Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Ramblings

Today is a rest day.  I have to swim on Saturday and then a short brick on Sunday.   We will be going to a different Church on Sunday—we are looking for a new one since we moved.  After that we are going into DC to meet up with a friend of ours who is in town for work.  I am hoping that tomorrow gets as warm as advertised, high 40s, so that I can finish painting the new shed.  I painted the body a couple of weeks ago, but still haven’t done the trim.  Hopefully that will not take more than a couple of hours.  I will try to remember to get some pictures of the shed before and after I paint the trim. 
Today has been one of those rather brain dead days.  When I don’t work up a sweat in the morning I just feel run down most of the day.   But I know my legs need a break and tomorrow will be a good day in the pool.  I miss my workouts and being in my own thoughts.  If I could just remember them or were more technically inclined I bet I could invent something crazy.  I am also pretty creative in the writing arena when I don’t have a keyboard or pen and paper in front of me.  My last two deployments I have started on a novel and never got very far. But I would lay in bed at night and map the plot.  My most current plot is a former Army Special Ops guy, who has become a National Geographic type photographer and is a triathlete living in DC, who gets recruited to “do thing” to keep us safe or to help out friends.   It’s a shame I can’t write it during work. 
I have finished up some work and I am awaiting it to be reviewed.  However, since it is Friday I am going to bet is not reviewed prior to my departure.  I am on the 6th floor of a building on the Virginia side of the Potomac listening to the wind HOWL.  I just checked the weather and it the wind is gusting to 53mph.  I was looking out the window wondering if some of the plywood being used for construction was going to get airborne.  Yuck!!  I am glad I am not out running or biking today. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Living in the Past?

I don’t know about other people, but when I am out running I have all sorts of crazy thoughts.   This morning I was jamming to some 80s music and a song I forgot I had on my iPod came on.  The song took me back to some more care-free days in college.  Then my mind wandered even more and I started thinking about people who seem to live in the past.  As I was huffing along in the cold morning air, I broke them down into two categories.  The ones who still think they are great because of previous accomplishments and the ones who have bettered themselves but still see themselves as the (fill in the blank) from way back when. 
I did not ponder too much on the ones who still think they are great.  We all know them.  They are the high school or college jock types who never got past being the starting quarterback.  A fair number of the people I grew up with are like this.  Their lives never got past those accomplishments many years ago.  It is sad really that whatever the accomplishment was was the highlight of their lives. 
The other group actually makes me sad and in some cases mad.  Those individuals who have greatly bettered themselves in terms of education, financial status, and (since this is a workout blog) those who have overcome their lack of athleticism.  They have worked hard to be that good runner, biker, swimmer, or whatever; have gotten in shape and lost weight and look good.  Why do they still see themselves as the slow or the fat kid? 
I was always active growing up.  I played organized baseball from age 6 through college.  I was a decent player, but never pro material.  I ran track a couple of years in middle school, played football in middle and high schools, and even wrestled a couple of seasons.  I was fit and skinny.  The army kept me in shape and as I have aged the challenge has gotten more difficult.  The pounds don’t melt off and I don’t recover as fast I use too.  But I don’t really dwell on the past.  I try to learn from things that have occurred in the past, but I don’t see myself as that 18 year old athlete. 
My question is do you still see yourself as that person you were, or do you embrace the new you?  What would your family say?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Swimming Etiquette or I learned to share in Kindergarten

This past weekend I was back in Georgia cleaning out a storage unit and bring some of the contents back the house.  We now have enough space to store the stuff.  We departed Friday afternoon and drove as far as Spartanburg, SC and finished off the trip early Saturday morning.   It was great to see family and to walk the Bride around my grandmother’s lake.   How the land around her property has been developed.  You can actually see new construction behind her house now.  It used to be out on the middle of nowhere.   Sunday morning we were up early and on the road back home.  Twenty hours in the car in roughly two days.  So no long workouts for me.
Monday was a Federal Holiday, so I worked from home doing some online classes.  I started to do a long run, but the ball of my left foot was in a lot of pain.  I pulled up after about 2 miles and just walked home.  Tuesday was a 40 minute bike ride in the morning followed by a swim in the afternoon.  The distances are improving in the pool. 
Speaking of the pool, what the hell is up with lane etiquette?  Friday morning I did a short swim before departing.  I had put my equipment down in an unused lane and went to grab a kickboard.  Since all the lanes had at least one swimmer in them, I was not shocked to see a lady putting her equipment next to mine.  I greeted her and she gave me one of the DC woman shit eating looks.  She then informed me that this was “her” lane and she swam in it every Friday.  I told her “no problem”, would you rather swim side to side or circle swim?  She then looked at me and told me again this was “her” lane.  I responded kindly sarcastically that if she had it rented I would be happy to swim in another lane.  Well, to make a long story short—she changed lanes once another lane came open. 
I hate to share lanes, especially with people you don’t know.  However, these pools are for everyone’s use.  I just don’t get the hostility.  Yesterday, to show that I am not a jaded person (at least tell myself that), as I was finishing up my swim a gentleman came onto the pool deck looking for a lane.  I pulled up and told him I had another 10 minutes or so, but he was welcome to use this lane.  He was very much appreciative; we discussed strokes and the use of flippers.  As I went to leave he thanked me, saying that he was used to the people who refuse to share.  So I guess that lady is the norm…..
Who else has any similar experiences?  How did you handle them?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy vs Unhappy. Who wins?

I don’t know if it is that time of the year or what, but so people appear to be unhappy.  Why is that?  In general we have so much to be happy for.  Are we as Americans just an unhappy lot? Do we like to hear ourselves bitch and complain?
I am not talking about the “Damn, I don’t want to get up and work out at 5am”, type of unhappiness.  I am talking about the kind that appears to come from somewhere deep in us.   I like to think of myself as a half full kind of guy.   I am not bubbly or overly charismatic, but I try to look on the bright side of things.  There are people that will say I am not always happy.  I raise my voice at the news on TV or really stupid calls by officials in my favorite sporting events.  I am also a realist and sarcastic at times.  But that doesn’t make me unhappy. 
Since I am realist I have been told over and over that I am too hard on others, typically people who appear to me to be unhappy.  I try to point out the good things in their lives, that sometimes there expectations are unrealistic.   Why do people get angry or unhappy that they “only “lost 1.5lbs this week?  Or did not PR a race?  It is not realistic to be perfect.
Why is it that the individuals who get mad at something are the most likely to do the same type thing?   Are they projecting?  I have people around me who are convinced that others need to respond to them immediately, but then they like to hold back information or wait until the last minute to pass on information or complete a task.  My personal opinion is that they do that for control reasons and think that anyone that doesn’t respond “their way” is trying to control them.  Double standard?
Do you that angry or unhappy people sleep less?  Worrying about things that they can’t control?  Do they try to bring you down to make themselves feel better? 
I know this isn’t exactly a happy (no pun intended) post, but it was something I was thinking about this morning on my run.  Happiness is not always  that flowery feeling.  But look around you—is your spouse by your side (even if you don’t always agree?) are your kids healthy, are you trying to improve yourself or make yourself better?  I like to play the cards I have been dealt, patiently made my decisions, and make the best of my situation.   
What are your thoughts on the situation?  Are you the unhappy one?  Is the person making you unhappy really doing something wrong?  Is it something you can change or should change?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Getting back into the swing of things

We all know how good we feel after a workout.  Especially a hard on.  We also know that there are some days it takes all we have to get out the door, or in some cases out of the bed.  November and December were difficult months for me to get my ass in gear.  I knew I would feel better, but that damn couch was so comfortable.  Now that I am back at work getting up in the morning and making the time, both before and after work, to get in my workouts has actually been easier than when I had all the time in the world.  I tend to do much better when I have constraints on my time.  I have to manage my life better. I actually get more accomplished and don’t feel so overwhelmed. 

Sunday morning was my longest ride on the trainer to date.  It was 15 miles, which isn’t that far, but I have been doing 30-40 minutes in the morning before work.  This was about a 50 min workout.  I broke a good sweat and thankfully Jack Bauer was able to make headway during that hour.  Monday morning I was up about 0445 and hit the road.  I did a little less than 4 miles.  I know I am starting to get back in shape when that run starts to feel good.  The down side of that was about a mile from the house, I started feeling “that rumbling” down in the belly.  I walked for a couple of minutes until it subsided, then I started back off at a faster pace.  It then started to me again.  Luckily, I made it home just in the nick of time. 

Today I was back in the pool.  I did 2200 meets in roughly 50-55 minutes.  I forgot my watch.  Silly me.  The main set was a pyramid of 4x50, 2x100, 1x200, 2x100, and 4x50.  I was happy that I was able to keep the 50s at about 45 seconds and the 100s at about 1:40.

I have promised some photos of the “Man Room”, so here they are.    The TV mounted over the desk is a godsend when I am working out or the bride has taken over the TV in Man-Room-2Man-Room-1

the den and is watching some crazy Red Carpet Special or those moronic “housewives”.  I can retreat to my retreat and watch sports or my military and history channels.  Speaking of history on television—if you are folks with a TV in your room I highly recommend “The States” or “The Presidents” from the History channel to help you fall asleep. 

I hope everyone has a great week and keep up the hard work.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sick and Tired of the Cold

I am just sick and tired of the cold.  At least the last two mornings I have been able to watch the sun come up over the Potomac as I drove to work.  That means it is not cloudy and the days are getting longer.   Spring has to come sooner or later—I am hoping on sooner. 
Saturday and Sunday I donned my Army suit for the first time since returning from Afghanistan and it was back to the one weekend a month thing.  It has been nice to be off, but I can’t complain about the additional cash.  Plus it was good to see all the folks I haven’t seen since we got back.  The down side is not really any time to get in a workout. 
I did not work out  Monday morning.  I just did the weigh for our Family and Friends Biggest Loser.  I was not pleased, but I had a fair amount of alcohol and really bad food as I watched the game.  I was only down half a pound.  Whoops.  So Monday after work (the weather was fairly nice) I hit the road for a painful 4 miles.  The first half of the run I could not get loose nor really work up a good sweat.  According to my training plan I was only suppose to run 3 miles.  Since I am still learning all the side streets in the new neighborhood (yes I did Map My Run, but..) I took a wrong turn and ended up doing 4 miles.  The second half was much better than the first half, so I will categorize it as a good thing. 
Tuesday morning I was up and hopped on the trainer for a 10mile spin.  In the new house I have my own office/workout room.    I love it.  I mounted a TV on the wall so I can watch TV, a DVD, or stream Netflix.  I will have to get pictures up soon.   Tuesday afternoon I did an ab workout.  This morning, it was effing cold so I opted to do another ride instead of a run.  For entertainment during the ride I streamed an old George Carlin HBO Special, “Doin’ It Again”.  I forgot how funny that man is. 
This afternoon I am scheduled for some speed work in the pool.  I hate sprints. 
Now off to earn a living.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

How to ruin a marriage and I don’t mean mine!!

This morning after I was done stretching and doing an ab workout I came across this very interesting article,, and was truly fascinated by it. Initially, I was fascinated by the author’s view point on the Waxmans. My initial though on the article is what is the author’s bias? There appears to be some major gaps in the writing. If he gets up early and works out, so what if she wakes alone. He is the one getting up earlier. Either the author has a bias against endurance athletes or athlete in general (was he the band or a nerd and mocked by the jocks) or was Mr. Waxman really that big of a selfish pig. Then I started reading the reader comments.

I was amazed at how many people think that training for a triathlon, specifically Sprint or Oly, all that crazy. The ones that really stood out to me were the women complaining about their husbands training. What is wrong with someone (male or female) deciding to push themselves and tackling a new challenge? What is wrong with getting off the couch and shedding that belly fat (I know I need to)? As I continued to read the comments I was struck by 1) the number of women (who don’t appear to work out) complaining, 2) the number of men who whined in general (I make the impolite assumption they were just fat and miserable, 3) the number of ladies who praised their husbands for being supportive, and 4) the number of men who complimented their wives/girlfriends for working out and looking good.

Anything in moderation is usually a good thing. Addiction to something, even exercise when it affects your relationships, falls into the Lazy Triathlete’s category of “BAD”. But who decides that it has been become a problem? How much is too much? Seven hours a week? Ten hours? Fifteen? 7-9 hours a week is not really excessive if you do you the math. One hour a day for 4 days a week and then 90 minutes on Saturday and Sunday gives you seven hours of working out. I realize you have prep and travel time which adds another hour or two. However, that appears to me to be a small price to pay to push yourself and accomplish something, make yourself healthier, and to look and feel better.

Please take some time and read the article and let me know what you think.

This afternoon I went for my first run on my training plan. It was suppose to be an easy 30 minute run. Well it was a SLOW one. After riding 30 minutes and swimming 30 minutes the last two days, my legs were rather heavy and the run was slow. But I did about 3 miles in those 30 minutes after work. My resolution is to follow the training plan as best as I can (weekends with Battle Assembly will be difficult) and to work out after work. New house, new habits.