Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Run til you're tired... then keep running!

As a kid, the thought of me exercising would have been crazy. I was way too busy playing basketball, riding my bike, playing manhunt, running around, etc. to have any interest or need for exercise. What would have been the point?
"Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes." ~Robert M Hutchins
Regardless of the activity, I could just go and go all day.  I  don’t remember ever getting tired or sore and I certainly don’t remember ever having to take a day off or having to take it easy because I played the day before.  I just had fun.

"Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game." ~Michael Jordan 
Now, as another birthday has arrived, I unfortunately have to exercise to avoid falling completely apart.  Sure, sometimes a workout can be fun but most of the time it isn’t fun.  But the lack of fun is kind of what I like.

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up.
It knows that it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.
It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle
when the sun comes up you'd better be running.
(But, unless you're a runner, you won't understand.)
The other day I was on an afternoon run.  The heat and excessive humidity were making it difficult for me to breathe and covered me in sweat.  With each stride my shirt moved just enough to being chafing me raw.  While this may not sound ideal, I realized that the temporary suffering is what I like about running.

"Human beings are made up of flesh and blood, and a miracle fiber called courage" ~George Patton
When I first started running, I would run a couple of blocks and feel exhausted.  When the exhaustion became too great, I would slow down and begin to walk.  Walking would instantly make me feel better.  Ironically, the quick removal of the discomfort hurt my pride more than the running hurt.  How could it go from so bad to perfectly fine so quickly?  

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." ~Confucius
I began to ask myself on runs... did I want to feel better temporarily or feel great when I was done?  Sure, sometimes I still have to give in and walk but most of the time I’m able to push through.  The more I have to fight myself to keep going the more rewarding it is when I’m finished.
"Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started." ~Steve Prefontaine

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meeting Baby Sister

For the last few months, my wife and I have been preparing for baby number two to arrive.  We prepared the house, the cars, ourselves, etc.  Then we waited... and waited as the due date passed.
"Better late than never." ~Matthew Henry 
Ultimately, our standard weekly doctor’s appointment turned into an a trip to the hospital for inducement.  The baby would be coming soon... one way or another!  Thanks to a network of family members, my son was well taken care of and I was able to be at the hospital with my wife.  Once we got to the hospital, the events began to move quickly.  
"Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." ~Wyatt Earp  
Knowing that go-time was fast approaching, I called the grandmothers to inform them them it was time. They both arrived at the hospital will little time to spare. The birth moved quickly and a healthy baby girl was born.
"If a girl looks swell when she meets you, who gives a damn if she's late? Nobody." ~ J. D. Salinger 
After all the measurements were made, and toes counted, I sent out a mass email to family and friends.  As the congratulations and ‘can’t wait to meet her’ messages came in, I realized that over the next few weeks baby girl was going to be meeting a lot of new faces.  While I’m excited for everyone to meet baby girl, there is one person in particular I couldn’t wait for her to meet.
"I am convinced that material things can contribute a lot to making one's life pleasant, but, basically, if you do not have very good friends and relatives who matter to you, life will be really empty and sad and material things cease to be important." ~David Rockefeller 
Over the past few years my son has systematically become king of the castle.  He has gotten us pretty well trained to his liking.  While we have been prepping him for his baby sister we weren't exactly sure how he would respond.  Would he get angry if we were holding her?  Would he ignore her completely?       
"Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent." ~Dalai Lama 
The next morning, my son and I took the short drive over to the hospital.  I keep telling him what we were doing, but he never let on if he knew for sure what we were about to do.  I like to think he did.  As we walked down the long hallway to towards the elevator I kept thinking how special it was that he was about to meet someone who he will have a special relationship with for the rest of his life.
"It is only at the first encounter that a face makes its full impression on us." ~Arthur Schopenhauer 
As I opened the door to my wife’s room, my son appeared a little apprehensive.  I suggested that he go ahead but it wasn’t until my wife called his name that he fully entered the room.  Following my wife’s voice, he ran into the room and immediately noticed baby sister.  His eyes lit up and he leaned over and smiled at her.  He liked her!
"Big Brother is watching you." ~George Orwell 
Now that we are home and adjusting our routine many things have changed over the last few days.  But one thing that hasn’t changed is big brother loving his baby sister.  He still smiles when he sees her and even gives her kisses.     

                        Life is good!

Monday, July 11, 2011

I feel like Batman!

For years I avoided getting a cell phone.  I found great pleasure in knowing that I was off the grid.  You either knew where I was or you didn’t.  I was free...

The key term is "was"... this past week, I decided it was time for me to enter the 21st century and get a phone.  So I went down to the local Verizon store and bought the HTC Droid Incredible 2.  

With one kid, and one about to arrive any day, it seemed like the right move.  Now instead of being free and unconnected, I am completely connected.  Not only can my wife call me at any point now, she can also see my exact location!  
I started this blog to help me keep my priorities in order - a way to help me monitor the different aspects of my life and keep them balanced.  As I've begun to download apps, I've tried to avoid loading up on time-killers and focus on finding the ones that will help me in my everyday life.    

I’m still looking for more, but here are the helpful apps I've found so far...

All of the apps are connected to my Google account.  In particular my Gmail, calendar and tasks information.  It has taken me a lot of time developing my contacts, lists, important dates, etc...  Having that information automatically loaded and accessible makes the phone instantly useful.

Google Latitude:  While the idea of letting someone know where you are at all times can freak some people out, I really like it.  With my wife at the end of her pregnancy it is nice to know that I could easily find her if she called and said that it is go time.  It’s also nice to know that she could find me if I get lost or injured on a run.

Map My Run:  This app is great!  It makes it very easy to track and monitor my runs.  Last year when I was in marathon training mode I purchased a Garmin GPS watch.  The watch worked great but the model I had required me to manually load my run information from the watch to the computer.  This app does all of the work for me, making it much more practical. The Map My Run app is easy to use and appears to be very accurate.  I highly recommend!

Foursquare:  I’m still getting used to this app.  The thing that interested me most about this app was seeing a reserved spot at a local mall for the Foursquare Mayor of the mall.  This spot in particular was closer than the handicap spots!

Handycards:  This app allows me to store all of my store loyalty cards.  I’m not a big fan of loading up my key-chain so I find this one handy (pun intended).  So far I’ve only used it once at the food store but it worked fine.

USA Today:  This one came recommended by my brother and he was right on.  This app delivers the national news in a clean, easy-to-read format.  With this app I feel like I’m on vacation.    

Google Goggles:  This app is amazing!  It allows you to search based on a picture you’ve taken.  If the pic is of a product, it will tell you what it is and where you can buy it.  If you take a pic of an unsolved Sudoku puzzle it will provide you with the correct solution.  

Google +:  Google + is an excellent new tool for sharing information and this mobile version is great.  This app, combined with my phone's camera and camcorder, have already allowed me to capture and share some great family moments.  With the baby #2 about to arrive this ability will get more and more use. 

However, one app that I can’t find is a good video chat app that will work with my Google contacts.  I downloaded Vtok, but it wouldn’t allow me to switch the camera.  So the person I was talking to could only see what I was facing - not me.  Fail!  If anyone knows of a good video chat app (or any other good app) please let me know!

I’m sure the novelty of having this phone will wear off, but in the mean time... I feel like Batman!