This weekend my wife and I took my dog on a 3.5 mile hike around Town Lake here in Austin. He’s a Catahoula Leopard Dog which is a hunting/working dog. He typically gets a daily walk of a half mile in the neighborhood to a full mile if he talks me into going through the park. He’s a very strong dog for his 65 lbs. and is typically “up for anything” physical even though he’s never had a Bud Light. The walk around the lake was uneventful and we decided to give him a shower outside on the driveway when we got home.
A little while after his shower my wife noticed that his tail was down. To be honest, that’s something that I’ve never really paid any attention to and wouldn’t have noticed had she not pointed it out. He was also sort of letting out this old man groan when he laid down which seemed kind of unusual for him being only 3 years old. I’d heard it before about 2 weeks ago after I’d taken him for the same hike around the lake and didn’t really think it was anything to worry about.
My wife was far more concerned than I about his tail being down and unbeknownst to me decided to do a little research on the World Wide Web/Information Super Highway. Well, it turns out that my dog Steve, was suffering from Limber Tail Syndrome. “What?” It’s a condition that happens to hunting and working dogs who over exert themselves while doing things beyond their level of conditioning. It could be something like a walk that’s longer than usual, as in my case, running with your dog if they’re not used to it or letting your dog frolic in the water for an extended time at the beach.
What happens is the muscles at the base of the dogs tale become inflamed and painful from over exertion. This prevents Rover from flying his flag. The remedy is to just let your dog rest. An anti-inflammatory may be in order but probably not necessary. Most dogs will recover from this in 2 days to two weeks. Just so you know, many vets aren’t familiar with this and will want to do x-rays and other unnecessary tests that could adversely affect the ole Hip National Bank.
How many of us humans being, yes I meant that, have done something similar when embarking on our new fitness program. You finally move from the Good Intentions program to actually doing something and what do you do? You bite off more than you can chew. You don’t take an incremental approach to getting back into shape. You don’t take into account that it took a good amount of time to get to the unconditioned state you’re in. And for some reason you think you can get into Olympic like shape in one or two sessions. Then it happens. You over exert yourself. Limber Tail Syndrome.
And you know what happens next? You start whining and complaining because… it’s too hard. You forget about your goals and how you’re going to start eating better. You forget about all things you’ll be able to do with your family, friends and grandchildren because you lost weight and now have the energy. And there you sit at the table of broken dreams. And it’s a damn shame… because your intentions were noble. You just tried to do too much, too soon.
So understand what condition your condition is in. Take an incremental approach. You have the rest of your life to get in shape. If you were thinking that you just wanted to exercise and eat better until you got back in shape, my question is why? Why would you want to deny yourself all of the life enhancing benefits of a fit and healthy body for as long as possible?
You don’t have to exercise for long periods of time. I work out for 15 minutes, 3 times per week and I’ve been doing it for 13 straight years. Start with what you can do and increase it as you feel yourself getting stronger and fitter. If you need a little help getting started, go to kevinfurey.com, and click on Product Reviews. On the right hand side of the page there’s a place for your name and email. Give me those and I’ll send you my Freedom From Fat report FREE of charge to get you headed in the right direction.
I had the recent pleasure of watching a history making World Series.
I’m not much a a Major League Baseball fan but I enjoy the broadcast drama of the playoffs and World Series.
My team didn’t win. No, I’m a transplanted Midwestern boy now living in Texas. I have nothing against the Giants. In fact, I like them. But being from the Midwest, I was looking for that Cinderella story.
I saw various celebrities in the crowd. A hopeful Tom Watson was there with his family. I thought about the Cinderella story that could have been, when, at 59 years old he stood over an 8 foot putt on the 18th green at Turnberry in 2009. If he makes the putt, he wins the British Open and becomes the oldest major winner in history. If he misses, he’d face Stewart Cink in a four hole playoff. Tom had already accomplished something phenomenal in leading the tournament for all four days.
Tom steadied himself over the putt. He’d been known as an aggressive putter throughout his whole career. For whatever reason, Tom’s nerves got the best of him and he pushed the putt to the right. A weak and very uncharacteristic stroke for Watson. He then proceeded to completely unravel in the four hole playoff, losing to Cink. He watched Cink drop his putt on the 18th while blinking through his tears. The beautiful thing was… the crowd cheered for the loser. On that day, the sentiment was with what could have been. What mattered was the effort, the focus and the human experience of failure after giving all you could possibly give for four days… and coming up a few inches to the right shy of victory.
Madison Bumgarner made World Series history by becoming the first pitcher to have 4 World Series wins by the age of 25. Even though I was pulling for the Royals, I couldn’t help marvel at the maestro on the mound. I was awestruck as I watched the methodical grace of his mechanics and delivery. This is truly a gifted pitcher.
But the most amazing thing I noticed was his presence in the dugout. While not on the mound he sat silently and alone. His face was emotionless as he seemed to drink in everything that was happening until it was his turn again. And when he got to the mound there seemed to be a kind of old fashioned work ethic as if he was there to “work his shift”.
When he was being interviewed after game seven, the announcer seemed like she was trying to get him to reveal his magic formula or how he dealt with the fatigue and pressure to get the W. Bumgarner seemed oblivious to what she was saying. He said he didn’t care about how many innings he pitched or how many pitches it took. He was just trying to get batters out. That’s all that mattered. Not how many innings he had already pitched, not how many pitches he had already thrown, not how it was affecting his throwing arm, not what the score was and not who was on base… He was focused on one thing, er… really two. Being present on the mound and getting batters out.
When you exercise, are you present? Are you focused on your form? Do you see a picture of the result you want? If your mind is somewhere else, I recommend two things. Just like Bumgarner did. Focus on your form for safety and greater results. Imagine what you want the end result to be. That’s the mind body connection. When your focus is on your form in the present, your mind will help you better achieve what future result you want.
July 23, 2011
A few days ago my family and I spent the day at Schlitterbahn – also known as “The Hottest Coolest Time In Texas”. It’s a water park that’s been voted #1 in the country for 13 straight years.
Every time that we’ve gone, the plan has been to get there really early so we don’t have to wait in long lines in the sweltering heat to get on the rides. It finally occurred to me this time that everyone else is thinking the same thing, so there’s no real value to getting up early and rushing to get there.
My 15 and 12 year old daughters brought 3 of their friends who had never been there before.
Upon arrival, we went through our usual routine of getting a locker for our valuables and securing a covered picnic table where we could stash our coolers. That’s one of the coolest things… they let you bring your own food. You just put it under the table and nobody messes with it.
There is one small caveat. They search your cooler for glass and alcohol when you come through the door. Not that big of deal. At least you don’t have to subject yourself to an enhanced pat down by the TSA. Come to think of it, what does a terrorist in a swim suit look like?
Once settled, it was a bee line to the tower where you can choose to ride The Master Blaster, The Wolf Pack, or The Black Knight. The girls chose the Master Blaster even though the wait was 1 hour and 45 minutes. We chose the Wolf Pack because the wait was ONLY 45 minutes to an hour.
The Wolf Pack is kind of like 3 Men In A Tub with water pushing you down and around a fast curvy chute. I was facing backwards this time and got the benefit of hearing the screams and seeing the expressions on the faces of my wife and daughter.
After that, the girls all decided to explore things together and we decided to leisurely ride the Torrent River. It’s a circle of water about 5 ft. deep that winds around the park and has a strong current accompanied by small Tsunamis at various points for added thrills. Most people ride inner tubes provided by the park but you can go solo as well.
We kind of lost track of time and in our fun ended up going around a lot more times than I realized. That resulted in me actually getting a little sea sick from the jostling water and the heat. Nothing bad though, just a little uncomfortable. At that point it was around noon so we decided to stop and get something to eat. Isn’t food the cure for everything?
After lunch the girls headed to the original part of the park and we went to Boogie Bahn. I was still feeling a little sluggish so my wife found me a lounge chair that we strategically placed beneath a big oak tree. I decided to take a nap while she waded into the Crystal River. It’s similar to The Torrent River but without the Tsunami surges.
While trying to take a nap it occurred to me just how derned hot it was. I was in the shade with my cap over my eyes and I had to keep adjusting my cap just to breath. I felt like weanie on one of those hot dog rotisseries.
After about 45 minutes I got up and felt a lot better. It was at that point that I spotted the people next to me feasting on chocolate ice cream from a cornucopia disguised as a waffle cone. It was a signal from God that I needed some ice cream to be whole again.
So we set out looking for an ice cream oasis. We found one and I zeroed in on the mint chocolate chip. It really was what the Dr. ordered, me being the doctor of course and at that point I was completely revived. So I took advantage of one last ride in the original park before heading back to meet the girls. The ride was called Soda Straws. And if I don’t go down the Soda Straws when we go to Schlitterbahn… it’s as if we didn’t go at all.
Once back at the Torrent River concrete beach my wife and I put some beach chairs in the water to just relax and observe people having fun. So what did I observe?
A man that was so hairy he looked like he was half ape.
People with tattoos ranging from the interesting to the WTH ridiculous.
More cleavage than a night at the Oscars.
A guy with nipple rings.
A girl that was 6 ft. tall with pink hair and tattoos that snaked around her body from her shoulders to her feet. She even had a wedge of hair cut out of the top side of her head where her scalp was inked. I’m sure if I had a chance to talk to her I’d find she was really “sweet”.
I saw all different sizes of people from the anorexic to the morbidly obese.
But one of the most interesting things I observed was people trying to get out their inner tubes when they washed up close to shore. Many couldn’t get out because they let themselves get too close to shore and they didn’t have the buoyancy of the water to help push them out. They ended up having to roll out onto their stomachs onto the cement. And once out, many of them in their forties and fifties had a helluva time just trying to stand up without help. It was kind of funny until I thought about what other things they couldn’t do because of their poor physical conditioning.
It made me realize there are a lot of people who could use my help.
We don’t stop exercising because we grow old. We grow old because we stop exercising.