Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Plan...

So after humbling my self last week, you know...feeling like Al Bundy, I needed to create a plan to keep me moving. Without a plan I might as well be walking around in the dark without a flashlight because I'll never figure out where I am headed. So, what's my plan, the high level one at least. Here it is...I am going to stick with running for the time being, although I may cross train a bit on the bike as the weather improves (it's snowing as I write this). I am planning on doing what I have decided to call "the ladder" or "la escalera" for my Spanish speaking friends. Beginning with a 5K and progressing through the ultramarathon. No I do not have my race calendar completely planned out as of yet, but I have it started.

Here's what I have so far...

1. 5K - TBD
2. 10K- Cooper River Bridge Run: Charleston, SC
3. 15K- Clinton Country Run: Clinton, NJ
4. 13.1- TBD
5. 26.2- TBD
6. 50K- TBD
7. 50M- Vermont 50/TBD
8. I think I have already gotten plenty ahead of myself, I better stop here for now.

So, the Root Of My Health for this week is to have a plan! Is the plan complete yet? No (check back next week on my progress and updates). Is it ambitious? Maybe a little too ambitious! But that's what makes it challenging and fun.

If there's something in life you want to do (it could be anything, not just running), but haven't begun to create a plan yet go ahead and sketch one out this week. If you are feeling even more ambitious share your plan with me by leaving it in the comments section below.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Truth Is, The Truth Hurts...

I have unexpectedly found myself face to face with many truths over the past few weeks. As the title of this post implies it has hurt...a lot! But one of the amazing things I have found is that while the truth does in fact hurt sometimes, I have also experienced something unexpected. That unexpected thing is a sense of relief. I admit that this sense of relief took me by surprise a little bit, so much so that I began asking myself what is "truth" anyway?

A quick wikipedia search tells me that "Truth can have a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with a particular fact or reality, or being in accord with the body of real things, real events or actualities". Well, I guess this information gets me a little closer to understanding, but what about the truth is so important?

Before I reveal where I found the answer I have to share a few things. I can't say that I have taken part regularly in organized religion, however I do consider myself a spiritual person. I believe in God and in Evolution (yes it has taken a while for me to sort that kind of thing out in my own head). I also don't believe that all things happen simply by chance. So I can't say that I am surprised by where I found the answer, but I can say that I feel comforted by it...The Bible says, "The truth shall make you free."

That was it...the relief I experienced through learning some difficult truths was in fact freedom.

Although it would go far beyond the bounds of this post to discuss the truths I refer to above, they are in fact someone else's truths and not mine to share. But I am willing to share one, not so deep and dark secret, I experienced for myself.

As I sat working the other day I overheard a few of the guys I work with were discussing a common topic in our for ultra endurance events. As usual I found myself getting sucked into the conversation...I mean come on, who wants to do work when you can talk about something more interesting!? In any event, when it was time for me to put my 2-cents into the conversation the words that came out of my mouth sounded like alarm bells in my ears. The words that set off those alarms sounded a little something like this..."well when I did an ultramarathon". I quickly saw a picture of Al Bundy in my brain reciting "it was like the time I scored four touchdowns "in a single game" for Polk High in the championship game, including the game-winning touchdown in the final seconds". Oh, and the song "Glory Days" was playing in the background too, in my mind at least!

Ugh...what a schmuck I sound like and have sounded like as I can recall so many conversations where I have done the same thing. Yes, the truth hurts!

So this week I was reminded that in order to Thrive...what you have done in the past doesn't matter nearly as much as what you are going to do in the future and that's a truth that doesn't hurt!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Entropy Happens!

2009 was a monumental year. My wife, Renee, and I welcomed our daughter, Lydia, into the world in November of that year. A little over a month prior to Lydia's birth, Renee and two of our best friends sat in a car in the pouring rain somewhere in the Vermont wilderness waiting for me to emerge from the woods 30 miles into a 50 mile ultramarathon. I was at the top of my game, I felt all of life was in balance (homeostasis)...As 2009 came to a close and 2010 opened I was given a life lesson in a topic I had learned about in physics class, ENTROPY!

entropy en·tro·py (ěn'trə-pē) n. 1. A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.

Yes, entropy had hit me. Everything in life began to feel disordered...night blended into day, organization seemed to melt into chaos, was I coming or going? I didn't know, and as a result the balance I had experienced not so long before felt far, far away. Suddenly the act of trying to balance all of the spinning plates (fatherhood, marriage, work, friendships, my own health, etc.) began to feel impossible and plates seemed as though they were falling! Exercise and sleep were inconsistent at best, nutrition below par, and as a result I felt like I was cracking.

Well, luckily with time comes perspective and looking back I know my experiences are no different than anyone else's. We have all been there! The roles and responsibilities don't really change or go away (in fact I am sure they continue to multiply), but how we manage to balance them all seems to make all the difference. I've learned if I allow my own foundation to crack by improperly managing the key ingredients to success (you know them already...fuel, move, recover & endure) that I can't reliably support the life I want to provide for myself, my family and my friends.

So now the challenge is to successfully balance all of those roles...being a parent, a spouse, a friend, a sibling, a professional...the list goes on, but at the ROOT of each is our OWN HEALTH! Without which we can all endure only so long, but we will not thrive in the long run. I plan to thrive! So, if you are someone who may share in some of the same experiences and are curious to see how I manage, what works and what doesn't, feel free to follow along. In addition, I invite you to share your own experiences.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Welcome To 2011

So I'll start by saying that I'm not a huge fan of New Years resolutions. For the most part humans are "creatures of habit" and find it very difficult to break old ones, the science of behavior change is a very interesting (in theory) and frustrating (in practice) topic. In fact, more than 95% of individuals do not succeed in following through with resolutions...but I digress... I simply have to admit that I have made one. My resolution this year is to carve out 30 minutes every week to sit and reflect on how the actions and events of the past week have impacted my health. Maybe I'll even document some of it here along with other relevant topics that get to the roots of our health...aimed at helping us to find the proper dosages of the ingredients for success: MOVE enough, FUEL properly, RECOVER adequately & go ENDURE!