Monday, January 31, 2011

Do I buy into the Free Range Movement for my kids?

I'm currently reading Free Range Kids ( which is Lenore Skenazy's attempt at helping parents stop hovering over their kids and instead focus on preparing their kids for life.

Not sure I buy into everything but so far, I think I'm a fan.  Our goal in parenting isn't to raise fearful kids but that seems to be what a lot of us are accomplishing. 

I like to take calculated risks.  I've jumped from planes, started flying planes at age 15, owned a motorcycle, kayak, mountain bike and I ride a road bike on the road (well I don't plan on staying on the trainer more than I have to).  I also consider myself safety minded.  I wear a helmet, seat belt, life jacket not all at once, but you understand.  I scout rapids, avoid certain roads, and wear bright colors.  I watch carefully for cars and typically have a plan.

I want my girls to be confident and not afraid of the world.  I also want them to be active and explore and enjoy the thrills of life.  Yet I don't want them to be reckless. 

This book is helping me understand more about preventable risks and not focus as much on the extremely unlikely unpreventable type of risk that can paralyze a parent.

If you are like me, you probably struggle with some of these things also.  Any help would be appreciated. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My running partner is back

I was startled yesterday while running when my running partner suddenly was right beside me, matching me stride for stride.  I hadn't seen him for about 4 months.  Now he was back, just like that, no calls, no explanation, just matching my stride.

He looked stronger than last time I saw him, smother, faster, more confidence.  Maybe a bit thinner but more muscular at the same time.

I just looked over, gave a nod and said, "Welcome back shadow, missed running with you."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fast fish in a slow pond

I was surprised this morning at the pool because I was treated reverently.  It wasn't that people were bowing or calling my by any worthy title.  I just got a weird sense of respect and maybe a bit of awe.  I noticed because something in my sleep deprived mind was telling me that things were wrong.

"Warning, warning, things are not normal!"

I couldn't figure out why a simple, "good morning" and discussion about how to share a lane gave me the impression of royalty but it was distinct.

I started swimming and soon came to the conclusion.  I am relatively fast, compared to my new subjects(s).  I was swimming between 1:30 and 1:40 per 100 yards.  My main set was a mind numbing 2500 yards today and I dutifully swam every yard and did my magical flip turns every lap.

For a minute I thought I was losing my kingdom because this guys was matching my pace.  I started to panic and thought about picking up my pace but by this time I was at 950 yards and still had 1550 left to go and I didn't want my subjects to seem me broken.  I just kept my pace and pondered my short lived reign.  Then I noticed he was wearing paddles and with those was barely holding my pace.  Suddenly I was king again and I felt strong and powerful.  

I think thats all it takes to be swim royalty during my swim time at my gym.

I love being a fast fish in a slow pond.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What do the nighbors think?

We live across the street from good friends.  We didn't know they would be when we moved in but we share some important things in common.

First, they are addicted to the show, "Amazing Race".  We meet each Sunday at their house with a group of friends and have our own competition (I'll share the later).

Second, Jaysun is a triathlete and amazing runner.  We both really started focusing on triathlons at about the same time and race together whenever possible.

Finally, my wife has someone else in the neighborhood to "Neighbor Watch" with.  My wife is observant and is always on the lookout.  I tend to be absorbed and not notice things.  I frustrate her, our neighbors don't because they can compare notes.

Now that you have some background.  I now have found a home for my trainer on the second floor.  It almost feels like a tower because I get a great view of the neighborhood.

I now can contribute to those discussions about cars driving slow, or people walking by slowly, or dogs that don't "match" their owners.  I'm noticing stuff.

Now the problem, I'm being watched.  During dinner last Sunday, I was told, "We see you hunkered on your bike all the time."  Hunkered?  That doesn't sound like my race position.  Also, I was told, "Why don't you train with Jaysun, you both are riding at the same time."

I'm suddenly feel a bit more vulnerable while riding.  Who else is watching.  Do they see me wipe snot on my towel and then wipe my forehead when I forget my earlier action?  Do they see me shift into an easier gear.  Do they notice that I don't hunker as much as I should.

Maybe I should move the trainer...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Am I really like that crazy running buffalo?

My family was able to travel with me last weekend to Southern Oregon.  Trip was great except it totally messed up my training.  Pool heater was broken (way too cold) and morning meetings and late nights kept me from running. 

Pity party over and back on track…

On the way home we stopped by the world famous Wildlife Safari in Winston Oregon.  I didn’t expect much more than a glorified muddy farm but paid the entrance fee (1/2 price with certain zoo memberships) and drove in.  The girls were excited because they were allowed out of their car seats.  I could probably just drive in a “safe” parking lot for several hours with them out of their seats and they would be happy.

Cheap party over and back on track…

It was awesome.  Giraffes stood next to our car.  Zebras, Gnu(s), Elk, and all sorts of dear/gazelle like animals were close and awesome.  I nearly lost my mind when the Llamas blocked the road but soon recovered and made it to the buffalo section.  We were patiently following this huge buffalo walk up the road and I kept wondering why all my animal pictures are of the rear end of animals.  I have great pictures of moose heading into the forest and bears butts.

View for nearly 10 minutes
Butt party over and back on track…

 There was this young calf like buffalo that was amazing.  All the others were sauntering (rears facing me) and this little guy was running circles around them.  He would run ahead and then crash through the mud and circle around and back ahead.  He would jump a bit, kick and seemed to be having fun. 

Actual creature when standing still
I girls almost in unison said, “baby buffalo is exercising like baba” (that’s me).  For some reason I felt really proud.  Maybe I look crazy when I exercise but I’d like to think I look like I’m having the time of my life. 

What are they seeing when they see me exercies?  Are they watching joy like that crazy baby buffalo? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Three things every triathlete has to include ina training conversation

A truly talkable workout needs must include at least one but preferably all three of the following items.
1.  Crazy time of day
2.  Horrible weather
3.  Reference to speed and distance
Bonus - throw in lingo that other people would be embarrassed to use.

For example, no true triathlete could ever say "I went running today".  That is neither interesting or epic.  At minimum,
Okay- "Great run today.  I really get the trail to myself during blizzards."
Better - "Great 20K run today.  It was so easy to hold at 6:13 pace because no one else was out due to the blizzard"
Best - "Great 20K run today.  I tried not to wake the neighbors when I started my run at 4:17 AM.  It was easy to hold my 6:13 pace warm-up and the blizzard really didn't interfere with the Fartlek workout.

For some reason a workout just doesn't feel right if it is too easy.  On days that we are running at 10 AM in the sun and only running for 20 minutes it feels like we are wusses.  If someone asks about that run or for some reason you want to admit that you ran an easy run, I would suggest you add the following options.

1.  Hills even better - sand dunes
2.  Some sort of incident with a rude person.

For example, "It would have been a great run today but there were these total noobs that we just walking, holding hands of all things with their headphones on, and as I was climbing the sand dune, I called out 'on your left' and they just kept walking until I was right behind them and then they yelled at me for not warning them"

Wait until I tell you about the 5 keys to describing your last race.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Most important 30 seconds for my training

I'm learning a certain 30 seconds of my day are one of the most crucial seconds for my training.  I am working on a name for this time period and would have it solved except I can't come up with a name with a cool sounding acroynm.  I really want it to have the letters S and T and Q. 

Those thirty seconds translate into a difference between 2500 yards of valuable swiming and no swiming.  This 1/2 minute of time is the difference between 1.5 hours on the bike and a big zero.

Okay...I'm sure you are just begging for the answer. 

Those thirty seconds are the first thirty after my alarm goes off.  It only takes me about 5 seconds to realize that it isn't a dream.  It takes another 5 seconds to find the chiming phone and turn it off.  Then I have about 10 seconds to decide whether there was some mistake with the alarm going off (is today my rest day?).  That leaves me with 10 seconds to either get out of bed or not.  If I get out of bed, then training happens.  If not, well I do get another 1.5 hours of guilty lazy regretful sleep. 

I don't remember ever feelin guilt, regret, and lazy if I get out of bed during the magical SQT timeframe.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Which is more tedious?

I went fly fishing for steelhead yesterday.  Notice, I didn't say fly catching because I don't seem to catch steelhead.  After about my zillionth cast to water which just mocked me, I finally caught a rock.  Then I caught a tree, then another rock.

I was cold, hungry, and honestly a little bored.  I still had the "air of anticipating" and chirped "hear fishy, fishy, fishy" and made the occasional clucking sound that works well for cats, horses, and children.

I started to feel like I was on my trainer.  Except with the trainer there's no hope.

I think the trainer is pretty much the most tedious invention - ever.  It's worse than the treadmill because I could possiblly get launched on a treadmill.  It's worse than lap swimming because lap swiming actually involves forward motion.
It's definitely more tedious than reading "Wacky Wednesday" which I have read to oblivion because my daughters seem to explode in joy when they find eight wacky things.

I guess there's many tedious things in my life and for some reason, I benefit from all of them.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Should I teach the "farmer spray" way to blow the nose? When?

I confess, I farmer spray all the time while running and biking.  For those that may not know what I'm talking about, I plug one nostril and then blow my nose as hard as I can so I spray snot without it hitting me on the arm, shoulder, back, or on the bike.  Repeat with other nostril.

I don't know when or how I learned this but I am really grateful because it's the perfect answer during exercise for nasal drip (or flow in my case).  As a courtesy, I check behind me and beside me to make sure I don't spray on any people, precious property or pets.

I forget how repulsive this may be for people driving by or in my case, sitting in the restaurant and coffee shops.  I try to wait for the politest descrete place but wonder if seeing a runner with snot running down his face may also spoil the appetitie.

I took a poll in my office and all the female runners thought I was disgusting for spraying rather than using a tissue.  My wife is a runner and she accepts the farmer spray as a perfectly acceptable way to deal with a runny nose.

Now the big question, I think my daughters should learn how to do this.  However, I don't know when or how to teach them.  I'm afraid that at 2 and 3 years old, they would start doing it in our house because it is so convenient.  I also don't want to be the only parent at the play ground who's kids are doing this.  I want them to have the judgment to do this socially unacceptable behavior only at certain times.

Finally, is there a way to teach this that doesn't cover their clothes in snot?  Should I work from standing spray to walking, and eventually to a run.  What skills should they have on the trike before learning?

I need help with this important matter.  Thanks in advance.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Scam or opportunity

I've been on the internet researching an offer to sell a time share the non-profit I work owns.  It turns out that the offer is a scam.  Should have known from the start but getting the wire transfer directions sealed the deal for me.  No way I'm wiring $3,380 (USD) to pay a tax that doesn't exist.  Wish I had my time and trust back.

Kind of strange to be in a world in which non-profits are scammed.  You'd think certain groups would be spared based on the good they do.

I feel bad for fat people, there are so many people trying to scam them.  I think I would be pretty paranoid if I was constantly bombarded with so many fantastic "offers".

Good thing we triathletes aren't scammed.  Everyone knows that the middle of the pack athlete needs those race wheels, carbon water bottles, a pro-level wetsuit and trace minerals.  We could move from middle of pack to front of pack if we only...

Maybe I shouldn't write when I'm cynical.  I do think it's great to be as fast as we can be.  Training is hard work and we don't want our equipment or body to let us down and so I am willing to bite.  However, I don't want to be scammed into either wasting my money, time or body. 

So how do I tell the difference?