So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Keeping Track Of "Stuff"

MEMO TO SELF: Make certain to finish Census paperwork. Yes, I know it only consists of ten least according to the government propaganda (sorry, advertising). But there are so many other things I have to do...and I thought my wife completed one for us the other day. Alas, it was not so. So, in order to spare some part-time government-worker (now there's a double oxymoron!) the potential pain of seeing me in-between workouts, dripping sweat or pool water (Which is more frightening, all: me in race-cut running shorts all sweaty, or me in a Speedo? Personally, I'll take me in the Speedo.), I guess I better take the time to (as in the classic Cheech & Chong routine) zign ze paperz, olt mahn...
Seriously, who has time to keep track of all the important stuff which needs to be accomplished? It's bad enough I spend up to twelve hours a week running, swimming, bicycling, or elliptical training...add to that the amount of time it takes to get there & back (unless on the indoor trainer), make myself presentable to the rest of the human race (my aging but loving d-a-w-g cares not whether or not I stink; my ageless & loving wife a little less so), & then...keep track of what I did, how long I did it, what shoes I wore, how high my heart rate was on know the drill.

Then my wife wonders why I spend so much time on the computer.
I'm glad much of the stuff (nearly) automatically downloads from my go-go-Garmin 310XT gadget. So far it has been rather reliable; a couple of hiccups here & there, but after you provide the obligatory thirty second blue-streak-o'-questionable language & reset the booger you're pretty much good to go.

The challenge, however, is to know what all those numbers you're collecting really mean in the grand scheme of things. Does knowing your average heart rate for bike rides over 20 miles provide you any insight into how you're going to perform on race day? Or, does your average run pace on the Wednesday evening run foretell your half-marathon time? It may, & it may not. Sometimes when race day arrives you have to put the unimportant data off to the side & look more closely at the important stuff: How far do I have to go? How much harder can I go? Have I gone too hard already?
Yes, we can suffer temporary (or permanent) paralysis by analysis because we're too busy crunching numbers to race or train like a Jedi: Trust your feelings, young pad'wan learner. Get too tightly tied up in the minutiae of the training plan; go this duration at that power, then follow it with...aarrgghh. What in heaven's name did we do before heart rate monitors, power meters & other technological training wheels?

There's a place for all this good stuff, as long as you know the physiological feedback which equates to the number: What does an eight-minute mile on the run, or a 1:30 for 100 yards in the swim, or a 20-mile-per-hour speed when you're in big ring/small cog feel like? 'Cause, what do you do on the race day when your battery dies, or the numbers aren't matching up with the ones for which you were hoping?
At that point you have two choices: panic, or have fun. For most of us this was never meant to be work, & it never should be. In my own case, the day endurance sport begins to look, smell, feel, act or taste like work...that's the time to find something else with which to fill the void in my personal calendar.

Why should being a tri-geek or a runner, or a swimmer be like work? There are times my father has marveled at the stuff I do (writing & all that good stuff), because the best stuff gets done during the moments I manage to shoehorn (or crowbar) out of the middle of my work day. Yes, I do get "stuff" done there...probably because I don't spend as much time keeping track of it.

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