Thursday, December 3, 2009

Training for surgery

I never played soccer at at high level.  I was on my high school's junior varsity team.  An ugly foot injury prevented me from spending my senior season on the varsity bench.  Of course, I didn't play at all in college or in grad school because (a) neither school had a soccer team and (b) what did you not understand about my lack of talent?  Only when I moved to MoCo, did I start playing again in a weekly pick-up match, with many foreign post-docs (and a gangly domestic one).  So I quickly developed a three-fold strategy:
1. pass to the Frenchman,
2. pass to the Spaniard (sorry, not you. The other Spaniard),
3) pass to the Brazilian

Early in my pick-up soccer career, I picked up a bad ankle injury.  Later on, I picked up a bad knee.  So nowadays, if I run for more than 1 minute, I have to wrap my knee and ankle and take ibuprofen.

But the doctors want me to get in better shape before surgery.  The surgeon says I should focus on cardio exercises and the oncologist says I should do some weight training to build muscle mass.  It's a good thing I didn't ask the gasteroenterologist and the radiation oncologist too, or I'd have to add pilates and jazzercise to the regimen. So now I'm resuming my pre-cancer exercise routine - OK, truthfully, I slacked off months before the diagnosis. 

Instead of actually running, I use an elliptical. It's not one of the fancy ones with many electronic controls and readouts.  It's a pretty simple one that displays the wrong speed and the wrong distance. That doesn't really matter, my goal is to get up to 20 minutes in the "green zone" of the display.  The yellow zone means I'm moving too slowly and the red zone means my ego thinks I'm a lot younger than my body is.  The lack of any lateral motion saves my ankle.  In addition to the joint-sparing, no impact workout, I can use the elliptical in any weather and, when I get tired, I don't have to worry about how far from home I am.  I also have a knock-off of the Total Gym - you know, that resistance machine advertised by Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley.  I bought the knock-off because I'm cheap and because it's reasonable for a limited amount of upper and lower body exercise, but I'm not going to get buff with this.

So, If I keep to a rigorous schedule, I'll be in decent shape for surgery.  After surgery, of course, I'll lose weight and stamina again and have to start all over again.  If all goes well though, I will be in game form when the World Cup starts in June.  With the current injuries to our crucial players, the US will need a good bench warmer.  I hope the gangly guy gets in shape too.  We may need him on set pieces.


  1. You should start a blog to keep us updated on your training regimen.

    Oh, wait...

  2. I agree, you should find an outlet for your musings....

    Oh, wait...

  3. You had a Spaniard, a Frenchman and a Brazillian on your soccer team? That's more coalition building than in Afghanistan, maybe you should get the Nobel.

    I once used a treadmill, my goal was to keep my heart rate below 100; took me forever to do half a mile (0.8 km for your soccer amigos).

  4. If GWB knew soccer in addition to baseball, he would have been a better diplomat. It's so easy to strike up a conversatio with furriners (legal ones, of course) when you mention the World Cup or their national team. I met a woman from Cameroon who was delighted that I, an American, knew something about her country because I mentioned her team's nickname, The Indominatable Lions.

  5. He can't get the Nobel, for I-270 actually did something.

    "Peace through strength." Unless you're Switzerland, then it's "Peace through Some Pretty Good Chocolate. And Watches."

  6. You know, without me on the other end of the bench for balance, you could fall to the ground and re-injure your ankle. I'll get back on the bike.

    (PS My strategy in those games was:
    1) Foul the Frenchman
    2) Foul the Spaniard (whichever was closest)
    3) Foul the Brazilian

    And then I could plead ignorance of the rules because I am American. Hehehehe.