Thursday, January 27, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
So, I have these huge cockroaches at my work. It's no big deal, and it is not surprising being that I work in the basement of a very old building. What is surprising is the size of these things. It is not uncommon to find a roach 2 inches in length. Most often I see these things in or near the guys bathroom. I avoid them if possible and step on them rarely, as I really cannot stand the crunching sound under my foot. Today, as I strolled towards the urinal in the men's bathroom, I came across one of these huge roaches. Avoiding this thing was impossible, so I simply kicked the thing to the side and went about my business. The roach ended up on its back and start flailing and kicking its legs and antennas, frantically attempting to roll back on to its feet. Then suddenly it stopped. After I was done with my business, I strolled over to the thing to see if it was just trying to catch its breath. It wasn't trying to catch anything; it was dead. This got me to thinking, "Can cockroaches have heart attacks?"
Reading the sign above, I can only assume that roaches can get cancer, but a heart attack? And I know my particular roach was working really hard to get flipped back over, but it certainly didn't seem like enough effort to warrant a heart attack.
I do know that people can have heart attacks. There are several examples in my own family that I can point out. I went for an extra long run this morning and Katie got worried I might have had a "grabber" when I had not returned in my normal time. For a second I thought the idea absurd, but I do know better. During my bout with poor health the doctor's were very concerned that I might be having some heart trouble. Plus, no amount of physical fitness can change your genetic disposition. There are two recent examples of physically fit individuals that I have known to have heart attacks. One guy was out for his regular morning run, had a heart attack and only survived after the people who found him contacted emergency services and started immediate CPR. The other guy was a close friend of my family and the cousin to one of my very best friends. He was running the Bix 7 last year, had a heart attack and died. He wasn't much older then myself, and was probably in better shape than even I. Women are not immune either. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in America.
Thankfully, after a treadmill test and EKG my doctor's have given my heart a clean bill of health. Now it is up to me to continue to eat right, exercise, and make sure that I have regular check ups with my doctors. I encourage all of you to get your heart health checked, at the same time discuss a good exercise program with your doctor, and start eating healthier. I don't know if cockroaches have heart attacks, but I definitely know that people do, and no one wants to be found upside down, dead on the floor of the men's bathroom.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I know that a big part of parenting is being a participant and advisor in their activities. For me growing up, it was athletics. My father was the coach for many of my youth baseball teams, and we would often have conversations about the Bears. My father would take me to football, baseball, and basketball games, and he was a big influence and advisor for my athletic competitions throughout my life. I am sincerely trying to do the same for my kids. Both Alaric and Amara have been to Illini football, baseball, and basketball games with me and Katie. I will coach a second year of t-ball for Alaric this summer. Neither of my children show an overwhelming interest in traditional sports, and to be honest with you, I am fine with that. I want my children to be happy in whatever they do.
I have been extremely happy the influence that Katie and I have had on our children in terms of fitness. Both kids see us working out on a daily basis, giving them an understanding of exercise to stay fit. During the summer, we will all go for family bike rides, and I am very excited to have the kids riding on their own in the years to come. On several occasions, the family will have timed races. When we are inside of the house, we time each other with a stopwatch to see how fast they can run from the family room to the front door and back. In the summer we race to the neighbors sidewalk and back. And they are very enthusiastic about it, often arguing about whose turn it is to run. I am very encouraged by my children's enthusiasm for running.
I hope my children's excitement for exercise doesn't diminish. I hope I continue to be an example of health and exercise throughout their lives. I hope they will look back one day and see me as a positive influence in their lives. I hope I am a good father.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Thursday, January 6, 2011
I had another absolutely great run this morning. In fact it was another personal best, 4.09 miles in 28:25! That is 6:57 per mile and a full 52 seconds faster than Tuesday, which was my former personal best. I have no idea where this new found speed has come from, but I have some sneaking suspicions:
1) Working around chemicals and magnetic radiation has somehow changed me into a SUPERhuman. While my son would find this extremely cool, I still have my doubts, as I have failed to levitate several times today and my x-ray vision seems to be on the fritz.
2) My watch battery is dying, and the stopwatch feature is counting the minutes much slower than actual time. This is just too depressing to think about. Plus, my new Nike+ sportband (Thank you, Grandma!) has served as confirmation.
3) (The definitive answer) In the immortal words of Mars Blackmon, "It's gotta be the shoes!"
With the gracious Christmas gifts of my sister and in-laws (Thank you!), I was able to purchase a brand new pair (cause buying just one would be silly) of running shoes. After long and heated debate, I settled on the Brooks Trance 9. Take a look:
Pretty sweet, huh?! When I arrived at the store,I was pretty sure that I was just going to get the same shoe that I had been running with for 2 years, the Asics Kayanu(sp?). It has been a great shoe for me, and I was completely comfortable with it. The salespeople were extremely knowledgeable, and were able to show me in graphic detail just how bad my flat feet are. But there was hope! They brought out 10 different pairs of shoes, in all kinds of shapes and sizes. As I was nearing the end we tried on the newest Asics, and I was immediately sold. It felt comfortable (or maybe just familiar) and there was little doubt that this would be my shoe again. But the salesperson had one more shoe for me to try on, the Trance. Grudgingly, I tried the shoe on, and was immediately taken aback. I didn't know how, but the Trance was actually more comfortable than the Asics. I ran on the treadmill for a couple of minutes and my life was completely changed. The Trance was going to be my new running shoe. The salesperson suggested that I try on one shoe of each the Trance and the Asics. So again I obliged, but only for a few seconds. I turned to the sales guy and said, "There is no doubt. The Trance is just more comfortable." I could not be happier with my decision! Not only are these shoes more comfortable, but they have tapped into some sort of "speed well" that has lied dormant for the past 2 years. Two personal bests down; sub-orbital flight to go!
Lastly, there is a (only slight) possibility that all of the hard work and weight loss (weighed in at 195 on Wednesday) has improved my runs times. But I am going to need to see a lot more empirical evidence before I am gonna believe that one.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I actually saw 2 shooting stars. The first one was while I was running on Kratz Road. I just caught a glimpse of it, and was initially very confused about what I had seen. I was literally thinking to myself, "What the hell was that?" I thought maybe it was a bat catching a reflection of the streetlight, until I realized there was no light that high in the sky. Little things like shooting stars and miscellaneous critters make my runs very entertaining. The second shooting star was while I was crossing Monticello Road on Chaucer. There was no doubt about this one, and it served as verification for the identity of the earlier sighting.
It was amazing that I was able to see anything at all, not because it was so dark, but because I was running so fast; I was flying. Seriously, I had my best run in probably 6 months. I ran 4.09 miles in 29:17. I could not believe it was happening. I ran a very strong first mile, but did not check my watch. No real reason other than I didn't want to feel defeated if what felt like a strong mile was really a weak one. I kept pushing pretty hard over the second mile, but things were going pretty easily, and I was feeling really good. Finally I looked at my watch, and I had done 2 miles in 14:23. I actually had to do a double take, just to be sure. I started to panic a little bit. I wasn't really sure why I was running so well, but I was having the run of the year! Over the next mile, my legs started to feel the pressure. A little ache in my hip (I blame the Ab Ripper X) and my quads were starting to burn, but I kept pushing. I was hoping for a 22 minute 3 miles, and was completely blown out of the water when I turned over 3 miles at 21:30. I figured the last mile plus was going to be tough, and it was. However, it also seemed to go pretty easily as I got more and more excited about my time. I put the hammer down (as much as a guy like me puts the hammer down) over the last quarter mile, and could not believe my eyes when I crossed my driveway. It was a great run and I am very excited still.
Now, I hope that transfers into some big weight loss, but overall I have kept things pretty even over the last couple weeks of the holidays. In fact, I think I will be weighing in at 195, which is exactly what I weighed on Dec. 23. Not bad if I do say so myself.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to a great year as I am.