Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spartan Race a Walk in the Park After Cancer Treatment

This past weekend I just completed my first Super Spartan race of eight miles of obstacles at Oleta Park in North Miami on February 23, 2013. I would have thought this to be an extreme challenge especially when I picked up my bib envelope which stated in big letters "There is a real possibility YOU MAY DIE ..." 
Super Spartan Race Feb 23 2013 Lt. Colonel Bob Weinstein, Ret.

This statement did not alarm me. In the fall of 2011 I was diagnosed with an aggressive type of prostate cancer. The thought of "YOU MAY DIE" occurred to me with this news. I had surgery in January 2012 which was successful and was monitored with PSA tests for any indicators of activity that should not have been present. Then, in October 2012, my PSA elevated again. I then received 39 radiation treatments which were completed in January 2013. I was warned that I may suffer from radiation fatigue for up to six months.

What was my strategy to get through these special challenges fully aware that cancer could terminate my life sooner than I had anticipated? 

1. Faith. 
My first priority was to make sure that my heart was right with God and man and woman. Any feelings of animosity, bitterness, hatred or lack of forgiveness are things God does not like and I can think of a lot of people who don't like them either. Such feelings are poison. They will poison me and poison others around me so they've got to go. I have been praying a lot lately. By the way, a lengthy and wordy prayer is not necessary. Let your humble heart speak and God will listen. We have all heard, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's another form of the Golden Rule. The original Golden Rule has a hierarchy of love. It starts off with loving God with all that you've got and then loving others the same.That is the hierarchy of love that empowers us to love those who insult us, don't agree with our political view or whatever the reason may be. Loving others who are easy to love, well, is easy and really doesn't count as the godly love.
2. Family and Friends
Treasure every moment with family and friends and make time for them. My wife, Grit, has been a tremendous support through these challenges and many of my friends as well. I count my beach boot camp recruits as my friends and am very grateful for their inspiration that they give me.
3. Stay Active
Keep moving the body and keep working at whatever it is you do within your capabilities. 
4. Eat Right
Contrary to the many claims on the internet and elsewhere, there is no cure for cancer. Eat fruits and vegetables and if you desire to indulge in some happy but unhealthy food like whoopie pies or chicken wings or an alcoholic beverage, make it the exception and not the rule.
5. Do Not Dwell on the Negative
Dwelling on negative thoughts is harmful to your health and may harm the health of others with your bad mood.
6. Maintain a Positive Attitude and a Sense of Humor
Be thankful every day you get up with the understanding that stuff happens and it happens to everyone. When stuff happens never say, "Oh, this is going to be a bad day for me."
7. Focus on What You Can Do
We all have our limits and capabilities. It doesn't matter. Always focus on what you CAN do and strive to improve, not on what you cannot accomplish. During beach boot camp classes I sometimes get the response from new recruits, "I'm gasping and out of breath, I apologize." And my response is always, 

"Never, ever apologize for being fatigued. You must meet my friend Fatigue before you can meet my friend Progress. Fatigue is the gatekeeper to Progress."

8. Quiet Time
Even if it's for a few minutes, schedule quiet time every day. Clear your head of all the noise and distraction that hinder the ability to reflect about life and where and how you fit in and what is most important and what is not.

Super Spartan Miami, Feb 23 2013 Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, ret..
Speaking of fatigue, there was plenty of that to go around during the Super Spartan Race. Whether it was the dragging a big stone on a chain, carrying a heavy sandbag overcoming walls up to 8 feet high or climbing up a rope 30 feet high and ringing a little bell, my friend Fatigue was constantly paying me a visit. Mile eight was the most challenging for me since my electrolytes were low and my calves were cramping up on me. In the future, I will make sure that I replenish electrolytes starting with mile 4 and then 6. There were three opportunities to hydrate with water along the way.

I ran in the elite male category which started at 8:00 AM and finished in 2 hours 16 minutes and came in second in my age category. I am 61. I think the same guy put me in second place that did during the Miami Zoo mud run last year. I'll beat him next time!

Miami Zoo Mud Run 2011

For information on beach boot camp classes use the links below.

Contact info
Bob Weinstein
Lt. Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired