I haven’t posted a self evident truth in quite some time, so I figured I’d share one today – partly because I want to, mostly because I need the reminder.
Bgddy Jim’s Self Evident Truth #6: Happiness Is A Matter Of Perspective
This covers a lot of cliches – chief among them, “happiness is an inside job”. All too often we judge our “insides” or emotional ties to life, by other’s outsides – or their shell existence – what they have, where they live, what they do. Rarely does jealousy allow one to understand what someone else must sacrifice to achieve that shell because the information isn’t readily available.
As an example, I will be leaving the office some time around 2 this afternoon so I can head home and get my ride in before my wife heads out to a chick party of some sort (jewelry or something of that nature). It would be very easy, if my guys were to find this out, for one or more of them to become upset, thinking life is somehow unfair that they have to work later than I do. Of course, they wouldn’t be taking into account that I was sitting at my desk at 5:oo this morning (after a 40 minute commute) working on quotes to keep them working – and that I woke up at 3 am to do it.
A very close friend of mine once dropped the best line I’d ever heard that relates. He and I are polar opposites on the political spectrum. One beautiful winter’s day we were out on a small pond ice fishing and smoking cigars – more of one than the other. We started talking about some political hot button topic of the day and the conversation grew quite animated. I listened to his talking points and he to mine. After we boiled everything down to the lowest common denominator, still on opposite sides, we ended up with the mutual “well, I understand your point, but it certainly doesn’t work that way in what I see”. He said, “you know, we’re both looking at the same dollar bill, just from different sides”.
This is a perfect metaphor if you change the dollar bill out for just about anything else. I’m looking at Bob, he and his wife are very successful, have a lot of money, he is able to train a lot longer than I can (he regularly rides 50+ miles), they’ve got a big house and family membership at the nicest gym in the surrounding four counties – they’ve got it going on. Now, if that’s all I knew of Bob and contrasted my life to his, I could become jealous. Fortunately for me, I know better – Bob’s got an out of town job so he only sees his daughter twice a month, the daughter is stuck going to day care after kindergarten because mom doesn’t get out of work till 5:00. Bob can go on 50 mile rides because he can’t be with his wife and daughter. Once I add the proper perspective, my life is awesome – even if I don’t have the disposable income – my daughters have a dad who is home every night and a mom who takes great care of them, my wife has a husband to keep her warm and still makes all of the bills – without the use of credit cards.
It’s all a trade off, a matter of perspective. If I’m not focused on making my “insides” look like someone’s “outside”, then I have the ability to maintain my own health – heretofore referred to as happiness.
I’ve been using Endomondo, a smart phone GPS workout tracker, for coming up on a year now. While I’m a social exerciser on Saturdays, throughout the week I’m on my own…it would be impossible to find someone who would ride as much as I do and be available when I want to head out – I keep a crazy schedule. The lack of a riding buddy exposes weak points in the motivational armor that will need to be filled from time to time. My tracking program filled that need admirably several times last summer. I’ll dig into the “how” after a brief summary.
There are a lot of different programs out there but I’ve only used the one – for good reason. It’s a great program, or at least I think so, but that’s only because I don’t know any better. This has nothing to do with why I only use Endomondo though. I use that tracker exclusively because I have everything I’ve done over the last year laid out right in front of me. On my home page, I’ve got my personal best times and distances for every sport I’ve tracked:
- One hour 19.97 mi
- 10 miles 26m:13s
- 20 km 33m:49s
- 50 km 1h:39m:51s
- One hour 16.44 mi
- 10 miles 33m:41s
- 20 km 44m:32s
- 50 km 1h:55m:08s
I’ve also got an overall summary of every workout I’ve completed over the year:
- Trips around the world: 0.11
- Trips to the Moon: 0.011
Calories burned: 169488 kcal
Burgers burned: 313
On my Workoutspage I’ve got a monthly calendar that has a box for each specific workout and a picture representation of the type of activity, along with a map that appears below the calendar to show the route for a highlighted workout. On the Statistics page I can track calories burned, distances, times – all on a graph so I can see if I’m slacking with the click of a mouse button.
Here’s The How: (more…)
This, I’m assuming will be the final installment on my new competition road saddle contrasted with my old gel road saddle.
Being a noob, there are certain things that you can look at on a bike and take from the internet that just don’t make sense. We could definitely use manscaping the legs as a good example – at the ether’s request, one should immediately commence to shaving on purchasing a worthy road bike. Reality is a little more forgiving though. The saddle is the same way. You look at a gel saddle contrasted with a rigid competition saddle and the gel saddle should be the epitome of comfort according to common sense. Reality in this case is a little less forgiving. I went for a nice, very fast 16 mile ride today in some fairly windy conditions. As windy as it was, there’s no way I should have been able to average 20 mph but I did that easily – with energy to sprint up all of the major hills, previously unheard of for me at that pace.
First of all, the gel saddle that came on my bike is a very nice saddle. It’s real leather and very comfortable – if I happened to ride very upright and on the hoods or bars most of the time at a more leisurely pace. That’s not how I ride though. I wanted to be in the drops as much as possible into the wind and low on the hoods to maximize aerodynamics because I like to go fast. That simply wasn’t possible without a lot of pain and an impossible time breathing on the gel saddle. The best I could manage in the drops was maybe 3/4 of a mile before I’d have to move up to the hoods for a rest – and I thought it was me.
Today, on my new rigid road saddle, I was able ride the entire time into the wind in the drops – seven miles. Instead of times around 3:45 a mile, I was down around 3:15.
The strange thing – at least to me – is that the saddle is right on the comfort. I didn’t miss the gel a bit, in fact, on the hoods the only difference I noticed was that my right sit bone and hamstring don’t hurt. In the drops, though, the comfort increase was profound. I was able to get my hip angle right which allowed me to breathe easier. In addition, because I have the hip angle right, the width of the seat right (so I could sit in the right part of the saddle), I didn’t get sore or tire out quickly.
I didn’t miss the extra padding once. On the contrary, I’m glad it’s gone – go figure.
I’ve quit a lot of things over the last 20 years in the pursuit of happiness. Let’s look at a partial list in order: Baseball, Playing the Saxophone, Cheating, Stealing, Drugs, Booze, Catholicism, Depression, Golf, Flirting, Caffeine, Chewing Tobacco, Cigarettes, Caffeine/Coffee (again), Cigars, Sweets (this one only really lasted about a week), Fast Food, Golf, Coke (the sugared beverage), Kicking my own @$$ (mentally) for no good reason, Chewing Tobacco (again), Politics, Golf (again)… Some have stuck, some are in progress and still others haven’t. The important ones (the things that will kill me or destroy my life), Theft, Drugs, Alcohol, Chewing Tobacco, Depression, Cigarettes, Flirting and Cheating are well in the rear-view and I don’t do shades of gray.
At some point though, not too long ago I realized that I’ve quit just about enough.
Take coffee for example – while Coke is well behind me because I need the 4,500 empty calories a week like I need a hit in the head – caffeine, in the form of coffee, isn’t going anywhere. I don’t care who says what, at some point you just have to stand your ground(s). I love my coffee and I refuse to give it up – especially based on “what somebody read on the internet”. Besides, there is no food on earth that has more free-radical eliminating antioxidants. Was the study somewhat subjective? Sure it was as some anti-coffee complainers will point out in their attempt to foist on their choice to quit coffee to others. Of course, as is usual, the complaints against coffee are highly subjective as well and I would suggest on a much more egregious level than the studies that show benefits funded by the coffee industry. Let’s look at some of the benefits of a daily diet that includes at least 5 cups of coffee:
Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Parkinson’s, Liver Disease (and Cancer), Oral and Esophageal Cancers, as well as Breast Cancer (modest), Endometrial and Prostate Cancers. In addition, it’s a mild laxative, is not a diuretic (at best it shows extremely mild diuretic properties – less than 5% that of water). There are negatives to coffee consumption as well, but I really don’t care. I love coffee and it’s staying.
There is no doubt that fast food is bad for you when it is consumed without moderation. I don’t do that, so at least for the time being, I’m going to continue to enjoy my #11 with an additional 4 pc chicken nuggets and BBQ sauce – Oh how I adore you, Fish-O-Filet.
As crazy as that may sound, there are still people out there who believe that running is bad for you. Normally in those cases I simply suggest selling stupid somewhere else, but that’s not very nice, now is it? I’ll have to work on a nicer approach. In the mean time, any doctor worth their degree will tell anyone who will listen that running is good for your joint system and health. There are caveats, of course: If you have suffered an injury that alters the motion of the leg during a running stride, you should find another exercise – after consulting a doctor who knows more about this than you do (I would recommend a Kinesiologist of course). Also, if you’re overweight, you should start out slowly. The trick is if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong.
Riding on the Road
Road riding is a slightly more dangerous than riding the couch – at least in the short-term, but I’d sooner give up eating. Remember, less than 3% of all bicycle related fatalities occur when the cyclist is following proper cycling etiquette (riding with traffic, on the road – in lieu of the sidewalk, using caution at intersections, etc.).
The Active Life
An active life is no place for a nervous person. While there must be a balance between placing ourselves in danger – especially when we have a family to think of, there are risks inherent with being active. It just is what it is.
Socially Fit graciously awarded me with the honor of the Liebster Award today.
“This award we’ve discovered is given to bloggers who inspire you and have less than 200 followers. The Liebster Award takes its name from the German word meaning ‘Beloved, Dearest or Favorite”.
Color me tickled. The author and I have come to find out that we are a lot a like in many ways. I am honored for certain, thank you for this.
There are rules that come with this honor.
1. Link back to the person who gave it to you and thank them.
2. Post the award to your blog.
3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you appreciate and value (It’s a great way to get to word out there about other blogs, so we’re in!!)
4. Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have received this award.
I have absolutely no idea how to check the count of the people that follow another blog, so I just picked five whose authors have displayed, in one way or another, pure awesome. The five that I choose for the honor are as follows:
It’s All About The Legs Michael Fioretti, if I remember correctly, was the first – and has been the most prolific commenter on my blog. He always has fantastic advice for an old fart (he’s somewhere around half my age). If there were anyone in the WordPress world that I’d like to go for a ride with, it would be him.
Bike V Car Absolutely the best dry sense of humor I’ve read. I always look forward to Mr. BikeVCar’s posts.
Blue Hen Cyclist Hands down, Steven Francisco is one of the most accessible collegiate racers and an incredible writer – his posts about races always have me on the edge of my seat.
Joseph Lampen Joseph is one of those tougher than nails, deep freeze, hard-core cyclists. Just recently we’ve begun a science project together – more on that in another post… lol.
Mymultiplepersonality I happened on this site because the author stopped by and “liked” one of my posts. I could take 500 words talking about this site. The author is simply gracious as you get.
Well, today was my first real triathlon brick day. It started with my normal 12.5 mile ride down to the running club. What a difference the new saddle makes. My hamstring isn’t near healed yet but I felt a lot better after the ride. This was partially due to the fact that I kept my speed down to save some for the run and subsequent ride home, but I was still at 17.5 mph but I’mreally pleased with the new saddle – surprisingly enough, the additional padding wasn’t missed in the least.
For the run, I decided on a 5k because Mrs. BigdaddyJim and I are going out on a date tonight with the kids away at grandma’s house – there’s no way I’m going to be hobbling around for that. It was a fairly quick 5k for me: 23:48, a time I am absolutely pleased with. Mile times were 7:36, 7:54 and7:37. I was rather saddened when my running buddy Marc suggested we should probably not run together though. He does have a heck of a point. I really respect him as a runner so I try my hardest to keep pace with him and he is well aware of my admiration for him so he tries to live up to it. When we run together we end up pushing each other well beyond our fitness levels and it’s taken the enjoyment out of his Saturday runs. I also wasn’t able to complete my ride home. Alas, the weather just wasn’t going to cooperate two days in a row so I hopped a ride home from one of the guys. Tomorrow’s another day and with the forecast of 66 (F) and sunny, a ride is guaranteed.
Training miles are way up already at mid summer levels from last year:
In addition to the value associated with regular exercise and endorphin release, there is an intrinsic value to completing said exercise out of doors, in nature – or creation.
We could go with calling it a theory, but the definition of hypothesis is easier and is, technically, impossible to prove or disprove (other than the benefits of added benefits of Vitamin D from the exposure to sunlight which is already well documented):
- A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
- A proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of its truth.
Feel free to weigh in with your comments.
UPDATE: Socially Fit weighed in with this gem:
“Outdoors is always best! In the gym only 5-50 people can witness your awesomeness”.
Indeed, well said!