Saturday, April 21, 2012

I Might Be a Lab Rat

This most recent week has gone by in a blur. I'm pretty sure I accomplished everything I had hoped for. I had a good week at work. My track team got their miles done with only a few complaints. I got lots of biking done on the trainer. I made it to the pool a couple of times. One issue was that my running mileage was down this week but nothing too detrimental.

Maybe that last little bit is one of the reasons for my forgetfulness. According to a recent NY Times article, exercise is good for your brain. Here's what happened: Scientists enlisted the help of some volunteers. We'll call these volunteers "lab rats" for the simple fact that they were lab rats. After a series of tests, the rats that were runners did the best on intelligence. It's possible that a few of them could have passed some of the New York State Standardized tests. That hypothesis, however, was not tested. The non-running rats did not show any significant improvement.

So, as I sit here typing these words, I am still pummeling my brain trying to ascertain what was missing from the most recent week. I admit that I 'forgot' to go running, but this doesn't tell the whole picture. Like the average bloke, I have this non-training life. The Wife refuses to let me become a professional triathlete. Of course, there are several reasons that she has wisely forbidden this.
  • I'm not that great of a runner (another reason why the not-running this week was detrimental). Pros handing out 7 minute miles don't normally make the cut.
  • I'm kind of old. Very few triathletes become professionals in their late 30s. Sure, Lance did it but he was a professional triathlete in his teens and early 20s before he switched to cycling. You could say that he's been a professional triathlete on sabbatical. Since I have not had an amazing cycling career, the chances of me tapping the professional ranks go way down.
  • Professional triathetes don't make a ton of cash unless you are really, really good. Money is not all that guaranteed. Pros in our sport don't normally sign long term contracts with a team for millions of dollars. They rely on sponsorship, which is not all that easy to come by. Even if they do well in a race, the race reward goes significantly down. A 4th place finish (which is much more than I could hope for) might yield $750. This amount may not cover the race registration and travel.
  • I kinda suck.
Well, something was lost in my most recent week of life. Maybe I'll come up with it at a later date. I'm going for a run.

Edit: Run finished. I went on a 7 mile loop with the PRP. I descended miles 1-6. Mile 1 was on the 7:39. Mile 6 was on the 6:28 (my fastest mile of the season!). As it turns out, the Lab Rat people were right. I'd like to add to all of the neural science that went in to their report that I believe the scientists missed. Even with the added neural connections, blood flow, and increased oxygen to the brain, running gives you freedom to get lost in yourself. 

Yes there is tons of information coming at you. Potholes. Motorists. The feel of the road under your legs. Debris on the route. While running, I pretty much ignore all of that. My brain is at its most active (translation: roughly 3% more active than my normal according to recent Banter experiments or 83% less active than the average person).

As it turns out, I forgot to blog last week. You'd have thought that fact would have been obvious. Then again, you are probably 83% smarter than me. I have just laid credence to the Lab Rat Runner Hypothesis. Next week is scheduled to be a higher mileage running week, so maybe my brain and blogging will be back on track. Either that, or I'll have to buy some more cheese.

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