18 January 2012

2012: A Fresh Perspective

It is a new year.
I am a little wiser.

Where have I been again?

Well, for starters, I put a lot of "time in the bank" at home over the winter recess. I know how incredibly busy my semester is going to be, so I wanted to make sure that I got to spend a lot of time with the kiddies. 

<--- This is a picture of my girls and me playing the game Headbandz. You put a card in the headband and try to guess what it could be by asking questions before the time runs out. It is silly and fun, and my girls love playing it, which means, I love playing it.  

Over the break, we all spontaneously decided that we would take a rock climbing safety course. I have never tried rock climbing. Neither has wifey. We are both semi-afraid of heights. I've learned that rock climbing is really good fun and a good way to keep upper body strength. We've learned that we have some various degree of spidery children among us. All but my youngest could take the course. It is mere matter of being able to fit in the climbing belts. My twins barely fit. 

I also have been writing and performing quite a bit. Wifey dances with a regional modern dance company called BIODANCE. I wrote and performed a piece with them recently in Brooklyn. Working with wifey is fun. It gives us the opportunity to spend some quality time with each other while seeing some really cool places (and drinking some kick-ass beer).  
How hysterical is the painting on the wall of this restaurant that we went to in Brooklyn??!! Nothing says classy like pole dancing. 
I also have been writing and performing quite a bit. Wifey dances with a regional modern dance company called BIODANCE. I wrote and performed a piece with them recently in Brooklyn. Working with wifey is fun. It gives us the opportunity to spend some quality time with each other while seeing some really cool places (and drinking some kick-ass beer).  I am here with four of the members of BIODANCE after a week long engagement at a theater in western New York. 


• Uncle Ben (and Voltaire) were correct— "With great power comes great responsibility."

• There exists an inverse relationship between the number of children I have and the amount of hair I have left.

• On the way home in the car the other night from the gym, I looked out the window of our mom-mobile and commented on how beautiful the moon looked. The full moon shone brightly, unobstructed by any clouds. Then, out of the blue, Luca asks me, "what is mooning?" I caught wifeys eyes out of the corner of mine and we gave each other a quick look. So, I proceeded to tell the kids what mooning meant.

There was a pause.

Finally, Julian—the second oldest—says, "Dad, I bet you would like it if mommy did that to you."

Wise man, that Julian.

He's right.

Kids 5k: 

I don't know what exactly prompted discussion, or who brought it up, but there was a 5k race last weekend in town that my kids asked if they could run. Over the summer, they have run some "kid fun runs." Neither of them ever did a run over one mile. Wifey was skeptical. I got the, "Mark, do you really think that they are capable of running a 5k?  That is really far. I did not see any reason why they could not just go out there, run/jog/walk slowly if they needed and have a good time with their old man. So, we went and made it in a nick of time.

It was really cute. Both of them wanted to start up in the front, but dad convinced them that we should start near the back and pass everyone along the way.

So, this is how the race went down:

Luca—as he always does—started like a bat outta hell. Julian took it slow and steady. He managed to run the first two miles nice and steady, but at the first long steep hill had to walk a little bit. I stayed with him the whole time reassuring him that it was okay to walk. He continued running again shortly after that and he managed to catch his older brother. Nice!

Both of them got first time 5k medals, and Julian finished 3rd in the 0-10 age group. He just turned eight. He was super excited to get a ribbon and a medal!

The boys have been asking me when we are going to run another 5k.


Bikes!  Wifey and I decided that our Christmas present to the children this year would be to bite the bullet and buy brand new bikes that were worthy of the hills and bike trails around our new house. Wifey pointed out that she thought it was fair considering that their father now owned three really nice bikes. Don't tell the wifey, but I am in the market for a 29'er. My friend EJ over at Crankskins  has convinced me that I need to get on a mountain bike  and experiencing the thrill of crashing into trees cross training.

Oddly, I started my love of cycling by mountain biking. When I was a student, I founded the "Adventure Club" on campus. We would go white water rafting, spelunking, skydiving, etc. One of the greatest trips I ever scheduled for the club was to Snowshoe, West Virginia to go mountain bike riding. Let's face it, West Virginia is really just a giant adult playground. Seriously, have you ever been there? Morgantown—where West Virginia University is located—was/is the most metropolitan "city" in West Virginia. Even Morgantown had a real "you might run into Davy Crockett" sometime soon sort of feel to it. It was the only place that I have ever been in North America where coonskin caps are still in style.


You know, I remember once asking my father on my 35th Birthday if he would like to be thirty-five again. He was seventy -five years old then. His eyebrows furrowed and he looked at me quizzically and said "Mark, I would like to be sixty-five again." I thought that was a hysterical and unexpected answer.

As we continued talking, he explained that even though his body was not able to do the same things it once could, that his mind still believed that anything was possible. He used the example of the ottoman that lay in front of his chair and said, "Look at that. In my head, I know I can jump over that. I have memory over me doing that very thing. But I know that if I try to do it, I am going to kill myself."

As my father was telling me this, I couldn't help but think of Lew Hollander—the eighty year old, who in 2010 finished the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 15:48:30, knocking off more than an hour from his finish the previous year.

The mind is amazing. What you believe you can do is sometimes more important than your ability to actually to be physically capable. It is my belief that persistence trumps talent. Perseverance is the secret to discovering new talent within ourselves. Pushing ourselves past the point that we thought we were capable of allows us to believe that even more is possible.

What I learned from my father was that people who are successful in life are often not the most talented in their discipline, but they are the people who outwork everyone else. They don't complain how tired they are. They continue to work, to learn, never resting on their laurels, never compromising the integrity of their work, and above all else, always remaining humble.

They don't give reasons why something can not be done, but rather, ask, "how am I going to solve this problem? How am I going to make it work?" When everyone is debating whether it is a glass half full, or half empty, they've already drank the water.


Training has left me reenergized. I have made some really decent strides with my swimming over the last month. After six seasons of learning how to swim, I think I am starting to finally realize what people mean by "the feel of the water." Hey, better late than never, right?

My body has been pretty tired as a result of bumping up the training volume a bit earlier this year. I am scheduled for my first triathlon at Rev3 Quassay, where I will race the Olympic distance.

My biking seems to be the thing I need to work on the most, although I recently discovered Netflix!  

Yes, yes... I know what you are all thinking... recently??!!  I mean, we've always known about Netflix, but wifey and I have finally decided to try it out. Can I just tell you how much faster Netflix makes my trainer time go? 


Tomorrow is my first day back teaching classes after a nice, long break.

I get to teach History of Rock and Roll (at 8:45 in the morning!) 

Rock on!

Some awesome news happening soon. Looking forward to sharing. 

Train Smart!