Posts Tagged fitness

The big time dream coefficient

Swim…Bike…Run. I’ve been training for months for the 11 Global Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon. That’s 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. I can do it, but an entrapped ulnar nerve in my right elbow has forced me out of the competition, again…
Three doctors told me surgery should be done ASAP to prevent further permanent nerve damage yet I struggle to find excuses why I shouldn’t do it. “It’s getting better; it’s not so bad…” My mind reels with the what if’s. I am stronger, faster, and fitter than I have ever been. Why me? As if that’s an excuse… The road to Hell has been paved by excuses.
Why am I so obsessed with a race that means relatively little in the scheme of life? The Boston Marathon has been forever marred by the senseless tragedy of it all. All those people chasing their dream have had their glory ruined by cowards.
My kids love me; I know they do. I see it in their faces when I give them chocolate milk just because. I want them to grow up chasing their dreams as wife and I have done. I am weeks away from dissertation success and beating the human odds everyday for the last five years since I was confined to a wheelchair and hobbled by a cane. Right now, son’s dream is to beat “Temple Run.” Well, he’s four. Daughter’s dream is to be a dance choreographer and she competes at the highest levels of our expectations.
I am reminded of Rudy where a small-town guy that is too small battles and beats the odds of a big-time dream. Dreams can be reached; they just need to be tempered with realistic expectations. On September 29, i will toe the line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta. See you at the starting line.

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The Reality of Reality TV

Why is the SyFy channel showing more reality dreck on TV? I pay for this channel so I can watch reruns of TV shows that engage me with quality story lines and B-movies that make me laugh at their horrible special effects. I don’t need reality; it’s mundane and trite.

As I lie in bed recovering from minor surgery, I was hoping for an escape from all the details I’m missing by not working, not writing (dissertation), and not parenting. When a trip to the bathroom becomes the highlight of my morning, I need to move on.
Daughter turned ten this week and now constantly reminds everyone she’s officially a tween. Next thing I know, she’ll want the car keys.

Meanwhile, today at son’s school, Santa is visiting. Yes, I think it’s the first week of November but the Big Man gets pretty busy this time of year. So, last night wife and I encouraged son to make a list of what he wants from Santa. See- Santa told me he wants to give him a bike, but the first words out of son’s mouth, “Zero bikes!” This might pose a bit of a problem…

As son was being toweled off and daughter was in shower, she had no problems spouting off everything she wants. Yes, I said it was her birthday recently and I may have mentioned she won a Kindle Fire HD and has an iTouch, but she wants a computer. I think it’s time she got ahold of some lowered expectations. I imagine Santa might be suggesting a bike for her as well. Heck, why don’t we all ask for bikes!

Speaking of bikes, I continue to research the best possible options to improve my tour de force in the 2nd leg of my next triathlon. I am hoping that a sale will occur at the same time that I actually have cash to buy one because they never seem to coincide.
I’ve noticed that sales are tricks, friends, meant to steal our hard earned cash by “enticing” us with a slightly better model for a modest increase in price. No, I want the cheap one to be cheaper. I don’t want the more expensive one to be just a touch pricier that I spend more money.

This is a lesson that I learned in college, not through education, but late night TV viewing. One night the wife comes into our apartment and catches me, phone and credit card in hand, buying…you guessed it! A Body by Jake Total Fitness Gym that had interchangeable bands for weighted resistance. Best damn clothes rack I ever bought!

Well, I won’t get any good feedback from the doctor until next week when the stitches come out and I get a set of X-rays. My fitness goal is to be cross-training until January 1st then hit the pavement. I have 9mos to reach my goal. Speaking of which, I saw a tweet that said Ironman Florida sold out in 30min. I just hope I get a starting spot at the 70.3 Augusta.

It seems SyFy has a whole damn day planned for Hollywood Collector so I guess I could actually read. My latest book is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Lets hope I never find out because I know they serve it in Heaven. Hey, wife! Get me a beer and make me a ham sammich.

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Embracing the suck of an intergalactic fracture

Stardate: 58365.1 Sector 001, Atlanta. It was 4 degrees Celsius and I was dressed in shorts, a long sleeve t-shirt, and Mizuno running shoes. It was the Atlanta Marathon and I knew I could run the distance. As I started from Turner Field, I paced myself- not running too quickly with the lead pack. I’d been in that situation before, but 26.2 miles meant careful planning. At mile fifteen, a monkey jumped on my back but I had enough energy to run over and hug daughter, 9.2 to go. When I hit “Cardiac Hill” (for those of you familiar with the Peachtree Road Race) I slowed to a crawl. Then, cramps… I had to make it. As I rounded Capitol Avenue to see the Olympic Rings, I told my running companion, “Let’s make this count…,” and sped across the finish line with family cheering. That’s what a race feels like. That’s why we do it.

With training, setbacks come and go; each one seems like it’ll be the end of the road. You take two steps back for every one forward. Then the next race appears on the horizon and you know it is a goal worth reaching. Whether it is a fun run or an Ironman, each runner takes a challenge to push themselves farther and faster than before to earn the intrinsic reward of achievement. You spend hours in the pool, miles on the road, and days of recovery only to be sidelined by an insidious, barely visible crack that runs through your tibia and the doctor suggests surgery.

This is not my first rodeo, daughter and son barely know the “healthy” me, having seen me undergo surgery after surgery to repair the “blue light special” fracture of the day. Health is not a goal, it is a drive to meet the needs of my family; but I do not train to become healthy. It may be a side-effect, a good one; but, I train to embrace the suck. To prove to myself I can be stronger, faster, smarter.

Wife is the real victim; she works harder to help the kids, care for me, and perform well at work.  She is my Lt. Commander Nella Doran to my Captain Picard. Picard opened his heart up once and it was worth it; my wife is worth every moment we spend together.

Today is Halloween, and I am going to dress as wife’s husband, and son and daughter’s father. You don’t need a costume to make that look good. Sometimes, you just need to show up. The next race is the May 11, 2013 11Global Olympic Triathlon at Lake Oconee. I’ll be there because sometimes you just need to show up.

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Setting goals on poop or something like that

                This weekend, the family got the scoop on poop. Seriously, there was an exhibit at Fernbank Museum where son and daughter could learn how long it takes an elephant to poop their weight (6hours). The Labor Day weekend was filled with frivolity as wife and I decided to splurge on everything from clothes at the mall to dinners out. Wife ran her first 10km road race on Monday. I woke the kids after she left and we made a sign that said “Go Mommy!” As runners ran by, they pointed and smiled at son in his monkey pajamas eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut waiting for wife to run by.

Later that day, after the museum, son fell asleep in car. Allowing him to OMG finally take a nap; wife prepared a pallet for him to sleep on in the family room. See, we tried the couch, once. Once. Wife took a trash bag and placed it on the floor then covered it with a blanket and a pillow lest he leaks and we have to get out the green machine to clean up. He slept for a blissful hour. I am sure he enjoyed the rest; we enjoyed it more. Daughter kept saying she wasn’t tired until she succumbed in the car and her face fell forward into sleep. Overall, it was a nice drive home.

Today, I signed up for the Eric Shanteau Swim For Your Life race in two weeks. It has a 1km and a 5km swim. I would suggest that for most people, 3.1miles in the water would constitute the equivalent effort of a half-marathon. I never swam that far before, but have tackled 1.5miles in open water at the beach this summer. I swam 2.5miles half a dozen times in the pool, and regularly swim 6-8miles per week. In the pool…big difference. Once you leave the confines of the safety net of a pool, nothing is the same. This should be a piece of cake for the Ironmen and women who have to swim 2.4miles often in ocean water that at times can be rough. WARNING: solicitation coming…If you’d like to donate money to the LiveSTRONG Foundation or just want to check out Eric’s amazing story, go to http://www.shanteauopenwater.com .

There are amazing people in this world to whom we are introduced everyday; I think the most amazing people are the ones that take a step forward towards a goal, whether they can achieve it or not. Daughter dreams of dancing in the great theatres of the world; son wants to haul garbage; wife wants to run a half-marathon; I want to go farther and faster than the time before. What’s your goal?

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Boldly going where I’ve gone before

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My last day of summer was spent in an orthopedic surgeon’s office learning that I had suffered a stress fracture during Tri the Mountains in Blue Ridge, GA. So, everyone at work on Fridays asks what happened, what now, do you own stock in casts? Really?!? That’s what I had to look forward to heading back to work. Meanwhile, my dad watched the kids since I was at work and they had not started school yet. Bonus: I drove the latest Lexus SUV to work. Man, people gawked at me… No, I didn’t hit the lotto. Trust me, had I won, I wouldn’t be working.

Last night, family went to Matilda’s in the ’05. It is a BYOB music venue where local bands can gain a wide audience. We went to see a friend’s band. While I was there, I spoke with a neighbor who is more into scifi and fantasy than I am. Get this…She wore a Superman T-shirt to see Stan Lee. The horror! Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory would have busted a nut. I am more like Leonard except 10 inches taller, no PhD in physics.

Today, I had to force son to STOP cleaning with the swiffer. He did it for an entire hour. It sounds great until he used the sweeper to clean the walls and ceiling. Then, he demanded to watch TV. So, I suggest the Olympics..he says, “No!” why does my family not want to watch that stuff? I mean, Bob Costas can make Water Polo exciting. Well, not really… (sorry fans of the sport) Now, I am suffering through Caillou as daughter slurps on a lemonade Popsicle two inches from my ear. You gotta be kidding me!

Wife is sick but suffers on as she ignores the symptoms with sudafed. Now, son has caught her “cold” and we’ll have a doctor’s visit when he develops an ear or sinus or both infection. Now, he is laying on the dog pillow stating he does NOT have to go potty. The kid holds it for hours. He is BladderMan. Wait! That didn’t sound very cool. In fact, that was gross.

I would like to say this is my first rodeo with a fracture, but then I’d be lying. I am boldy going where I’ve (unfortunately) gone before. I can deal with everything except the same damn questions. If you ask, I’ll tell you, “Shark Bite.”

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Escaping to Blue Ridge

Son told me the best part of this past weekend was seeing the broken “camoose” that sold hot dogs. Listen…we visited Blue Ridge, GA away from the ’05 and went to Mercier Orchards were he took a tractor ride, we went out for ice cream, we went on a train, we went to a park on the Toccoa River, and we tubed down said river. Meanwhile, I ran the Escape to Blue Ridge Tri The Mountains Triathlon. You think he might find something a little better than a building shaped like a caboose that sells hot dogs to be the highlight.

Sunday morning, we woke up at 5AM..yes, all of us, and Nate refused to eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I don’t know if you are familiar with the “Hot ‘N Now” Krispy Kreme empire, but they are damn good. Crazy kid…Anyway, we get up and he wonders where the sun is. But, he is a trooper.

Son seeing beauty in Nature

As the sun rose over the mountains and Lake Blue Ridge, I knew it was going to be a great day.  My swim started off poorly, but I went into the bike with trepidation. There were hills. I mean, HILLS. It was an out and back course so every hill I went down out meant uphill on the way back. I arrived at transition two confident that I could do it. On the way out of the run area, I tweaked my left ankle. I ran the 3.2mile run with white shocks of pain coursing up from my foot. I finished as I saw son and wife cheering for me. It was a great day.

Daughter, meanwhile, has been in Virginia visiting relatives on a horse farm. She has learned to ride thanks to their guidance. How do I know? Not from daughter. I have spoken three words to her since she left. Out of sight, out of…

Daughter comes home tomorrow and I head to a guy’s night out at the movies. The Dark Knight Rises beckons. I only need a cape to be a superhero. Just ask my son.

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Be the Warrior You Already Are

Just under one year ago, I took my first step outside towards running a mile. All I wanted was to run a mile. After life-changing surgery in March, 2011, I knew I could only go forward. There would be no looking in the rear view mirror. In one year, I swam, rode, and ran 1,500 miles. Not an ironman, but when one starts at zero…

My daughter, the warrior

This past week, daughter and wife have been at a dancing competition where daughter’s team won her age group and overall. Sometimes when wife and I make a huge accomplishment we are reminded that it is our children that will beckon greatness.

Meanwhile in the ’05, son and I have been busy. Everyday, we get up at 7:30 (sounds nice, doesn’t it?) and hit the gym by 10am, then errands, then Sir No Nap plays in his room for two hours. I didn’t even try today. We went to the neighborhood pool and lasted an hour. Son refused to go potty at the pool so he said he wanted to go home. Once home, he decided that the back deck would be more fun than our finely decorated half bath.

Summer is half over, and school will be arriving for all of us too soon. As a teacher, I am often berated for how much free time I have. I won’t complain that people would also like to have their summers off. Truth is, I know how lucky I am. If you’re not sure how I feel, read the previous paragraph.

I seem to remember that summers lasted forever… I don’t know when that changed. Was it my new perception of duty and responsibilities that now saw life didn’t slow down just because bedtime was extended and a month at the beach was exciting? Or was it simply that someone, somewhere said kids forgot too much during summer? This always confused me…I can still remember what we did in ninth grade Geology. The first month of my school year WAS NOT spent reviewing material from the previous year. We were just expected to know it…Ahhh, kids today…

When a goal starts small, it can grow into something great. We all have an inner “warrior” that can lead us to success, whether you want the next promotion or want your kids to win the soccer scholarship or a dance competition. Reaching for the stars seems awful high sometimes. Perhaps, if we realized that only through hard work, could we even leave the ground, we’d be more, well, grounded. Son and daughter, good luck.

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