Fit Recovery

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Monthly Archives: December 2011

How to fit a hundred miles a week in with a with a wife and kids, and a full time job…

Serious training, for any sport, isn’t easy – with a day job, wife, kids, house and a recovery program it’s hectic. It is not impossible though.

My day job is in construction, I run small commercial carpentry company so, contrary to what popular opinion might suggest, I put in a lot of hours. In addition, my wife and kids need time too. Add to that a program to keep me out of the jug, and it gets busy.

My hours, while extensive, are flexible. I choose to put most of them in early in the morning. I’m up between 3 and 4:30 am and at my office between 5 and 6. On most days I can be home between 3:30 and 4:30 in the afternoon. My usual ride during the week is between 14 and 16 miles depending on the route I take and I can complete them in 40-50 minutes so I’m done between 4:30 and 5:30. There’s plenty of time left to cook some dinner (if we’re grilling) and spend some time with the wife and kids. If rain is expected in the afternoon I’ll ride at 6 or 6:30 in the morning and head in to the office a little later. I’ll take a day off on riding on Wednesday or Friday depending on how the legs feel. On Thursday, after my ride, I meet a friend before a meeting and we run a 5k. After the meeting we all go out to dinner at a local Mexican joint down the road… So figure 4 days at 15 miles (average) plus a 5k, I’m at 63 miles on Friday evening. On Saturday, my big training day, I ride down to my running club meeting place, about 12-1/2 miles, run 7-10 miles, swim for ten or fifteen minutes, eat a light lunch, and ride back to my place. That’s another 32-35 miles. On Sunday I take a nice easy 14-20 mile ride to loosen up the muscles… That’s 109 miles at the low end in six days.

Now, being the boss has it’s advantages – and it’s disadvantages. Like any recovering person, my priorities require that I put my mileage somewhere around fifth behind God, my recovery, my wife and kids, my job and my guys’ (and their families). I have to maintain the attitude that while training is important to how I ultimately feel and perform in all of my other responsibilities, I can’t put my miles first. I don’t always make my hundred – it just is what it is, after all, Daddy’s gotta buy running shoes to run.

It’s probably safe to say there won’t be too many slackers that read this, but let’s do away with a few myths next…

When Fitness and Recovery Work Together

  This picture was taken on the 48th mile of a 49 mile ride in celebration of one of my best friend’s birthday.  We rode on the day of my nineteenth anniversary.

My buddy English Pete puts in most of his miles alone, as do I.  But every now and again, we get to ride or run together.

Those smiles are the end result.  I tried for years to find that smile on the couch…

Exercise is a matter of finding your thing…

After running my weight down to about a buck seventy over eight years, I grew bored. I never really loved running – I liked not being flabby and the tightly knit running club I belong to kept me honest.  The rush of endorphins has been great and the exercise relieves stress better than anything I’ve ever tried with no negative cost…but, I never enjoyed the act of running. Finishing, now that was fun, but you get the point. I began to evolve a few years back though, when I got a bug to run a triathlon. Now I’m not the kind of guy who likes to push himself to the edge.  I’ve never run a marathon because I don’t want to put the effort or training into it, but for some reason the idea of running a triathlon just stuck. I talked about it for three years before I even did anything about it because I figured it would be just like running. I bought a bike last spring and it changed my life.

It turns out that I do love cycling. At 41, I’m no Lance or Eddy, but I truly love riding. I ride every day that I can, road cycling, mountain biking – I love it all. For me, nothing beats coming home from a day at the office, easy, hard or otherwise, and pounding out some miles. I feel free at last. The faster I go, the better I feel.

I’m down to 158 and a long way from my high of 195. I’m ripped enough to make 41 look good and not worry about parading around without a shirt on. So, what’s the difference? My buddy English Pete put it best; I found my thing. Cycling is the one thing that will get me off of the couch every day, makes me feel good, makes me look good and puts a smile on my face – each and every time I’m in the saddle. The only thing I like more than a 15 mile ride is a 50 mile ride. On recovery days or after my normal ride, my favorite thing is a slow turn with my wife and kids on the back roads.

How often do you hear or read about this fad or that workout regimen (and eventually about how many people dropped them, then about how they really weren’t as good as everybody thought)? I read an article recently pushing circuit workouts at the gym as the be all – end all because it burns more calories than most anything else… The argument was, fairly paraphrased; if you want to lose weight why do anything other than the exercise that will accomplish this the quickest?

(more…)

New Personal Best

New Personal Best 5k this morning, 10:30 this morning:  23:34.

Road vs. Mountain

Answer:  BOTH.  Of course

How To: Set Up Your Own Recovery Centered Running Club

So, the question is, how do I set up my own club?

This will be short.

Admittedly, I got lucky on this account.  My wife found her running buddies at a meeting first and I just fell into it.  Truth be told, she’s cool like that.  The hardest part about setting up your own club is finding people of like mind who want to meet once a week to start.  There are several options for this…the less obvious are sites like Craigslist.  I peruse the site from time to time looking for good deals on bikes and I’ve seen a few requests to start up group rides.  Of course, you wouldn’t want to broadcast over the internet that you’re recovering, that would be crazy!  So keep that in mind.

So that leaves church and meetings if you attend or races.  This is really an “if you build it, they will come” type of thing.  If you can find two or three friends to meet up on a Saturday, news will spread.  Keep it open invitation and before you know it you’ll have a weekly group run.

Currently we meet at a friend’s house.  If we can’t meet there, one of the other guys hosts it at his place, and if he can’t we meet at my house – though we haven’t met here in well over a year.  If you don’t have a house to meet at, I’ve seen a lot of people meet at local trails (for running and mountain biking) or parks with paved bike paths for road riding.  Personally, I’m partial to meeting at a home.  When I was hosting several years back, my wife and I made multi-grain pancakes and bacon after the run…an excellent cap to a long run if I do say so myself.

 

Fitness and Recovery

Fitness and Recovery

Kicking booze was hard enough, at the ripe old age of 22 it was nothing short of a miracle. Staying off the sauce for more than nineteen years (and counting) has been a second miracle. Finding a beautiful recovering wife a third. Becoming something of a success in business, a fourth. Good kids, a fifth… Of course, you could lump that into one big miracle. There was a lot of work that went into accepting those miracles, but there was one thing I’d missed. After quitting all mood or mind altering substances, eventually (and especially) cigarettes, I gained a lot of weight.

You walk down the road and see the fit people from time to time. Some are thick, others thin. That was me. We’re not talking about the kids now, we’re talking about the 30 and older crowd. I’ve always been one of the thin ones and they say it’s because I’m lucky…

It almost wasn’t that way, I quit smoking cigarettes when I was 33, eleven years sober, and weighed 155 lbs. Five months later I was pushing 195 and was well on my way to growing a second chin. I actually stood in front of the mirror one morning and decided that I would just get fat. I can still remember the day. That’s lucky alright.

The day after deciding that I’d succumb to flab, blaming it on age, I changed my mind. My wife had joined a few friends and began something of a running club. I joined my wife and her club for a run, one of the fellas taking me under his wing. We had talked about running, my wife and I, before, but I was dead set against it. I said things like, “it’s bad for your knees” and “it’s not really good for you” and “I hate running”… I made it a mile and a half on my first try and thought I was going to cough up both lungs.

Our club is nothing special as far as professionalism goes – we don’t have a sponsor, there is no funding other than personal donations…it’s just a group, several recovering friends meeting once a week at a host’s house to let our endorphins play. There are usually six to ten of us, though we’ve had groups in the summer up to twenty including our kids. This club turned out to be one of the most integral parts of my recovery, I don’t know what I’d have done without it.

There is a reason that we say that life sober is better, not easier. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s a down right pain in the butt with no escape from having to deal with life’s every day problems… This is where exercising comes in. I’ve read countless articles, spouting knowledge derived from dozens of studies that give the reasons why exercise is good for you, trying to gain a little bit of understanding as to why it works to kill the day to day stress. I can sum up all of those articles in a sentence for those with a little faith: Who cares why it works, the trick is that it does. Without a doubt, running has kept me in good enough shape, physically and mentally, to handle life. So I look at it this way, we can sit around and discuss it for hours, till we’re all blue in the face…or go out for an hour or two, get red-faced, and prove it.

The golden rule for running, and really any exercise is this: We run/ride/swim to fix the things most people use for excuses to sit on the couch.

Next up: How to set up your own running club. It’ll be a short post.