right now.

Three, climbing. Truth be told, I haven't done much climbing, and I have never excelled at it. As a traditional strength/power athlete, it always seemed so counter-intuitive. And that, along with it's high level of "function," is precisely why I want to do it. Besides, most of the climbers I know are good at so many other things.

Four, OCR. I don't mean the actual races. It will be a while before I am anywhere close to that. But I have always been an advocate for the OCR training paradigm. In fact, I had been conceptualizing that kind of training for quite some time when I went to my first ever Spartan Race (Washougal, 2013). I remember walking in to the festival area, looking around, and thinking "Holy crap, they are already doing all of this stuff, in a race format." It was pretty cool to see.

Of course, much of the stuff that I would clump in to "OCR training paradigm" can be covered in the groups listed above, but there are still the uber functional movements, or primary human movements. The ones you could label "farm/rancher/contractor training," especially heavy and awkward lifts and carries.

Fifth, and finally, running. I have been running for quite a while, so this isn't actually new. But my breathing issue forced me to do all of my runs long instead of fast. I would like to see what times I could drop to with my breathing back and with the correct training. I'd also like to get even better at what I am already decent at; running up mountains.

So those are the resources upon which I am drawing (plus others not listed); the bedrock from which I hope to rebuild my foundation.

Again, baby steps first. Recover, get my drain tubes out, get my stitches out, and ease back in to normal, every day activity. After that, it is game on.

Race Sherpa rises.

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