08 June 2009

Heart Matters

We had our first match of the USTA Summer season yesterday. Imagine running around for an hour and a half around a blazing hot concrete slab. It was rough. I mean, it was only 85 or so degrees, but tennis hardcourts radiate heat like a mother! I try not to drink sports drinks as they tend to have too much sugar, but I think I drank 3 by the time I was done. I couldn't help it, it was either that or pass out. My partner and I won, 6-0, 6-1 but the match took longer than normal. Afterwards the rest of my teammates and I went down to Marietta Square for some much needed grub. All in all, a very good day.

I'm starting to think that the extra protein shake might not be enough. We'll see. When I check a few sites, they all have me burning anywhere from 500-800 calories each time I play tennis. Yikes! One measly protein shake ain't gonna make up for that. I've been trying to eat 4 meals instead of 3 and I think I may need to find some good grazing food. I really like Pork Rinds, but they aren't too cool to have at work... or maybe that's just my perception, this is the south after all. I guess I will stop by the grocery store after work and pick up some sunflower seeds at least.

I tried a new marinade with my baked chicken last night and it's not too bad. I have noticed that the powder-based marinades - the ones I need to mix up myself - have much more robust flavors than jar based ones. Good stuff. I happily ate a couple of thighs for lunch today and am looking forward to have one as soon as I get home.

So, Thursday I have an appointment for an echocardiogram. My doc wants to make absolutely sure that my water retention issues are not heart related. Gosh, I remember the last time I had one of those, it had to be around 2002-2003, I honestly can't remember. I must've weighed maybe 450 lbs or so. Wow. I keenly remember the technician/nurse/doctor/whatever having to press really hard to get good images of my heart because I had so many layers of fat on my chest. It was painful and embarrassing. This time it should be different. Unless s/he's trying to get images through my boobs, s/he shouldn't have any issues. The only heart concern I have - and this may be a nonissue - is my relatively low heart rate, at rest it is consistently in the 40-50 beats per minute range. I remember back in 2007 when I went in to have my upper GI and they had me on a heart rate monitor and the alarm would go off every minute or so because my heart rate would fall below 40 bpm. My blood pressure is normal so I think it all just means I'm healthy. I eat fairly well and exercise a lot so I should be okay. We'll certainly see.

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06 June 2009


I went to the doc in late May and have finally gotten my labs back. All in all, not too horrible. Seems I'm lapsing into anemia again even though I have been consistently taking two Poly-Iron capsules every day, they each have 150mg of elemental iron. I'm on the hunt for a chewable iron that I can add to my arsenal and will probably split up my Poly-Iron into two doses instead of one. This is definitely one of the reasons I've been feeling a little sluggish lately.

The most distressing lab result is my albumin, 3.7. Although it's in the normal range, it's the lowest ever for me and I'm not too happy about it. I'd been doing well doing my 2-3 protein shakes a day and thought that that was my maintenance level. Well, what I didn't factor into my plans was the increase in physical activity and how much I'd need to adjust for it. Right now, I am playing tennis 4-5 times a week and I don't see that changing, if anything, I may be playing more. So the plan right now is to add yet another protein shake a day. Yep, 4 protein shakes a day. The first one before I walk out the door in the morning, another around 10:30 AM, the third around 3-4PM and the last sometime around 9-10 PM. I then usually have 3 meals. I've been doing this for about a week and it seems to work. I feel a lot better, so we'll see how it goes. The weird thing is that my total protein is 7.4 which is well within normal, so I'm not sure what that means.

Speaking of tennis, have I told you lately how much I love it! I freakin' love it. Yesterday, I went to Friday morning drills for an hour and a half. Now, typically they have three courts which are usually divided based on skill level and I consider myself a beginner. Well, that morning there wasn't enough people to warrant 3 courts so everyone was on two. As soon as I noticed, I was nearly petrified. I mean, I've been swimming happily in the kiddie pool, now I felt like I was being tossed in the deep end. It was incredibly intimidating, but I jumped right in and within 15-20 mins, I definitely felt like I could hang. It was the most awesome feeling I've had in a while. The pace was much quicker, the players were so much better, but I was right there in it! I played my butt off and of course, made mistakes but I wasn't categorically worse. It was sooooo cool. The best part, the absolute best part was when a couple of people came up to me afterward and said I had great hand/eye coordination and asked if I ever wanted to go out and hit to give them a call. That has never happened to me before. It felt awesome. It was just so cool. I feel so much more motivated to improve my game. A big test for me comes later this summer when there is a big tennis tournament. I'm going to go out of my comfort zone and find a partner and enter in. I don't know how well I will fare, but I think it'll be good to test myself. I'm excited.

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