Sunday, February 25, 2007

Presidents Week

Last week was a busy week! It started with a family trip to Disney World. This was our second trip to Disney. In 2004, I went down there to race the ½ IM Hawaii qualifier. At the time, my kids were 3 ½ years old and 11 months. It was a fun trip, yet not one they would remember. This time, there was no race involved. Ryan had school vacation which is why we, and millions of others, planned our trip around this week.

Our first day at Disney, the high temperature reached only 55 degrees! I was having Palm Spring flash backs. After a car ride, plane ride, shuttle ride, tram ride and ferry ride, we were at the Magic Kingdom and ready to go on some Disney rides.

The park was crowded with what seemed like every obese person in the world. It came to my attention that I have two pet peeves I wasn’t aware of. One is the line sideler. This is the obnoxious person, usually obese, who is right behind you in line, and I mean right behind you! So close that you can feel their breath on your neck. So close that it feels as though you are carrying them in a back pack. The line starts to move forward and they sidle right up onto you. I had a few of these where, I’m not quite sure, but I think I was violated. My other pet peeve is the guy, and occasional woman, decked out in Nascar gear. The button up shirt with the big number and name of the driver on the back with the matching hat. These are grown men! The Daytona 500 was last weekend so there were quite a few of these at the park. My son is into football and likes to wear his Manning and Brady jerseys around. He’s six.

There aren’t a lot of healthy nutritional options at the Magic Kingdom. If you want something fried or sugary, you are in luck.

It sounds as though I’m bitching quite a bit – yes, I realize I’m breaking my own number one rule. However, even with the above mentionables, this was one of the best vacations. We pulled up to the park aboard the ferry, with the castle directly in front of us. As we entered the park, I scooped up my daughter so she could see the princesses in the show taking place in front of the castle. My daughters’ big eyes became even bigger and her jaw was dropped from excitement. I actually welled up! I’m a big sap when it comes to these things. To see her and my son having so much fun was worth the long lines, sidelers, and Nascar wearing people X’s ten.

By day three, the warm Florida weather had returned. We did a lot on this trip including spending a day at Sea World with Shamu, and at the Animal Kingdom, Epcot and another day at the Magic Kingdom. The rides there are pretty amazing. Our family favorite was “Soaring” at Epcot. One day, we went to the park at 8:30am, and left at 10pm at night, after the fireworks. My daughter, again, was blown away by tinkerbell flying from the top of the castle at the beginning of the fireworks. My son is a little dare devil. The more high up, fast, twisty the ride, the better for him. My daughter was in princess heaven. We even had dinner one night with the princesses, which was priceless.

Upon leaving, it hit me that this trip would never happen again. Sure, we’ll probably come back to Disney, but my daughter will not be awe struck by the experience. She’ll be beyond this phase that I love. And my son will probably want to bring a friend to pal around with. The progression of life and I was bummed. I never envisioned myself really liking Disney.

On a side note, I carried my daughter for probably 90% of the time we were at the parks. With all the people there, it was safer and faster to get around if I carried her. My back was fine.

I came back from Disney and jumped back on a plane the next day to visit some clients of mine. I did some testing, and training and had a nice trip. The friends I stayed with are my kind of people.

I now am awaiting my flight back to CT. I have three weeks left until my Arizona camp. I better get some training in!



Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Back In Action

My back is 95% now. I am back into regular training mode. I did a tempo run last Thursday to test it out a bit and things felt fine. I'm able to ride in the aero bars without feeling any ill effects, and I ran 2 hours Sunday morning no problem. The only reason I don't say that it's 100% is because sometimes while sitting, my back will feel fatigued or a bit achy. Nothing too serious, but none the less, it's there. That, plus I still am nervous about it since the incident is still quite recent.

I received many e-mails from people concerned for me, offering help and sharing advice. Thank you! Thank you Gus and Laura for bringing by sushi Saturday night also. Lisa doesn't like sushi, so I don't eat it that often, but I could eat it every night. Gus brought over a ton of it and we had it with some wine and some laughs.

I still need to learn that taking everything to extremes is not always good. I was icing my back about a week ago after a ride. I laid flat on my back on the floor with a soft ice pack placed between the floor and my lower back. I did not wrap the ice pack in a towel, since a towel is usually too thick and negates the beneficial effects of icing tissue. In hindsight, a t-shirt between the pack and my skin would have been the way to go. I iced for 20 minutes (it's important to ice for a minimum of 15 minutes but no more than 20 at one time) then went to take a shower. The skin on my low back felt really irritated in the shower, so I checked it out in the mirror to notice I had quite a nasty burn!

Anyway, it's great to be back at it!

I hit my gym yesterday to use the treadmill, since I didn't bring the right outdoor clothing. My gym has two floors. Most of the treadmills are on the second level, but there are two tucked away in a stretching area on the first level. I always choose the same treadmill - one that's in a corner against the wall and right next to a stretching rack that rarely gets used. I hopped on the treadmill and began to warm-up, when this portly, bearded 50 something year old guy comes into the stretching area. He's wearing tube socks pulled up, very small grey gym shorts, a white t-shirt that's too tight and exposes a patch of skin on his belly, a cell phone attached to the shorts, and thick glasses. I knew that this guy was going to use the stretching rack right next to the treadmill that I was running on. Sure enough, he hops over the back of my treadmill and approaches the rack. Then, he takes his left leg and kicks it up onto the rack, performing what appears to be some form of a hamstring stretch, bouncing and bobbing his head towards his knee. The thing is, his short grey shorts aren't very concealing, and neither are the tighty whitey underwear he's wearing. It was a train wreck, with his goods hanging out all over the place. You couldn't help but notice since the stretch rack and treadmill are very close and both face a mirrored wall. Trying not to hurl, I decide to do some intervals since I get bored running at one speed on the treadmill. I decide to do three X one mile repeats, controlled since it's only February. I bump the treadmill speed up to 10.5 mph and settle into a nice pace, listening to my ipod, and trying to avoid the road kill on stretch rack. Well, this guy finishes his stretch and goes to hop over the back of my treadmill. Next, and I can't make this stuff up, he does something that I still don't understand. He steps on the back of the treadmill while the belt is moving quite fast! The guys foot hits the belt and instantly, he's shot off the back like a baseball launched from a pitching machine. He goes down hard and bounces across the room, glasses and cell phone flying off of him. I am laughing uncontrollably as I hop off the treadmill to see if he's ok. He's fine, although a bit disoriented and embarrassed, and I still can't control my laughter. I'm looking right at the poor bastard and shaking, trying not to laugh. In fact, for the rest of the day, and still even today, I laugh out loud whenever I envision the episode.

With the back injury hopefully behind me, I'm even more excited about this coming season and the year ahead. Next week, I think I'm even going to begin swimming!

I've been catching up on some movies while riding the CT. I watched the Illusionist. Decent movie. Nothing spectacular, but great actors.