Thursday, December 24

Urban Training

As you may imagine, Dr. Benza and I are extremely busy, and finding time to train is quickly surfacing as one of our more significant challenges. Integrating training into our everyday activities will hopefully give us the biggest bang for our buck. With offices on the 16th floor of Allegheny General Hospital, one way to maximize our time is quite simply...take the stairs.

(that is, except when i am in heels and a suit)

Please support me, Dr. Benza, and Dr. Frantz in this effort to increase awareness and raise money for PHA.

Monday, December 21

Devils Tower

This summer my daughter Christina and I climbed Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming (the first National Monument, made famous in Close Encounters of the Third Kind). It was a wonderful Father-Daughter experience as she made the transition from high school to college. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills is a classic climbing handbook with a title that captures so much the feeling of freedom that comes from being on vertical rock or a mountain path. My expression of sheer joy is all about that. Why climb? Purity of effort, simplicity of purpose, freedom from distraction, and what the great Charles Houston so aptly named the "Brotherhood of the Rope". The bond between climbers can be a wonderful thing. On Kilimanjaro, Jessica, Ray and I will share a common purpose and help each other along the way, just as the members of PHA help each other in their ongoing quest to live with and ultimately conquer pulmonary arterial hypertension. Support the PHA Brotherhood!

These Boots are Made for Walking

People have been asking me, "How are you training?"

Of course, cardiovascular training is imperative. But my theory finds roots from a trek years ago in the grand canyon. At that time, I was in impeccable cardiovascular shape. My fellow hiker was just that... a hiker. As we ascended the bone-jarring switchbacks, she needed frequent breaks to catch her breath, and I felt like I was doing great.... until the next day. Every joint in my body hurt, and I discovered muscles that I only learned about in anatomy class. My friend... she felt great. I learned then that my cardiovascular advantage proved little to prepare me for a strenuous hike. If you are going to swim, you should train by swimming. If you are going to hike up a mountain, you better get hiking...

Pittsburgh has the unique profile of steep urban hills requiring steps for commuters, lending a great training ground outside of the gym. This pic was taken while appreciating the view of the 'Burgh during step training.

Hiking at Kent Falls, CT...

Thursday, December 17

You gotta move it move it move it...

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I ran four days in a row, fueled by that irresistible pumpkin pie. And then winter set in with characteristic fury here in Minnesnowta. A foot of snow and gale force winds created drifts 6 feet high. So cross country skiing took the place of running, and tonite it was off to the gym for some weight training and quad burning on a bike. In just 2 months we will start wending our way up Kilimanjaro, every step bringing to mind our patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Won't you consider a year end tax deductible contribution to help find the path to a cure? Quiet contemplation leads to wise decisions.