Why I plan to be more selfish

For a while now, especially the last 2+ years, I’ve felt something was “off” in my life.  I’ve felt like most days were a grind, that there was something missing from my life, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.  Most days I’m somewhere between happy and sad; more like numb.  I can’t go back to one specific incident that changed things either.  It’s been more of a slow, gradual deterioration.  I’ve felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into a morass, the shape and form of which I cannot clearly identify.

Reading The Fountainhead may have helped give me some insight into what’s been happening.

One big part of my life was tied up into my job, the one I lost about a year ago.  Prior to losing it, I had become increasingly frustrated there.  Why?  It felt like I was pushing a string up hill.  The culture at the place I used to work was well known for two specific themes:  passive-aggressiveness combined with the need for consensus.  In a company where we all knew job cuts were coming, most everybody was running for cover.  I never fit in there.  These words of The Fountainhead took me back to my old job:

“…there is no substitute for competence.

That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handers.  They have no concern for facts, ideas, work.  They’re concerned only with people.  They don’t ask:  ‘Is this true?’  They ask:  ‘Is this what others think is true?’  Not to judge, but to repeat.  Not to do, but give the impression of doing.  Not creation, but show.  Not ability, but friendship.  Not merit, but pull.  What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce?  Those are the egotists.  You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands…

…That’s what stopped me whenever I faced a committee.  Men without an ego.  Opinion without a rational process.  Motion without brakes or motor.  Power without responsibility.  The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person.  It’s everywhere and nowhere and you can’t reason with him.  He’s not open to reason.  You can’t speak to him–he can’t hear.  You’re tried by an empty bench…”

I can’t say how many times I felt frustrated at my old job…that I couldn’t get my ideas across, that nobody was listening.

I think part of my slow deterioration, specifically related to the job, was a resignation of my individual sense of self to the collective.    I stopped fighting the fight.  I’ve always thought that losing that job was the best thing that could have happened to me, but I could never quite figure out why.  Perhaps it’s more clear now.

Another thing that contributed to my funk, ironically, was this blog.  When I started this thing, I was so focused on writing things that other people would want to read.  I essentially got away from writing what I liked (or what was inside me) in favor of trying to impress others.  This part of The Fountainhead resonated:

“Look at everyone around us.  You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it…He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men.  He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion–prestige.  A stamp of approval, not his own.  He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded.  He can’t say about a single thing:  ‘This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.’  Then he wonders why he’s unhappy.”

The point is, I compromised my own sense of self for prestige, for a stamp of approval from others.

At home, it was the same sort of thing.  I started to worry more and more about what I thought my wife and kids wanted or needed.  To seek opportunities to make their lives easier, at the expense of my own life.  This despite the fact that they never asked for that kind of help, nor did they need it.

Where am I going with all this?

As I read The Fountainhead, I started to understand that for the past few years I had started to live like a second-hander.  I had sacrificed my wants and desires for things that were outside of me.  I had placed too much of my sense of self outside of my control.  It wasn’t intentional, it wasn’t for any ill-conceived purpose, I wasn’t even really aware that it was happening.  But the net result was that I had lost the joy that comes from living a life that meets my needs, first and foremost.

And so I plan to be more selfish.

Selfish in the sense of The Fountainhead–that I am a creator, an achiever.  My first duty is to myself, to create things that fully express my talents and abilities.  I am bound to nothing else.  I cannot be affected, positively or negatively, by what anyone thinks of me.  The prime concern is living in a way that’s congruent with my best self.  That’s it.

If anything, this will improve my relationships at home and everywhere else.  Why?  Because I won’t be seeking approval from those relationships.  My self-esteem won’t be on the line.  I’m no longer concerned what anyone thinks of me.  The only thing that matters is what I think of myself.

“In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone…Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange.  If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other.  They seek further.”

I expect that I will slim down my relationships, focusing only on those that fulfill the quote above.

I’m not sure I fully grasp some of the concepts that I’m writing about here.

But I do have a strong feeling that the “morass” I described at the beginning of this post, that pit that I’ve been sinking deeper into, has a source in my evaporating self-esteem.  Or perhaps more precisely, my increasing willingness to sacrifice my own sense of self and self-respect for something that was outside of me.

“This country…was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness.  His own happiness.  Not anyone else’s.  A private, personal, selfish motive.”

Count me in.


Mental scripts related to eating

I’d been thinking about these a lot recently, and a recent comment to the blog finally incented me to get these out of my head and onto some sort of virtual paper.

Mental scripts are a big part of my life.  It’s almost like they’re a soundtrack that’s constantly playing in the back of my head.

For me right now, especially with eating habits, most of my mental scripts are negative.  And I know when I really think them through, they don’t stand up to the test of reason.  Yet these days they seem to be sufficient to enable me to continue with bad eating habits. 

I hope this doesn’t come across as some sort of self-immolation.  It’s actually kind of refreshing for me to get these out into the open.  Now the next step is to bring these to light before I make a bad food choice.

Here follows a list of the negative/false mental scripts that I conjure up when thinking about eating.

1.)  “I’ve already screwed this day up, might as well hit rock bottom.”

Why it’s false:   Multiple reasons.  First, there is no rock bottom.  You can keep going down.  As long as you keep doing negative things, you will keep going down.  Second, going any amount “down” doesn’t help me achieve any of my goals.  It’s the opposite of what I want.  I think this is partially my desire to create a bigger “turnaround” story.  The idea that I made this huge comeback.  But that makes no sense.  I think I read it on Gym Jones website or twitter account…bad eating decisions are like loans, to get back to even you need to pay interest.

  2.)  “I’ll just finish this bag (box, sleeve, carton, etc.) then there won’t be any more”

Why it’s false:  There will always be another one, or another opportunity to buy one, or another thing like it.  Is it realistic for me to think that if I finish a bag of chocolate chips, that there won’t be another one in the house, ever?

3.)  “This is the last time I’ll eat X (Y, or Z).  I won’t eat it again after this.”

Why it’s false:  It’s too drastic.  It might work for a few days, but once I break down the flood gates open and I can’t control it.  Or I just find an alternative that’s still bad, just maybe not as bad.  If I really was done, I should probably have stopped already.

4.)  “I’ll start clean tomorrow”

Why it’s false:  Experience says that while I might start tomorrow, I’ll probably stop the next day.  “I’ll start tomorrow” is another way of saying “I won’t start now.”

5.)  “I need the food, I’m hungry or tired”

Why it’s false:  I usually say this when I’m about to eat some junk food.  I don’t really ever say it before I eat a can of sardines.  And we actually need very little food, less than most of us think.  In my case, I think about 1500 calories a day could suffice, if they were the right kind of calories.  That’s fact.  Plus, hunger doesn’t have anything to do with energy.

That’s enough for now.  I think the key to this whole thing is for me to just raise my awareness “in the moment.”  That’s a good first step, then I need to be strong enough to imply some rational thought and hopefully that will get me to a better place.

This podcast has a lot of good info on mental scripts.  I think by just naming these I am actually moving forward in addressing them.  Hopefully I can bring them to the surface more often when I’m “in the moment,” actually making the decision on my eating habits, and potentially it will help.

Week in review: March 19-26, 2012

Last week was up and down…a bit frustrating.

First, the moment of the week…my 7-year-old caught her first fish ever.  From what we can gather, it’s a sunnie/blue gill.  Caught in a pond that was about 5 minutes driving from our house.

I’ve never really fished.  I only got into fishing recently when my daughter expressed an interest in it.  My philosophy on parenting includes the idea that you expose your kids to as much as possible when they’re young, then you let them gravitate towards areas of interest, then you support them.  Well, my little one was interested in fishing.  So she got a fishing rod as a birthday present from her uncle, and off we went fishing.  We went once last year, and this was the first attempt this year.  It’s not easy for me–I’m terrible with the hooks, I get grossed out by putting the worm on the hook and I really don’t like taking the fish off there.  But she was thrilled.  So we are eagerly anticipating the start of fishing season on April 7th.  Our area is perfect for fishing–there are a million places to go all within close proximity.  So, fishing it is.

Fitness wise it was another frustrating week.  At the start of the week, I was just getting over being sick.  Mid-week was better, but by Friday I was back feeling sick.  Same stuff–chills, feeling like I got hit by a truck, fatigue, coughing, the whole nine yards.  Although I feel better today, I’m going to the doctor.  I’ve got to get this figured out.

All tolled, I got in:

  • 3 runs for a measley 17 miles, in just under 2 hrs, 45 minutes
  • 2 rides for 90 miles, 5 hrs 38 minutes

I feel like I’m taking two steps backward for every step forward.  Between the foot injury and the sickness, I’m not able to get into any kind of groove.  Pikes peak is 143 days from today, and if I don’t get into a groove soon I’ll have to start re-thinking my goals. 

I’m itching to run today, but I don’t want to push it.  I’d rather take an extra day off to make sure I close out this sickness.  Today is hopefully one final day off with a trip to the doctor.  Then I can get cranked up again tomorrow.

Gory details are below…

Monday (March 19)

Still unsure whether I was fully recovered from the weekend’s sickness, and having an early start for work this morning, I decided to try a short but hard strength workout.  I aimed mostly at the upper body, since I hoped to get a run in later in the day (once I arrived at my destination).  Came up with this:  squat thrusts (10 reps), 10 minutes of wood splitting, chin-ups (overhand and underhand).  All of these were done as intensely as possible.  Just over 20 minutes of this (two sets) left me breathing heavy and sweating like mad.  And I only did about 10 chinups total (including both sets overhand and underhand).  Wow is that weak.

In Philadelphia this week.  Back to my home town.

As the day ended, I had a decision to make:  attempt a quick workout or get to bed early and go a bit longer tomorrow morning.  I elected to get to bed early.  If the fitness center in my hotel had a step machine, I might have thought differently.  But no go.

Good start to the week of eating:

  • 7 am:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 1 pm:  small caesar salad with grilled chicken, apple
  • 9 pm:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onion, snap peas), sardines

I felt good about this eating day.  I could have easily caved at lunch and dinner, and also in the hotel where there were awesome-looking Philly soft pretzels freely available.  One of my favorite things!  For dinner, I decided to forgo the company dinner (and the handful of soft pretzels) for a trip to the grocery store.  I love it when there is a fridge in the hotel room…I was able to buy breakfast for the next couple days as well.

Tuesday (March 20)

Today I learned something about hotels and fitness centers.  After an hour on the treadmill, the thing basically just stopped.  I guess they limit the time people have on the hotel treadmill to make sure nobody abuses it while other guests wait.  Still pretty weak.  I could have just jumped on another treadmill (or restarted mine), but it was getting close to when I had to leave anyway.  Being new at work, I didn’t want to be late for a client meeting, so I elected to stop there instead of getting another 10-15 minutes in.  Total in the morning:  Just over 5 miles, including 4 miles at grades 7-9%.  HR average 143

In the afternoon, we got lost on the way from our client meeting to the hotel, which ate up about 20 minutes of time I would have spent on a second run.  Ended up still going out, only for about 35 minutes.  Just over 4 miles.  My heart rate monitor wasn’t cooperating, so I ended up just running.  It was probably harder than I should have been running, but it wasn’t super-hard.  I did manage to hold back from what I wanted to do–given the frustrations of the treadmill then getting lost, I really wanted to run all out for a set of intervals.  But I was worried about the potential for injury, so I just took it relatively easy.

Total on the day was about 10 miles and about 1 hr, 35 minutes.  Some good treadmill incline in there.

Eating was good until I went off the rails late in the day.

  • 6 am:   greek yogurt, kiwi, grapefruit
  • 3 pm:  salad with chicken, and veggies
  • 5 pm:  protein bar
  • 9 pm:   lots of bread, rack of ribs, french fries, a few chicken wings
  • 11 pm:  2 cookies

Wednesday (March 21)

These early meetings are hard on the fitness schedule.  Today was “getaway” day from the hotel, so I did a strength workout.  The strength workout is coming together.  I’ll probably stick with something like this for the time being.  The workout looked like this:

  • Warmup (Lunge Matrix, Myrtl)
  • Fast Abs core workout
  • Body weight legs (jumprope, step-ups, squats)
  • Cooldown (cannonball)


  • 6 am:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions)
  • 8 am:  greek yogurt, blueberries
  • 1 pm:  sardines, blueberries, kiwi
  • 6 pm:  steak, green beans, broccoli, soda, some bread
  • 10 pm:  M&Ms, chocolate chips, cookies, sugar cereal, peanuts

Thursday (March 22)

Doulble workout today!

am:  Riding 36 miles.  This felt awkward at first, probably because I haven’t ridden in a while.  The awkwardness went away as the ride went on, and I got stronger as time went by.  I was disappointed when this ended.  2 hrs, 11 minutes

pm:  Run 7 miles.  Tried a trail that’s close to my house and my gym–Round Valley Reservoir.  It was really convenient to be able to use the gym’s facilities to change before and shower / change after the run.  The trail was great.  I will definitely be back to this trail.  Although I might wait to hear the outcome of this first.

I didn’t feel great, and I didn’t push it.  1 hr, 5 minutes HR average 144

  • 10 am:  leftover chicken, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers (think this was supposed to be heated up, but I had to take it in the car cold), leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato)
  • 1 pm:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 6 pm:  peanuts, pollock, roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato), salad, asparagus
  • 8 pm:  M&Ms, sugar cereal, ice cream, chocolate chips, 4 powerbar recovery bars

Friday (March 23)

Woke up with a lot of stiffness and soreness, especially in my calves.  Wondering if I was suffering from some sort of delayed onset soreness from that body weight workout I did on Wednesday.   Decided to go for a bike ride, which ended up being great.  54 miles, on a route that I haven’t done in a while.  I started out feeling great, but ended up feeling really bad.  The last hour felt like it was 100% into the wind.  Not sure if it’s loss of endurance (I haven’t been out for this long in a while) or something else.

  • noon:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 2-4 pm:  6 or 8 powerbar recovery bars (lost track), handfuls of peanuts, sugar cereal
  • 7 pm:  Eggs, grapefruit

Feeling sick again.  Chills, fatigue, aches, coughing, congestion.  Perhaps the stiffness and soreness I woke up with was actually this damn “cold?”

Saturday (March 24)

Woke up feeling like crap.  Day off.  Towards the end of the day, I felt good enough to go outside and try splitting wood for a few minutes.  Not the greatest idea.  By evening I was not interested in anything but sleep.

  • 8 am:  Yogurt with protein powder, banana,  orange
  • 2 pm:  4 powerbar recovery bars, handful of nuts

Sunday (March 25)

Still feeling like crap.  Another day off.

  • 9 am:  4 egg veggie omelet (onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes), orange, leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, cauliflower, tomato, onion)
  • noon:  smoothie (frozen banana, carrots, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, yogurt, OJ, lime juice), popcorn, nuts, sugar cereal, M&Ms, cookies
  • 6 pm:  leftover roast turkey, salad (asparagus, tomato, onion), salad (romaine, tomatoes)
  • 7 pm:  ice cream, cookies

Pikes Peak Double: initial thoughts on race strategy

My final race strategy won’t be set until the days before the Pikes Peak, but I couldn’t help thinking a little about the strategy now.  It’s important to at least get a sense of the strategy early on, so I can make sure my training is appropriate.  It’s hard to have success racing in a way that I haven’t trained.

This will be my first ever race that covers more than a day.  The Ascent is on Saturday, and the full marathon is on Sunday.

One key “strategic” decision is how aggressive I am on the Ascent.  The tradeoffs are pretty simple:

  • If I go too hard on the Ascent, I leave myself comprimised at the starting line of the marathon.  Except for an injury, this is probably the worst thing that could happen to me.
  • If I go too easy on the Ascent, I may not achieve the time goals I’ve (tentatively) set for myself.

If I show up on the marathon starting line with more energy and strength in the tank than I expected, that would not be a big problem–I could easily use that extra energy on day two by pushing a bit harder.  As of now, I’m thinking I will err on the side of being conservative on the Ascent.  The race doesn’t start until somewhere between Barr Camp and the A-Frame anyway (about 7-10 miles in), so I will probably take it easy until then and decide how hard to go at that point.

In order to be successful in the double, I need to develop these areas of fitness:

  • Aerobic fitness.  This race is an exercise in patience.  I need to be as fast as possible at relatively low intensity.  This is why I continue to focus on MAF training.
  • Strength.  Strength is especially important here considering the terrain and course profile.  Strength will help me run with good form and will help me run faster at lower intensities.  This year I’m putting more of an emphasis on strength than ever.  Hopefully it will help.
  • Lactate threshold (for lack of a better term).  This is the ability to maintain a higher intensity over time.  I haven’t focused much on this, but it’s huge once you get into higher intensity racing.
  • Recovery.  If I improve my ability to recover, I gain the ability to push harder on the Ascent with the expectation that I’ll be able to recover after it’s over.

Based on these, my schedule is starting to look like a lot of back-to-back hard days.  It turns into a weekly schedule that’s something like 2 hard days, 1 easy day, 3 hard days, one easy day, etc.  If I can stack my hard days, I’ll develop that ability to recover.  For now, though, I’m continuing to focus on aerobic fitness and strength.  I’ll begin to add the hard workouts in about 4 weeks.

I don’t see myself doing too much speedwork.  At this point, I don’t think I have the time.  It’s one of many regrets that I have about my (lack of) preparation during the past 6 months.

One other note on something that was successful for me at last Pikes Peak.  I must have read the course description about 75 times.  It resulted in a simple mantra that captured everything I needed to remember.  It went like this:

smart – strong – tough

Smart represents the start to Barr Camp.  I have to be smart about how I use my energy.  Run patiently.  I expect the race to be crowded, and I don’t want to waste a lot of energy passing people down in the lower parts.

Strong represents Barr Camp to A Frame.  The race gets harder during that stretch and being strong means maintaining my form and pace despite the increase in difficulty.  During this stretch I expect people to start coming back to me.  I won’t necessarily increase my pace, but maintaining during a harder stretch is almost like increasing.

Tough represents A Frame to the top.  In 2010, I had no idea what to expect during this stretch, except for huge challenges.  During this stretch, I might have a chance if I match the toughness of the mountain.

At the end of the day, I just want to perform honorably on the mountain.  I want to perform in a way that I can feel like I deserved to be up there.  That I prepared and performed in a way that didn’t let the beauty and challenge of Pikes Peak down.   That doesn’t just happen on race day; it happens every single day leading up to it.


Building fitness while traveling / in a hotel

Woo hoo!!!  I’m officially in to the Pikes Peak double.  Both of my entries were verified over the past day or so.  I wasn’t overly concerned, but there was always that off chance that I fat-fingered one of my qualification links or something…but luckily all is good.  No turning back now!

I’ve spent the first few days of this week in a hotel outside Philadelphia.  Actually really close to where I grew up.

Since I started this new job, I’ve been on the road for at least a couple days during 3 of the first 4 weeks.  It’s become really important for me to figure out how to build, not just maintain, fitness while I’m traveling.

After a few weeks of experimenting, I’m slowly getting the hang of it.  That’s not to say I’ve got it figured out, but I definitely have a good sense of what I should do when traveling.

Here are some things that I found to be helpful thus far…

1.)  Bring some key food items, supplement with a grocery store.

Depending on how long I will be in a place, I’ve found it very useful (and much less expensive) to actually buy a small handful of groceries while I’m in a hotel.  This is much easier if you have a fridge in the room.  But just buying a few groceries really helps keep things on track.  It prevents the room service mentality as well as the inevitable junk food.

I’ve really been bringing only one “key food item” — sardines.  Yeah, sardines.  They’re almost perfect from a nutrition standpoint, and they’re really portable.  The only problem is that it’s really not fair to eat these in close proximity to others (like on an airplane).  I guess you I might also consider fish oil pills as another key item.

Grocery-wise, I’ve focused on greek yogurt, a few pieces fruit and (if I need dinner) some salad makings.  All of that stuff is easy to find and not too hard to manage.

For this most recent trip, I spent less than $20 on enough to give me 4 meals.

2.)  Use the treadmill and hotel stairs.

Especially when I have to get out for an early meeting and it’s dark outside, the treadmill can be a friend.  When I’m in a hotel, I try to be off the treadmill by 5:30 am or so…that’s when it starts to get crowded.

This trip, the hotel treadmill kicked me off after an hour of running.  I could have hopped on another treadmill I guess, but I had to shut the workout down anyway because I was running late.

Hotel stairs would also be a good idea.  Oddly, when I asked the front desk where the stairs were, they claimed that there “weren’t any.”  Hmmm.  Kind of impossible…there have to be stairs in case of fire.  I just moved on.

3.)  Create a strength workout that’s possible in your room, the fitness center or outside the hotel

My strength workout is coming into form.  This week, it consisted of the following:

This workout was about 1 hr, 20 minutes end to end, including time trying to find a good place to do my leg strength stuff.  I hoped to use the fitness center but it was too small.  Eventually I think this workout could take about an hour total.  That’s a nice short amount of time.

The jumprope is awesome.  It’s not much to bring and can contribute to both a strength workout or a warmup/cooldown.  Today’s jump rope session was 5 x (50-both feet / 20 right / 20 left / 50-both feet).  Total I got 500 jumps with both feet and 100 one legged with each foot.  Not bad.

My strength workout today was with body weight only.  Still a bit conservative…trying to avoid injury.

Also had a weird experience yesterday.  It’s hot in Philly.  I got a quick afternoon run in and was pretty warm.  I was looking forward to a nice cool shower.  I turned on the shower and got nothing but hot water–it went from warm to hot.  That was the fastest shower I’ve ever taken, and I ended up having to sit in front of the air conditioner for about 15 minutes to make sure I cooled down afterwards.  The front desk had no clue what was going on.  My suspicion is that the water tank is on top of the hotel, so as the day heats up the water gets really hot.  I was on a high floor, so I’m guessing it just didn’t cool off as it came into my room.

I realized when I took my job that I’d have to travel.  It’s not ideal, but if I’m going to do it, I’ve got to make the best of it.  When I’m on the road, I try to do nothing but work, work out and sleep.  If I can do that, I feel like I can maximize the time I spend away from my family.  Then I can spend more time with family when I get home.  It ain’t perfect, but it can be made to work.  Actually it can work pretty well.

Week in review: March 12-18, 2012

Well this week didn’t go exactly as planned.  It started off beautifully but went south as the week went on.  Hopefully, though, the week ended with me feeling good enough to start next week well.  I remember thinking that since I’ve added strength training to my repertoire, there really was no reason for me to have a day with no workouts.  Umm…how about that flu thing?


  • 2 runs:  21 miles, 3 hrs, 8 minutes
  • 1 ride:  45 miles, 2 hrs, 48 minutes
  • 1 strength workout:   lunge matrix, myrtl, core, squats

All of those came by Wednesday morning.

If there was a positive to the whole flu thing, it was probably that I didn’t feel like eating on Friday and Saturday.  Perhaps that’s a start to my turning around the eating habits.

And I got a lot of sleep this week.  55 hrs, average of almost 8 per day.  Of course 60% of those hours came on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I know I need to work on my sleep habits.

I’m up to page 500 in The Fountainhead.  Through three out of four parts.  I guess that’s one other good part of having the flu–I got a chance to put a lot of reading in.  At some point I might have to write up a post about the core philosophy of the book and how it conflicts with some things that have long been important in my life.  I admit that I’m struggling with some of those concepts.

Incidentally, I’m also about 60% through Blah, Blah, Blah:  What to Do When Words Don’t Work.  I’m not entirely sure what to think yet.  I need to keep going and trying some of the ideas before I render an opinion.

I can’t do anything about the days lost to the flu.  I hope I can get back on the beam hard on Monday and stay on it.  The ascent starts in 152 days.  There isn’t time to screw around any more.

Monday (March 12)

Started the week with a 45 mile ride.  This one felt weird from the start, which was in complete darkness due to the change to daylight savings time.  Even with my light, I hit way more potholes than I usually do, including one that jarred one of my water bottles out of its cage.  After searching for about 5 minutes, I gave up on the bottle.

Overall the ride was ok.  My hands were freezing at times when I went down into the valleys.  I could feel the air get colder.  I wonder whether my hill sprints yesterday had an effect on my strength.  I just felt off the whole time. I was just thankful to get my bike (and myself) home in one piece.

  • 9 am:  yogurt w/ protein powder, orange, roasted veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, zucchini)
  • 1 pm:  salad (arugala, carrots, strawberries, red onion) w/ leftover steak, apple
  • 6 pm:  turkey and veggie chili, carrot salad, asparagus and broccoli slaw
  • after 8 pm:  chocolate chips, ice cream, popcorn, M&Ms, Girl Scout cookies

I noticed something interesting today that I might need to dig more deeply into.  I got extremely tired, like can’t keep my eyes open tired, three times today:

  • 10 am:  driving in to work…I actually parked my car after driving for 20 minutes and napped
  • 2 pm:  kept waking up after having pressed some random key on my keyboard like 350 times
  • 7 pm:  putting my 2-year old to bed and reading, or was she putting me to bed?

Notice a pattern?  This kind of thing has been happening to me for a long time now.  Sometimes it isn’t as obvious as today, but it’s been there.

Tuesday (March 13)

am:  Wanted to get up earlier, but got to bed late last night (lots of admin stuff right now).  Did a short run, 7 miles, at MAF intensity.  Wanted to get home to see my 7-year-old off to school.  Travelling today.

pm:  This week finds me in Indianapolis.  Ran 14 miles around the greenway that goes in and out of the city.  It’s a super-flat run, but that was ideal for me.  I haven’t done double-run days very often; I can probably count them on one hand.  But today I really wanted to get out.  It was beautiful here and a good day to run.  14 miles, just over 2 hours.

Total for the day:  21 miles in a bit over 3 hours.

  • 7 am:  Turkey & veggie chili, kiwi, carrot salad
  • 10 am:  4-egg veggie omelette  (red onion, yellow onion, garlic, tomato), orange, strawberries
  • 9 pm:  Salad (spinach, peppers, carrots, strawberries, red onion, seeds), sardines

Eating was perfection today.  Would like to bottle this day and repeat it over and over again.

Wednesday (March 14)

Woke up in the hotel with some time before my day got started.  Figured some strength work would be good.  I’m exploring the idea of doing strength work on the last morning of my out-of-town trips.  The strength work will typically fit my schedule more effectively (I usually don’t have much time in the morning when I’m out-of-town) and allows me to get on the bike the next day for more recovery.  When I’m out of town, I typically run a lot.  So to end it with strength then a next-day bike seems like a reasonable approach.  Today it worked out well.  I am taking the strength work slowly since I know I’m still new at it.

  • 9 am:  Scrambled eggs, banana, orange
  • noon:  turkey &  cheese sandwich, chips, soda, milky way, 2 chocolate pretzels
  • 10 pm:  2 bowls of life cereal, pistachios, M&Ms, ice cream

Managed to get an earlier flight home, which is always good.  I’m worried, though…got a huge headache like my head was exploding as we descended to the airport.  I don’t get headaches.  Ever.  This one lasted until Thursday morning.

Thursday (March 15)

No workout.  Starting to feel awful.  Got to work, but didn’t feel much better.

  • 9 am:  Kiwi, orange
  • noon:  burger with bacon, soda, chocolate milkshake
  • 5 pm:  2 DQ blizzards
  • 8 pm:  M&Ms, nuts, chips & salsa, klondike bar

Registration for Pikes Peak went well.  Now just waiting for acceptance of my qualifying information.

Friday (March 16)

Feeling really awful now.  No workouts today.  Sleep and hopefully I will feel better.

  • 9 am:  yogurt with protein powder, banana
  • noon:  2 powerbar recovery bars
  • 6 pm:  eggs, orange, klondike bar, chocolate

Saturday (March 17)

Still feeling bad, maybe slightly better but it’s hard to say.  No workouts today.

  • 9 am:  Sugar cereal (a few handfuls)
  • noon:  Fruit smoothie (banana, raspberry, peach, protein powder, yogurt, orange juice), popcorn
  • 4 pm:  2 powerbar recovery bars

Sunday (March 18)

Feeling better but not as good as hoped.  Another day of rest.  No workouts.  I did manage to split some wood towards the end of the day.  At this point, I’m going to declare my sickness over and hope my body agrees.

  • 8 am:  Sugar cereal (a few handfuls)
  • noon:  turkey and veggie chili, banana, orange
  • 3 pm:  2 powerbar recovery bars, M&Ms
  • 6 pm:  Meatballs, salad, roasted veggies (onion, squash, zucchini, tomato)
  • 9 pm:  Sugar cereal, chocolate



On Tuesday I flew to Indianapolis, Indiana.  I remember the terrible feeling in my head as the plane descended.  It was like my head was exploding.  But that feeling dissipated when I was in the airport.  I ended up doing pretty well in Indianapolis…I didn’t really feel anything beyond that strange feeling in my head.

When I returned to New Jersey on Wednesday, I felt the same terrible feeling as the plane was descending.  This time it didn’t go away until the next morning.  Then I started feeling symptoms of a cold–the scratchy throat, coughing.

Today the full blown flu seems to be coming on.  The aches, chills/fever, the whole 9 yards.  I’m supposed to go to my 7-year old’s track practice later today (I help coach when I can).  I’ll be sleeping or taking it easy for most of the day.  Hopefully I will feel better.

No workouts yesterday or today.  Maybe nothing tomorrow.  I want to get rid of this instead of getting in a crappy workout and extending the sickness.