Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Pain is an often misused or misunderstood word. There is pain due to an injury: something hurts, there is mental pain or anguish, and there is pain associated with pushing your own physical limits.

One of my workouts is a 90 minute inquisition starting with high-rpm drills (1 min x100,110,120 rpm, 3X through), followed by six repetitions of 6min near-maximum effort 90-100 rpm riding, then 4 min 90-100 rpm lower effort recovery. Six minutes is a long time to pedal at maximum effort. It’s hard to not look at the watch, because each time I do, only 30 seconds have passed. It reminds me of the 20-minute time trial when I competed in the Cadence Kona Challenge in October. After eight minutes, I stopped paying attention to my heart rate and just focused on keeping my rpms up. The next twelve minutes were an eternity, the last two of which were agonizing.

I am amazed by the physical ability of others, which in part is what helps to motivate me. Pushing physical limits can be painful, but in some sense, it is“purification through pain.” Next time the limit is a little further. Hence, the Spanish Inquisition photo (just in case you didn’t get the Monty Python reference). “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!”

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Recovery Days

My training schedule is a six-day structured plan, with Monday as an off day for recovery. I feel like I should be doing something. I feel like a slug, compared to the days where the morning starts with a high-effort workout. It isn't that I'm really into working out (I'm not), but I feel much better when I do. A hard workout helps set the tone for the day, so in some ways a day off is a harder part of the routine. I don't look forward to it, but recovery is an important part of any training plan (so I've read). In terms of routine, I think seven days is easier than six. I guess I'll get used to it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Focus or Obsession?

Some say being focused on something constitutes obsession. If an activity takes priority over things that are more important, I would agree. But sometimes certain activities require a level of commitment to be successful. For me, improving my physical fitness takes a good deal of time. The best use of my time is to train in the early morning before work, and/or before anyone is awake. It isn't always easy to wake up at 3:30 or 4am, especially when it is zero degrees outside. That, combined with doing my best to not interfere with family time, makes this endeavor more challenging, given an alternative option is to lay on the sofa and do nothing but channel surf and consume the Holy Trinity of food: pizza, pasta, and pancakes.

So, this wagon is moving along quickly, and I am doing my best to stay on board. I feel better than I ever have. My weight is at or below what it was in college (I'm now 42), and I think I am as healthy as I have ever been (my resting pulse is 44 bpm and blood pressure is low). I can and should eat better and get more sleep, and I'm working on it.

So what is my point? I think you have to have some degree of passion or obsession to push yourself to achieve things. It isn't always easy finding the thing or things that spark a change from within, but when you do, you want to get rolling and hit it hard. For me, I want to get my speed back to a respectable age group level, and not only have a decent finish at Big Sur but then push the envelope further beyond my comfort factor and compete in the July 2008 Muncie Endurathon, a 1/2 Ironman distance event.

So how does one find balance between what for some people may seem a selfish drive to recapture youth, defy aging, or a fulfill a mid-life event, and a solid family life where there is enough energy and focus left for sharing with a spouse and two energetic young boys? How is it not selfish to commit what is sometimes 10+ hours each week (and can eventually double)? I'm still trying to figure this out.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why am I doing this?

I volunteered for a project for The Wellness Community for a few reasons.

1) This endeavor is kind of a penance for me. With family and friends going through treatment, I didn't really understand how to help or even act. I think I stuck my head in the sand during everyone's treatments. This is an organization that helps people cope with cancer. My mother started going to The Wellness Community in Indianapolis after she moved to Indiana, and it wasn’t until I went to a meeting that I realized just how much I didn’t understand. I'm doing this in honor of them, and will wear their names during the run.

2) I have been pursuing activities outside of my comfort zone, and had been thinking about running a marathon this spring. The day I actually started looking at what event I might try, a newsletter for TWC arrived and had the Strides for Hope information inside. It really seemed a matter of fate. After researching it further, I learned it was a fundraiser, and so I thought about it for a month before making a decision. I was either going to run the Nashville, Louisville, or Big Sur marathon. Well, marathons and fundraising are way beyond my comfort zone, so I signed up. It’s for a good cause.

3) I thought it might be fun. Actually, I think it will be a blast!

Please consider making a financial contribution.

Your tax-deductible donations can be made securely online by going to secure online donation (select "Strides for Hope" and please reference my name in the form), or by check (payable to The Wellness Community). Or, click for other options.

Check contributions should be sent directly to:
The Wellness Community
8465 Keystone Crossing Suite 145
Indianapolis, IN 46240

(please reference my name in the memo).

I'm seeking commitments of $2 per mile or more, but appreciate any support you can provide. For $100 or more, I'll wear your name as a sponsor during the run.

Monday, January 21, 2008

First post

Well, I am finally learning about web design and blogging. There are many more updates to make, but the website is still a work in progress. The point for all of this is to support The Wellness Community. I will post information here and on my website