10 April 2010

Self Induced Stress Inflicted Paralysis

Do you ever have those points in your life where you have so much going on that you feel yourself on the verge of paralysis? I'm there. Last night, after teaching until 7:30, I took a half an hour to decompress before putting my kids in bed for the night. Those of us who are parents know that the bedtime ritual is no small task. Teeth brushing, bathroom, jammies, books. The minutes add up. Don't get me wrong, I love it, and I am really cognizant of the fact that this time in our lives—with young children— is precious, and will not last long enough. However, I can not speak for all kids, but my children have perfected the art of stalling to new heights. Clearly, they have all made the jump from amateur to professional when it comes to concocting insipid bedtime questions to ask. There timing is also impeccable. My girls wait until I have the door almost completely closed before I hear them squeak "Daddy.... I have to ask you something." "Sure, what is it sweetie?"  "Um.... um... um..... can we go to the museum sometime?" "Sure sweetie. We can go to the museum sometime."  "Okay, goodnight" Here is a recent example of a bedtime conversation post lights-out that my wife had with my girls:

Janina: Mommy?

Wifey: Yes?

Janina: Do you you know....... do yooouuuu knoooow, um...... do youuuuu knoooooooow.....


Janina: HEY!  Amalia, you found my polka dot slippers today!

Wifey: Okay, goodniiiight girls.

Janina: Wait, mommy?

Wifey: Yes?

Janina: Do you know where my Barbie dress is?

Wifey: Yes. We can get it tomorrow. Okay. Goodniiiight.

Amalia: Wait, mommy?

Wifey: Yes Amalia?

Amalia: Can we listen to Cinderella music tomorrow in the car? 

Wifey: (now exasperated because LOST started five minutes ago) Sure. Go to bed! (door shutting)


Following the bedtime ritual, I had an hour long phone conversation with a performer about one of my scores. Then, I  got on the phone with one of my mentors and asked him how he has managed to stay sane the last 35 years while managing a career, family life, and time for himself. The great mystery unveiled? Not likely. No, the secret to inner peace does not lie atop a Himalayan summit, or meditating to achieve some type of nirvana-like transcendental experience. Unfortunately, the answer to getting it all done within our 24 hour linear cycle is about as cryptic as Stonehenge. My Monday and Tuesday were so busy, in fact, that I can not even remember what I was doing that kept me away from training.... or did I train? I can't remember!

Training: I had an awesome week thirteen of training capped off with a 72 mile ride and a 9 mile run. My ride was amazing. I was all geeked up with my new Crankskins.com team gear. Got my new tri shorts and bike jersey, but I am waiting on my new tri top. It seemed like the first batch we ordered were not quite accurate with the sizing chart. I usually wear medium tops, but this medium was either built for seven guys that live with a Disney princess, or manufactured for the same populous from whence there made—China. Perhaps if I trained by manning a rickshaw for eight hours a day, I would burn enough calories to fit into the medium, but in fact, it was so tight, I could not take it off. I actually had to unzip it and pull it down my legs. I felt like Ahhhrnold. The first 10 miles of my ride were south, uphill, and directly into the wind. Nice! Hello wind. In fact, my whole ride west, the wind was blowing southeast at a pretty decent clip. Miles 10 through 25 were pretty good. I recognized most of the scenery having taken short rides to the southwest last season. Once I got past mile 25, it was all brand new territory for me. I felt pretty strong along the way. Good thing I brough  plenty of nutrition on the ride, because I needed it. I went through 140 ounces of fluids, 3 gels, a bag of carbohydrate lemon snacks, and one super-delicious chocolate brownie Clif bar. Once I arrived, I drank an additional 64 ounces of fluids. All that fluid, and I did not go pee until three hours after I arrived.

Week fourteen has found my butt, yet again, in front of a computer screen firing out emails, working on music, and running around trying to get things done. You know, life. I was doing good for a while, balancing training with life. But, with four weeks left to go in the semester, and the projects steadily growing more numerous by the minute, I have found my twenty-four hour day compressed into a one or two hour window to train—usually at a time of day that the pool has no lap swim, or it is cold, raining and dangerous on the roads, or any other excuse I can think of. Why not ride indoors you ask? Well, it was so beautiful this past week that I took the trainer tire off and put my outdoor tire on my rear wheel. It is not that easy to get that puppy on and off. Those of you who have trainer tires know what I am talking about. Getting one of those on your rim is like trying to put on a pair of jeans you wore when you were twelve. Really, there is no excuse to miss workouts. I will be the first one to tell others that. Every once in a while I get derailed, but I feel better if I can just string two or three long steady workouts together. It is incredibly encouraging to my psyche to get in a two hour bike ride, or a run over an hour and a half. 

Okay, I think I am back and ready for more frequent updates. The whole family is in Connecticut visiting some friends of ours that we have not seen in a while. The purpose of the trip is my wife had a performance in New Haven with her company. This morning I got out for a  nice 8 miler and ran steady 7:20's. Fastest splits of the early season. The season that is quickly creeping up on me!

More soon... stay tuned!  Train Smart!


RockStarTri said...

Great update and sounds like it was a great ride. My coach constantly dings, I mean reminds, me on ride nutrition - he wants 250-400 cals per hour inclusive of a bottle of liquid per too. I find it hard to consume that much but when I do I feel great to the end.

Kathleen said...

Enjoyed your post but it made me tired just reading it. You are a busy man! I loved the descriptions of your children at bedtime.

Molly said...

oh bedtime.....one time my son called me back to his room because he said he thought he broke his arm.

Good luck with this next week of training! I hope the weather gets better, and stays better!!!

Caratunk Girl said...

I love the story about your kids stalling. I honestly don't know how parent fit it all in, especially those training for triathlon. Sounds like you had a great ride!

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Good to have you back in the blogosphere Mark! Sounds like you at least were able to get in a good long ride -- just put your head down and gut out the end of the semester. It will be here soon enough!

KC (my 140 point 6 mile journey) said...

Missed you Mark! Sounds like you have been super busy. Makes me tired just reading your schedule. Here's to a good upcoming week of training! Have a great week.


Hang in there.
I actually became a straight marathoner during those middle years of the kids lives, so I know it's tough. (it was much easier to just head out the back door when the time presented itself)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I love what kids think of, its just gold in so many ways

Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) said...

Your bedtime story totally cracked me up! My two boys are the same way!

I never realized that stressed is desserts backwards...that is so crazy!

I hope you have a great week! :)

Fred Williams said...

Man, sounds like you've got things going at a pretty nice clip. I'll just echo what RockStarTri said, "eat consistently during training" and the world is a whole different place.

I think getting nutrition 'habits' down now so that they become second nature makes a huge difference come race day. I found it similar to martial arts training where one of the main points is to replace instinct with training so that training wins out in stressful situations.

Keep up the awesome work!