Saturday, February 3, 2007

Warning - Blogging May Affect Your Life

Someone should have warned me. Maybe there should be like a Surgeon's General warning when you sign up. "Warning - Blogging May Affect Your Life - Mentally, Physically, and/or Emotionally. Use at your own risk." I know that I wanted to use blogging to analyze things and live deliberately, but come on. (see my first post if you haven't already). Now I'm narrating things in my head like I'm JD on the show Scrubs. That is one of my all-time favorite shows. I love the off-the-wall humor and it's a great break from the stressful drama shows I watch (like 24). ANYWAY, JD narrates the whole time so you know what people are thinking and that's what I've found myself doing. I narrate events in my head as if I were going to describe everything on my blog. I try to come up with catchy titles and links. Is this weird? Do you other bloggers out there sometimes have this problem or is it just me? Probably just me because my wife says I obsess about everything. At least while it's new, and blogging is still pretty new. Maybe I'll settle into it and it will be more normal for me soon.

Speaking of new to blogging, the look and layout here at Crosstrains may be changing some. Tweaking html is definitely not one of my strengths (in fact, I've never really tried it) so I'll be adding some graphics and making it more my own. If you see really weird stuff, missing graphics, dead links, etc, please let me know.

Now on to the rest of my narrated day. I've got to get the kids up - today's crosstraining consists of a 2 year-old birthday party followed immediately by a 5 year-old party, then a family "Pre-SuperBowl" party. I think all that will be a pretty good workout.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Naked Feet

Yesterday was a good day. I went back to the gym and actually lifted weights. It's been a long time and I’m sure there were some grannies there lifting more than me, but that’s OK. Luckily, they’re not in my age group for the 5K's or triathlons. I followed that with a short swim. I’m not sore today, nor did I expect to be.

Today was an even better day. I ran faster than I ever have without someone or something chasing me. I ran my 3.25 mile course in 27:18 which is about 8:24 per mile. That’s reeeaaalllly fast for me. And it was a steady effort. And my heartrate only averaged 166. OK, that might be a little high, but I also learned that my AT must be about 173. I could hold 173 steadily, but quickly began to redline when I went beyond that. I even went this fast without Doza dragging me around. That felt pretty good. I’m going to try to sign up for a 5K soon. It should be fun. Fun and run used to never coexist in my vocabulary. In fact, they were at opposite ends of the spectrum and couldn't get along. And here they are becoming friends. Isn't that nice?

Anyway, on to the reason for the title. I really need to get better about packing my gym bag. I forgot socks today. I used to be a Boy Scout, so I'm usually prepared (the motto for those who don't know), but even my backup socks weren't in my bag. Now, the last time I wore even those really low socks to run, I rubbed my achilles raw and suffered for a week. I have never run without socks and wasn't looking forward to it, but hey, I decided to suck it up and just run without socks. You know, it wasn't bad at all. It didn't hurt, and in case you forgot already, it was my fastest run. Did I mention it was my fastest run? OK. Just making sure. Don't worry - I am level headed enough to know that the speed of my run was more influenced by leg speed than naked feet. I do not plan to start running without socks unless forced to do so. That claim only becomes void should I start a pro triathlon career and need quick transitions to make the big prize money. I don't think I need to worry about that. If I turn pro, I'll have my sponsor give me enough shoes so that I can run without socks and change shoes before they get gross. My daughters are good at letting me know about things like that - shoes getting gross, me stinking after exercise, eating too much garlic, etc - they're always watching out for me. God bless them for caring for their father.

Keep it in balance.


All right, I was "tagged" in a game of tri tag by TriJack so here are my answers:

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever.
I have to be honest, I've only been able to do one triathlon ever, so that makes it pretty easy. It was a sprint triathlon. I remember the feeling I got when my wife and 2 kids (there were only 2 at the time) arrived and I saw them. The look and excitement on my daughters' faces. The feeling as I entered the pool. The feeling as I passed the person in front of me - it was like a time trial start at 10 second intervals. I remember being so excited on the bike as I passed my family sitting on a blanket watching that I almost ran into another rider. And of course running up the chute and not only finishing it, but finishing strong.

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon.
See number one above. Same triathlon.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
I was so excited as I passed my family sitting on a blanket watching and I was trying to wave, I almost ran into the rider in front of me. That would have been awesome - wiping out in front of family near the transition when I'm not even in a pack.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
T1. It was incredible! I obsess about things, so I had practiced my transitions a lot. I had set up a practice zone in my garage, I would run up the driveway, do the transition and bike down the street. Then I would bike back and do T2. So during my triathlon, almost everything went as planned. I forgot to unstrap my shoes, but that was minor. I had my shoes on the bike, positioned horizontally with floss. (If you're wondering, email me and I'll give you details). I ran from the pool, threw on some socks, the glasses, helmet, and number, and I was running out of trasition. No problems. I felt pretty cool.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
I learned that I can easily obsess and need to continually recalibrate to keep things in perspective. I drove my wife so nuts in preparing for this sprint tri, that she nearly didn't bother coming. So now I strive for balance. Hence, Crosstrains. Balancing everything out. I also learned that I can't hold onto excuses. I had problems running in 7th grade because of flat feet and had always said I couldn't run. Period. Now I know I can at least do 6 miles without difficulty. I used my excuse to limit myself. Now I'm trying to get rid of other excuses that are limiting me.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?
Ironman. Someday. I think that will be after my daughters have left home. Or when I'm independently wealthy and work won't get in the way. And after I've adequately explained this craziness to my wife. Until then, which is about 18 years away, I'll probably work up to Olympic distance. I think that's a good distance to stay in really great shape.

OK, now I'm tagging LoneStarCrank and Wil. If you guys have been tagged, sorry. If not, it's your turn. I've got to go crosstrain.

Friday, January 26, 2007

A (Bad) Run

Yesterday's run was both good and bad. The good - awesome weather - sunny and 60 degrees. I didn't have a running buddy, so there was time to reflect and just to listen to my music. The bad - what happened to my legs?! I had "dead legs" and just couldn't get it going. I had to stop and walk a few times. But the REALLY good? - I did the 4.5 mile run in 41:39 - which is 9:15/mile according to my calculations. That's great because that's still a fast run for me. Either my timing was off or when I walked, it wasn't too slow and when I ran, it was pretty darn fast. That made me feel pretty good.

It's all about balance, it's all about crosstraining.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It is COLD!

I almost ran today. I was on my way to the gym to change (it’s walking distance from work) and at 41 degrees, it started raining. Given the right inclination, I may have done it. Just to prove it. But then I thought, “Hey, I don’t have anything to prove” and I went to run some errands for my wife. Filling up the negative balance in that account, if you know what I mean. There'll be other days for running.

It’s all about balance, it’s all about crosstraining.

When I Let Them Down...

Yesterday I dragged myself back to the pool. I felt like a floundering fish. I swam 800 m and it took way too long. It wasn’t a waste, though, because it’s about more than duration or speed. I had an epiphany during my flip turn. Actually I watched the guy next to me, wondering how he got off the wall so much more quickly than me. He was doing everything more quickly, but I couldn’t figure out the flip turns. So I realized I was doing a complete somersault, twisting, bending, my knees, and then pushing off. What a waste compared to his flip turns – half turn, push off sideways and he’s done, finishing his rotation after push-off. BIG difference. I picked it up quickly and then there was just the actual swimming that was slow. The athletic training going well.

The home responsibilities not going so well. What do I do when I let them down? My wife says she has 4 kids, me being one of them. I usually argue vehemently, but today, I had to agree. I couldn’t even be defensive like I usually am. She had made the kids’ lunches for school, but my job was to make the sandwiches before leaving for work. That was it! Just make sandwiches. What 30-something father can’t do that?! Well, guess what – I forgot. I took way too long getting ready this morning, and didn’t get it done. I was so self-absorbed in my own universe that I let them down. I let my wife down, because she feels she can’t trust me with simple things and all the arguing I do can’t prove her wrong. I let my kids down because I’m not helping care for them, although luckily, they don’t know that. I do need to step it up before they can figure it out, though.

Why am I so self-absorbed? Because I obsess about things. I do. I’ve been obsessing about this new gluten free diet and researching everything I can on the internet. Can I eat this? Can I eat that? It’s too much. There’s too much information out there on every subject. I need to learn how to filter and prioritize. That’s something I really need to work on. So for now, less researching, less worrying about me. I mean it. I need to stop feeling sorry for myself, beating myself up about not doing what I need to do for the family, and just do it.

It’s all about balance, it’s all about crosstraining…

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone – let me back in. I like the comfort zone – hence the name, I know. But while my rational side knows it’s good to leave it, a big part of me wants to stay or resents the force pushing me out. TriJack at MyDailySpin has a great entry about this.

Anyway, I have a student intern that started today. I like giving back to the profession and know having a student makes me stronger, but it messes up the routine. If I’m painfully honest, though, I’ll say that my routine can be more than boring, it can be lazy. The student pushes me when I push the student. I get stuck in a rut with patient treatments and now I have to justify to the student why I do what I do. I can’t ask her why I shoudl do something if I don’t know why myself.

Now we all know that work isn’t the only comfort zone. There are zones for home, friends, hobbies, athletics, etc. I (literally) ran across my comfort zone on my lunch run today. I was running with Doza and we had a pretty good pace going. I was thinking “This is kind of fast, we should slow down.” Then I wondered “why? – Why can’t I go fast? What am I afraid of? Am I afraid of running out of steam or afraid of being good?” Well, I let it fly and it was awesome! We just kept gradually picking up the pace and it continued to feel good. It was our best time yet and my fastest pace: 3.25 miles at 8:30 pace. For me, that’s really, really, good. So sometimes, it does feel good to leave the comfort zone.

Ice Days

I’m back at work after two ice days. You, see, in South Texas, we can handle cold weather, but we can’t handle cold weather when it’s wet. So when the temperatures hung out at about 29 degrees for 2 days and we accumulated ½ “ ice, the city shut down. I’ll admit,too, we can’t drive on ice. We’re ice idiots. But this idiot stayed home and let the other ones slide around on the ice, so I could have something to watch on the news. We stayed inside and played (we being me, wife, and 3 kids). We even went out and played some in the ice – in the flower beds and mulch so it was softer. The kids thought it was awesome and one of their favorite treats is now icicles. Don’t tell them it’s just ice.

It was a good chance to recalibrate. To step back and see what’s important. As my wife put it, we “filled up the kids’ love banks.” I didn’t worry about work, I worried about family and devoting some good time to them. I didn’t worry about running or cycling because it was just too cold, even for the indoor trainer in the garage. At least I thought it was too cold until I saw someone running in 29 degree weather. He must not have been from around here.

I hope when the kids get bigger, they remember these days of being cooped up with Mom and Dad (which are always harder on the parents, I’ve decided) and our icicle parties. Then I will think back and smile.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Gluten Free Crosstraining

Gluten free is going well. I won't recommend the diet to non-gluten sensitive people, but I've lost 6 pounds in 6 days and 2% body fat. The meals aren't bad, just different. And I try not to think about not eating my favorite cookies. At work they called me the Cookie Monster because chocolate chip cookies were my weakness. Now I eat a lot of fruit, healthy snacks, and drink a lot of water. Some foods are naturally gluten free (some Clif bars, Slim Fast bars, fruit, vegetables). I'm learning how to quickly read labels for all I eat.

On to training - had a great run yesterday with Doza, my coworker. Longest lunch run yet - 5.6 miles at 9 min pace. That's really good for me. I like being a runner. I must have done something wrong, however, because this morning, my right shoulder blade is killing me and limiting my right arm and neck movements. One of the perks of being a physical therapist - I work on it myself and then let my coworkers help out. It should be much better by tonight.

Now the best news of the week - #3 (the 7 month old) is officially crawling. After a short stint of crawling in a circle, she can now turn and go where she wants to go, which is usually towards her older sisters' toys. A whole new world is opening up and things are getting more interesting around here. Her sisters are great with her. They take time to specifically play with her, entertain her, and tell Dad when she's spit up on our carpet. I worried because #1 and #2 are 18 months apart and #3 is 2 1/2 years behind #2, that she might be left out, but the older girls so far are doing a great job with their sister.

Family - that's what life is about. Please, God, don't let me forget that. That's why I work, but more importantly, why I rush home everyday at 4pm to see their faces light up and scoop them up in my arms. I love it.

Back to life. Back to crosstraining.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

What is Gluten and Why Can't We Get Along?

Last week I was thrown for a loop. I found out I am "gluten sensitive." That means my body, instead of digesting gluten, makes antibodies and attacks it like a virus. Well, that's bad, because fighting an infection with these antibodies starts tearing you up on the inside. If you believe everything you read, you'd think gluten is responsible for nearly every modern ailment. At the least, it can cause a lot of problems, and after 2 years of gastric docs, a colon surgeon (but no surgery, thank goodness) and more tests than I care to think about (most of them traumatic and humiliating) I finally may have an answer as to why my digestion went awry.

Going gluten free is a huge adjustment. It's becoming easier as more people become aware, but it's still a huge adjustment. Gluten is in everything that has wheat, barley, and rye. That's a lot of stuff. No more normal bread, pasta, cookies, muffins, granola bars, cereal, you get the point. My wife's being great and cooking some great gluten free stuff (the best it can be). It's a big adjustment for the whole family. We had to explain to the kids that Daddy's stomach hurt from some foods and he'll be eating special foods from now on without worrying them. They seemed to understand it well for a 4 1/2 year old (#1), a 3 year old (#2) and a 7 month old (#3). OK, #3 didn't care, but she will.

So being gluten free will be part of my life. I've decided to make it a positive thing and use it as a catalyst to get healthy and learn about nutrition. It's just part of life. And I'll learn how to balance it with everything else.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

God's Will

I had a great run yesterday – 42 minutes for 4.5 miles. That, for me, is an accomplishment. I do almost all my exercising at lunch. I’ve been running with a buddy from work. He can run laps around me, mostly because he also bikes a couple hundred miles/week. Well, yesterday, we didn’t have to stop so I could take care of menial tasks like breathing. We even talked most of the run. I really mean “we.” Usually it’s him talking and me trying to breathe to remain conscious. But for some reason, yesterday was a great run. It was about 50 degrees and sunny. Perfect. I felt great all day, even after the run. I got home and played with the kids. They wanted to go biking in the cold because my oldest is learning how to go without training wheels. I’m really trying to instill in them a love of being active. We play outside a lot. We bike, we run, we chase. It’s awesome. They don’t even know what video games are.

That was yesterday. Today I felt like crap. Not because of the run, but I just had the “blahs”. My wife says I’m pretty dependent on the weather and today was a cold, grey day (compare to yesterday’s weather, you see the point). But at lunch, I went for a swim. ½ mile to be exact. Again, for me, that’s quite an accomplishment. I haven’t been swimming at all in months. It felt great. I went for peace and quiet. You see, when I feel this way, I know I’m not quite right. Something’s not quite right. It’s usually when I’m being selfish in some way. I’ve learned that when I feel this way, I’m trying to put my will over God’s will. And that never works. So after the swim, after some self-reflection, after some prayer, I felt much better and much less self-centered. I’m going to think about self-promotion less and about my family more. I haven’t figured out the grand plan - what God’s will is - but I know if I actually spend some time trying to figure it out, I might be surprised. Check that - if I spend some time listening for God's will, I might be surprised.

Don’t get me wrong – I still plan on training, but with a flexible plan. I’m training for life, not just running or triathlon. You see, when my kids are grown – I’d rather they say “Dad, I love you. Thank you for being there for me.” Rather than just “Dad, remember that triathlon you did?” It’s all about perspective, and mine is changing.

I've got to go crosstrain.