My 52-Year-Old Back Feels Great


After a life of contact sport and a workplace injury in 1987 I’ve had a bad back my whole life.  I was diagnosed with a bulging disc L4/L5 back in 1987 but have remained active…running, cycling, playing hockey etc. right up to the ripe old age of 49.  Sure I had the odd flare-up every 5 years or so…then every 3 years, then annually…but I was still functioning at a high level as a result of daily stretching and strengthening and staying active.

In late 2016 things got worse.  I was waking up every morning with a very stiff back.  By 10 at night it was locked up and I could barely get out of bed after reading to my daughter.  For the first time I actually hung up the skates.

Following an X-Ray I was diagnosed with advanced arthritis in my lower back.  My Doctor told me that there was no reason to hope the condition would improve…that I could only hope to delay or slow the worsening.  I was encouraged to keep up with my stretching and strengthening, but that I would likely have to take Tylenol morning and night for the rest of my life.  I should give up hockey.  I should give up running.

At the age of 52 I am now happily almost pain free and have not taken anti-inflammatory or pain medication more than once a month or so for 2 years.  I went back to hockey this past season and felt no discomfort.  Gardening? No sweat.  I have been cycling over 150km per week for over 8 weeks now as part of my Give’r Project toward a world free from cancer.  If I didn’t have a sprain in my abdomen I’d be running too.  I am looking forward to another 30 years of daily strenuous activity.

I attribute this to 2 things.  First of all I have remained passionate about movement, sports and exercise and there was no way I was going to give up things I loved.  Ping me in the comments if you are interested in what my daily practice is.  I also started taking Turmeric (Jarrow Formula Curcumin Phytosome 500mg) daily around 2 years ago after conducting a bunch of research of my own.  Dr. Rhonda Patrick’s recommendations sealed the deal.

Turmeric is really the only thing that is new in my routine…that and the simple passage of time that may also have had an effect.

Try it out!

1,110 km down & $3,175 raised! Give’r Project Week 7 Update


We’re over 32% toward our goal of funding a potentially lifesaving critical trial for someone facing cancer.

Through the past 7 weeks on the bike  I have reclaimed my appreciation of the flow that comes from long, difficult physical exertion.  It has been a revelation…rediscovering what I knew 15 years ago when I was regularly running and training for 10k’s, half marathons and triathlons.

The Give’r Project – a continuation of 13 years of cycling and fundraising for cancer research – is a beautiful compliment and reinforcing of a lifelong commitment to fitness, health and well-being.

There really is only one finish line, and when we see a world free from cancer in 2030 it will be time to share a beer, some high-fives, and then lace up and keep right on going.

Thanks for supporting my Give’r Project.  Join Team Cross Cancer Institute or create your own team and Just Give’r.

A Virtuous Cycle


Readers of this blog know that I pledged to ride, run, swim and paddle 8,000 km in under a year in support of cancer research, prevention and care at the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

I used to run a lot when I was younger…and running 3-4 times a week kept me in touch with not only the physical and mental health benefits of running, but also the well of creativity that one can access when pushing hard physically…the turning off of the chattering mind and turning on of the benefits of flow.

Frankly I made the pledge to cover 8,000 km on a bit of a whim…I was reading about the 40th Anniversary of the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope just as it was announced that my annual Ride to Conquer Cancer had been cancelled.  As a supporter of cancer research I wanted to do something and the Give’r Project was born.

Stuck inside on a trainer for the most part I had started to flag last week…feeling isolated and wondering if I had bitten off more than I could chew.  But now, 6 weeks and 950 km in,  I feel like I have crested a big hill.  I feel stronger all of a sudden, and the riding is less drudgery and more inspiration.  I have tapped that well and where there was boredom, isolation and anxiety I am now experiencing expansiveness, wellness and creativity.

I heard someone say today, related to the pandemic, “…tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

I’m feeling it.  If you are having a hard time getting moving, maybe you should just Give’r.

 

Week 3 Training Blog, Ride to Conquer Cancer


Here we are 2 months out from the longest ride in my life, and training is going great.  Team Alberto European Extreme Style is coming together well on both the riding and fundraising fronts.  We are up to 25 riders now and with another $7,000 coming in from sponsors via mail we should be in the top 10 teams in total money raised.

Right on Track: We’re almost 80% of the way to our goal of raising over $50,000 as a team!

Riding

Saturday we did the ride out to Horseshoe Bay again under some beautiful sunshine.  It’s a rolling ride that should be quite similar to the trip down to Seattle so it is an appropriate test that we will be completing a couple times a month.  Rode with Dean, Kathy and Eilleen and felt strong as an ox on the climbs.  The 50k ride took us over 2 hours but we were pretty leisurely. 

The team has a pretty wide range of ability so we’re a pretty good cross-section of the people who will be on the Ride with us…from enthusiastic non-riders all the way up to the super-fit triathlete.  This is good because everyone should have someone to ride with all the way to Seattle.

We’re using the La Bicicletta Sunday morning rides as our team get-togethers.  This is a solid group for people who want a regular opportunity to ride in a pack at a moderate speed.  They leave at 9:30 sharp from the store at Broadway and Alberta each week (be there by 9:15 ready to go).

I’ve been riding to work through the midweek rains as well to keep my fitness up during the less than ideal weather and playing hockey where I can to keep the training up.

Fundraising

For a number of people on the team last week seemed to be the time to start fundraising in earnest.  There is still plenty of time, and we have some fun events planned in addition to everyone’s personal efforts.  In addition to Mike Scholten’s successful Burger and Beer at one20 pub in Surrey on Saturday, Kathy, Sue and Sarah have a great event planned at Red Square Tapas Lounge on the 30th:

Thursday April 30th at 7pm
Red Square Tapas Lounge, downtown Vancouver 1216 Granville street (near Davie).
We have collected some great swag for prizes – yoga membership, salon products and professional services, Lacoste bags, GC’s, bike gear…
$5 at the door directly to donation, gives you $5 off food/drinks.

Contact me at awg_home@hotmail.com if you want to support the event.

We are also planning a gala event at our restaurant sponsor Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano in June.  More on that later.

Monday-Thursday: Bike to work, 30 minutes round trip

Friday: Off

Saturday:  50km ride, 2:20:17 (frequent stops)

Kitsilano to Horseshoe Bay.  Great rolling ride.  Nice opportunity to climb in the big ring to build power and practice going downhill. 

We’re beginning to work out in our heads how long it will take to get down to Seattle.  Judging from our experience at the Tour of Courage in 2007 riding with Axel Merckx and Alex Stieda, we should be able to hold a pretty good speed without too much effort in a pack.

Just have to be fit enough to stay with the Pack!

Week 2 Training Blog


After an absolutely fantastic weekend last week, we’ve had a typical Vancouver week of rain.  Threw a wet blanket over outdoor activity.  Thankfully the sun returned today (Easter Monday) and Anita, Dean, Kathy and I jumped on our bikes for a most excellent 2 hour ride to Iona Beach and down by UBC.

Team Alberto is kicking into a higher gear with 2 months to go until the Ride to Conquer Cancer.   Lots of people putting renewed effort in, and Colleen just completed her goal of raising over $2,500. 

We’ve had a new joiner, Sid Segal, who completed a 500 mile ride in September where he and his daughter raised over $8,000.  They’ll fit right in.  I’ll be in Toronto next week and will be visiting Alberto Culver to thank the company for their sponsorship and do a presentation on the BC Cancer Foundation.  We’re going to totally blow away the goal of $50,000.

A week into my training blog and while I wasn’t able to shed any weight, I did lose 1% body fat.  Hoping that building muscle should pay dividends in the summer racing season. 

Was chatting on the bike with Dean about my goal of setting a personal best in both the Olympic Tri and the 10k this year.  I think the 10k goal is going to be the tougher of the 2, but am up for the challenge.

Monday: Walk to work; 45 minutes each way. 

Tuesday: Bike to work; 15 minutes each way. 

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Hockey, 90 minutes. Scored a goal and we pulled out an 11-9 win in a pick up game

Friday: 3 hour walk around Vancouver, The Seawall to Chinatown and around. Doing the tour-guide thing with Myrna’s friend Pam.

Saturday: Cycling 60 Minutes on the trainer in-doors

Sunday: Church, and Easter Pot-Luck Dinner.

Monday: 49.20 km Ride,  Time 1:57:44, top speed 63km/hr, ave speed 25.1 km/hr

Beautiful day to ride. Out to Iona Beach and back along UBC.  With a bit of a tailwind we were able to hold 40km/hr on the flat. I was a little bit wiped out afterwards, but it was Easter Monday so a day of rest was in order.