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First, the average news. I twisted my ankle back on May 31st and I haven’t exercised since. It’s feeling much better and I’m fairly certain I could bike and swim, but I’m not sure about running and I don’t want to push it. I’m going to go to the doctor and get it checked out, but this is by far the longest I’ve gone between workouts.  Hopefully I’ll get back out there this week.

The good news is that I got my blood test results from my annual physical and my cholesterol is even lower than it was eight months ago.  The additional improvement is much less significant—an additional ~10% drop in cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL—but still great news.  My “healthy” cholesterol (HDL) hasn’t increased any, so I’ll have to work on that some more as it’s borderline.  Now if I can just train myself to eat smaller and more frequent meals, I might be able to drop back under 190.  One step at a time.. 🙂


Besides soccer and t-ball as a young child and a couple years of rollerhockey, I have never trained for, competed in, or certainly excelled at any athletic pursuit.  I belong to the first generation of what are now millions of kids and young adults who choose the immersive, interactive world of video games over athletics.  As a result of genetics—specifically my hyperactive imagination and my need to shut off the world—I have always loved gaming, from saving self-programmed games on audio cassettes for my TI-99/4A to entering hex-code cheats in ProDOS on my Apple //c to playing Company of Heroes on the souped-up Dell XPS with which I’m typing this post.

But it was my genetics, including that hyperactive imagination and my need to escape, that created a short bout of anxiety back in March which drove me to embrace exercise.  Although I credit gaming for a great deal of the mindset that has helped me become a successful consultant, it doesn’t deliver near the endorphins that aerobic activity does, and it certainly doesn’t help me burn off my nervous energy.  So even though I still plan on playing video games now and again, I’ve not played since March and swimming, biking, and running have largely become my new “hobby.”

That brings me to the good news.  It seems that triathlon has another advantage over gaming when it comes to my genetics.  High cholesterol runs in my family, and back in March when I got my blood tested mine was no exception. My cholesterol level was 181, which although not the worst it’s ever been, still put me at risk for all sorts of nasty health conditions.  Fast forward to mid-September when I had a follow-up blood draw, and I learned that my cholesterol dropped 45 points in just six months!  Moreover, my unhealthy (i.e. LDL) cholesterol dropped by 50 points, reducing my cholesterol-related health risk (i.e. LDL/HDL risk ratio) by over 40%.  Note that besides cutting out white bread, flour pasta, and sugar drinks, I changed almost nothing about my diet.  I only increased my aerobic exercise time from 0 hours per week to 6-8 hours per week.

With less than a year of training under my belt I’m still an exercise newbie, so we’ll see how long I actually keep up this new hobby.   But results like that one get me even more fired up to make life changes that do good for both my brain and body.

After six months of training, I am not racing the U.S. Open Triathlon this Sunday.  More accurately, I’m deferring my participation until 2009.  How did this happen?  Well, it’s been a long week.

As you probably read in my earlier posts, my trip to Minneapolis was awesome.  But I arrived home feeling a bit under the weather, and by the time I woke up the next day I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.  My body was sore, my sinuses ached, and although I had no drainage I had a 101.7 fever.  I cancelled my business trips to Seattle (Microsoft Partner Advisory Council meeting) and Chicago (EMC Consulting training event) and got my doctor to squeeze me in for an appointment.  I tested negative for influenza and strep, and so he decided that I likely had a rare sinusitis bug and put me on a very powerful antibiotic called Avelox (in the quinolone family, along with the infamous Cipro used to fight Anthrax).

Avelox quickly killed off whatever I had.  Within two days, I was feeling a lot better.  But I found myself getting progressively jittery, and soon I was back in full-blown anxiety mode for the first time in over five months.  I was up all night, pacing back and forth, arms shaking, mind racing, brain chemistry totally shot.  I did manage to get a few hours sleep, but not near enough to make up for how hard the week had been, and without getting into details, the morning was absolute hell.  (Thanks to Joanne, her mom, my mom, and Nicole for helping me through it.)

Luckily, in my “mental” state I got even more obsessive than usual (I know, imagine that!), and I decided to research my antbiotic.  I found that for a small number of patients, the quinolone family of antibiotics causes extreme anxiety and other psychosis.  Wonderful.  I immediately made another appointment with my doctor.

He again squeezed me in, collected a detailed history of the week, and concurred with my findings about Avelox.  He took me off the drug immediately and prescribed Augmentin—which, interestingly enough, was the antibiotic I should  have had, as my initial test was a false negative and in fact I had strep throat instead of sinusitis all along.  The half-life of the Avelox is 12 hours, so it’ll take a while to get out of my system, but just one day later I’ve managed to get almost 9 hours sleep and I have no more anxiety symptoms.

Of course, I’m bummed about having to miss my triathlon, but if I’m honest I must say I’m a very lucky guy.  Back in March, my initial anxiety produced far more silver lining than cloud, and if I look back I have to admit that I’ve probably enjoyed swimming, biking, and running more than I would have enjoyed any actual race.  God clearly had a plan for me back then and I know He does again this time around.  Although it was nice to lose a pound a day and finally hit my target weight of 188 (40 pounds lost from my max!), I honestly would not wish those 48 hours on my worst enemy.


  • Highest weight: 228 pounds
  • Lowest weight: 187 pounds
  • Current weight: 216 pounds
  • Started training: March 17, 2008
  • First Sprint: June 26, 2008
  • First Olympic: May 17, 2009
  • First Half: TBD 2011
  • Longest swim: 2.05 miles
  • Longest bike: 63.57 miles
  • Longest run: 13.33 miles