Ironman: Art, Science Or Suicide?

My brother's response to my daily 'aortic surgery to Ironman' diary. Interesting, and nice to know that people care. Thanks, Trevor.

My brother’s response to my daily ‘aortic surgery to Ironman’ diary. Interesting, and nice to know that people care. Thanks, Trevor.

Hi folks, another lovely day!

Taking a chance or having a nap?

Taking a chance or having a kip? They’ve only known each other for 48 hours!

Life, in addition to being wet and dynamic, is dangerous.

Just the way it is, but should we court danger for no good reason? What is a good reason? Such thoughts cause my brain to return to the story of the terrible doom. Here it is in brief, as I best remember it:

“A young king was born in a country far away, and as he grew to maturity he started to fear death. He decided to consult a soothsayer on the issue of his demise, and the prophet said, “Young man, you are going to die of a terrible doom.” The young king was horrified, so he decided to employ all the resources of his kingdom to prevent this eventuality.

A friendly artist, Duncan, I met during my first 'long' walk after surgery. Interesting man, artist and game theorist, and I wouldn't have encountered him if I was 'safely' hidden in my house!

A friendly artist, Duncan, I met during my first ‘long’ walk after surgery. Interesting man, artist and game theorist. I wouldn’t have encountered him if I was safe in my house!

He stayed in his castle, which he had guarded around the clock by the best warriors. He employed a food taster (to test for poison – great job). He pursued no dangerous sports. He didn’t even marry (now there’s a dangerous sport). He eschewed approaching the high ramparts of his castle to enjoy the view, but he lived to be a very old man. Whilst lying on his deathbed, at the end of this long life, he suddenly realized to his dismay that he had created his own terrible doom. He hadn’t explored his kingdom or foreign countries, or experienced the joys of the hunt, falling in love or raising children. He’d lived his terrible doom to the end of his days by taking no chances – in fact, he hadn’t lived!”

Photo of FitOldDog on the bike course at Lake Placid 2011

Well, I know I can’t do this. Too much hip flexion.

But does this concept of living the terrible doom, or alternatively my potential suicide, apply to training for an Ironman race, a not so easy Ironman race, following surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm stent extension? I think that one or the other might if I don’t stick to my plan, whilst employing all the art and science that I can to each training decision I make along the way (210 days to go now).

You can share each of these decisions as race day approaches on my parallel blog stream, which will be entitled, “FitOldDog’s Training Diary (Day #) – From Aortic Surgery To The 2014 Lake Placid Ironman.”

Longest suicide note in history? We’ll see what the future brings. What do I have in my favor, with respect to survival? Well: (1) I’ve entered 9 and completed 6 full Ironman races, including Louisville 3 months ago, where I placed 3rd in my age group, (2) I study body awareness diligently, (3) I have a team at the Cleveland Clinic and Cook Medical to talk to, and maybe, just maybe, a researcher at Stanford, when it comes to safe cycling with the stent extension, and (4) I think I have a fair hold on both the art and science of Ironman, whilst being aware of my limitations as best I can (Dirty Harry would be proud). My plan is to weight the dice in my favor and lets the chips fall where they may, if you don’t mind the mixed metaphor.

I must admit that I’m curious to see what happens.

Curiosity killed the cat!

Curiosity killed the cat!

-k @FitOldDog



  1. weight = weigh. Sorry, can’t pass up the opportunity. Love the new animal tribe picture. I agree that one has to live one’s life weighing all the possibilities, then moving forward. I believe you approach things with scientific reason and logic before proceeding. Time will tell if you can do this and, if you can’t, if you will gracefully retreat from the front lines of the battle.

    • Discretion is the better part of valor, I agree. My sister missed that edit. I’ll go fix it tomorrow, but Deb and I are going to continue listening to A Christmas Carol audio book now. Cheers, Kevin

  2. No, you weight the dice in your favour (or favor).

  3. Ex-editor.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.