Have you seen the movie 'A Perfect Storm'? There are a couple of really dramatic scenes where the dude who plays Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore tells us of the convergence of weather patterns creating the monster storm that will eventually sink the fishing boat that George Clooney and Marky Mark are on. Oh the humanity! (I know it is at least based on a true story and don't mean to make light of the plight of the real people who were involved in the incident. I'm more poking fun at the over-dramatization that Hollywood spins into nearly everything it touches). The reason I bring it up is I think that old Shooter could just as easily be talking about my family's health history.
Dad - Diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, heart problems and strokes. Mom - heart attack at 35, significant back problems, multiple bypasses, stint implants, medication, etc to deal with heart issues. I have an uncle who died of a heart attack at 32 (although drug use probably played a significant role) and a sister who died in her 40s from a diabetes related incident. All in all, not a pretty picture. I've been pretty diligent about keeping up with the annual physicals, which helped identify an issue with high cholesterol (shocker!!! see family history above). Upon learning of this condition about 2 1/2 years ago, my doctor indicated I would need to improve my eating and exercise habits dramatically and immediately or would be forced to go onto long term medication to control the cholesterol. I felt like I was, and still am, far too young for this sort of a pharmaceutical regimen, so I took doc seriously.
By sticking to a low cholesterol diet and working out, I was able to shed about 35 pounds over 4 months or so and upon re-checking, had reigned in the cholesterol to a level that was just below the danger zone. Since then, I've done a pretty good job of keeping the weight in the right vicinity and largely maintaining the diet. Exercise has been a bit more spotty but I've been on again off again keeping up with it. Another recent physical has me thinking about it again as my diet had slipped a little and I hadn't been working out as regularly as I would like. So, I've begun to run again and actually participated in a 5k run yesterday. Damn I'm sore! I've been running for about 4 weeks regularly again, up to 2.5 miles at a clip but I guess that extra .6 miles makes a big difference. My time was 29 minutes even, a couple minutes worse than my best ever but I felt pretty good about it. I plan to continue participating in these, I'll post results here to track my progress (and hopefully improvement). If I remember correctly, my best time is about 27:30 so I'm definitely in the neighborhood.
On the edge
One big challenge to keeping up this discipline will be the fact that I start class TONIGHT! 3 hours of Basic Stats, woohoo!!!!! I hope I'll be able to keep my eyes open. This course is just to fulfill a program entry requirement for my Master's program. Apparently the math class I took as an undergrad didn't fulfill the need. I'm not expecting it to be extremely difficult as when I purchased the textbook, the description said it is often used for high school classes. I'm hopeful that the course will help me with the math involved in my poker playing and I'd be lying if I didn't say that was at least partly the reason why I chose this class. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
I'm sure I'll post again either later this week or over the weekend with an update on week one of classes.
Until next time.