Couple Days of Exercise and a Couple of Days by Herself.

8521520_origI went to the gym for the second straight day…I’m sore.  The picture to the left is a picture of the golf course obviously taken during the summer, not there would be just mounds of white.  The course is decent, the lies aren’t as tight as I am use to, and the greens are pretty slow and rough, especially during the fall. That is a nice picture though!

The gym I go to is called Pine Grove Health and Country Club.  I tried to get a picture of the fitness center but for some reason it wouldn’t copy.  So here is a link that shows the Fitness Area.  It is actually quite a bit bigger than it looks in the picture. There are side rooms and you can’t see much of the basketball court.  On the opposite side there are some turf fields and the local high schools baseball, soccer, and lacrosse teams use to practice during the winter months.  Today the girls lacrosse team was practicing.

I like the gym a lot but am I out of shape.  Yesterday I worked on my shoulders, arms, and legs.  Today I concentrated on my chest and legs.  I also did some box jumps and power slams with a medicine ball.  Can’t believe how much I have forgotten how to jump.  I use to run and jump off anything…now a 10-inch high box looks intimidating to jump up on.

My plan is to work on general fitness for a month or so before I start the golf specific training.  I will list the books and trainers that I want to use in another post.  Most likely I will create a hybrid taking the exercises that they all use and then incorporate others from each person that I think seem reasonable.  I also need to take some yogi or Pilates (the health club doesn’t seem to have a Pilates class) to help my flexibility.  Maybe  TRX class too.

Since I have my girls this weekend my girlfriend gets to solo with her kids.  I check in often but she is doing great.  I go over and change the bandages around her drainage tubes.  The fluid is clearing up and decreasing in volume too.  Hopefully this will be the last week with those in.  Can’t wait until those are out, mainly because they look like they have to be a pain in the ass, but also so she can move forward and see what is next, probably expanding the expanders’ in her chest.  Tuesday we have an appointment with another doctor to talk about the estrogen positive result in the biopsy.  No idea what the doctor will suggest.  I talked to my girlfriend a little about it the other day.  I asked her if she wanted to stop her natural estrogen, she said “I just don’t want cancer”.  I know there are health risks with stopping estrogen too, but it seems like whatever the doctor says she will go with.  But I would have to second her opinion, I don’t want her to have cancer again either.


Fitbit or Jawbone? Help!

Now that I am back in the gym I would really like to track how active I am throughout the day.  Why? Because I’m a  scientist, and that is what we do, track crap, analyze the shit out of it, make tables, graphs, and document the hell out of the data…that’s why.  I understand I have issues…

Anyway, I was thinking of purchasing either a Fitbit Flexsimple.b-dis-png.h4621896b75431a4c9499334fb64c3247.pack



or a Jawbone Up.  Unknown


Does anyone out there have an opinion on either of these devices?  Are they worth it, do they work, or are they a waste of money?

Reviews posted on aren’t great for either.  People seem to either love them or hate.  Leave me a comment as to your thoughts on these devices, or your suggestion for a different model or make.

Back in the Gym

one leg shoulder press-1I have been putting it off for a while, I guess I had as good an excuse as any with the girlfriends surgery and taking care of a couple of houses, but I know that there is really no excuse.  So yesterday, with some help, I made up my mind what gym I wanted to go to.  I moved to west side of town and the gym I went to previously is really out of the way now.  I had a couple of close choices.  One is actually a country club where they turned their indoor tennis courts in to a nice gym; the other is a chain gym that recently modified a large building into a very clean and modern gym.  By the way the picture isn’t of me…

The chain gym had Black Friday deals that they wouldn’t divulge until Thanksgiving.  So I took a look at the country club gym.  It is large, they have a lot of equipment, a small soft track, basketball court, spin room, aerobics room, warrior fitness area, TRX area, stretching area and two corners where there are actual living rooms set up…like I said large!  They had some deals, but not great ones, basically a $50 charge and then $30 a month (all classes and the whole facility open to you).  Friends told me that you can talk him down in price, especially with the new chain gym coming to this side of town.  The locker room was that great, clean, nice lockers, sauna, but small and group showers.  That is really an issue since it is 3-minutes from my place.  I could go to the gym and then go home, shower, then head to work.  Pretty handy, plus if you join you get some deals for the course.  It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great, and it is public, even with the country club name.  The advantage I saw was that in the spring and summer I could go and practice putting and chipping at the putting green after I work out.  I liked it, except for the price, I understand there is a lot, but I don’t really need all of it, I would rather save some money.  My girlfriend has a family membership at this place and gets a discount I guess since she went to high school with one of the people who run it.

I looked at the chain gym, it has a juice bar, brand new equipment set up in what I think is a very logical way, a spin room, aerobics room, and a nice locker room with large private showers, area to shave and prep for the day, and a sauna.  When I visited to take a look they set me up with one of their trainers who showed me around.  Membership included towel service, 3 personal training sessions, and some credit at the juice bar.  The trainer was really nice, answered my questions, and was not in a rush.  She promised to call me when the black friday specials were released.  So on Thanksgiving evening, sure enough she called me, she asked if I had time to talk, very polite.  I was impressed.  They had a great deal of $15 setup fee and $15 a month for life with no term agreement.  I was pretty much sold.

Friday as I was picking up my girls from their home my girlfriend texted me saying that she called the country club gym to ask if I could be added to the family membership.  I didn’t really think this was an option since I wasn’t married to her or even living in the same house.  But I guess since she knew the people they made an exception and would add me to the family membership without any additional costs.  She said I should join the chain gym since I liked it and then use the country club once in a while.

Now I have two good choices.  In the end I decided to go to the country club gym especially since it is so handy and I can practice my short game and not feel strange just showing up and practicing for free.  I will give my girlfriend the $15 a month to reduce her costs.  It seems like a win/win to me!  So I’m back in a gym and ready to get into golf shape again!  Only 5 months until I see grass again…

Review of Golf Flow by Gio Valiante Buy It!

97814504340413_zoomGolf Flow was written in 2013 by Gio Valiante.  Mr. Valiante is a prominent sport psychologist that has several of top golfers as clients, including Matt Kuchar, Justine Rose, Alexis Thompson, Davis Love III and Camilo Villegas to name a few.  Gio also wrote Fearless Golf in 2005.  I have read Fearless Golf but I will have to admit that I can’t remember that much about it.

I will not hide my feelings about Golf Flow though, if you remember my easy book rating system of:

  • Don’t Bother
  • Loan It From The Library; and
  • Buy It

This book is easily a Buy It!  Read this book from cover to cover and you will be saying “yeah that sounds like me” or, “I do that sometimes”, and usually “Yes, I need to work on that”.  The book is well written and Gio explains the psychological reasons why negative thoughts creep into your mind.  Beyond that he has some tips to help you stop thinking negatively.  The book is divided into 4 parts, The Glow Flow Experience, Your Flow Toolbox, Flow on the PGA Tour, and Ten Keys to Flow on the Course.  Golf Flow is defined as those peak experiences that you feel when your game comes all together.  The point of the book is to prepare you to experience this peak flow more often than you do now so you can score better more often.

The first part of the book, The Golf Flow Experience, explains Golf Flow, what it is, how it affects you, how to control it, and how you can become aware of flow.

The second part, Your Flow Toolbox, is a discussion of Mastery Orientation and Ego Orientation and why you need to learn to be a Master Orientation person over an Ego player.  How to adapt your mind, become resilience and overcome adversity and how to achieve confidence and sustain it for success.  To me this part is very helpful and I will be purchasing the book (I usually loan books from the library if I am not sure about them) and re-reading this section throughout the next golf season.

The third part of the book, Flow on the PGA Tour, goes through Gio’s stable of players one by one and uses them as examples to explain his points of view.  I am very interested in players backgrounds and how they practice and what their thoughts are so I liked reading this part of the book.  It was not only interesting but also helpful.

The last part of the book, Ten Keys to Flow on the Course, is really like having a session with Gio as he gives tips on how to adapt his Golf Flo process to your game.  It has chapters titled, Mange Time Effectively, Practice with a Purpose, Achieve a Mastery Mind-Set, Craft Your Environment, Respond Positively to Negativity, Control Your Body among others.  Again most if not all of this material is in my opinion very important.

I believe my mental thought process is one of the weak aspects of my game.  I do not think I am a total Ego player, but becoming more of a Mastery player will benefit me greatly.  I am not going to explain or define these terms in this blog, I don’t think I could do them justice, as they are new terms to me too.  But I will be re-reading this book to understand them more, especially the last part of the book to improve my game.  I have read several mental golf books and this one is by far the best that I have read.  Buy It Now.

Happy Thanksgiving!

untitledI want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I know that I have a lot to be thankful for.  After the cancer scare and surgery I am very thankful that my girlfriend is now cancer free and on her way to successful recovery.  I can’t talk for her but I know that the worst part of the cancer is the not knowing.  When she was first diagnosed I was ok they will perform a lumpectomy and we will be done with it.  But the doctors wanted to run a genetic screen and an MRI.  They found more masses and had to do further biopsies.  More time without knowing.  The biopsies were painful to her and the results seem to take forever.  Luckly, at the time, the biopsies came back negative.  I thought great we are back to the lumpectomy all we had to do was wait for the genetic screen.  Again waiting, the waiting is the hard part.  Once there is a plan I can seem to focus on that, it is the not knowing that sucks.  Well the genetic screening came back inconclusive and tumor was estrogen positive.  My girlfriend and her immediate family were thinking double mastectomy, I was against it at first.  But after talking to more people about it, reading journal articles, and blogs from people who have gone through it, I understand the mental advantages of removing both breasts if for nothing else a sense of mind knowing that it will not return at a great percentage than normal cancer rates for healthy individuals.  Once the surgery was scheduled all we had to worry about were the lymph nodes.  The last couple days before the surgery was very stressful for her, once I thought she was going to back out of it.  But she didn’t; the surgery went well, the lymph nodes and remainder of the tissue were cancer free and the recovery has gone better than even the doctors expected.  More importantly her mental state is great and to me that has to be one of the reasons that her recovery is going so well.

That is what I am thankful for.  My girlfriend is healthy, my two daughters are healthy, I’m healthy.  I can’t ask for more than that.

I hope everyone else has a great Thanksgiving, I’m sure there are those out there that aren’t as lucky, but know that I will be hoping everything works out.

On a side note lake effect snow this morning, 5 or 6 inches on the ground…no Black Friday golf tomorrow.

She is Kicking the Crap Out of This and the Cancer is Gone!

I am so proud of her, I can’t believe how well she is doing.  Today was the best day so far, she does have pain but the sharp shooting pains are less frequent.  It has been 9-days since they cut off her boobs and she is up moving around, doing little tasks and such.  But it is her mental state that amazes me.  I haven’t heard her feel sorry for herself yet.  She even joked the other day when she looked down and could see her feet (she had D cups previously) and laughed about it.  I don’t think I would be in that good of a mood.  She has even gone outside for a walk around the block!  Not today though as a few inches of snow fell last night. She complains once in a while about how tight her chest feels, like she has books stacked on her chest, but that is about it.  She has four drains sticking out of her chest and they are still draining 40 to 80 mL per day.  They can’t be removed until all of the drains drain less than 30 mL per day for 2 straight days.  The worst pain is when she sits upright and bends forward a little and either the drains or chest expanders rub, pinch, or poke her inside.  Once the drains are out they can start expanding the expanders…wonder what that will feel like.

I haven’t talked much about my feelings.  I was pretty sad for her before and during the operation.  Mostly because I was so sad she had to go through all of this.  I don’t believe in mutation, I loved her boobs, but I understand she had to do all she could to extend her life and rid herself of the cancer.  I get it, but I would have to think twice before someone cut a part of me off.  The good news is that the lymph nodes were clean and Friday we got the good news that the tissue biopsy came back negative.  NO MORE CANCER!  No radiation, no chemotherapy. Just healing and reconstruction.  I’m sure it won’t be a walk in the park, but we won’t have to worry about a reoccurrence!

My feelings…I still can’t write them all down, can’t put my arms around them.  Right now I am so happy that all of the cancer is gone and medical treatments are done.  I can handle the plastic surgery part.  But can someone tell me how they recreate nipples and tatoo the areola onto the breast?  Please…

Gary Player – Don’t Choke

untitledThis past week I read Gary Player’s book Gary Player Don’t Choke A Champion’s Guide to Winning Under Pressure.  The book is titled correctly…Gary Player.  It reads like Gary Player telling his life story and bragging about it.  Now I know this sounds negative and I half mean it that way.  I’m not even sure the book could have been edited differently to make it not seem like he was bragging.  Ok, now the other half, I think that Gary’s message throughout the book is a good one.  He tells his story of working hard, being fit to make up for his small stature, and more importantly (in my opinion) his positive outlook on his game and on life.

In the book Gary explains his thought patterns before and during his major tournament wins as well as some interesting stories about his life.  The book also contains many photographs of Gary.   Now I never was much of a Gary Player fan, I can remember watching golf on television with my father and hating it when we won.  I’m not sure why I didn’t like him, whether it was his cocky attitude, black clothing, that he was beating my favorite Lee Trevino, or the fact that he was South African.  I will admit that I didn’t like that he was a white South African and probably was part of the apartheid problem.  Remember I was young at this time and now I know that he was not a person involved in apartheid, au contraire he was trying to be a part of the solution.  To set the record straight Gary had nothing to do with apartheid and was an oppenent to racism that was occurring in his homeland.  Being young at the time I am not sure if he was vocal against it, or I just did not follow it close enough to know he spoke out against apartheid.  Now I have a different opinion of Gary, maybe I have mellowed, or that I can see all of his life time achievements in front of me, but I do believe that Gary Player was a great golfer and is a good, if not great man.  Gary needed that cocky attitude to play at the high level he did when he was playing on the PGA and later on the then Senior PGA Tour.  His view is that you need to think you will win to enable you to win tournaments.  His point in the book is that to stop yourself choking you need to believe in yourself and keeping a positive attitude on your abilities.

I think if you read the book that you will agree with my statements about Gary.  Gary lists his ten commandments of golf, business and life (they are posted on the back book jacket in fact) and I think they are good words to live by.  I won’t post them here, I will let you read them for yourself.

My rating system for books will be simple.  Don’t bother, loan it from the library, or purchase it.  Gary Player Don’t Choke is a library loaner…worth the read once.

Hit a Few Tonight, Frozen Ground Does Wonders for Distance

I found myself at my daughters volleyball game a little early tonight and just down the road from the school is a driving range.  Generally in upstate New York driving ranges aren’t built on the best ground and this one is no exception.  It is low ground and very wet (which makes no sense to me, how do they pickup balls in the spring?) and with the sub freezing weather the ground was frozen.  I had so shag balls in my trunk so I took 15 or 20 to the tee area and pounded them out.  The cold air decreased the flight time but the hard ground allowed them to run forever!  It was nice to actually swing.  I didn’t have time with my work schedule and girlfriends surgery to play during the last few warmer days we had.  I find that if I don’t play for a couple of weeks that when I do get around to hitting a few it makes me that more aware of how much I love the game of golf!

My girlfriends visit to the doctor went well, she is doing great except for some severe pain on her left side.  We are not sure if it is the drainage tubes or the expander that she is feeling, but when we change the dressing she hurts bad.  It is hard to bandage her back up while hurting her but there isn’t much I can do except get it done as quickly as possible.  I am surprised at how well she is moving and so was the doctor!  Tomorrow we visit the actual surgeon ( the last doctor was the plastic surgeon), I hope she has good news on the tissue biopsy…

I Didn’t Think I Would Be Posting About Fantasy Golf

I didn’t think that fantasy golf would even be on my radar 4-days after my girlfriends double mastectomy but she is doing great!  We even went for a short walk around the block.  Yes she has pain, but she is up walking around, eating well, and is generally in a good mood.  Wish I could say the same for her kids.  They are not making me very welcome while I stay here and take care of the house.  One of them is helpful some of the time.  They are spoiled and selfish, I know that would hurt her to say but the truth is the truth.  She is either blind to it, doesn’t care, or doesn’t know what to do.  I hope it is the later but I’m not sure.  But enough of them.  The hardest part of post surgery is keeping the pain meds working.  They just don’t last as long as the suggested time frame.  They should last 6-hrs but they start to wear off after about 4-hours.  I usually try to occupy her time when they wear off to keep her mind off of the pain but after 5-hours she usually takes a new set.  She doesn’t take the narcotics until bed time as they make her nauseous and she doesn’t like the way they make her feel.  Can’t blame her there.  Tomorrow we have an appointment with the surgeon to change the bandages and take a look at her chest.  I wonder how she will take that…time will tell.

I had an alright weekend with fantasy golf.  I was 3,700 this week with Brian Stuard (2nd place) giving most of my money.  Clark and Every both were tied 36th and Briny missed the cut…amazing how someone does so well the week before and then sucks.  My money total this week moved me to 9,300 place or so overall.  I know it seems a long way back but a couple big weeks here and there move you up quick.  Next picks aren’t until December 30th.  I was glad for the Harris English win, I like that kid and think he is going to be a good player.  Henrik Stenson too, I usually do not rout for non-Americans but Henrik is good and took charge in Dubai.

Helping around the house here and keeping up my place along with work doesn’t leave me much time to work out…ok I haven’t been.  I know I need to though.  I have too.  I read a good book while I was at the hospital and while she was sleeping.  Gary Player’s “Don’t Choke” I will summarize my thoughts on it in my next post.

Finding the Drug Balance

First full day home from the hospital and she is doing well.  I am surprised how well she is doing mentally.  I figured that she would be down in the dumps on how flat she is.  But surprisingly she only mentioned it a couple of times.  She keeps trying to look down the bra/bandage they put on her.  One would think that emptying the chest drains would be the worst part, but it isn’t, the worst is trying to balance out the pain killers.  The have this need device installed in her chest that automatically pumps pain killers into the wound area.  That has to help quite a bit, but the oral drugs are hard to balance out, they just don’t last as long as they are supposed to.  The doctor doesn’t want her in pain so I end up giving her the pain killers a little early.  Thank goodness she only takes the narcotics at night when she sleeps or I would be worried about it.  Her kids have been pretty good and have helped quite a bit.   People have been great bring food over and setting up calendars so only one person brings food each day.  Actually, I’m a good cook and am a little disappointed that I haven’t had to cook but there sure are others things that I can do.  I do appreciate the help!

Great day for November, almost 60-degrees.  Raked leafs, did some outside work.  Didn’t dare leave to go play golf, it probably would have been ok but I would not of felt good doing it.

So far so good.  I hope we can keep her spirits up…