Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Nation of Coaches or Blamers

We are a nation of Monday morning quarterbacks, Oprah's, Rush Limbaugh's and a bunch of other people who like to give advice, play coach, counselor or judge.

Wow- that's a pretty heavy sentence for me to drop on a blog about parenting and triathlon.

I was on a flight on Monday with a dad who's 16 year old daughter had gotten into Meth.  They sent her through three programs totaling over a year at $225 per day (for you that don't enjoy math that is over $82,000).  His daughter came home right before her 18th birthday and went back to her former lifestyle.  He and his were called one night to a local hospital because someone had found their daughter lying in the street unconscious.  They drove the the hospital expecting the worst. 

After three days their daughter woke up from a coma and hasn't touched drugs again.  That was 7 years ago.  He is so happy that his daughter is alive and doing well, married and finishing college.  Amazing story of a fathers love and patience. 

Yet as our plane started to land he told me that he felt a great deal of guilt and blame.  I asked for more specifics since I work with at-risk teens and parents for my job and I'm personally interested.  He told me a bunch of things about the fact that the other kids in the family never struggled, his wife and him have always worked hard on building a strong marriage and family.  They are active in a local church, they didn't have drama in their lives.  Didn't spoil the kids and also didn't break their spirits.  They worked hard as parents and still the daughter took a very dangerous turn and this father feels a bunch of blame.

I asked him how the story could have ended if he and his wife hadn't been as strong and committed to their daughter.  He looked at me a bit, let out a sigh, and said, "I'm so glad to have her back". 

This dad felt judged the whole time his daughter was acting crazy and destructive.  He felt like a failure the whole time they were scraping up $82,000 on a middle income salary.  He felt ashamed when she went back to drugs.  While he learned better ways to support his daughter during the years of pain, he shouldn't hang his head low, he stepped up the plate and did his best. 

I have a lot to learn about how I can support struggling families and help them understand that strength doesn't come from blame.  Ignoring the blame is hard but I think as triathletes we learn which voice helps us when things get tough and which voice makes us sleep when the alarm goes off at 5:00 AM.

Best of luck to all the parents out there.  I'm pulling for you.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Crisis or Bucket

I'm turning 40 in a few hours and I'm pretty excited about it.  I don't have a sense of dread and I'm not down or feeling pitiful about the inevitable.

First, I'm not in crisis, I'm feeling strong and good about my life.  I feel like I have less to prove to others than ever before and more to prove to myself.  I am a triathlete because I enjoy training and racing.  I'm a dad who loves being a dad.  I'm a husband who wants to be a great husband.

No buckets either.  I'm not living life getting ready for death.  I am enjoying what I have today and even though life is busy and I have much more stress than training, I am choosing to focus on today.  I don't do triathlons to check something off so I can finish life with a list, I do it because I feel I was made to enjoy this torture.

So, I'm aging and life seems to be picking up a pace I have never felt before, however, no regrets and lots of enjoying the people and things I get to do.

What are my plans for my 40's?  Don't have any but I do expect to enjoy the years.

For the few who are looking for less philosophy and more funny, I'll work on being more interesting, funny and helpful, just hang on while I mature.

Dreaming of a new pain cave

Life has been chaotic with a bunch of travel for work and an eminent move.  We are downsizing our house and it has taken longer to close the sale of our current home than to have it on the market.  Today we sign the papers and then we can sign the papers for our new smaller home. 

Smaller typically doesn't bode well for having space to set up my trainers. Even in our big home I constantly moved the trainer from Office to our bedroom to its final spot in the guest room.  In the new house, I will finally have my pain cave.

It has an unfinished basement!  I am so excited to set the trainer out and store the bikes downstairs.  Maybe buy a work stand for the bike and...

I think they should have a special on HGTV for triathletes just so we can show off our pain caves. 

Winter is coming and Jorges Winter Bike Program is also coming.  Sounds strange but I'm really excited!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Almost Perfect Pool

Swimming has been out of touch all week for me, close but out of touch.  I was in Nashville all week for meetings that started at 7:30 each morning (5:30 Pacific Center of the world time).  I hadn't made it back to my room until past 10:00 PM (still feels early) but too late to swim in the hotel pool.

The hotel (Gaylord Opryland) has a beautiful pool.  I did my research and it looked perfect, even a lifeguard to be there and admire my swimming.

Everyday I planned on swimming and never got the chance.  I looked at the pictures of the pool knowing there were 25 meters of swimming perfection waiting for me.

So on Saturday late afternoon when everyone headed to dinner, I decided to head to the fitness center for a run and swim.  I was so excited.  I ran for 30 minutes on a treadmill that had a great view of the pool.  There were open lanes and I couldn't wait to swim.  Finally, I was done running and I headed down, picked up a huge towel, figured out the electronic locks and then did my best to confidently walk out into a pool area full of board shorts (more like baggy capris) in my box cut swim suit. 

I had a center lane to myself, put on my cap and goggles and got in ready to swim for an hour.  And then the "almost" part of the almost perfect hit me.  Not to digress too much, but I have noticed that for a person from the Northwest, there are quite a few "almost" surprises that come when visiting the South.  Vegetables are almost good for you except the ham and butter.  It is beautiful outside to exercise but the "almost" part is this thing called humidty.

So as I eased into the pool I was expecting refreshing and instead got hot.  Hot salt water that didn't even feel refreshing on the first lap.  The water was hot, not hot tub hot but way too hot for swimming too long.  I swam 1K and couldn't handle the heat and so I walked away from a perfect pool disappointed.

So, I'm almost home.  My pool at 24 hour fitness isn't as clear or pretty, but at least I know I can swim without fear of passing out from heat exhaustion.