Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Progress report

The NIH asks that recipients of research grants (which is basically what I live on) write a progress report 1x per year communicating what has been accomplished and where things are going. For some reason, it's like pulling teeth to get myself to sit down and write this thing. Even though I'm supposed to only write about science and all, I can't help but think about the last year a bit more holistically and I guess I'm pretty happy right now in general.

It's easy for all of us to say that our family is number one and that we sacrifice a lot for our families, but in the end it's amazing too me how much of our time we spend thinking about being someplace else or doing something else even when we're with our families. My cell phone usage is a perfect example. I think I'd probably puke if someone recorded how many times I do something on my cell phone like check who's winning the Giro, what's happening on facebook, or whether I've received an email I'm hoping for, while I'm sitting hanging out with Cassidy. I'm supposed to have made all this time available in my life by focusing more on research and basically taking a hiatus from conventional medical school...certainly I spend more time doing domestic things. I definitely am able to get outside and ride my bike sufficiently. But lately, I've been realizing how much of the time technology and a lack of mindfulness pulls me away from what is most important.

The pool at our apartment opened this past weekend and I think we made a total of 8 trips to the pool in 3 days. Cassidy loves swimming and with this weather, it's been awesome going up there and hanging out with her. It's a really cool process watching a kid grow and become more comfortable doing something like swimming. She can't swim without floaties yet, but I bet by the end of July she'll be swimming on her own.

Anyway, I guess I'm supposed to be writing about cancer or bikes on this blog. Even though those two things fill a lot of my time and I wouldn't be myself without them, I think I can honestly say that more time is devoted this past year to thinking about and being with the family then anything else.

In terms of bike activities at the moment, I'm really glad to be following a plan to get ready for cross this year. I guess there are a bunch of things to my own 'plan', but two things that come to mind when thinking about priorities are:
1. This year I really wanted to do was build a big aerobic engine with lots of base miles. Done. Not sure if it is going to do anything, as I actually feel pretty slow and am a bit heavier than I've been in awhile. But the past 2 weeks I've been doing more sustained tempo riding...basically 87-92% of my 'threshold HR' for 40-60min in a 2-3hr ride. After this, it's on to subLT intervals. In theory, the base miles raise my chronic training load which correlates with increased aerobic enzymes, mitochondrial efficiency, capillary density, general efficiency on the bike, and a bunch of other stuff.

2. Not race every weekend. Mostly because in cross season there seems to be races almost every weekend from September to December...which seriously eats into family time. So up until cross season, I decided to do only the racing which I think is most fun....XC mountain bike racing. The best thing about it this year is that none of the races have been cancelled and most of them are separated by at least 2 weeks. This helps keep the motivation high, adds some V02 efforts, and most importantly-doesn't take up every weekend.

Anyway, I guess that's it for now. I've got to run to Walt's bike shop before picking Cassidy up this afternoon- I seem to have worn out both sets of my XTR pedals in the last year. It's funny, because I actually take good care of my bike gear, but for some reason I manage to break the unbreakable (these two sets of pedals follow me breaking Time ATACs, which are also supposed to be pretty burly). At least shimano agrees and is warranting both sets of pedals (the pedal bodies are loose on the spindles...basically the little rubber O-ring come loose too easily and it feels like my cleats are never fully secure). People always talk about how good SRAM is with their warranty, but in my experience Shimano is just as good or even better- I mean how crazy is it that they replaced broken Ultegra Di2 with Dura Ace Di2?

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