Thursday, February 18, 2010

What's Tough For You?

Have you ever done anything that is excruciating hard for you? I’m not talking about things that are tough for everyone but things that are your own personal challenges that could possibly be incredibly easy for someone else. For example, most of the time I don’t mind doing the dishes if of course I get to choose the music that is playing. For others doing the dishes is possibly one of the most mundane excruciatingly hard things to get yourself to do.

There are a lot of items that make my personal list of things that I find tough to do. In college it was any class on economics. I could pass the class but there’s absolutely no fun to be had in an economics class. Changing diapers and doing yard work are other items at the top of my list. Some people find it therapeutic to work out in the yard. Me? Well, not so much.

The other day I found something that could possibly be at the top of my list of hard things to do for the rest of my life. Seriously, it was that bad.

Riding on a bike trainer for an hour while watching Men's Figure Skating!

For the past week I’ve really enjoyed watching the winter Olympics. I love the strange sports that you only see once every 4 years. I also love the intensity that ALL of the competitors have for their sport. On Monday night I rode my trainer while watching a smorgasbord of different sports and they were distracting enough that my hour ride went by fairly quick.

Then on Tuesday night I got everything set up, started riding and turned the TV on to find that Men’s Figure Skating was on. I’ve got to be honest I’m not a fan of the sport AT ALL. I tried to remain positive, thinking that the network would cut away to another sport and eventually bounce between multiple sports like they had every other night. After every skater I would chant in my head “Go to another sport, Go to another sport, Go to another sport” but miraculously this did not work. NBC stayed with Men’s Figure Skating for an entire hour in all of its flamboyant sequined glory.

Looking back on the evening I should have flipped my bike off of the trainer and “accidentally” run into the wall putting myself on the disabled list for the rest of the evening. That would have been a lot easier than riding for the entire hour. Honestly, completing the 100 miles of nowhere ride on my trainer was a lot easier than this ride. Is it possible that time could have stood still during Men’s Figure Skating? I believe it did for at least 4 or 5 hours.

There might be someone out there that would have found this to be an easy thing to do but riding a bike trainer for an hour while watching Men’s Figure Skating has topped my list of tough things.

This single event could possibly be at the top of my tough things to do for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Confessions of a Data-aholic

Shortly after I started training for my first long distance bike ride I read somewhere that it’s a good thing to keep a training journal. Not that I do everything that I read but on this occasion I built a spreadsheet to track how many miles I rode each day. Over the years this spreadsheet has morphed into quite the prodigious work of bike nerd art. This spreadsheet has got sections for weekly goals, notes on how each ride went, drop down menus for each type of workout and it even turns different colors when I achieve a goal all on its own. In some strange way it gives me a sense of satisfaction to fill out my training spreadsheet the morning after I ride. It’s like a nice pat on the back if I’m doing well or a kick in the rear if I’m slacking off.

Occasionally I’ve also tracked my weight on this spreadsheet when I’ve gone on one too many donut benders to give myself a little accountability. You would think that this would be simple since all you have to do is weigh yourself once a week and enter a number but it’s not so easy at our house. You see, until a couple of weeks ago we had an ultra low tech scale that we got on sale at a grocery store. You know, the kind that you had as a kid with the spinning dial. This scale was great. If you weighed yourself first thing in the morning and you didn’t like your weight all you had to do was get back on again. Chances are your weight would be different every time you weighed yourself. If you have weight integrity (which I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone like this) you would average your weight over 5 or 6 weighings before claming your weight for the week. On the other hand if you didn’t like your weight, all you had to do is keep weighing yourself until you get to the number that you like. Of course there was only about 3 pounds of variation but hey, 3 pounds is 3 pounds.

The other day Jenny came home from the store and she had a new weight scale in her possession. I’m pretty sure this is the same scale that Bill Gates uses because the amount of data that it spits back to you is out of control. Not only does it give you a consistent weight reading (every time) but it also tells you how many pounds of fat your carting around, your body fat %, your BMI (I think this stands for Bike Muscle Index), and your hydration %. Aside from not being able to get the scale to lie anymore this scale is super cool.

This has left me wondering what the heck I’m going to do with all of this data. Do I really need to keep track of all of this data? I’m really trying hard to not add all of it to my training spreadsheet but this is like putting a beer in front of an alcoholic. As of right now it’s not on my spreadsheet but I don’t know how long that will last. Someone talk me off of the ledge.