16 March 2011

Set the brakes and move

With the title I'm probably having truck drivers collectively shaking their heads at me and saying I've got it backwards, but bear with me here, I'm going into a bit of lecture mode.  This month a twitter trucker friend ended up in the ICU with what started as a blood clot in the leg and broke up into several more in his lungs.  He was in a truck stop shower at the time when he started feeling like something wasn't right and made it out to the payphones to call 911.

How scary is that?  What could've/would've happened if he hadn't made it out to the payphones in time?  How long would it have taken someone to check on him?  To me that is extremely scary.  Hell, I don't even carry my ID with me 95% of the time when I walk into a truckstop/customer/rest area.  Anyways, this is happening entirely too much and we're allowing it to occur.  Whether it's fighting the clock on the 14 hour rule, allowing dispatch to push us too much, or just plain stupid machismo.  Yes, machismo.  How many times have you heard drivers bragging about how many miles they go without stopping for food or bathroom breaks?  If you happen to be someone like me who does stop approximately every 2-3 hours to stretch and move about, there are always those who think it's cute to point out they arrived somewhere an hour (or less) earlier.

Well, guess what?  We're just killing ourselves. Sometimes slowly, other times it's an extended process but we are killing ourselves.  The driver I mentioned earlier?  Not only were there blood clots, he'd also developed diabetes since his last physical only 5 months prior.  Yeah. That quick.  And if I'm not mistaken, he's younger than I am.

So here's my lecture/challenge/plea, however you choose to take it:  Get out of the truck and stretch your legs by walking at least into the truck stop or where ever minimum every 2-3 hours.  Drink water. Lots of water, yes it's a hassle having to stop and pee all the time (try hydrating for a race sometime while driving a big truck, lol) but it'll also help with the stretching and moving.  Try cutting out the fried foods at least a bit, maybe starting with one meal per day.  Eat more fruits and vegetables, helps with the hydration and damn near everywhere carries apples and oranges now, even McDonalds does.  Add in additional exercise, walking, calisthenics, etc.  Yes, people are gonna stare. Get over it, they'll stare anyways.  Do I even have to mention smoking?  Try and cut down a bit and there's absolutely no reason why you can't still add in exercise and eat better while smoking (not ideal but it's a horribly hard habit/addiction to break).

If you don't want to do this for yourselves, at least think about your family.  Who's gonna take care of them if you die or are permanently disabled?

Whoa, I've managed to go on a proper rant here but please at least try to add in some of this while you're out on the road.  I'm not saying it's easy by any means but it can be done, just takes commitment.  Here's a facebook link to the Truckin' Runners group, it's a great place to ask questions and get support.  There's also a website in the works posting routes that are easily accessible to us but I'm drawing a blank on the link right now and rushing to get this written. Hopefully someone (Jeff!!!) will email me the link or better yet put it in the comments section.

Be safe everyone!

A bit of an addendum to this post, the driver that was the inspiration for this post messaged me to say that this wasn't a sudden thing, he'd noticed being severely out of breath the week prior and had thought it was just some type of respiratory infection.  So please, please, please don't ignore symptoms.

A few more websites
Daily Mile
Cool Running Couch to 5k


BTJohnson said...

Nice rant Gabs ;-] It is easier than most think to make the small changes that make a big difference, I have realized this first hand in the last few months, doing just like you said in this post. I have minimized fast food [fat boy still likes a nasty greasy cheese burger some times] and started taking tons of fruit and veggies with me. I try to eat lean meat like turkey and pay attention to serving sizes and calories. For a snack, I'll have a 90 cal special k granola bar. Campbells chunky soup is usually >300 cal per can for a "big" meal. I walk or bike to work in good weather and walk when I'm on break. As a result I've dropped 30 pounds and a size in my waist in 6 mo...

gabsatrucker said...

BT, thanks for commenting!!! So many of us claim that nothing can be done health-wise when it reality it can, just requires a bit of extra planning. excellent job on the weight loss :))))

J Blake said...

In one of your blogs there was a cup of pickle juice I was wondering is it
really pickle juice of some kind of energy drink? Which ever it may be what
are the benefits? BTW nice taste in music you have probably already heard of
them but Kill Hannah is good try these, Lips Like Morphine, Hummingbirds the
Size of Bullets, Kennedy.

gabsatrucker said...

J, depending on the event, yes it's actually pickle juice but there is a sports drink out called Pickle Juice Sport that rocks too. It helps prevent cramping on super hot days. I'll be sure and check those bands out, always looking for new to me music :)

Christine B said...

Just found your blog on a link from One Girl Trucking. This is a great piece. I work in an office for a logistics company and have really started to press my running and fitness this year. We all need to pay attention.