Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lance let us down


Lance Armstrong. The name once synonymous with cycling superstar, cancer survivor, LIVESTRONG founder and seven-time Tour de France champion will now, for many, simply mean liar, cheater, doper and disappointment.


Prior to Lance’s confession, Ironman Triathlon World Champion Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander commented on cycling’s long history of doping and paints the picture of a young, promising athlete who gave up college to pursue professional cycling only to be faced with the dilemma of doping to remain competitive and retain sponsors, or not doping and surrendering his dreams. But Lance had a choice and he chose to hitch his future to the “if you can’t beat them, join them,” wagon and, as a result, has paid the ultimate price in terms of  his reputation, his Tour de France titles, and a lifetime ban on professional racing. Perhaps what Crowie means to suggest is that you shouldn’t judge someone until you have walked in his shoes?


But consider the message Lance’s choice sends to young athletes: that winning is the most important thing, that you should win at all costs, and that it’s impossible to win without doping. To beg absolution on the grounds that “everyone else is doing it” is no excuse. In fact, in response to that same adolescent lament, don’t we ask our kids, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you?” Given the so-called heroes we put on a pedestal today, should we be surprised when our kids answer yes? Shouldn’t we be teaching our children that honesty and integrity are more important than winning, and that while physical prowess is subject to the ills of age and injuries, virtues such as intelligence and education are forever? Shouldn’t we all be idolizing and celebrating the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill and Melinda Gates over the Ray Lewises and Michael Vicks of the world?


The unraveling of Lance’s career comes at a time when Lance was on the cusp of branching out into the world of triathlon. His anticipated participation in the 2012 Ironman World Championships drew athletes like Crowie back from the brink of retirement just for the chance to compete against him. Lance Armstrong could have been the best thing to happen to triathlon, his celebrity and fame certain to shine the limelight on a sport that is still largely relegated to the sidelines, and usher it into the mainstream.


Lance’s involvement in triathlon also could have been the worst thing to happen to the sport if it meant he was bringing his lying, cheating, doping ways with him. That’s not to say I’m na├»ve enough to believe that doping is non-existent in triathlon but, at least for now, I can still hope and believe it is limited to the few, the shameless, and the desperate.  


Lance made a mistake and he was caught. Had he come clean and fessed up, he may have been more readily forgiven, for to err is human. But lying about it only served to further soil and tarnish a name that had once shined so brightly. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Mail

Yes, you read that right--Happy Mail! (Not to be confused with Happy Meal.)

In this technical age of email and Evites, it's more rare than ever to find something good in the mailbox. So today, on yet another cold, rainy, dreary, overcast day, I went to the mailbox and found this:


I had no idea what it was. It felt a bit squishy, like clothes, but a little to heavy to be clothes. Was it a late Christmas gift? Maybe it was delivered to the wrong address? Nope, I checked the mailing label; definitely mine.

And then I smelled it. And that simple whiff was like sunshine! It made me want to do a happy dance right outside on the driveway. I'd forgotten all about it. These are the best things to get in the mail . . . the things you order, forget about and then are so happy and pleasantly surprised to receive! 

Here's what it was:


Move over Starbucks! This is THE BEST COFFEE EVER! Coconut Crunch from Duck's Cottage in Duck, NC on the outer banks.

It has become an annual tradition. The day we arrive on the beloved narrow strip of barrier islands where we've been vacationing since 1997, we make a stop in duck for lunch and then head over to Duck's Cottage for an afternoon cuppa and to purchase a few bags of this stuff, which I am a huge fan of because I DO NOT ADD SUGAR, CREAMER, OR ANY TYPE OF FLAVOR TO MY CUPPA. Problem is, I'm not man enough to drink it black. This is my solution--the perfect hint of flavor in the beans means I don't need to add a thing, save for a small splash of almond milk. PERFECTION! 


This year, when we depleted our supply, I had DC ship me a few bags--a first! And then, about a week ago--Oh Happy Day!--I received a promotional email (yes, I am on their mailing list even though I live 6 hours away) to BUY 3 POUNDS OF COCONUT CRUNCH AND GET FREE SHIPPING. I paid less per bag than it would have for a pound of Starbucks at the local Safeway. 

So, after a fun morning outing with a good friend, coming home to find this in my mailbox was the icing on the cake of my day! 

Can't wait to brew up a pot of this goodness tomorrow! 

If you'd like to try Coconut Crunch, here's the website: 

http://www.duckscottage.com/

Top of the morning to ya! 




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Go for the goals


Resolve to set goals this year


It’s that time of year again; the gym is packed, there’s a line for the treadmill, and every swim lane is taken. But, come February, the crowds will have lessened and, by March, you’ll be able to hear a pin drop in the weight room as the lure of warm weather and happy hours trumps the stuffy fitness center and protein shakes.  

Photo: What's your New Years resolution?

If you are one of the 45 percent of Americans who set New Year’s Resolutions, you should know that, on average, only eight percent of people who make resolutions successfully achieve them. But don’t let that statistic discourage you; a few simple changes can put you on the path to success.    


As the saying goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that’s exactly what a resolution is: a good intention. A resolution is a course of action that has been decided on, but deciding to do something is not the same thing as actually doing it.
To increase your chances of success, resolve to set goals instead. Goals are the measurable results within a fixed time frame toward which effort is directed. In other words, goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.


For example, among the top ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2012, according to statisticbrain.com, are losing weight, getting organized, and learning something exciting. The vagueness of such a resolution is sure to be a contributing factor in its failure. Instead, the goal should be specific and measurable such as, “I will lose five pounds by June,” “I will sign up for a snowboarding lesson this month,” or “This week, I will buy a shoe rack for my closet.”

Another way to ensure success is to focus on one goal at a time. Create a specific list of goals for the year and choose the one that is most important to you. Once you've achieved this goal, it’s time to tackle the next one.


Writing down your goals will boost your chances of success, as will enlisting a partner or a support group. If you want to run a 5K this spring, write your goal on a sticky note and post it on your bathroom mirror, schedule time for training, and highlight the race date on the family calendar. By running with a partner or joining a running group, you’ll not only have someone to hold you accountable, but someone to share the journey with, which will likely make the process more rewarding and enjoyable.


Another helpful tip is to focus on the positive by structuring your goals around what you will do instead of what you won’t do. For instance, instead of saying “I won’t eat junk food,” try phrasing it as “I will eat more vegetables,” and then strategically post reminders in the places where temptation lurks. A note on the freezer door that reads “choose carrots” may be just the thing to keep you from reaching for that pint of Ben & Jerry’s. 

                                                                                         

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Avoid Common Fitness Mistakes


Resolve to avoid these four common fitness mistakes


While fitness advice typically focuses on positive, pro-active steps for achieving your goals, it’s also important to be aware of the things that can undermine your efforts.

According to an article in the December issue of USA Weekend, there are four common fitness mistakes that can sabotage your goals: 

1. Viewing your regimen as temporary
2. Focusing on the negative
3. Dwelling on failure 
4. Discounting walking

Viewing your regimen as temporary

Establishing a healthy fitness regimen should not be viewed as a means to an end; it’s a lifestyle to be adopted and practiced for the rest of your life. There is no finish line, no infinite certificate of accomplishment. Once your goal is met, it must be maintained, so the habits you form must be ones you can sustain indefinitely. No one can eliminate carbs forever or survive on carrots and lemon water alone. No one can resist an occasional dessert, nor should they have to; and no one can change everything all at once. 


If you've always eaten meat, start by eliminating only read meat or experimenting with meatless Mondays. If you aren't a fan of Brussels sprouts or kale, be sure to eat a variety of vegetables that you do enjoy and occasionally try new ones. The key is to make changes that you can live with for the long haul.

Focusing on the negative

Negative thinking is a detrimental and sometimes self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s important to use positive statements such as “I am strong and determined” instead of “I am overweight and unmotivated.” 

When I discuss our family’s physical and nutritional values with my daughters, I never use the words “fat” or “weight;” instead, I teach them the importance of exercising and eating well to stay healthy. 


Focus on what you’re doing right rather than what you’re doing wrong, and avoid thinking of exercise as a way to lose weight or to look better, but rather as a way to live longer and feel better.


Dwelling on failure 

Shervin Pishevar, a managing partner at Menlo Ventures, a leading venture capital firm in Menlo Park, California, says “If you don’t fail, you haven’t tried hard enough.” 

                             

Many successful people, from Steve Jobs to Stephen King, have failed while attempting to achieve their goals. Failure is a part of life and we humans are intended to learn from our mistakes. If you gain a few pounds, skip a few workouts, or eat too much cake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on. Identify what derails you from your goals and make a plan to avoid similar pitfalls in the future.


Discounting walking

Mayoclinic.com notes that walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that is safe, simple, and accessible to almost everybody, and can ease you into a higher level of fitness and health. 


Walking lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes, helps you manage your weight, and improves your mood.  According to the site, “regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging.” 

So don’t underestimate the value of a brisk walk around your neighborhood.

As you work toward your achieving your new fitness goals this year, resolve to avoid these mistakes and remember that we must all learn to walk before we can run. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Look Back at 2012, Part 1

The Year In Review


A look back at the moments and milestones in fitness, and with family, that defined the year! 


January

We were still on a total high, reveling in and recovering from the thrill and exhaustion of our first IRONMAN and subsequent mini-vacation in Cozumel. What a feeling to hear those words: You Are An IRONMAN! 




February

Time to relax and have some fun with the fam, so we headed to Seven Springs, PA and shredded some snow (what little there was of it) with our three daughters. 

Headed to the Polar Bear Express Lift

View of the slopes from our balcony

The youngest one catches some air at the terrain park

March

Time to get moving again with the start of triathlon training season. Throw in a last minute "learn to snowboard" adventure, my 16th wedding anniversary, the Rock N Roll Half Marathon, the Frederick Mission 10-Miler and a new yoga session, and let the craziness begin! And, Congrats to my mom on her Retirement! 
                                 
                                                Snowboarding at Liberty Mountain Resort with  my friend Gretchen
Yoga time! Namaste.  



Anniversary dinner at Volt in Frederick
Happy 16th Anniversary!


 And a road trip to celebration the occasion . . . 

Harrisburg, PA waterfront
Lunch at the Appalachian Brewing Company
Hiking the AT
Dinner in the Poconos
Nature Trail in the Poconos

Next it was the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Washington, DC on St. Patty's Day . . . 


Race Expo with Cheryl
Potential Race Day Attire? 
Flowers from Triathlon Dad on Race Morning :)
All smiles after a super fun & rockin' race on a beautiful day!
And the next weekend it was the ill-fated Mission 10-Miler in Frederick. I'd aggravated my left hamstring at the Rock N Roll race, which led to a gimpy stride at the 10-Miler and a vert angry right IT Band that forced me to walk for bits of the race.  
With Jen after the Mission 10-Miler Race
And, after 33 years on the job, my Mom was honored for her years of service. Congratulations, Mom, and Happy Retirement!

Congrats on your Retirement, Mom!

April 

Tri Daughter #2 got braces and turned 9, lacrosse season began, my trail running efforts came crashing down, literally, and our family enjoyed a spring break trip to Hershey Park, Colonial Williamsburg and Great Wolf Lodge . . . 


Got Braces? 
Trail Rash--swollen/bruised palm/thumb.



Ready for action! 
TriDaughter #3


TriDaughter #2

Scoop!
Happy 9th Birthday! 
Presents!
Meeting adrenaline quotient on Griffin at Hershey Park



Strolling the streets in the 18th Century at Colonial Williamsburg

Tri Dad and Tri Daughters at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg

May

The Cascade Lake Sprint Triathlon was the official start of our season--and a great start it was, as I finished 2nd in my division and had the honor of being with my SIL, Kate, and my friend, Cheryl, as they both successfully completed their first-ever Duathlons! To add to the fun, there was the Frederick Kids Triathlon, Triathlon Daughter #1's 11th birthday, piano recital and meeting CHRISSIE WELLINGTON! 





Tri Family at the piano recital




A good start to the season!
Post-race with Triathlon Dad

With Cheryl who completed her FIRST Duathlon!
SIL gutting it out at her FIRST Duathlon! 
CHRISSIE!!
Tri Daughter #1 turns 11!
   
Tri Daughters #2 & #3 wait to start the swim

Tri Daughter #1 in T1
Triathlon is Fun!
At the Frederick Kids Triathlon

June

The South Carroll Sprint Triathlon, always a fun day in support of a good cause, was another great race for us as I finished 2nd in division and 6th overall female out of 134, while Tri Dad and his father both scored a 1st place finish in their divisions. Swim season began for all three Tri Daughters, Tri daughter #3 celebrated her 7th birthday, and I broke in a new pair of shoes. 

New Kicks

Happy 7th Birthday!
FIL, Me & Triathlon Dad before the South Carroll Sprint
Finishing the bike leg
Uphill dash to the finish
Triathlon Dad crosses the finish line
Accepting 2nd place award!

Tri Dad accepting 1st place award

Post-race Happy!

His & Hers Hardware

Tri Daughter #2 Takes Her Mark!
Tri Daughter #1 waits for her Heat to start

Tri Daughter #3 at the block & ready to rock!