Monday, January 30, 2012

Slacking or Injured?

If you haven't noticed, I haven't written much lately. The end of January marks the first round of mandatory state testing here in the great state of NY. The rest of the union seems to intelligently use the natural holiday season as a semester ending hallmark, NY decides that they want to be different. While my students were preparing to take some of their required exams, they insisted that I help. As if I'm some sort of teacher. For their benefit, I excused myself from my normal duties of writing and working out. On the bright side, they did well. I have no regrets

The First Run Back
Whenever I take a couple of days off of exercise, I can tell by the feeling in my chest. Some people have exercised-induced asthma. I seemingly have the exact opposite. My chest gets constricted. It's hard to breathe. I wease. The first run back is the worst.

To compound the unpleasantry, it was cold and there was snow on the ground. In normal winters, this wouldn't be a problem at this time of the year. The 2011-12 winter season has been especially kind to runners. This weekend proved divergent from the norm. The temps were at least 3º below freezing. The horror. The night before, a minimum of a quarter of an inch of snow fell. The conditions set were at maximum crappy. (I know this is the internet, but your sarcasm meter has to be dinging right about now.)

As if I didn't have the chest pain, lack of stamina, and sluggishness that accompanied that fateful first run, I had the sub-arctic conditions compounding my slow speeds. If this is the way the rest of the world feels when they start running, I totally understand why sedentarianism trumps working out. Fortunately for me, the feeling lasts just one run assuming that I can continue not not-running. Until that time, I had to suck it up on this dreary of experiences.

Season Ending Injury?
When heading out into the frost, one must observe winter running rules. In the form of clothing, layers are encouraged. Ear warmers and gloves are a must. Accelerating should be done at a Yugo pace. The same for decelerating. I know all of this.

I also know that caution should be taken when going around corners. Snow removal is poor at best in non-vehicle venues. At any point, white may give way to something more heinous. For those of you who are treadmillians, cornering is not a skill that you need. Running outside requires a special set of strategies. Let me teach you the proper way to turn a corner.

For those of us courageous enough to brave the elements, one must start the deceleration process well in advance of the aformentioned turn. The fastest way around a turn is to take the inside tangent. In the winter time, it is also the fastest way to riding the pavement. Never, and I seriously mean never, should you take a turn at 90º. That is a recipe for disaster. Turns should be taken wide and slowly.

Now, to summarize the run thus far, I am asthmatic. I am cold. I am slow. I cannot accelerate. I cannot decelerate. I must take turns at a girth much larger than usual. My pace for this run was significantly less than spectacular.

Mid-run, it happened. I was doing everything correctly. Slow. Steady. Wide. Bam. Down goes the Banter. I was probably hitting a 3.2 mph stride when the coefficient of friction between my shoes and the ground changed dramatically. Absent the wonderful force of friction, as is the case when hard rubber pulls backwards on ice, my shoddy momentum kept my upper body moving faster than my lower. I landed on all fours. The dog laughed at me. Both wrists were smarting. But the grunt of the action was firmly planted on my right knee.

I hobbled back home at a pace, if you can believe it, slower than before. I peeled of my layers in an effort to view the damage. By now, my wrists were beginning to recover. My left knee had improved. The right knee continued to be a concern. I'm in a bad place right now. It still hurts. I am not sure that I can continue. I may have to visit a doctor. Surgery. Rehab. Physical therapy. I just might have to spend the rest of my running life in a brace.

I've included a picture of the wound. It is not for the weak hearted. If you have children, parental discretion is advised. It may not be safe for work. Steady yourself and let me know if you think it is as bad as I think.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wacky Wednesday- Modern Music

I'm not a big fan of most of the music being produced today. It's not all crap, but there's a very high percentage of mind-numbing, bass-thumping, repetitive beating inaudible screams. This is not a new phenomenon. In college, I was actually given the title of "70s Man." On the swim team, Coach encouraged us to bring in CDs for the deck boombox. It helped pass the time whist doing copious numbers of kick sets. While my lane mates were bringing in Blind Melon, Spice Girls, No Doubt, and Smash Mouth, I was happily jamming Steely Dan, Foreigner, and Yes. Not much has changed since then.

There are a few new releases that don't encourage repulsion. These songs don't generally include the genres of rap and country. I've yet to hear a tune in either one of these arenas that encourages me to want to hear it again. Yup, I'm old.

I've since learned that the topic of most rap music may be at fault. Enter Exhibit A. This song and video may actually bring me over to the dark side. For those of you who are also rap haters, I present to you a reason to fall in love with bee-bopping fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dreaming about LA

Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
-Martin Luther King, Jr
Happy Birthday, MLKII!

Taken out of context, that quote could be about triathlon (although I'm kinda glad it's not). In honor of his greatness, I had my own dream. Sure, it wasn't nearly as profound, moving, or intelligent as the good Reverend/ Doctor. But hey, who is? Anyone out there into dream analysis? Even if you suck at it, let me know what you think about this...

So, I enter this bar in what feels like New Mexico but is labeled as Texas. There's a buzz happening and a bunch of media-type people are getting ready for a press conference. Now, I have never been to a press conference, I have no idea what people do to get ready for a press conference, but those facts do not change the concept that the media-type people were definitely getting ready for a press conference.

I am wearing my Ironman New Mexico finisher's t-shirt. Even in the dream state, my conscious self is surprised by this fact. I rarely wear a finisher's shirt in public. I have never done an Ironman outside of Lake Placid. And there is no IMNM. The dream just made it up.

I mosey on up to the bar because there are not many places where moseying is appropriate. When given the opportunity to mosey, you'd be wise to seize it. I take a seat next to some dude in a yellow shirt who is surrounded by a couple of assistants. A big shot. Alpha dog. I order up a Jack on the Rocks. This is my go-to drink when I'm trying to be a man or hanging out with college idiots. Since I haven't had the need for either manship or college kids, it's been a while since Uncle Jack has visited my palate. But, there's another Alpha in the room and the male ego gene dictates that there can be only one top dog. It might not be me but I'm gonna put myself in position just in case. Real men are judged by what they drink, right?

The man with the assistants is on my right. His peeps are buzzing around him like a pair of gnats. One of them has a clipboard and fervently scribbles notes. Seriously? It's a bar. What would possibly be of noteworthiness here? The man is clearly annoyed with them as well. He shoos them off and they maintain a hovering pattern about 10 feet away but ever vigilant in their attention. The man turns to me and I recognize him immediately. He is Lance Armstrong. I know that Lance is from Texas, adding another layer of truth to my otherwise fabricated REM state.

Lance orders up a white wine spritzer. Ha! I knew something bad happened when you lose a testicle (you know, except for the obvious). I finally have the evidence. He and his girly drink turn to me and he looks at my shirt. For some reason, he now sees me as a confidant. The IMNM shirt has put him at ease. He casually turns and leans his back on the bar. I follow suit, like we've done this before. In fact, it seems like he is more excited to see me that I am him. This is completely divergent to what would happen in real life. I know beyond any reasonable doubt would be a bumbling idiot. I envision me saying things like, "Uh, hey Lance. Remember when you dated Sheryl Crow? That had to be cool." Or, "Do they give you a finisher's shirt or medal for the Tour de France? You gotta have at least 7 of them, right?"

Lance tells me that at today's press conference, he's gonna break the news that he's finally going to race Kona. I remain passive. There has been speculation that he's going to get back into triathlon on an annual basis since he retired from professional cycling. I'm pretty sure that he's done a few Xterra races (the off-road kind) but the tri people want him back on the road. Some want to know how he'd do against the big guns in an Ironman. Lance got his athletic start as a triathlete. He was usurped into cycling. He has retired and still rides. He's done a marathon (sub 3 hours at that). It seems only natural that he'd go back to his roots and tri again.

Inside, I am stewing but continue to hide it. I turn my back to the bar and mimic his position (ignoring the fact that I had already done this move earlier in the dream). I sip my Jack. "So, what to you think?" Glad he asked. Any involvement by Lance Armstrong in triathlon is bound to be good for the sport. Sure, there are some out there who think he's a dirty, doped-up, cheat poser. I'm not on that list. I'm also not in the Lance-is-a-God club. However, he is a proven endurance athlete and I think it would be kick-ass to race against him in any capacity. In my dream state, I'd know that I could beat him. In my reality state, I may not be fit enough to wipe his brow.

"Lance," I start (apparently we are on a first name basis. After all, I am drinking Jack), "You certainly have the right to race on the Big Island." Which is true. Lance could show up on race day and they'd probably waive the "No race day registration' rule for him. He wouldn't do that. Lance knows that marketing makes him money since he is no longer biking for cash. Any race director would swoon at the opportunity to advertise Lance in the starting line-up, including any race hosted by the WTC.

"However, there are some in the world of triathlon who would hate you more." I have no idea how many people in the tri-world hate him nor can I quantify the level of hatred these people have. The statement still stands.

"If you really wanted to announce something great and earn the respect of your triathlon brethren, you'd qualify." I believe this to be a true statement as well. There are some people who are above the qualification process. There are corporate slots. There are celebrity slots. Yet, the hard working blokes in the sport have to vie for a few hundred slots world wide. That is the main reason that IM Kona maintains its mystique. You have to earn your way in. I have been trying to earn my slot for years and have failed at each attempt. When famous people just walk-on, some feel slighted. Not me. He's not taking my slot. He's in a different age group this year. Still, if a guy like Lance Armstrong decided that he was going to prove that he had what it takes to earn a slot, my personal respect for him would increase dramatically. And, we all know that a guy like Lance wants nothing more than to gain the Banter's personal respect.

The gnat-like assistants make their way back to the bar. The one with compound eyes and antennae whispers in his ear. Useless gesture. It's my dream and I hear everything. It's time for the press conference. Lance puts his half-drunk white wine spritzer on the bar and pays for both his and my drink. I nod my approval and he winks at me. Suddenly, the bar takes on the appearance of a press room you see after a baseball game. He makes his way up to the press conference table and takes a seat. There's a logo draped over the front of the table. My guess is that it would normally say, "LiveStrong." It doesn't. It is just a red circle with the word "Lance".

"I'm here to announce that I will be competing in the Ironman New Mexico with the hopes of qualifying in my age group for the Ironman World Championships in Kona next October."
The phantom Uncle Jack had made its metabolic way through my system thus applying the necessary pressure to encourage consciousness. I was in a good mood.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Having "Dinner" With the Wife

(This is a pause in your regularly scheduled Weight Loss Solutions series to bring you this post)

I have the best coach in the entire world. Here are things a good coach does for you:
  • Plans your workouts
  • Talks to you about your goals
  • Plans your training to help achieve your goals
  • Follows up with your training on a regular basis
  • Provides feedback on your training
  • Modifies training based on feedback
My coach does none of these. Yet, there's a reason my coach is better than your coach, keeping in mind that I may be your coach. That means that my coach is better than me and there's absolutely nothing you or I can do about it. My coach has the greatest powers of motivation and power over me that I will never have.

A Bit of Background
Take, for example, my long run last week. The schedule, not written by my coach, says that I was to run 12.5 miles on a Thursday afternoon. Now, long runs are supposed to be just that, long. Not fast. Not hard. Low intensity distance designed to increase your endurance and encourage capillary growth. In my training season thus far- My fast runs are just under 7:00 per mile. My tempo runs hold between 7:15-7:30. My Personal Record for a 13.1 mile run is a 7:29 pace.

On this particular Thursday afternoon I was feeling great. My technique was smooth. My energy levels were consistent. I was having an amazing run. When I finished, the Garmin listed my distance at 12.82 miles. See, no accountability needed. My time, 1:37.00. Pace 7:33. I was 4 seconds off record setting pace on a mid-week training run in early January. My spirits were high and I started to re-evaluate some of my goals for the rest of the season.

Once Friday morning arrived, I realized the error of my ways. I was tight. I was sore. My energy was down. My body was in full blown repair mode trying to right the wrongs achieved from yesterday's run. The tightness, soreness, repairness did not change on Saturday forcing me to skip my workouts to provide an extra day of recovery from that 'awesome' long run. In essence, despite the speed achieved, it was not a very intelligent run. I should have slowed down and not allowed my ego and Garmin to dictate my pace.

The 'Dinner' Concept
Enter this week's long run. I had a conversation with my coach, AKA the Wife. I told her that I needed to find ways to slow down on my long run. "I can help with that," she says coyly.

"Really," I respond. My eyebrows raised in full blown curiosity. "Tell me more."

"What was the 'slow' pace that you want to go?" she asked. I told her 7:50's or slower. "Well, if you go 8:00 per mile or slower on your run today, we can have 'dinner' tonight." Then she gave me her large, brown-eyed suggestive look complete with provocative blinks. "I want to see the data or no 'dinner' for you." I was going to slow down.

You and I both know that 'dinner' is a euphemism for, um, a meal eaten in the evening. I really like having 'dinner' with the Wife. There is no one else in the world I would rather have 'dinner' with. In my mind, she is the greatest 'dinner' partner in the world. Maybe it's is because I am a dog, or a male, or a bit of both, but when she hints at us having 'dinner' together, I am obedient. The Wife clearly knows motivation and is not afraid to use 'food' to help me in my endeavors.

So, I set off on a 13.1 mile run with the plan of running 8:00 per mile or slower. The thought of 'dinner' was consistently on my mind. Normally, the concept of having 'dinner' with the Wife is reason to run faster. I want to get in my miles so that I can start my 'meal' as soon as possible. Not today. Slow and steady earns the 'food'.

The concept of slowing down for me is a tough one. I am competitive by nature and I have the male ego gene working against me. Both of these facts normally yield high efforts. Slow running is counter-intuitive when the ego is in charge. My first mile clocked in at a 7:50 and my second was a 7:33 (there was a long downhill). It was clear that the ego was still in charge. This is not the path to 'dinner' and the Garmin data was clear in this. The third came in around 8:25 (there was a long uphill). The Wife's 'dinner' was starting to take the run over.

When all was said and done, I clicked off the Garmin at 13.11 miles and a time of 1:45.01. I showed the Wife the data in an effort to show I wasn't fudging the numbers. I could have easily run hard for most of it and walked some whilst keeping the Garmin running. I did not do that. The faster/ slower paces were guided by the hill profile.

'Dinner' was served hot.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wacky Wednesday- Ironman Vids

I was recently at a professional development seminar hosted by none other than Pondering herself. She's rather smart, intuitive, and full of good ideas. In contrast, I'm old, crusty and have very little going for me. So when Pondering talks, I listen.

One of her topics was to introduce new and fresh ideas to get kids using technology in fun and motivating ways. She gave is lists chalked full of web-based possibilities. It was right around here that I stopped paying attention and started playing. We had a seminar which encouraged playing on the internet and I was hooked.

One of the sites she recommended was where anyone can make a movie. While browsing this site, I had immediate flashbacks to something the BIL sent me a while ago. Basically, he said to me in an email, "Ironman is a cult". Then he followed it up with this video.

To be honest, I had not seen this one before. I had seen it's cousin, appropriately titled, "Ironman." It is the reason that, in certain cults circles, the words, "But I will be an Ironman" cause fits of laughter.

The sad thing is that my students don't believe me that I go to bed before 9:30 so that I can get up around 5:15 and train. At least I'm not as bad as this guy and yes, I will be an Ironman.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Weight Solution- Limit your losses

When you really look at it, weight gain and loss is a long-term function. Due to problems with comparing one day to the next day, you cannot know if you actually gained/ lost/ maintained weight on a daily regime. Our scales cannot provide you with that data. But, when taking into account the numbers over a long period of time, the trend makes itself obvious. All too often, people fall into the rut of:
1. Finally recognizing they want to lose weight
2. Starting off their weight gain 'systems' with high motivation
3. Give up when the results aren't immediately obvious

No one ever explained to them that the whole weight thing takes a long time. To illustrate my point, let's suppose you put on 20 pounds in the past year. I would not hesitate to say that a +20 pound Banter is a significant change and would be obvious to just about anyone. I would be most displeased with myself and be well over the Bar. This is would be, what I call, a big deal. I might go to a bad place for a while as I deal with the gain.

However, when you crunch the numbers, it's not that much. An extra 20 pounds per year breaks down to a surplus of less than 200 daily calories from a Calories In: Calories Out perspective. Less than 200 additional calories in. This would not, under any circumstances, be considered over eating by anyone's standards.

~200 Calories
1 candy bar
1 serving of chips
2 slices of bread
2 slices of cheese
2 cans of soda
1 bowl of soup
1/2 a blueberry muffin
1/2 a donut
1/2 a bagel
1 english muffin with butter
1/2 PB&J sandwich
2 apples

Can you imagine that? Today at the staff meeting, you split your obligatory donut with a friend. You both are losing weight. Bam, there's your extra 200 calories. Or worse, you ate an extra apple at lunch and then again at dinner. You pig! Do that on a daily basis and the result is a 20 pound annual weight gain.

My point here is that when you get right down to it, putting on 20 pounds per year is incredibly easy because it doesn't take much. An extra 200 calories won't show up on your scale tomorrow. Or next week. It might show up next month as 1 measly pound. You would have a hard time knowing if you put on an extra pound of fat or retained one glass of water.  200 calories won't expand your stomach. Won't change your attitude. You'd be hard pressed to actually identify the source of 200 calories in the first place. If you had an additional 70 calories per meal, which is rather minuscule when you really think about it, you have more than exceeded your 200 additional calories per day and are well on your way to gaining 20 pounds this year.

Lucky for you, the converse is also true. Remove 200 calories from your daily life and you lose 20 pounds. That means that you need to shed only 70 calories from each of your meals. Again, 70 calories per meal is not much. It's like eating 2 Oreo cookies instead of 3. Drop one can of soda and you are more than half way there.

And, on the Calories Out side of the equation, it really doesn't matter if you drop those calories via eating or via exercising. 200 calories is an extra 4000 steps per day. 2 miles of running. It is removing 1 granola bar plus doing 10 minutes on the elliptical.

I feel like I am starting to sound like one of those info-mercials. "You can get long, lean muscles in just 10 minutes per day." An you know what, these idiots are right. Here's where most people fail: you have to have a calorie deficit EVERY DAY. Not every other day. Not once a week. You must take the calories off daily. Which requires constant vigilance.

If you are doing/ did your homework, you'd know by now if you are gaining weight or losing weight. Don't stop weighing yourself at the same time daily. Record your results. If you are holding steady, increase your activity or decrease you food. Up to you. You could do both. If you are losing weight, you can use your numbers to figure out how well you are doing.

The math is fairly easy. Figure out how many pounds you want to lose. Add a zero at the end of the number. Viola- you have your daily calorie deficit. A 10 pound drop this year is roughly 100 calories per day. If you are interested in losing 30 pounds, you have to cut 300 calories. It's that simple.

Again, simple does not mean easy. You and I both know that following a food routine is one of the most difficult challenges on the planet. There are going to be those times when you fall off the wagon. For example: holiday meals, or when you eat an entire birthday cake all by your lonesome because your exceptionally beautiful wife doesn't really eat cake, or a SuperBowl party, or... the list can go on forever. This is one of the big reasons that you are logging your weight, food, and exercise. Falling off the wagon today does not require that you stay there. Jump back on immediately.

Remember, weight loss is a long-term goal. You are looking to be less you several months from now. Be patient. Do your homework. Do your exercise.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Weight Solution- Calories In

If you've been faithfully following along, I have to apologize for the lapses in content. Over the Christmas holiday season, I developed some sort of stomach bug. Not sure if it was chemical, viral, bacterial, or pansy-related, but I just didn't want to eat. My energy levels were fine. No fever or headaches. Solid food did not interest me. I was quite grumpy. Every time I thought about writing, the content was rather harsh. I put it off in exchange for renovating the new house. In the mean time, I lost 2 pounds. I do not suggest this sort of strategy (not eating) as a way to lose weight. The reason, it is not sustainable. You gotta eat sometime.

Plus, the BIL sent me a NY Times article which resulted in copious amounts of sulking. Those thieving bastards! I think someone from the NY Times hacked into my blogger account, perused through my weight loss drafts (I have several already started but underdeveloped). Then, the jerks went out and added some human interest stories. Now, it may look like I am borrowing material from them, which I am not! You can find the article here. It's a pretty good read, albeit long, but highlights the important concepts of the series.

Hopefully, you've been taking advantage of the New Year's to get motivated and get to work on all of those resolutions you'll drop in 3 weeks. Good for you. If weight loss is on your list of desires, I've got good news and bad news. First, the Good News- I am going to show you how simple it is to achieve your weight loss goals. In fact, I guarantee results or your money back*.  Now, the Bad News- I am an idiot Losing weight, while simple, requires a lot of work.

Sounds conflicting, right? Don't get in the habit of confusing simple with easy. See, in the physiological arena, the Calories In: Calories Out formula rules the coop. Weight loss is as simple as burning more calories than you ate. In Part 1, I told you that you needed to weigh and record your weight. That's daily homework for you in the realm of data collecting. Whereas we cannot trust the daily weight to give us anything of real value, the scale will accurately show you the trend over time. If you cannot handle that assignment, then this next one is going to really piss you off.

You Need to Record Your Calories-In
Again, this seems to counter an attitude that I have given you in the past. I told you that there's no way to actually know how many calories are in the food you eat. I stand by that post. But, that doesn't mean you cannot take advantage of the information that is there. Currently, and I'm going out on a limb here, you do not write down everything that goes into your gullet, including the listed calorie information. That means, in essence, you have exactly 0 data on your food. Sure, you have an idea. But, until you start to record the numbers, you actually have nothing. Now, let's assume that the calorie thingy that you might use is +/-10% off. If you do the work, using their system, your data is 90% accurate, at worst. I have to tell you that, as a teacher, I'd be tickled if all of my students were at 90% or above.

Hopefully, you can see what's going on here. There are literally thousands of different ways to record your nutrition. There are websites, apps, food logs, journals, etc. that will allow you to input your food and it will give you a number of calories consumed over time. Even if the number is completely off, it is still better than the number you currently have (remember, you have nothing). Bad data is infinitely better than no data. Double better for you is that the data won't be completely off anyway. 90% right data is not what I would call bad. I just wouldn't call it accurate.

And, even more better for you (sometimes, I love it when bad grammar seems more better than gooder grammar), it doesn't even matter if the data is bad. What we are looking for is precision in the data. Just a quick lesson for you on the topic of accuracy versus precision. These are not really synonyms in the world of science, no matter how the common folk use them. Accuracy is getting the answer right. Precision is getting repeated results, even if the answer is wrong. An answer can be accurate, precise, neither, or both.

We are looking for trends over a long period of time. Any of the calorie systems that you pick is going to be 100% precise. I have no doubt in that. That means it will give you the same answer every time you plug in the same problem. According to your app-site-journal thing, a medium apple will always be 80 calories. The label on the Snickers bar will be the same today as 15 years from now. So, in essence, we are recording 90% accurate data with 100% precision. And with very precise data, we can take advantage of those numbers. How to do this will show up in a later post.

But, and here's the sucky part, you must do your part. Whereas my Garmin will record every step I take to the 0.01 of a mile with 99.9% accuracy and precision with just the press of a button, nothing in the world will record your food for you. With food, you are on your own. To record your gluttony precisely (see, as a teacher, I know that I have to give you more than 60 opportunities to see and use a word if you are going to get it into your brain. I'm going to fail in this post but you cannot blame me for trying to be accurate and precise in my writing), you must become extra anal about recording your food. The Wife will bust out her iPhone immediately after dinner and write down what she ate. I could be right in the middle of a sentence, and viola, out comes the phone and tapping. I find it, at times,  a conversation killer to see her face buried in her phone instead of lost in my eyes and hanging on every word that spews from my never-ending jabberjaw.  Sure, her habit bugs me at the time, but when I see her results, I really appreciate it. She's a drop-dead hottie.

So there you have it. If you are serious about losing and maintaining your weight loss, you need to have a precise record of what you are eating. It is a lot of hard work. But, if you do it (without lying to yourself), along with the other steps I will soon lay out,  I guarantee results*.

*The terms of the guarantee: you lose weight should you follow the regime. Should you fail, you have the right to... Okay, I don't want to go into it fully. There's a lot of fine print, red tape, and the lawyers have cautioned me not to say too much on the topic to non-paying customers. If you'd like a full copy of the guarantee, including terms, agreements, with all applicable taxes (offer not valid in Alaska, Hawaii, and for some reason, Montana), just let me know. There, um, may be a fee involved. Again, the lawyers asked me not to say too much.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wacky Wednesday- Perspectives

Out here in the east coast region of the United States, we have been experiencing an incredibly mild winter. Temperatures have rarely dipped below freezing. The ski resort people are quite grumpy. No overtime for the plow drivers. The salt stock piles are at an all-time high. Consequently, automobile rust is seemingly at an all-time low.

I, for one, couldn't be any happier. See, I am not a winter person. I, in my withered old age, cannot find anything really redeeming about cold, snow, or short days. Last winter, every other post was complain about winter this and moan about winter that. As if the weather gods read my blog, they decided to extend winter well into March just to, and I'm pretty sure about this, to spite the Banter. Well, karma has found its way back and I am in pretty darn good shape as a result.

Another contributing factor to my in-shapeness has been my willingness to get up and run in the mornings. I have 3 scheduled am runs (Mondays are optional, as all Monday workouts should be optional). Morning runs ensure that I get my duff out of bed and get my mileage in. Thus far they have been quite successful. This morning was one of those scheduled running mornings.

There has been lots written on heat acclimatization. Basically, the experts weigh in on the physiological adaptations that your body experiences when the temperature and humidity rise. I haven't read much on theories of cold acclimatization. My reasoning behind my ignorance on this topic is 2 fold: 1. Not much has actually been tested or been written on the changes when the mercury drops. And 2. I am not much of a reader.

The concept of cold acclimatization was smacking me in the face. As most of the winter has been warmer than the average refrigerator, this morning was a whopping 8º F. Single digits. I slept in. I postponed my run to the afternoon and made my workout a hard brick session, when the temperatures were near 30º. I cannot help be feel like a big pansy. Especially after when I watched this video in awe. I marveled at the dudes fortitude, stamina, and yeah, his craziness. He makes my refusal to run in 8º temps seem extra specially wussy.