17 May 2010

You Are What You Eat: A Date With Destiny Or A Deal With The Devil

Have you ever been in such a bind, that you would offer up anything, short of your soul, in order to accommodate your insanely busy social itinerary/obligations as a parent? Last week I was hard pressed to find a colleague to work for me so that I could make my son Luca's baseball game. Running out of time, I decided to put forth the following email:

Dear CO-Workers,

I am looking for someone to work for me tonight from 6-10. My son has a
baseball game. If anyone is willing to, I can swap out another shift this week—
even a morning!

In addition, I have not eaten a BIG MAC in over a decade. If you work my shift, I
will drive immediately to McDonalds and eat a BIG MAC. I am NOT kidding. I will
do this. I will document the BIG MAC eating online. 



I have to admit that the idea was not solely mine. A few years ago I was at a new music festival in Ohio where a friend of mine told me a story about a doctoral candidate who stood up in the middle of a concert of one of his colleagues' music that was apparently so bad that he stood up and announced "I have been a vegetarian for ten years, if you stop playing right now, I will go to McDonalds and eat a Big Mac." The performers, a little rattled, trudged on until he stood up again and yelled "I am NOT kidding, I will now up the ante. If you stop playing RIGHT now, I will eat TWO Big Macs." Somehow, me eating a Big Mac does not seem nearly as bad as a vegetarian on the brink of insanity, who feels compelled  to eat a Big Mac to stop a musical performance. Just so happens, that my training partner Mike helped me out, but he is way, way too eager to hear about my gastrointestinal future. I never knew Mike was the (d)evil, but I guess you learn a lot about a guy when Big Mac's and lower g.i.'s are on the docket. Anyway, being a man of my word, I am afraid I am going to have to succumb to the insanely ridiculous caloric and sodium levels of one aforementioned Big Mac sandwich. I thought that perhaps I could somehow escape the "heart attack in a bun," and that everyone would soon forget, and I could go on eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts with beans and rice for lunch and dinner. The good news is that I think the Big Mac will be such a shock to my system that it should not really stay with me too long. Story and pictures to follow soon.

Training: Back at it this week with some serious training. Ah, this is what it feels like when your body is exhausted and you can not wait to get the kids in bed, so you can follow soon thereafter. Adam, Manuel and me went out for a serious ride around Canadaigua Lake—one of western New York Finger Lakes. It is not a long ride—almost 50 miles—but it is one of the hilliest rides I have ever ridden, and we did some serious climbing all day. The wind was also being less than cooperative. It didn't seem to matter much which way we turned, it felt like we were going right into it. Those of us who ride, know the feeling of going down a fairly steep hill, and feel like we are not increasing our speed because the wind is effectively acting like a sail trying to send us back up from where we came. However, one of our descents was so steep and curvy,  that even with my rear brake depressed, and feathering my back break, I easily was going over 30 miles per hour. Sure, you say 30 m.p.h. is not that fast?  It was on this road. It looked something like a San Francisco street with hair pin turns resembling the Le Mans race course. As much, as I like going wicked fast, I value my life even greater. In fact, I narrowly escaped a big accident yesterday. Manuel was behind me when the car we were going around parked on the road decided to open his car door right at the exact same time I was passing the door. Manuel said that I literally missed the door by less than an inch. That was more than a little scare. I shouted back to be more careful and the man coming out of the car was just laughing. For some reason, he thought it would be hysterical if I smashed into his driver side door causing serious bodily injury to myself—and possibly him—and some dents and dings in his car. Not to mention I just read a sobering news story about a serious crash in Montreal that killed three triathletes and injured three others. My nutrition on the ride was adequate at best. I took:

2 gels
40 ounces of electrolyte drink
1 package of carbohydrate lemon booster

I really had to force down the fluids on my ride. It was really windy and cold, and I was not feeling that thirsty. I did not feel weak on the ride necessarily, but I did not feel incredibly strong at any time either (with the exception of our initial launch.) I always feel strong and excited in the beginning. I kept my pacing pretty decent, despite the fact that Adam was in front of me and was pushing the pace a little faster than I expected. I kept encouraging him to save it for the other side of the lake—without sounding like I needed to slow down—putting my pride at risk. I know the course. I knew we would spend more than half the day climbing. And, in fact, there were times we would climb as fast a 5 m.p.h.! (8.0 kmh.)

Adam and I ran a nice 13.2 mile course yesterday. We had some steady rolling hills for the first six miles, then it was fairly flat. My legs were already toast on the way out. This was my sixth consecutive day running. Adam and I have begun strength training again as well. Our leg workout last Monday left both of us fatigued the entire week. I am looking forward to having the day off to swim and recuperate after a high mileage leg week. The good news is my wind felt great. If my legs did not hurt as badly, I think we could have pushed sub eights, but we ended up running solid 8:20's. We'll both take it considering how badly our legs hurt.

In other news: I went to a concert of a colleague this weekend at The Eastman School of Music. He did a lecture demonstration and premiered a new work. He was giving an example of punctuation in music that I found interesting. He said that he was at a seminar at Indiana University when a professor spoke about how music could be framed depending on its context. He used this example:

A woman without her man is nothing.

Of course the men in the seminar started shaking their heads up and down in agreement, laughing all the while, until the professor repeated with what he said was the correct punctuation:

A woman, without her, man is nothing.

So true. Honestly fellows, where would we be if it wasn't for the support of our women? (Don't answer that.)

Finally: I have some very important news to announce with my next post that has to do with sponsorship and raising some dough for a great cause.

More soon. Train Smart!


Caratunk Girl said...

Oh man, good luck with the Big Mac...ugh. You guys look awesome, I really don't know how you get your training in being as busy as you are already - inspiring!

Bethany + Ryan said...

haha thats funny, good strategy. if i was your co-worker i would have covered your shift IF you promised NOT to eat a BIG MAC for another 10 years!! :-) lol

RunnerDude said...

Great blog man! I'd like to feature you as a Runner of the Week on RunnerDude's Blog. Let me know if you're interested!

Molly said...

yeah, I think the reason my husband gave me a garmin for Mother's Day is because he realized I rock.

Scary close call with that car, what a jerk.

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

Ugh...even just seeing the name, "Big Mac" makes me want to puke! Good luck with that!

It sounds like you had a great training week!

Sherri said...

Loved the Big Mac story!
I have not had McD's in forever..but i do take my kids once a year..they love it!
Great training...how you do it all I will never know!
I have a question...since we have 5 too...does your wife workout a ton too?

Mark said...

Aimee—I hear you there. What can be done? I am a man of my word! I have to grin and bear it!

Sherri—my wife does workout, but she also dances professionally and has rehearsals at least three days a week. We are fortunate that we have family close by that help out sometimes with child care. Otherwise, we would barely afford to live! I think it is very important that she has that time, of course. I would feel guilty of I was out for three hour bike rides and she always stayed home, but that is hardly the case. With that said, she definitely has a heavier load than I do, as she is the primary child care provider, and forever my Ironwoman! When I received my PhD, I told her it was just as much hers as it was mine, because I could not have done it without her. I feel the same way about Ironman.