Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Down a pint

I gave blood yesterday, for the first time since I started out on the Road of Iron. I thought, with this being the interval between Ironman Wisconsin ’07 and the road to IM Wisconsin ’08, that it’d be a good time to give. I’ve given maybe fifty times in the last thirty years, I have O-negative blood (which makes me a universal donor), and, well, I feel guilty if I don’t give.

I walked up to Canadian Blood Services’ Toronto headquarters (pictured) at College and Elizabeth streets, about a mile from my office. (Interestingly—or maybe not—this handsome building was the site of the Hospital for Sick Children for sixty years.) Even before I saw the phlebotomist, I was asked to make my next appointment. I went through the usual embarrassing questions (“Have you ever had sex with a man? Have you ever paid for sex with money or drugs?”) and was soon in the donation chair. It took only four minutes to give my 500 cm³—very close to a U.S. pint.

They insist that you not just march out, which is what I always want to do. Instead, some ancient volunteer plies you with juice and cookies. I took the minimum: a Tetra Pak of apple juice. As I walked down Elizabeth Street I felt the usual light-headedness I get from sweet juices, and promised myself I’d bring a protein bar next time. Thus, I could be seen to eat, but it’d be something tolerable.

But will there be a next time? I walked the mile to work without incident, even picking up granddaughter Andrea’s bike (an Aquila Tri Kids, very sweet) from the Urbane Cyclist. (There’s a bit of irony here as the folks at “Urbane” are the sworn enemies of Aquila Cycles’ owners, the guys at Racer Sportif, which claims to be “the leading racing bike store in Toronto”.)

Later that afternoon I walked the mile from my office to pick up my Odyssey from the garage, again with nothing negative, except, maybe, I felt a bit tired. After we declared a supper emergency and had our “emergency food” and the inevitable cereal-as-dessert, I had the energy to clean the catboxes and the frig and gather the dry garbage from around the house. (Today is garbage day on our street.)

But this morning, well: up, as usual, at 4:30, a refreshing mug of coffee, breakfast (more cereal!), into my bike clothes, my bike loaded up for my 7:00 swim group—I bounded upstairs with M.’s wake-up waffles and coffee—and found myself breathless and even just a tad sick-dizzy. At 6:40 I decided I wasn’t going anywhere, and so changed into my Lululemon warm-ups and sent a working-from-home e-mail. It’s taken to mid-afternoon to feel normal.

I checked my journal and training log from the time of my last donation, and don’t have anything negative recorded there. I do wonder if I should keep my Nov. 13 appointment to give another pint.

In other news, Coach Steve and I had a lengthy and productive chat yesterday. We discussed my goals and our approaches to it, especially in the near and medium term. I think I can cut 15 minutes off my swim time—he seems to think I can cut 30 to 40 off! He’s also hopeful, aggressive, or deluded about how much time I can cut off my bike; when I said 7:30 was a plausible target, he said closer to 7:00. So my goal seems to be something like a 15:30 at Ironman Wisconsin, which would be awesome—really.

We agreed to get together for what I’m calling a technical review, that is, a review of my technique, on Sept. 29. We’ll go over my cycling technique on his trainer, do some running, and then go to the Mississauga Y to swim and do some weights. Should be—interesting!


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